Friday, 29 August 2008

Free phone calls

The only thing that’s going on over this side of the office is the on-going saga of Becky’s new car and her missing spare key. She’s had the car for a week now and spent most of her time phoning the garage trying to find out when they are going to have her key, which they have had to order in. If she isn’t phoning the garage she is phoning her Mom or her boyfriend. We have IP telephones now, which you have to log-on to, but which follow you around whatever desk you get moved to. Becky’s desk phone rang on Wednesday afternoon:
Becky: “Who’s that ringing me?”
Steve: “Answer it and find out.”
She looks at the display on the phone:
Becky: “Oh…It’s my Dad.”

That’s one employees take on the company telephone policy.
Yesterday Chris’s dad was in hospital with internal bleeding. His mobile had no charge left, so he came over to me to explain the circumstances and asked if it would be okay to use the desk phone to ring home to see how he was and if he would be able to go and visit him straight after work.

Moving Seats

This week I moved seats following my promotion, which starts properly on September 1st. I was very sad to leave my chair of about 3 years, and I will miss all the fun conversations I had with Dan, Rach, Clive, and the rest of them. Over this side of the office the dynamics are all wrong. Everyone is out to impress everyone else, and nobody seems to have any funny stories. I can’t see all the way down the office anymore to see what the other sections are up to and I can’t see the coffee machine, which used to be the hub of activity that was blog worthy. Eric is taking my chair on Monday, and I’m giving him instructions to inform me abouit everything I miss. It’s probably a bit much to ask him to write it all down for me, I might as well hand my blog over to him. The one good thing about my new chair is the fact that nobody can see my monitor, so I could try and write some more of my novel in the quiet periods.

Monday, 18 August 2008


The boss comes in around 9.00 this morning with a big bunch of flowers and gives them to Junior to present them in front of the team to Karen, who left our section of Friday. Junior is not best pleased at having to do the presentation and giving flowers. “I don’t do flowers” he tells everyone. It takes a while for everyone to get in and have their breakfast from the canteen, so it’s about 10.30 when Junior actually calls Karen over and everyone gathers round. She gets upset and tells him that she’s going to cry anyway. Steve does a bit of a speech and hands over the flowers. The boss them puts an arm round her and looks as if he’s taking the flowers down to her desk for her. He then runs down the office and gives the flowers to Dave (Karen’s news boss). As she reaches her new desk Dave says:
“We are cutting costs on our section, and we would like to welcome you to your new job.”
Handing her the flowers she had just been presented with at the other end of the office.

Friday, 15 August 2008

New phone number

Junior was giving out his new company mobile number and asking people for theirs. We weren’t that happy to give out such information, but if he came up on caller display we could just ignore him (since we only have them on vibrate in the office anyway). Mark has been off for a few weeks with a bad back and Junior tried to phone him to se how he was progressing. When Mark called back Junior was out of the office in a meeting, Mark called me instead. I passed on the message from Mark, but Junior still wanted his number, so I read it to him off my display:
Me: “0785……”
Junior: “Hang on I haven’t got that far yet.”
Me: “How far have you got?”
Junior: “A far as the K in Mark.”

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Eric in late

Eric gets in to work just after 9.30 and thinks he’s managed to sneak in. After the weird team brief which Paul was held up as a shinning example to the workforce Paul now gets some stick too:
Me: “Eric. Good morning.”
Eric: “Morning.”
Jason: “What time do you call this? Paul’s been in since half past seven”
Paul: “I was waiting for a comment.”
Eric: “Oh. I don’t need to get in too early because I know Paul is in grafting away, clearing all the work.”

Eric: “Who put this fan on? Was it you?” (to Paul)
Jason: “He needs something to cool him down at the speed he goes.
I was thinking of bringing in my dry cleaning to use the steam he gives off.”

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Karen's new manager

Karen told us all that she is leaving us to go and work for another section on the same floor. I knew about this a few weeks ago, but it was a surprise that it had all happened so fast.
Her new boss is going to be one of the Dave’s who’s always making comments of an inappropriate nature, but gets away with it:
“When you start on my section I’ll start sexually harassing you. Then you can put in a complaint and get a big pay-out. By Christmas we’ll have both got what we wanted.”

Monday, 11 August 2008

Jim bragging

As I mentioned before, Jim, Eric and One of the Dave’s had all had the Friday off work. When John comes in Paul greets him:
Paul: “Did you have a nice weekend John…and Friday?”
Jim: “Yes thank you. It’s nice to have a long one.”
Dan: “Bragging again Jim…about having a long one.”

Friday, 8 August 2008

Jim's day off

Jim, Eric and one of the Dave’s have all booked the Friday off. We started discussing what they might all be doing together, even though they are probably doing independent stuff. Then we moved on to Jim and his elaborate system of greeting everyone as the come through the door in the morning.
Rach: “Is there anyone he doesn’t talk to? He was telling me about going on holiday to India and bumping into someone he knows.”
Becky: “He’s always going on holiday. If you tell him where you’re going on holiday, he tells you he’s been there.”
Rach: “If you say you’ve ate shit on toast Jim’s done it first.”

We laughed. We had not heard that phrase before.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Happy Birthday Gee

Gee turned 40 yesterday. He’d brought in cakes this morning and was offering them round. He’d taken his birthday off to go to Warwick Castle to watch the jousting. Glen was down from the sixth floor as well discussing what he’d been up to. Becky walked in. I turned round:
Me: “Morning Becky.”
Becky: “Morning.”
Glen: “Afternoon.” (It’s only about 8.30 a.m.)
Becky: “Morning… I would normally be in earlier, but I’m relying on my mom to bring me in at the moment.” (Her mom works on the sixth floor)
Glen: “Why’s that?”
Becky: “I had a car crash last week.”
Glen: “Oh yes, much damage?”
Becky: “It’s a write-off.”
Glen: “Their fault or yours?”
Becky: “Mine… you know what it’s like when you take your eyes off the road for a second or two.”

