In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
As I’m sure anyone who has worked in an office will corroborate, an office is really a big room full of people trying their hardest to look grown-up, professional, and like they have the faintest idea what they’re doing. Some achieve this with slightly more panache than others.
I myself am currently in the middle of a stint of work experience in just such an office environment. Before I arrived I was sent some instructions – I should arrive at 9am, leave at 5pm and have one hour for lunch. Oh, and by the way, “we all dress casual here”.
Approximately seven and a half seconds after I walked in I realised that when they said “we all dress casual” what they actually meant was “we all dress quite cool”. Now, casual I can definitely do. At a push, when desperate, I can just about muster smart. But cool? Cool is, frankly, a little bit beyond me. Although, to their absolute credit, they did all manage not to flinch too much when I rocked up in my finest purple anorak.
Despite this stylish entrance, and the fact that I accidentally used the men’s toilets on my first day (in my defence, the office layout is very confusing), I seem to be managing to survive surprisingly well all things considered. Unless of course they are all guffawing heartily at my expense when my back is turned, which is a very distinct possibility. Between the industrial-strength shredders and the ergonomic swivel chairs, office environments offer almost limitless potential for making a bit of a tit of oneself. So, with that in mind, here is the Awkward Guide to office jobs.
1. When venturing away from your chair to make tea/photocopy something important/use the appropriately-gendered bathroom, try to ensure that you sit in the correct seat on your return. Do not accidentally take up residence at the wrong desk, turn to speak to your colleague (let’s call him Dave), and realise that Dave has somehow turned into a middle-aged woman with scary eyebrows and a very ample bosom. This may or may not be an improvement on Dave depending upon your perspective, but one thing is for certain – it will generate confusion and embarrassment for everyone involved.
2. Be wary of suspect conversation topics. From incredibly mundane yet bizarrely angry forty minute rants about the fact that the shredder will only take six sheets of standard thickness paper at a time when it claims to take fourteen, to Friday afternoon we’re-really-scraping-the-barrell-now discussions of ‘when I’m concentrating I think my face looks like this, but it turns out it actually looks like THIS’, engaging other office workers in conversation can be a risky business.
3. This last one probably applies more to the ladies than the gents, but you never know. Try to avoid skirts that have a tendency to cling willy-nilly to your person after they have been compressed from both sides by your buttocks and your chair. This can lead to unusual sculpting of your rear-end and result in you caressing your own behind somewhat excessively in an attempt to iron out the bottom-shaped creases. And let’s be honest, if you’re going to leave an enormous bum print in something when you stand up, you would rather hope it would be something that you can hastily walk away from and not something that is going to follow you round the office.
The Awkward Guide accepts no responsibility for adverse reactions to the implementation of advice supplied herein. Side-effects can include: smug laughter, mild disdain, and temporary irritation.