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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:
accordiongirl · 31/05/2013 23:32

Isn't the reason that The Office worked so well as comedy? And then there's that one about not having to be mad to work here etc. which often has the ring of truth to it... When I worked in an office (doing something interesting and creative FWIW) I would wake up in the night chewing my knuckles. My dad makes this comment about how you leave your civil liberties at the door when you enter a job. You can't wear what you want, you can't say what you want, you can't chose how to spend your time... Your freedom is curtailed in ways that you would never normally feel acceptable

alotofthetimes · 01/06/2013 01:19

I completely agree!

There is something very unnatural and I find depressing about the stereotypical office with cubicles, flouro lights, no windows/closed windows, controlled temperature etc

I have had office jobs and hated them. I used to find myself nodding off at my desk at around 2pm and then being exhausted for the rest of the day even though I hadn't don't much work to tire me out.

Example of more 'natural' jobs I've done...retail, child care, soft play centre coordinator, teacher, tour guide/museum guide. All much more 'natural', interesting and made me feel better (even though some were poorly paid).

alotofthetimes · 01/06/2013 01:23

The only job i hated as much as office job was waitressing! I found that terribly stressful, dealing with customers and the kitchen Hmm

mercury7 · 01/06/2013 01:40

I guess some sort of hunting & gathering would be the most 'natural' sort of work? Confused

BigBoobiedBertha · 01/06/2013 02:44

YANBU. Some of us aren't cut out for office work. It isn't the work as such - I could quite happily do the work if left to my own devices, to do it in my own time, in my own way - but the weird little routines people have. I spent many years working in an office and swore when I left I wouldn't go back to a desk based, static job again. I don't want to work from 9 - 5 - I would rather chose when I do my 7 or 8 hours a day. If I want to do them at 2am then why not?!

Unfortunately circumstances have meant I have recently had to go back to it again and having been away for so long, doing my own thing, it all seems a bit petty - wearing the right clothes (surely a uniform would be easier), when to have a cup of tea, when to go to the loo, the lunchtime too-ing and fro-ing and having 'cover' for the phones, and who should be in charge of the stationery cupboard and all that. I am sure it happens in other places of work but not in such a concentrated way, confined to one room sort of way. And office politics! I had forgotten about that - that was a bit of a shock!

I always thought it exceedingly weird that we spend so much of our time with colleagues and as a result, so little time with the people we really like and love. Colleagues are fine but I didn't chose them as friends and I wouldn't want to socialise with them. Again I am sure that isn't restricted to office work but in so many other, non-office jobs you either work with a wide variety of people (health care professionals, teaching, retail etc) or you move around a lot outside and so aren't 'stuck' with the same people all day in quite the same way.

suburbophobe · 01/06/2013 03:11

It's one of the reasons for so many fat and flabby people.

Offices do not create fat and flabby people.

It is a myriad of circumstances, genetics, predisposition, life-style, etc. ad infinitum....

I worked in offces for years and need to eat in order not to be too thin! Called metabolism, I guess...

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper · 01/06/2013 04:15

I worked from home for over 5 years and having returned to my home country where the culture for this isn't there yet, being back in an office is a pain in the neck.

So much time, money and effort wasted by people commuting into offices daily. To sit in a contrived set-up, beavering away at their desks.

It's antiquated.

Fine, and understandable, back in the days when individuals didn't have the technology to do their work at home. But now? A huge, unnecessary expense.

Plus, by being able to hire people regardless of geography, you can get the best, most suitable people for the job, not just the most suitable people close to where Office X is situated.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper · 01/06/2013 04:17

OMG Bertha - yes, to everything you said. Totally agree.

RubyOnRails · 01/06/2013 04:34

When I went back to work after having a four year break, I was so shocked and disappointed...when you've had kids, the greeeeat thing about being in the office is your independence. Put cup of tea stays out, conversations can be finished etc etc. but do you know, I found it so hard to sit down and have to say, I was over the novelty after three months. Left when I got pregnant looking back.

TheRealFellatio · 01/06/2013 04:46

I've only ever done office jobs as stop-gaps, and yes, they are dull after a while.

That statement is daft. It's as daft as saying all manula jobs are dull, or all service industry jobs are dull or all trades/professions are dull. Confused

Apart from the odd bit of bar/restaurant work as a student all of my full time jobs have been office based. IIf you are lucky enough to work with a great bunch of people I think the office can be like having in another family. You spend as much if not more time with office colleagues than you do with your partner or friends and the bonds and the camarerie can be completely fantastic which can sometimes make an otherwise dull job seem fun. But lots of desk-bound jobs can be huge fun/exciting in themselves.

TheRealFellatio · 01/06/2013 04:46


whoopwhoopbib · 01/06/2013 04:56

BrianButterfield my office job is just like that - we go in, do our work, go home and have no reason to think about it again until we are next in as it isn't a job you can 'take home with you'.

I enjoy my job and have also worked in shops which I found far more restrictive because you are constantly public facing so it's even harder to stop to make a drink/go to the toilet etc.

I couldn't do a creative or a nursing job but I always think that it is a good thing that people are so varied in their capabilities which means someone out there can do the jobs I couldn't and vice versa.

TheRealFellatio · 01/06/2013 05:05

When you think about it, there actually isn't any such thing as 'office work' as a job description. Some jobs by their nature need to be done in an indoor environment, mostly at a desk, with a phone and a computer to hand, and immediate access to certain written information or data, so these days that's covered by the computer, but years ago it meant being tied physically to one place because of needing to work with piles of paper and files. But so what? That is not a job description or a value judgement on the work you do.

