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.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Office Dwellers Part II: The Middle Manager

Trevor had never wanted to be the sub-team manager of CheapCo Office Supplies. As a child he had dreamt of playing football for Swindon town, unfortunately evolution had taken a tumble and he had been blessed with two left feet. His job at CheapCo had come about by accident really. A summer job filing purchase orders had developed into a winter job as an office clerk. By the time he had had the chance to re-assess his life, he was thirty-five and enslaved to an HP agreement he had used to purchase a Vauxhall Astra Sri.

The Middle Manager is by no means a malicious Office Dweller. Unlike the team leader, he was once like you, albeit a less attractive and less charismatic interpretation. Ten years working in the same office has had a detrimental effect on his character and the dreams he once had of parking in the “Directors Only” car park have been begrudgingly revised to account for the numerous opportunities he has failed to realise. His love life, like his career, has fallen a little short of the mark. Excluding a brief fling with Naomi Foot in the first year of secondary school, the Middle Manager has had little contact with the fairer sex. Despite his virginity, he is keen to recount imaginary, but extremely graphic tales of sordid evenings with women he has “met on the net,” and no amount of polite refusal will deter him from sharing “just how filthy she was.” In dealing with a Middle Manager it is essential to steer clear of subtle nuances and politely but firmly inform them that you would, "rather not talk about this during work.”

The Middle Manager is desperate to befriend you. Armed with a repertoire of tired jokes that provoke more pity than they do laughter, the Middle Manager will try to cure his aching loneliness by discouraging you from ever leaving the company. Thanks to his campaign of propaganda and fear, you will begin to entertain thoughts of settling for the job you hate and appreciating the comfort and security it affords. Sure it isn’t what you really want, but then neither is the Ford Fiesta parked in your drive, and you still lovingly wash and polish that every weekend. The Middle Manager’s greatest weapon is his persuasiveness and by convincing you that his life is a non-stop orgy of bonuses, expense accounts, and meetings “to determine the future of the office supply industry,” he hopes to lure you into a life of ‘office dwelling.’

Should you find yourself staring down at a pair of tassel-loafers, you will have most likely fallen victim to a Middle Manager. In this situation you must stand up, walk out, and reassess your life before you too become a pin-up for the office dwelling generation.

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