There is a little Bridget Jones in us all…

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Last week at work, I missed a telephone call. I heard the phone ring, but I was in the other room and I couldn’t get to it in time. It’s no big deal, I don’t work in a call centre; I don’t have stats telling me that I should answer 46.72 calls every day or that if I swig more than 39 seconds worth of tea every two hours, I’ll cost my team the quarterly bonus. It was a completely uneventful event.

Five minutes later, I casually listed to the voicemail message that had been left for me. It was my boss’s, boss’s, boss. Who has NEVER called me before. I didn’t even have her number on my phone.  The message said “Hi Jo, I’m calling about a case that I think you’ve been involved in. Can you give me a call back when you have a chance?”.

Panic stricken, I called her back immediately.

Me: “Hi there boss’s, boss’s boss [I did use her actual name, I’m protecting anonymity, I’m not a complete moron] how are you?”

Her: “I’m very well thank you. Thanks for calling me back so quickly.”

Me: “No problem, I’m sorry I missed your call. I was in the toilet. I heard the phone ring but couldn’t get to it because I was having a wee.”

Inside my head: Holy moly, why did you say that? What is wrong with you? She didn’t need to know you were in the toilet and you certainly shouldn’t have said the word ‘wee’.

Her: Chuckle (politely but slightly awkwardly) “I just thought you were on the road or in a meeting, I know how busy you guys are.”

Inside my head: See. You absolute nincompoop.

Me: “So, how can I help you?”

Her: “I’m just trying to speak to whoever dealt with the *insert completely made up name because even if I wanted to breach data protection, which I don’t, I can’t remember the name anyway* case. I think it was you.”

Inside my head: Huge sigh of relief. Phew! That’s not my case. I don’t know anything about it and I had nothing to do with it. I’ll tell her. Oh hang on a minute, will she think it’s weird that I know straight away that it’s not my case?… because she seems to think it is me. What if it is me, it’s from ages ago and I’ve forgotten all about it? It would be very awkward and embarrassing to have to call her back.

Me: “The name doesn’t ring a bell, I’m not sure if it’s one of mine. If you hang on I can look it up for you?”.

Her: “Oh yes, if you don’t mind, please.”

Me: “Okily dokily.”

Inside my head: Who do you think you are? Ned Flanders?! Why didn’t you just say ‘Okay’ like a regular person?

At this point, my computer helpfully decides to freeze and present me with the evil egg timer of doom in the corner of the screen.

Me: “Sorry, my computer’s on a bit of a go slow at the moment”……..*painful silence*……. “so, do you watch the Great British Bake Off?”

Her: “No, I must admit that I don’t.”

Me: “Really? Oh you should.”

Inside my head: Why should she? She might hate baking. *Gasp* she might hate Mary Berry….Oh no, who would hate Mary Berry? She’s the Nanna that everyone would love to have.

Me: “I love it. In fact, I was so upset when I realised that it was only Tuesday because I thought it was Wednesday and Wednesday is Bake Off day. I get very excited.”

Inside my head: STOP. TALKING.

Her: “Hmmm.”

Me: “Sorry, my computer’s still taking it’s time. Oh here we are. No, the case wasn’t mine it was another anonymous colleague’s case.”

Her: “Right, I’ll give anonymous colleague a call. Sorry to bother you.”

Me: “It’s no bother at all. It’s awfully very nice to hear from you indeed.”

Inside my head: Kiss arse. And what was with the ‘awfully very nice / indeed’ nonsense? You’re not in bloody Oliver Twist. Get over yourself.

Her: “Good-bye”

Me: “Bub-bye now.”

Inside my  head: You should not be allowed to speak to people in authority.

 

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When do I get my promotion?

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Like many people I do suffer with a relentless, overwhelming, depression touch of the blues on a Monday.  I recently came across an article called “10 things successful people do on a Monday morning”, so thought I’d have a read to see where I was going wrong:

10. Use your weekends effectively

By “effectively” they mean asleep or drunk, right?

9. Plan your week

I do. My week plan looks like this:
Monday: Speak to as few people as possible. Drink a lot of caffeinated beverages.
Tuesday: Delight in the fact that it is not Monday.
Wednesday: Work extra hard to make up for marginal disinterest on Monday and Tuesday. Count down to 1.01pm so that I know I’m officially over the hump and closer to Friday than to Monday. Giggle childishly at the term “hump” at least once.
Thursday: Spend most of the day wondering whether it’s too soon to wish people a nice weekend.
Friday: Perform a quite restricted, because I should be in full control of my vehicle at all times, “almost the weekend” dance in the car on the way to work. Usually whilst simultaneously changing gear, checking my hair in the rear view mirror and singing loudly.

