A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
So you’ve finally conquered the job hunting process and secured yourself your first big job. Congratulations! Whilst the notion of ‘working for the man’ is essentially the same whether you’re at Ernst & Young, Bunnings or McDonalds, there are a few subtle differences it is always good to be aware of before you enter the world of the white collar worker…
Stapler: Small compression instrument often used for securing paper together. Operated by pressing heavily from the top of the device into the paper. Other uses include: firing staples at annoying employees, pressing repetitively for relieving stress, ammunition for Lara Croft: Office Supplies Raider
Photocopier: Large unwieldy device that’s main purpose is to make duplicates of already superfluous office documentation. Main purpose is to increase frustration of all office members and induce swearing, sweating and a weekly breakdown in otherwise normal people by jamming constantly and flashing its big buttons frequently. Other uses include: Always large and ostentatious, much like Brynne Edelsten’s chest, however probably not as reliable if used as a floatation device.
Coffee Machine: Will tell you everything you need to know about your workplace. If it’s swish, shiny and wizzes faster than your grandpa with a swollen prostate – you’re in a well to do office full of coffee drinking wankers. If it’s slightly outdated, overworked and has coffee drips splattered around the base – you’re in an office full of men who think a cuff link is the new road linking Melbourne’s East to West. If there’s no coffee machine at all… congratulations – you’re working at Legal Aid.
Kitchen Sink: Large metallic object obscured by copious amounts of unwashed mugs and plates bearing dried up cheese stacked haphazardly a la Jenga. Frequented by all staff members when they forget to bring plastic plates from home or need a mug for coffee, otherwise known as the domain of the office domestics – those bearing female genitalia who do not wish to be working in an office resembling a frat house. Hint: Do the dishes and offers for sex will start pouring in faster than the chocolate fondue at a swingers party.
Water Cooler: Comes in many shapes and sizes, often standing in a corner of the office, dispenses that most vital of office lubrication: gossip. Five minutes standing next to this device daily will keep you up to speed on who is sleeping with who, who wants to sleep with who, and who wants to sleep with you because you did the dishes. Other uses: hydration – has been known to dispense water on occasion also.
The Weather: When you work in Melbourne, it is essential to discuss the state of the weather with at least 5 work colleagues daily. How hot is it? How cloudy is it? Can you believe this rain? Will I need a coat when I go out? How beautiful is the weather today? Any less than this and they will think you are suffering autism. Or from Sydney.
Football: Don’t be fooled into thinking this is strictly a February to September conversation topic. There’s trade week October, Altitude Training November, Preseason December, Membership Drive January, NAB Cup is coming February, NAB Cup March and oh hello, it’s football season again April. No matter what time of year, discussions about football are de rigueur and expected. Hint: Have a team and know at least 5 of the players, dislike Collingwood in all conversations and always have an opinion on Nick Riewoldt.
The Weekend: On Monday and Tuesday you’ll need to discuss what you did, lament what you drank and reminisce about just how good (insert football team here) was. On Wednesday you’ll need to celebrate the fact it’s hump day. On Thursday you’ll need to discuss work drinks and whether Angie will try and grab Brad’s crotch again this week. On Friday you’ll have to walk around saying TFIF, posting egreeting cards saying TFIF on your Facebook and discussing your plans to get absolutely slaughtered this weekend with several people, around the water cooler.
The Weather: Did I mention you need to talk about the weather? Again?
Suit: Standard of male work attire. When worn well, the ultimate tool for getting what you want – respect from your peers, kudos from your superiors and appreciative glances from all the ladies in your office. Never, EVER underestimate the power of a good suit.
Tie: Male version of the choking device created for the opposite sexes benefit (female versions include ill-fitting bras, girdles, corsets, stockings etc). Has many uses, however the most sought after is being used as a leash by Alicia from Level 2 to drag you into the stationary cupboard on a Thursday arvo when no one is watching. Other uses include: opportunity to demonstrate some personality by wearing bright and quirky patterns.
Cuff links: The domain of those who have truly ‘made it’. If you want to be a wanker, don’t forget your cuff links.
Shoes: Make sure they’re polished. Not just because women notice this first when they meet you, but because you can use their reflective nature to peer up the skirts of the lovely lasses in front of you in the elevator.
Ladies: Unlike the boys, the options are far too endless and voluminous to list here. Instead, a quick list of what not to do. Keep your cleavage hidden, your hem length respectable, your heel height walkable (hobbling is not fashionable, at 3am at CQ or at 10am in your office), and the firmness of your garments loose enough that you can actually breathe. When in doubt, exercise this rule – Would my father raise his eyebrows if I walked past him to leave the house dressed like this? If the answer is no, proceed to work, pass go, collect $200. If the answer is yes, reassess and redress.
People Types at Work
Smug marrieds: Usually female, usually in administration – if they find out you’re single, will spend all of their time trying to set you up with Bridget in the corner whose arse resembles the good year blimp.
Power couples: Same degree, same job, same company, same suits. The his and hers of the business world. So married to their jobs it was just easier to marry someone in the cubicle next to them. Ruthless in all aspects of their work. Sex life is either non-existent or bordering on S & M. Until you know which – be careful of getting stuck in the elevator alone with one or both of them. On second thoughts, regardless of which – be careful of getting stuck in the elevator alone with one or both of them.
Desperate singles: Commonly attired in cardigan and skirts to below the knee, addicted to drinking coffee and Pinterest, always described as ‘so lovely’, will bake you yummy things to eat, will have a stash of cookies in their top drawer, will be addicted to a TV show like ‘True Blood’, will probably have had a longer drought than the Sahara, will absolutely misconstrue any friendliness you show them as sexual interest and create a screensaver of photos of you they’ve taken off your Facebook.
Office Cockhead: Young, aspirational, drives an expensive car, talks loudly on the phone, walks with a swagger, winks at the smug marrieds, flirts with the single secretary in the short skirt, will always ask for extra leg rooms on flights, doesn’t really listen to anything anyone is saying and is clearly over compensating for a lack of something else in another area (brains, penis size, cognitive ability, emotions etc). Will shake your hand and call you mate, because like most things that are actually relevant to his work and not what is in his pants – he has forgotten your name.
Tips for being successful at work
Introductions: Firm handshakes, eye contact and a smile. Pretending you like people will get you everywhere.
Names: Remember them, all of them. The pretty girls names are always useful, but when you can’t remember the name of the lardarse in charge of the stationary supplies and you’re in desperate need of 43 staples and 32 paperclips before your boss castrates you, you will realise why you should have paid attention on the first day.
Manners: (see above) Will get you everywhere. This includes opening doors, please and thank you and not emitting anybody odours from any body cavities in the office space.
Punctuality: Turn up 10 minutes early, leave 10 minutes late. Regardless of what you do for the rest of the day – putting in the extra 20 minutes will be noticed.
Personal life: Be coy on personal details in the first week. Avoid being categorised by offering very little in the way of ‘information about me’ (unless it’s about your football team). Be too forthcoming and they will have you matched up and married to Bridget in no time, but don’t be too mysterious either – or you may find yourself being dragged into the Office Supplies cupboard with Juan Carlos from Finance…
Weather: Did I mention talking about the weather? Sure fire way to make friends instantly.