She told Glen a few more details. Glen was just amazed that she’d been driving without looking in front of her.
After I’d finished talking to Glen and Gee I turned back round to my own desk, adjacent to Becky:
Me: “Couldn’t you get your mom to get up a bit earlier?”
Becky: “Well…no she car shares, with that Green-travel scheme. She picks up another woman who works on the sixth floor too.”
Me: “Is that worth doing.”
Becky: “Yes. She gets £50 worth of vouchers.” (I don’t know if that’s every month or year)
“Gives them to my dad and says “Here get some new clothes””

Either her mom isn’t very tactful or her dad is a real scruff, I didn’t ask which.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Smashing Becky

The other Monday I had taken the day off. When I came back in on the Tuesday everyone was making a big fuss of Becky, asking how she was. It turned out that she had not been in on Monday either because she had crashed her car. When the crowd had gone away I asked her how it had happened:
Becky: “I was driving my boyfriend to work yesterday morning. You know what it’s like – you turn your head to one side (she demonstrates turning her head) to talk to the passenger…then I just hit this car that was parked half on-half off the pavement.”

I wanted to say “You don’t turn your head to talk to people if you’re driving. You only turn your head when you’re manoeuvring or reversing.” I kept that to myself.
She wrote off her car, smashing in the nearside front corner. She indicated with her hand the degree to which her bonnet had crumpled.
Dan: “Did your airbag go off?”
Becky: “Yes.”
Dan: “Cool.”

The parked car she’d gone into the back of belonged to some guy who had no tax, no insurance and no MOT on the car. She found this out when he asked for her details. Becky mentioned this to the police when they arrived. They seemed very dis-interested, telling her that they had to see him drive the car before they can do anything. Even though they have all those adverts on the TV and radio telling you that hey have the power to tow your car away and crush it if it isn’t taxed. We were appalled at their attitude. The guy had been shouting “How am I going to get to work this morning?” Surely that’s enough to realize he had intended to drive it.
The next day she found out that the insurance company were going to pay out for the damage to his car even without insurance, MOT or tax.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Andy- ladies' man

Andy likes to have a rapour with the ladies, and can usually get the younger females in the office to fetch him drinks or items from the canteen. Especially in the case of the girls who haven’t worked here for too long and think that it’s normal There seems to be a backlash recently though. And one of the girls who used to wait on him has been ignoring him. Andy shouted over to her a couple of times and she seemed not to hear. He sent Ricky down to talk to her, when she went to the coffee machine, to try and get her to go and see him.
Ricky spoke to her quite softly to explain that Andy wanted to go up the office to see him:
“I’ve been trying to avoid making eye-contact with him all day.”

We all had a goggle about it because Andy was so sure that she would take him a cup of coffee up.

Monday, 4 August 2008


For some time there has been some work going on around the building with people fitting security devices next to the doors on each floor. We were told that they wouldn’t be active until September, however we got this e-mail on Friday afternoon:

"Due to regulatory compliance following the integration of Data Retrieval and Data Management staff, swipereadershave been installed across the site.
This afternoon the readers in the Main Building will become active and you will need to swipe your access card to gain entry to each floor.
If you do not have an access card please contact the Security Team on the ground floor of the main building.
Thank for your co-operation - Facilities"

Yes, the e-mail did say “swipereadershave.” We all wondered if that was a new kind of razor. Late on Friday afternoon the swiper system to get into our office door from the corridor was switched on. This caused great problems on Friday (turning it on at the end of the afternoon for one).
Everyone has complained that they have to take their card with them even if they just go for a pee. Us sensible people have shirt pockets, but some of them have now had to start wearing them around their necks.
There are pockets of resistance. Andy is unhappy to have his toilet visits scrutinized, so he knocks on the door and gets Becky (who sits closest to the door) to let him back in.

This is just the kind of important thing that you would think our monthly Team Brief would inform you about. We had Team Brief on the Friday afternoon straight after dinner, and there was no mention of it.
There was the latest news from above that mobile phone ring tones are now banned from our office. Some people did have some terribly annoying ring tones, also they would leave their phones on the desk to ring when they went walkabout, rather than take their “mobile” phone with them. So there used to be people running back down the office to answer their phone, or the people at the adjacent desks having to put the phone inside the drawer. Now we are only allowed to have them on vibrate. So we’ll probably be having mobile races along the desks later on in the week, seeing which phones have the most powerful vibrate.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Clive's new motorbike

Clive had been talking about his new bike (a cheap 125 Japanese thing) for some time. When he came in on Monday with a biker jacket on and a helmet under his arm we all rightly assumed it must be roadworthy now. He had come with a change of clothes because of the heat; he would be very sweaty on a summer’s day with a big, padded jacket on.
When he took off his jacket to reveal a tee shirt I shouted over to Steve:
“Did you get the e-mail about dress down day?”
His helmet was matt black, so there were lots of jokes about him polishing his helmet, and “have you seen Clive’s helmet out on his desk” type jokes.

Jason has been coming in unusually early. He has just become a father though, and has been complaining about not getting any sleep any more. Paul came in and provoked him. Jason told him “It’s too early in the morning for an argument.”
Paul replied “It’s never too early for an argument.”