8. Get up early

Yes, okay. I will do this*. Good plan. Great advice.

*blatant lie

The article talks about getting up early in order to do something “personal and worthwhile, like working out”. Given the choice between forty winks and ‘get down and give me forty’, slumber will beat sport every day of the week.

7. Tackle emails first thing…

I am terribly obsessive about checking my emails, I just can’t leave the little yellow envelope in the corner of the screen. I have to know what the email says, just in case it’s announcing a payrise or an increase to my holiday entitlement. I’m the same with post at home too. Chances are it is some sort of demand for payment that has come through the door but every so often it’s a “The limit on your credit card has been increased” letter or a “Look at these beautiful shoes, aren’t they magnificent and shiny? You must buy them, such a bargain” leaflet. Of course the problems arise when the credit card limit and the beautiful shoe leaflet coincide because one does tend to offset the other.

6. …or don’t

Are you kidding me? They might be successful, but they are so indecisive.

5. Take advantage of your commute

Please refer to Friday on my week plan. If you have not seen me tripping the light fantastic in the car with my “almost the weekend” boogie, you have not lived.

4. Be grateful (that you have a career)

I would be more grateful for my career if it did not involve my having to know so much, having to do so much and having to be polite to so many people.

3. Exercise

The article tells me that Barack Obama and George W Bush are fans of exercising early. I wouldn’t dream of making a sassy comment about this I’m just going to mumble something discrete under my breath about how they might want to think about running the country instead of cross country running.

2. Eat that frog

I have to put the description to this because otherwise it makes no sense: Mark Twain said “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, you’ll have it behind you for the rest of the day.” referring to tackling the toughest tasks first. That’s especially important on Mondays, because if you don’t, you’ll have it hanging over your head all day, all week or whenever you finally get around to it. That sense of dread can really affect your performance. Make a to-do list, and put the least savoury tasks at the top — you’ll feel a lot better once they’re complete.

Thought provoking statement Mr Twain, however, if you replace the word “frog” with the phrase “bacon sandwich”, it’s even better.

1. Start with a clean desk

My desk is always very tidy. My desk drawers on the other hand are the equivalent of what happens when you leave a toddler alone with a pile of papers. At 4.59pm on a Friday night, I chuck anything and everything that happens to be on my desk into the drawers with no regard for how I’m going to retrieve everything 64 hours later.  Subsequently, the first battle for me on a Monday morning is the desk drawer of doom.

Right, I’ve got it. Next Monday I shall clean my desk, star jump, eat an amphibian, send my boss flowers for hiring me and not check my emails.

Ding ding promotion central.

14 things to do at work that don’t actually involve work

Working 9am to 5pm (or not)I have worked in HR for nearly 14 years (amazing achievement for a 29 year old…) and every time I think I’ve seen it all, some employee somewhere does something bonkers.

So, to celebrate (or mourn) the past 14 years, I have pleasure in sharing my bona fide top 14 work shirks:

* Disappear in the middle of your shift. When you return, no one will notice if your hair is 5 inches shorter and your beard has gone.

* If you are kicked out of your house by your wife; move into your office.

* Take a paperback book into the toilet with you during your first week in a new job and read it for at least half an hour.

* From a work computer, email details of a wide variety of sexual activity and what you’d like to do to your girlfriend when you get home. Do this on work time.

* Fall asleep at work at least three times and then, when you’re on a final written warning for your behaviour, fall asleep in the middle of a team meeting with approximately 20 witnesses.

* Fail to turn up for your first day of work in a new job. Eventually arrive eight weeks late, demand to start work and to be paid and then tell your new manager that you believe him to be god.

* Count the time between getting out of your car and arriving at your desk at the beginning of the day and leaving work and getting to your car at the end of the day as overtime and submit a claim for payment at time and a half.

* Stack a high level freezer haphazardly. Next time you open the freezer door, a frozen chicken is likely to fall on your head.

* Lick the faces of your female work colleagues.

* Phone in sick for a night shift and then go out drinking, dance on a table and upload a photograph to Facebook as evidence of your misdemeanour.

* Have sex with a colleague in a store cupboard when you should be hoovering an office.

* Come to work reeking of alcohol, blatantly hungover and as sick as a dog and then cite an allergic reaction to the peanuts that accompanied the half bottle of vodka that you drank the previous night.

* On a freezing cold day, throw a bucket of water from the window of your workplace. Ensure that it lands on top of a colleague who is going home sick with the flu.

* Bring your sick cat into work and have it sitting in your office whilst an important meeting takes place.

Who knows what the next 14 years will bring?!