Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Shut the fuck up!

As a former employee of a sales office in the private sector (less forms, but with a permanently-on-the-rag nazi for a manager), I continue to be surprised by the things that people in our office get away with during work hours.

Strange things, like lunatic dancing in the aisles while wearing various items of stationery for decoration, pretending to hide in the artificial plants and jumping out at people from behind them, spending 50 minutes for tea in the canteen... ooh wait, I'm guilty of that one. But you know what I mean, silly things that wouldn't be tolerated by private sector companies.

What bafffles me, however, are the constant personal phone calls by some clerical officers (Not mine, so I can't pull them up... bah!) during work hours. Some of these calls are made to their houses which are pretty close by... to check whether the washing machine is on the spin cycle yet, to talk to the DOG, to shout (yes, shout) abuse at their husbands. Others ring their teenage children at school, to see if they ate their lunch yet, did they enjoy it, what their teacher (who is probably standing at the front of the classroom, fuming) is wearing, what do they want for dinner when they go home, etc. Other personal calls include ringing Revenue on behalf of grown-up children sorting out their tax credits and enquiring about items for sale in the local rag.

And these people are LOUD. PPS numbers, credit card numbers, recipes, shopping lists, the carryover of last night's argument, all circulating over the general hum of the office. I know more intimate details about their lives than I do about some of my own family or friends.

I don't care about the cost - either fiscal or in terms of productivity - to the office of all these phone calls. But I do care about having to listen to the details of Rover's impacted anal glands while I sip my morning coffee at my desk. I have already destroyed several forms due to involuntarily spitting coffee all over them on hearing the latest instalment in the "my husband is impotent" saga.

Short of compiling a new telephone usage policy for the office, which would be time consuming, boring and no-one would read or pay attention to it, maybe a volume control device installed on these people would help? I am thinking, of course, of a large tennis ball shoved into their mouths. Simple and cost effective.

It might cause drooling on the forms, though.

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