SOCIAL STUDIES Office Culture and You Bobby Box

A timeline of true (and amplified) tales of office culture – besides work.

MORNINGS: 9-12.

Elevator silence is just as awkward as it looks on TV. It never fails, even as the elevator closes its final inches and you’ve almost got the place to yourself, a Coach bag shoves it’s way through the mere centimeters of space you had until the elevator was your very own Gaga-esque incubator. Instead, you’re forced to listen to the music this newcomer has blaring through their headphones—which is normally Adele—as you both ascend one floor, the door opens and she walks out.  This is the frustrating part; if you’re only one floor up, please take the stairs.

As you wait for your computer to start up, you grab your mug and brave the dreaded lineup behind the coffee machine. If the line is full of people you only say hi to in passing, it’s completely normal to start pretexting (this is pretending to text—a portmanteau I just made up), when in reality you’re simply avoiding small talk with an office superior who doesn’t know your name.

As soon as the clock strikes 11:30, expect a similar lineup behind the microwave, toaster oven or closest eatery with “Fresh” in its name.

It’s inevitable. The bathrooms are ALWAYS in use.  So eventually you cave since you cant clench any longer and sit in a stall that’s uncomfortably close to your ass trumpet of a neighbour—who’s blissfully unaware of the noise he’s making in a public washroom. By the way, we know who you are. Your shoes are visible under the stall.

Disclaimer: I’m speaking in terms of men’s washrooms because I, unlike Creed from The Office, do not pay for the rights to use the women’s lavatory.

AFTERNOONS: 12-3.

Some crash mid-afternoon and either take a trip to the closest coffee shop, (namely Starbucks or Tim Horton’s) or head in for their second, third or fourth cup of office coffee, refilling with new coffee beans because the person who used the last of it chose not to.

Somebody is usually playing their music a little too loudly. If they aren’t, the office is painfully quiet, the silence interrupted with the occasional chiming of office telephones. I personally appreciate the loud music player for their uncompromising nature to break the silence and the brave inevitable backlash they will receive for playing inappropriate music in the workplace, (AKA anything you wouldn’t hear on Wave 94.7, “Southern Ontario’s Smoothest Groove”.)

At this time, most people are tired and full, meaning emails are the primary source of communication—even if they sit right behind you.

EVENINGS: 3- ONWARD.

This is the time sociable coworkers make their rounds; they’ve done their work and are now looking to chat, flirt, gossip or argue.  This is (for some people) an ideal eavesdropping opportunity. For others, it’s a way to break up the latter part of your day or make plans to get shammered after work.

Also, at this time, printers are usually in need of ink, paper and repair—to which no one acknowledges.

MEET YOUR CO-WORKERS: Office Archetypes

The convenience pal is the person with an iPhone or Blackberry charger at their disposal. They are unofficially the most popular people in the office, called upon daily by various coworkers worried over the last blinking red bar on their phone.

The office ‘bitch’ usually wears the highest, loudest heals in the office while opting to walk on hardwood opposed to carpet. Possibly on purpose – an indirect warning for slackers to minimize Facebook and pull up a work related document.

The eager intern is usually running around the office trying to please everyone in earshot. Interns rock and they’re useful. Know this: It is extremely rude to have them run mundane coffee errands or ask them to clean and re-organize 24/7 – they’re looking for work-related experience, not chores.

The coffee snob wouldn’t be caught dead with Tim Horton’s or Dunkin’ Donuts in hand. They often yield a gigantic cup displaying some independently owned coffee shop you’ve never heard of. In a crunch, they’ll settle for Starbucks.

The office hottie hits the gym before work and practices yoga at lunch. She/he is charming beyond comprehension and is always a nice distraction from Excel sheets, Word docs, or whatever files are open on your monitor.

Featured image via sbdalliant.com

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  1. interns do more work than those who actually work there….

  2. loved pretexting

  3. Oh goodness. I’m the loud, inappropriate music player. But it’s not smooth grooves, it’s J-Pop. Happy, quirky, dancey J-Pop. But I’m also the convenience pal so that makes up for it, right? Also not: I’ve been ignoring a broken printer for 4 days. Hope someone fixed it over the weekend. HA!

  4. Regarding the point on interns – YES. Thank you! I had a paid internship this summer where I spent 40 hours a week cleaning out closets and organizing files from 1993. I was grateful for the resume building but it was a frustrating experience.