As another weekend draws to an untimely end, 35 hours of soul destroying tedium circles through your conscious like a corporate feathered vulture. Sunday's television schedule does little to distract you from the thoughts of a job that you once donned your finest suit to secure, and here, in a moment of depressing clarity is the realisation that, "this is your life." Instead of a red book filled with your greatest feats and wittiest one-liners, the best that you can achieve is two pages of Arial 11 point detailing your employment history and one or two hobbies that you added in a desperate attempt to make it sound as though you were a true team player and not the mis-anthropic, work-hating malcontent that you actually are.

If this sounds familiar then fear not, you are not alone. The Daily Grindstone is here to help you through the perils of employment and give weight to your long held belief that, despite the hype, work just isn't that great. So... make another cup of tea (remember that a full kettle takes longer to boil and can add minutes to your break), get comfortable, and prepare to adjust the scales of the work-life balance a little more in your favour.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The forgotten dreams of Martin's sandwich

Sat there in the deepest darkest corner of the office fridge is a sandwich. Once the pride of Martin's lunchbox, the cheese is carefully crafted into interlocking trapezoids and the Branston sandwich pickle has been applied with the accuracy of a King's College brain surgeon. Like a bread-based reflection of Martin's career, the sandwich had entered the office with a cocksure promise of great potential. After several weeks, like Martin, the sandwich was nothing more than a greening lump sweating under the artificial light that occasionally flickered as another, younger, more succulent sandwich was thrust through the open fridge door.

The story of Martin's sandwich is one with which any office worker can relate. Sat in the cupboards and fridges of workplaces across the globe are festering specimens of forgotten lunches. Like the dismissed dreams of their once proud owners, nobody will ever claim these rancid meals and so they sit dissipating into their frozen surroundings. As aging air-conditioners waft their bitter perfume across the office, why is it that nobody steps forward to consign these miserable picnics to the swing bin of office life?

Disposing of a mouldy sandwich is an admission of guilt. By handling the cellophane wrapped mulch, you are allowing you co-workers to peer through a window to your private life. The kind of person who allows a once proud sandwich to deteriorate to a rotten parcel, is the kind of person who will neglect basic personal hygiene, fail to return phone calls, and live alone with only "World of Warcraft" for company. Despite the gut wrenchingly awful stench emanating from the fridge, nobody wishes to become a social pariah and so, guilty or innocent, each employee will ignore the source of the discomfort and make pointed suggestions regarding the perpetrators possible identity.

Should the foul odour of your forgotten feast become unbearable, there is only one course of action to take. Prior to removing the offending article, send a mass email to everybody in the company speculating that the Finance department are responsible for the crime, theatrically condemn the habit of leaving food in the fridge for long periods, and then, when all traces of guilt have been firmly shifted, pick up the sandwich, carry it to the bin, and like an amusement park grabber machine, simply loosen your grip.

It all just goes to show that despite the ridiculous emails and laminated warnings adorning the fridge door, it really isn't that big a deal!

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