On that basis you may as well say that:

a community midwife who uses a car to make house calls is in a 'driving job'

a group of artists whose studio is open to the public and who sell their work directly to walk in customers are in 'shop work.'

Lavenderhoney · 01/06/2013 05:28

If you have a monotonous role where you are not entrusted with more difficult tasks and have a boss who can't/ won't delegate and is not a good leader, chances are the people you work with will create an environment which is miserable.

That's why people move jobs, work to get promoted etc. it's why you are encouraged to get good exam results/ go to uni etc. to better your chances of getting a job in a firm which has good working practises, a good reputation and people who want to achieve things, even if that is creating a perfect filing system. Someone who is bored and unhappy wont do a good job and will make others feel bad. Usually a decent manager will try and resolve, but generally its up to you to create the best working life you can, where you are or somewhere else.

People don't like change though, so some will sit at their desk moaning, doing as little as possible and making trouble for years.

LtEveDallas · 01/06/2013 05:46

I currently work in an office. It's anything but boring. We have 6 dogs in, so there is the odd 'disagreement' between them and always a tummy needing tickled. We have someone who makes cakes as a hobby, so there is always food. There are two dirty smokers who go outside on the hour and take said dogs with them for ball throwing and squirrel chasing etc. There are deer that come up to the window. There are approx 160 people that visit the office with problems day to day. There are controlled explosions going on just outside. There are some colleagues that are a pain in the arse that we go out of our way to avoid, and there are some that we fall over ourselves to talk to. I wouldn't kill anyone if I didn't do my job properly, but I could make things rather uncomfortable for them.

Oh and I can get through the firewall to mumsnet.

I love my office job!

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper · 01/06/2013 06:32

I don't think the OP is saying that office work per se is boring. How can she be, since the sorts of work done in offices is so varied as to be impossible to list.

Rather, she is saying that the office environment is unnatural.

Or at least, that's how I understood it.

IceNoSlice · 01/06/2013 08:05

Hmmm, interesting thread. I work in an office some of the time and quite enjoy that aspect (so much easier when you have a phone, printer, stationary just there than when you have only the tools in your laptop bag, a slow dongle or WIFI connection and grey tea from a nasty machine). But I do like the variety my role gives me.

I think when people are talking about 'office work' it is the office administrator type functions people are talking about. Answering the phone, filing, photocopying etc. Which, to me, would be quite dull. However, more interesting stuff that is still done in an office, shouldn't be seen in the same way. Such as creating a marketing strategy and implementing it, researching new products, anything to do with engineering and design, analysing financial data and using it to plan the company's growth for the the next years... Do you see what I mean?

Classing all that as 'office work' would be like putting the entrepreneurial and driven small retailer in the same box as the bored Saturday boy/girl - both do 'shop work'.

IceNoSlice · 01/06/2013 14:20

And... I've killed another thread. Well done me Confused

whoopwhoopbib · 01/06/2013 14:23

Lavenderhoney you have just described my manager - do you know them??? You are right when you say some people just want to spend their time moaning and trying to cause trouble.

I am of the mindset that I am lucky to have a job which pays well for what is expected of me, I get in well with the rest of the team so I try and make the best of it and enjoy it where I can.

Oblomov · 01/06/2013 14:40

I find the Op quite offensive really.
I work in an office. A large % of workers do, presumably.
Actually, I'm not sure quite what the OP is actually getting at. What are you trying to say? It's not natural? err, what do you suggest is?
You seem to have a very negative view of office life. I don't.

IfNotNowThenWhen · 01/06/2013 18:18

I hate the tea etiquette.
There are 5 people in my office. we have a kettle, and, when I started, everyone would bring in their own tea bag.
On my first day, I hadn't brought any, so I asked if it was ok to take a tea bag, and there was a looong pause, until finally someone said "I suppose you can have one of mine".
I brought in a 200 bag the next day and said cheerily "I thought, since we all drink tea, I would bring in a big bag, Help yourselves."

There is also that thing, when you want a cuppa, but you don't want to have to make everyone one as well.
I wish offices had, like, a charter or something where they clearly lay out the unspoken rules of that particular office.


1.Jean uses the mug with the picture of the Chippendales on it for coffee, but the bunny one for tea.
2.Amanda uses anyone's, but that's because she is the one who always cleans the mugs left on people's desks.
3.We like our tea bags separate,(even though we all use pg tips),but share sugar.
4.When making tea, please do not offer to make one for everyone, because then we will all feel that we have to do the same.
And we don't want to.
5. If a temp arrives and asks for tea, she must be made aware immediately that this must never happen again.

frosty21 · 01/06/2013 18:26

LtEveDallas - Do you work near the AWE?

frosty21 · 01/06/2013 18:30

I think working inside can drive you a bit potty tbh.

I worked inside a shopping centre before starting college. There were no windows in the shop itself and it was souless. I used to leave work never knowing if it had been raining or boiling. Hated it.

In my last job I work outside for 11 years and love it.

Horses for courses though isn't it?

SignoraStronza · 01/06/2013 18:47

I don't think I could ever work in an office again. Been thinking about what I'd like to do when I've finished having children and decided am just not 'political' enough. When Dh forgets himself and says things like 'moving forward' or 'touch base with' in my company I am liable to snap 'As opposed to travelling backwards?' or 'you mean meet/see so and so?' at him. I'd be highly likely to ask my hypothetical boss to speak plain English too.Blush

I CAN temper my caustic tongue/bluntness when it really matters to me, or am bothered about causing offence but nine times out of ten my input goes uncensoredWink

persimmon · 01/06/2013 19:07

I worked in an office for several years after graduating. My colleagues were mostly very young and it was pretty much like school. Cliques, bullying, gossip. I loathed it.

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