The Time I Worked In An Office

The strange and illuminating lessons learned from working in an office

Things I learnt once upon a time when I worked in an office.

1. The degree with which people listen to each other in an office base-jumps off a cliff–face from the level of meaningful interaction one would expect or demand from a friendship outside of work. No-one really listens to each other. They wait to interject with information that applies to them, and loosely to the conversation in hand.

2. The Monday-morning paradigm:

i) Monday mornings are not shit.

ii) Imagine a Monday morning is like the wave in the last scene of The Perfect Storm. The office on a Monday morning is a flotation device which if you manage to swim out to, will save your life. All you need to do is grab hold of this flotation device and hold on for dear life. You don’t actually have to do any work, you just have to sit there with your arms wrapped around said-flotation device, until around 6pm where the flotation device will have miraculously led you to calmer waters, at which point you can let go of it when nobody is looking and doggy-paddle to shore.

iii) This could potentially happen again on Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on a) how big your weekend was and b) how menial your workload is.

3. The reason office parties are so mental is because everyone is so long that the only conceivable way to have a good time is to get absolutely shitted.

4. Not true, it’s because they’re free.

5. Also not true. It must be because you spend so long together in one place doing one specific thing, the chance to do the polar opposite together in a completely different place is pretty fucking unbelievable, and grounds enough for aggressive armageddon.

6. All three of the above must be a bit true.

7. The office environment has more politicking and beef than an especially lairy episode of Judge Judy.

8. Familiarity breeds attraction. Girls you wouldn’t really clock in the street become megaliths of sexual potency in the office environment. Perhaps the same happens the other way around. I don’t know I’m not a girl.

9. The people you like least on your first day are the ones who become the biggest legends, the ones you think show the biggest potential transpire to be the biggest a-holes.

10. As funny as the television show The Office undoubtedly was, like all great comedy it was also capable of oceanic-depths of philosophical insight. On the subject of the work environment, perhaps Tim said it best.

The people you work with, are just the people you were thrown together with. You don’t know them, it wasn’t your choice, and yet you spend more time with them than you do your friends or your family. But probably all you’ve got in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for 8 hours a day.


If you compare the structure of an office environment versus the self-employment model, they are two sides of the same coin. The difference  could be described as that between passive and active, between giving and receiving. One involves being told what to do. The other involves telling yourself what to do. Some people like taking orders. Some don’t. Which is why they end up working for themselves. This is not to say one has more value than the other.

You can still do what you’re told to by a boss like a total boss.

One involves rolling the rock of your own confidence up a mountainside every day whilst maintaining self-autonomy, the other brings with it the sanctity of being a much-needed cog in a machine, without the freedom to stop turning until you’re told to. The pressure of disappointing people versus the pressure of being responsible for your own to–do list. When you mark your own homework there’s the potential to mark yourself down, or give yourself one gold star too many.

Some people leave their work at work. Some people take it home with them. Some people work from home. Some people’s home is their work. Some live to work. Some work to live. Some people talk about nothing but work. Some refuse to breathe a word of it. Some people’s best work comes to them in dreams, some work can be an unending nightmare. Some people get addicted to work. Some people get addicted because of it. Some people never work a day in their life. Some people’s work never feels like work. Some people never stop working. Some people work themselves six feet under.

Stephen Hawking once said…

Never give up work, it gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.

Dostoevsky deemed the definition of hell to be…

A man repeating a task day after day after day he sees absolutely no point in.

Whereas Ramson Badbonez was of the opinion that one should…

Fuck a nine to five where ma out on road money makurzzz.