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Image / Editorial

11 things you’ll understand if you’ve ever worked in an office

by Grace McGettigan
07th Apr 2020

Mad Men, AMC

Every company is different, yet somehow, every office is the same. Here are 11 things you may relate to if you work (or have ever worked) in an office

It doesn’t matter who your boss is – if you’ve worked in one office setting, you’ve worked in them all. While every company is different, somehow, every office is the same.

As you sit in your at-home office (kitchen table), ignoring your inbox, you might have already forgotten about the work culture you left behind last month. This list of 11 office conundrums will jog your memory.

Passing around cards to sign

Whether it’s somebody’s birthday, leaving-day or promotion, rarely a week goes by that you don’t have to sign a card. It’s all well and good when you know the person somewhat well – but what do you write when it’s Mary-from-across-the-room, whom you’ve never spoken to? “Happy birthday Best of luck in your new role, all the best”.

Awkward kitchen chats when there’s cake

Few things are as exciting as the office-wide “treats in the kitchen” email. There’s usually one person who jumps up right away for first-dibs, then the rest of the team will follow. Not wanting to be rude, everyone lingers around while they eat, with someone offering the occasional “I could get used to this” joke to break the inter-departmental tension.

The doughnut/scone cutters

There’s another weird trend when it comes to office treats. Why is it, that when doughnuts, pastries or scones are delivered, people feel the need to “only have a little bit”. Instead of eating the whole croissant, they’ll cut off a third.

Then, when the next person “only wants a sliver”, they’ll cut into a new one – rather than take the smaller piece that’s already there. By the end of the day, there’s a box full of random bits. What’s that about?

Passive-aggressive post-it notes

Anyone who’s read Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling will know authors Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght have covered this in detail. Whether it’s a “please don’t touch” note on a Diet Coke can in the fridge, or a “this actually can’t be recycled” note near the bins, every office has a passive-aggressive post-it writer.

Fish in the microwave

How, in 2019, are people still getting away with microwaving fish at work? And we’re not too pleased with you egg-eaters either…

What’s worse? Fishy leftovers getting scraped into the bin. The stench… it lingers. Pass the nose peg.

Monday morning niceties

“Hi!” “Hey” “How was your weekend?” “Good, thanks! And yours?” “Yeah, good too!” “Okay, see you later”.

Emailing the person sitting next to you

This mainly occurs in open-plan offices, where speaking aloud is (for some reason) not cool. Whether it’s an email, Google Hangout or Skype message, nothing screams “I work in an office” like typing to the person sitting next to you.

The person who shops online

There’s always (at least) one person who has their ASOS packages delivered to work, and of course, let’s not forget the jealous co-worker who always has to sign for them. “Another pair of shoes?!”

Is he/she currently shopping at his/her desk? Possibly.

Temperature wars

There’s nothing like co-workers angrily turning off the heating when you’ve just turned it on. Also, shout out to those who re-open the recently-closed windows, and the person who sits under the air-con vent.

The one and only tech person

Why is it that, when anything breaks down, the one person who knows how to fix it is nowhere to be found? A temperamental printer, a disconnected phone, WiFi problems… all roads lead to the one and only tech guy (or gal).

Bless you

How many times can you say “bless you” when somebody sneezes before it gets annoying? Answers on a postcard.

Photo: Mad Men, AMC

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