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to think that office wor is not natural, and working in an office always since leaving school does something weird to you socially?

118 replies

Boomba · 31/05/2013 14:24

I had a 5 year spell where my job was office based. Once I got over the novelty of having a desk/phone/computer/stationary cupboard etc etc...i got to thinking its damn strange....

i struggled anyway to stay still all day and sit in a chair etc etc...but its more than that

the thread about work experience kids making the tea, has brought it all flooding back. Peoples weirdy expectations are all magnified. Its like a continuation of school...with people all forced to be together all day in the same room with the same people

People who thrived, seemed to revel in the gossip and 'drama' and bloody organised 'things' 'Movember' Hmm

OP posts:
gail734 · 31/05/2013 16:47

My DH hates his office job. He's kind of anxious anyway and this type of work environment really winds him up. He comes home every day talking about office politics and if he ever overhears a snippet of conversation in which one person says to another, "Yeah, he's hopeless, he won't last long, " he's 100% certain they're talking about him. He makes me look at emails which he's sure are rude or have a cheeky subtext, but actually it's just that people don't enquire about your health in a two line email. "Casual Friday" is a nightmare for him - he can't wear a suit or jeans, so ends up shopping specifically for "Friday" outfits. And don't even get me started on leaving "do's", the Christmas party or where to sit in the canteen!

arabesque · 31/05/2013 16:49

I worked in the civil service Haunted and got pulled sideways into a creative job.

But (and this isn't at you but at some of the other posts on here) that was because I made use of the office environment to show my more creative side (as circumstances didn't really allow for leaving) as opposed to sitting there thinking 'oh this is all wrong for me. I can't work in an office. I'm too different and arty for that and I can't really sit on a chair for hours because I'm too different and restless with all that creativity bubbling up inside me'. If you're creative, you can use that in any environment. It just takes a bit of, well, creativity I suppose.

Sorry if I sound grumpy but I do get irritated when some people imply that anyone working 'in an office' is some kind of boring Miss Jones. Often it's the dull and boring ones who find the office boring because they don't have it within them to make it interesting.

Boomba · 31/05/2013 17:12

whats this obsession with being annoyed at people saying they are creative arab

you are the only one who has said they are creative. I havent, no one else has

Im not job isnt and never has been creative Confused

OP posts:
arabesque · 31/05/2013 17:16

Boomba where did I say I was annoyed at people saying they're creative Confused.

I get annoyed when people try to imply that people who work in offices are some kind of a different breed, a generic group of people who are different from the people who 'don't work in offices', and have some kind of innate ability to sit in a chair for eight hours without getting bored or whatever.

I used 'creativity' as an example of where this attitude sometimes comes out, that is all.

badguider · 31/05/2013 17:21

People work in 'offices' in lots of different places though - there are offices in schools, in factories, in zoos, in theme parks, theatres, arthouse cinemas; many many places have 'front of house' and 'back of house'.

Currently my office is my front room :)

IfNotNowThenWhen · 31/05/2013 17:56

I share your husbands paranoia gail! I am always convinced I am going to get canned!
I know what you mean op. Its the petty office politics that do my head in. You get politics in every job, but in offices you are stuck with the same people day in, day do go a bit mad.

Wishfulmakeupping · 31/05/2013 17:59

I couldn't agree more my office is a nightmare for backstabbing and bitching mainly its pathetic

Cassiphone · 31/05/2013 18:04

The offices I've worked in for the last 15 years are nothing like the stereotypes being described on this thread. They've been challenging, interesting places that are nothing like the horrible environment of school. There is politics, yes, but it's very far from petty.

I think if you haven't worked in a variety of office-based jobs you're hardly in a position to criticise them. Your office may have been horrible, not all are.

quesadilla · 31/05/2013 18:15

This is absurd, it's like saying "all restaurants are bad," or something. There's a world of difference between, say, working as a journalist and working in an insurance company.

It really irritates me when people feel able to say something so sweeping and judgemental about office work because its perceived to be middle class. And this is a surprisingly common trope these days.

If you said the same about construction or gardening people would rightly say you were being a snob.

Bonsoir · 31/05/2013 18:17

Yes, offices are horrendous places and people's personalities are totally warped by 40 years of confinement and office politics.

