Monday, August 31, 2009

Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!

You know the summer's over when all the folk who've been on Term Time Leave during the summer arrive back to work. (Edit: If the summer ever started in the first place. It is Ireland, after all.)

For anyone who's had their head buried in piles of forms all summer, here are the tell-tale signs.

The multitudinous, echoing cries of "Welcome back" and occasional hugging. Have you ever seen civil servants hugging? Fat ones, I mean? 'Tis a fearsome sight.

Being cornered in the ladies' toilet as you dry your hands by someone you don't particularly like saying "So what did YOU do this summer, Govstooge?"

Endless, long winded descriptions of holidays. To be repeated ad nauseam as people continue to arrive in the office. The story about your husband being stung on the willie by a jellyfish in Mallorca was funny, the first, the second and even the fifth time. But now I've heard it twenty times I'm starting to lose my patience.

Having people ring your extension asking "Is Hermione there? Her line's engaged." and you answer "Yes, she's on the phone to her friend downstairs, and there are two other calls holding for her. Would you like to remain in the queue?" Goddamn it!

Having the number of staff you supervise nearly double overnight. Excellent from a workflow point of view, but not so excellent if you have to spend an hour reminding each one what their job was.

Finding a car parking space becomes almost impossible if you're a late starter. Similarly the availability of croissants and tables in the canteen is curtailed significantly.

The "Term time" scheme is no longer open only to parents of school-age children during the summer. It's now been opened up to the rest of us by having been renamed "Shorter Working Year Scheme". Unpaid, of course.

I must say, I'm tempted to join their ranks. Maybe during the winter, when the weather's less harsh.

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