You hate your job and everyone knows it – even that third cousin you never met who now lives in a beach hut in Goa.
There are five extremely loud alarms set around the bedroom at one minute intervals to force you to get up in the morning and one of them plays The Crazy Frog. A quick shower, one notch above freezing, helps prepare you for the psychological obstacle course ahead. The only criteria for clothes is that they are clean. After a fierce mental battle, won by the side of your brain that remembers the size of your overdraft, you leave the house and another charmless Groundhog Day begins.
You know there are other preferable job options out there, like separating rubbish in a recycling plant, but for some reason you keep returning to your own professional hell, morning after morning, like a drone stuck on a repeat flight path. Maybe it’s because you fear the unknown more than the slow erosion of your spirit, or perhaps you’re loyal. Or maybe it’s because you’re so far into the misery you’ve developed Stockholm Syndrome and think an impossible workload equals love.
Not to worry, here are some signs that you should seek alternative employment and possibly some medical help.
You fantasise about being hit by a bus
Swearing when you miss the bus to work is normal, swearing when it misses you, is not. To be fair, it wasn’t as if you wanted the No.26 to actually flatten you – because it’s very hard to enjoy time off when you’re dead. No, the plan was for a minor collision as it pulled away from the stop. The shock of almost being dragged under the wheels would surely have led to at least two weeks PTSD leave? Disgusted by the driver’s quick reflexes you decide to walk in, picking up the pace when you remember that further along the road there’s a broken pedestrian crossing.
You’re trolling your own company
The company twitter account is largely ignored by everyone, except the marketing department, but lately there have been a flurry of messages to get excited about. Incoming abuse from the mysterious @dyinginside is suspiciously accurate and HR suspect an inside job. Especially since a vitriolic reply to the firm’s ‘Investors in People’ announcement was posted alongside a picture of the 3rd floor toilets. At first, marketing stuck to the firmly discredited ‘all publicity is good publicity’ line. Then came the tweet that insinuated that the MD’s interest in livestock is more than agricultural. You shake your head in wonder at the troll’s scurrilous audacity while at the same time trying to photoshop a wedding dress onto Pixabay’s prettiest sheep.
Comfortably Numb is your ringtone
You used to listen to this Pink Floyd classic when you were feeling down, the theory being you had to hit indisputable rock bottom before you could begin the rise back up, but that was before you worked in an office with so many sources of discontent that staff have to draw lots just for an opportunity to complain. These days you really do understand why it’s comfortable to be numb. Roger Water’s once haunting lyrics now fill you with optimism and as the monthly team brief approaches you seriously long for the day when you’re just smoke on the horizon.
You’re devastated there’s smoke but no fire
When the fire alarm blares, you beam excitedly, sweep-up your jacket with a flourish and head for the door. Convinced there’s a smell of smoke as you skip down the stairs, you’re gleefully contemplating at least a few days ‘working from home’ while they sort the mess out. Stood in the car park, watching management make uncomfortable small talk with the minions as smokers celebrate an impromptu break, you’re almost happy. Nothing can cheer you when half an hour later the emergency is over and the design lot have had their illicit toaster confiscated. Again.
Red Wedding Envy
When thinking back to the most shocking Game of Thrones episode so far, you decide the Starks got off pretty lightly compared to your last work’s night out. Sure, The Red Wedding boasted betrayal and blood but then so did Steve’s leaving do when the shots kicked in. The evening started with some thinly veiled blackmail from the I.T. department, accompanied by defiant extravagance from those hotly tipped to go in the next round of redundancies. After a rowdy game of ‘what is his actual job?’, blame for everything from the company downturn to Ebola was thrown at the most middle and disproportionately paid manager. Punches were thrown at anyone still expressing gratitude for having a job.
This is the sign that will most likely cost you a significant number of family and friends – even the ones who stuck with you through the Emo years. Your ability to recount the working day in real time is seemingly unappreciated by your loved ones, which makes no sense at all because they absolutely loved 24. You know they just want you to cut to the crux of your latest complaint but how can they really understand the build-up of pain if they don’t know about the printer jam earlier that day? Or the dirty teaspoon you found stuck behind the coffee machine.
You’re the only one who knows where the Christmas decorations are kept
It really was only meant to be a temporary thing but somehow you forgot to actually leave StopGap4U. Due to the high turnover of staff you have inadvertently become a trusted source of company knowledge and folklore. You’re expected to provide directions, names, numbers, computer tutorials, character analysis of management, a diagram detailing office sexual history and emotional support to the graduate who naively expected more from life. At first it was fun. Indoctrinating the newbies and finding fresh ears for the psychotic pigeon story had a certain appeal, but then pedantry set in and you found yourself telling the boss’s secretary the calendar should be further to the left, so it hangs to the side of the photocopier not directly over it.
Anything to get out of the office
You’re not just a first aider, you’re the department’s primary first aider. This is because the heightened role involved a three day course instead of just four hours in the conference room. As a Fire Marshall, not only do you possess an authoritative florescent jacket, you also have the fond memory of an entire day spent learning how to evacuate the floor within minutes. The lunch run was a schoolboy error and you quickly realised it only takes time out of the break you’re entitled to, but you’ve found volunteering to pick up the weekly birthday/leaving present to be a guaranteed freebie – which can be stretched into the two hour mark without resentment if you don’t complain about all the copper in the collection envelope.
Hopefully you didn’t recognise too many of the above scenarios… but if you have any of your own tell tale signs to share you’re welcome to add to this list by using the comments box below.