Tuesday 22 November 2011

The Entertainer

I want to talk a little bit about work.

I avoid this subject because it irritates me immensely. Work is the bane of my life and although on occasion it can be rewarding, more often than not it pushes those buttons that set me off on a massive rant.

And that is what I want to talk about.

I actually work with some fine people – I don’t want to talk about those who drive me insane.

Yesterday, one of my colleagues confessed something to me; something that surprised me.

First, a little background:

I share a desk that is situated at the far end of our office with five other guys. Next to that is another desk with eight people on it.

All six of us on my desk, while professional about our work, are always looking for a weakness to exploit in the banter stakes. And there is usually plenty of opportunity, with all of us joining in. The banter is good, funny and a great diversion from the shadow of stress and despair that looms over us.

My role is the entertainer.

I only discovered this yesterday.

I was in the kitchen making a cup of tea with two of the eight people on the next table.  One of them, a guy I have known for years made the confession.

“Don’t get me started on X Factor,” I said.

“It’s easy to get you started on ANYTHING,” he said. “It’s great when your buttons get pushed. We just get the popcorn out and watch the entertainment.”

He told me about one of the other guys on the desk, who sits most of the time working with his headphones on. When I start ranting about something, there is a signal and the headphones come off so the all eight of them can sit and enjoy listening to me putting the world to rights in my own inimitable fashion.

Apparently I am very entertaining.

When I am pouring out my thoughts about the utter idiocy of the workplace and the world, pouring my heart out in the hope of finding a kindred spirit to share my disgust, I am being encouraged because I am funny and make people laugh.

A lot of the time I am being serious too.

The guys on my desk know exactly how to get me going and do so often. I maintain that I can also wind some of them up to – but clearly they don’t react in the way I do.

I returned to my desk after the confession and didn’t know what to think. I’ve said before that ranting can be very therapeutic for me because it allows me to get things off my chest; it also, clearly entertains my work colleagues.

Is that a win-win situation? I feel a bit weird about it to be honest.

When I think about the whole thing it makes sense. Here’s an example that really should have made me suspicious.

One of the guys who sits on the next desk was working from home. An email arrived that had been sent to the entire company. I was sitting at my desk, on the phone to somebody and didn’t spot it.

The email was a button-pusher – an absurd and bizarre company-wide email, the kind that makes me realise that I am one of the few people working in a company who has any common sense whatsoever.

My colleague read the email from home and took immediate action.

He called me on the instant messenger. The electronic conversation when something like this:

Colleague: Can you wait until I get in tomorrow?

PM: What are you talking about?

Colleague: Wait until I get in tomorrow before you read it.

PM: Read what?

The guy who sits next to me started a countdown – 10 … 9 … 8 … 7

Colleague: The email.

PM: What email?

Colleague: The one that’s just come in from Mr Boss.

The countdown continued:

6 … 5 … 4 … 3

PM: I see it. Why? Is it something you need to talk to me about? Wait a second – I’ll open it.

Colleague: NOOOO!!! Wait for me ...

2 … 1


Those in my presence got the popcorn out. The poor colleague at home missed my outburst. When he arrived the next day he actually came up to me and asked for a replay.

It’s good to know that I provide a service for my work colleagues, dear reader, while at the same time trying to make sense of an insane world.

One day I shall tell all.

One day …


Elephant's Child said...

Sounds like a win-win to me. You get to vent your spleen (icky picture when I think about that phrase) and those around you get to smile. And, as I remember, genuine smiles in the workplace are things to be savoured and cherished.

Mind Of Mine said...

I love the fact he asks you to wait till tomorrow, so he can be there for the outburst.

Kath Lockett said...

Oh bless....! I can see why you're a bit torn - are you the hilarious entertainer that they enjoy being with and having a laugh with...

...or the old git they love to see foaming at the mouth and laugh at?

My guess is 95% A with a side order of B to make life interesting :)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

It is nice to see people laughing and joking in the workplace; it may largely be gallows humour but it is worth it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi MoM,

Yes - I thought it was funny too - so did everyone else.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I think they see me as more of an old git - which is bad because there a couple who are older than me.




drb said...

Hi Mr PM,
Do your colleagues read your blog?

Colleagues of Mr PM, can u please video Mr Pm and post it on Youtube?

If it gets more than a certain hit, Mr PM can start to get some money and even retire early! :-)

drb said...

The youtube comment was from me, Mr PM. It went before I can identify myself.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Yes - some of my colleagues do read my blog occasionally.

I tell you what - it would be a great idea - if it were someone else. I'm not sure I'd like the idea of seeing myself perched on my soapbox, ranting to to the world via YouTube.

Though the idea of retiring early almost makes it tempting ...




Pandora Behr said...

Seems you and I have the same role in the office. Though I appear to get more threats to be put in front of HR. Like what is wrong saying that you'd like to kkick a chiahuahua - not out of malice, but just out of curiousity to see how far it will go.

Every office needs one

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I had to laugh at that and the image I have in my head is of a chihuahua flying between rugby posts.

So wrong - yet such a great image.




Anonymous said...

Was it really news to you Dilbert? Haven't you twigged before now that everyone tries to push your buttons for entertainment purposes? ;)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi "Anonymous",

Yes - of course - but its the scope of the thing that I found hard to swallow.