Midlifecrisisarefun · 31/05/2013 19:37

I worked in an office when I was younger and absolutely hated it.I hated sitting at a desk! I now work for a large DIY retailer and love it.
When my DD started work part-time at 17 she came home one day and said that someone had got into trouble that day, she said 'when you are at school you can't wait to grow up and leave school so that you do what you want, when you want, the reality is you still get told what to do and when but the person doing it can be older, younger or the same age. You can still be into trouble and get told off!'
She was amazed her peers at work couldn't grasp there wasn't any point in arguing with the manager! :D

Badgerwife · 31/05/2013 19:43

Biscuit what a load of old bollocks

WineNot · 31/05/2013 19:46

Would it be pedantic of me to point out that, despite your 5 years in an office, you didn't learn the difference between stationary and stationery and I think that's 'damn strange'?

Probably, but never mind.

Have a Biscuit

ShadowStorm · 31/05/2013 19:54

YABU to generalise about all offices being unnatural or unhealthy places to work that do weird things to you socially.

Office work covers a vast variety of different jobs. Some will be boring, some will be interesting, some offices will have lots of lovely people, some will be full of unlikeable idiots that make you feel like banging your head against a brick wall. Some may indeed be unhealthy places to work in that warp you socially, but many more will not.

I'd guess that many non-office based jobs can also be described as unhealthy places to work (or roles to work in) that do weird things to you socially.

But, no-one is 'forced' to be together all day in the same room with the same people. And I wouldn't describe the office I currently work in as fitting that description anyway.

The great thing about being an adult, is that if you hate your working environment, you can go out and look for a new job that you think will suit you better. Unlike being a schoolchild. They have very little choice about remaining at school, no matter how much they hate it.

SkinnybitchWannabe · 31/05/2013 20:05

Ive been doing the exact same job for 22 years.

yellowsnownoteatwillyou · 31/05/2013 20:10

Yanbu I crack up in an office, being tied to my desk or phone, getting questioned if you go to the toilet. Constant coffee smell, and restrictive clothes and the dress down Friday trauma.

I need to be able to walk about and the option to go outside. I used to be paid to paint and design things for information and stats in an office, I liked working in an office then.

LessMissAbs · 31/05/2013 20:12

But it surely cannot be as unnatural as staying at home all the time, because at least in an office you will be forced to interact socially with other human beings.

LessMissAbs · 31/05/2013 20:14

And unless you are a doctor or a dentist, if you want to work in one of the traditional professions, you are going to be primarily office-based for much of your career.

KittensoftPuppydog · 31/05/2013 20:20

Boomba - I know exactly what you mean. Couldn't hack it. Not even dh understands why.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim · 31/05/2013 20:23

People are generally surprised when I say my current job (In-house lawyer in financial services institution, largely office-based) is more interesting (to me, anyway) than where I started (criminal barrister) but nevertheless tis true. First, because there's a lot more actual law in it and I enjoy legal analysis and reasoning (no law in crime, really, or not much) and second because if you're at all an observer of human behaviour then the politics and behaviour at the upper echelons of a large company are fascinating. Also one develops one's ability to manipulate people to a high degree, which is a valuable skill IMHO.

GoodbyePorkPie · 31/05/2013 20:40

It really depends on the job. I've had office jobs where I have just sat and looked blankly at the computer screen and waited for the clock to hit 5pm.

My last office job was in a 'creative' environment where we used to have heated arguments about the correct positioning of commas and debates about news and politics. I loved it and every day was different.

I work from home now and that has had more of a negative impact on my social skills I think, and what Abra1d said definitely resonated.

NoobyNoob · 31/05/2013 20:47


I have a great office job - and I sooo don't care :)

ninah · 31/05/2013 20:50

.... like a continuation of school..
If you think offices are bad, try a staffroom!

Sparklingbrook · 31/05/2013 20:53

I have brilliant memories of my office job. I had a team of 12 people and we had an absolute hoot every single day. We would laugh til we cried. Blush

There were fabulous characters and really spiteful ones but on the whole it was fantastic.

MiniTheMinx · 31/05/2013 21:25

I'm not certain whether offices effect people mentally????

Isn't school the training ground for grinding boredom, where you are socialised to accept the company of the same people for years on end, take orders and stick to institutional rules and routines.

If the socialisation process is complete you will be a very happy worker, a docile and happy to take orders and pick up the phone when it rings. No doubt some creative careers entail sitting in offices and I suspect the environment is very different to your typical accounts department. But that docility and socialisation to accept monotony or orders is a requirement of most employers.

I couldn't abide being told when to take my lunch or how to manage my time. I prefer to work on my own and have autonomy. I have only ever worked in roles where office based work was just one aspect of the job.

What I do think is unnatural is that human beings have become increasingly "specialised" people have certain skills not always transferable, qualifications that may need updating for even a small change in career etc,..

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