Wednesday, 26 May 2010


That's right everyone, I have become versed in the ways of Twitter.
I would like to talk to you all about office music today.

Now I don't think that iPods should be allowed at your desk. Fair enough if you have a data entry job, or one where you are performing a process which required no interaction.
However, if someone has to tap you on the shoulder to get you to pull your waxy earphones out of your lugholes, it seems a bit rude.

Some offices like to flout the copyright laws of the PRS and play music in the office. I work work in one such office, where MP3 players can be plugged in and tunes played via tinny speakers, to the rest of the drones in the cube farm.

All the tepid, lukewarm inoffensive music (Florence and the Machine, Empire of the Sun, Snow Patrol etc) gets pretty boring, pretty quickly.
In defense of all of this, it is good solid working music, and you can happily get on with your work whilst the nicey nicey melodies wash over you.

And then comes cheesy Friday. The screeches of the Jackson five, Duran Duran greatest hits, Aha and the Bee Gees. Its all a bit of fun, but does it help productivity?

When the office falls into silence when a track finished it is like everyone becomes conscious of themselves again, and can't work then either? Music makes the office seem, buzzing alive and interested.

What are we to do. Have white noise piped in? A zombie like Bagpipe drone? Maybe headphones would be such a bad idea.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Office Characters #7

And now we come to the final in my series of Office characters. (Maybe I should add work shy cynical twenty something to the list :)

Anyway, The Charlatan.
Media is full of them. You know the type of person who is a little too fond of buzzwords. Job titles for these people include 'futures planner' 'strategy director' and the like. In fact I met one once who called himself a hyphenate! planner-researcher-strategist-presenter, so many hyphens that he called himself a hyphenate.
Charlatans display the following behaviour:
Mentioning academic works based on psychology or behavioural economics or something similar. This helps to add weight to their wacky theories.
Dreaming up imaginary problems which mean they can't deliver simple work on time, or at all. Excuses such as, 'I am waiting for this team to contact me', or 'this system is down'.
Having one eccentric habit which is memorable (wearing bow ties or braces, mentioning your favourite hobby constantly)
Having worked for about 15 different companies in the last decade. AKA companies not being able to bear you, so you move on. Charlatans claim this as invaluable experience across many sectors. They wear their tumultuous CV like a badge of honour.
Knowing every old fruit in the business. Charlatans are able to get work on the strength of their contacts.
Finally describing themselves with the dreaded 'c' word. Consultant.
I hope you have enjoyed my jaunt through the characters in a typical media company. The stereotypes aren't that far from the truth.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Office Characters #6

The Gym Junkie.

We all like to keep fit. Healthy body, healthy mind.

We don't all feel the need to tell everyone about all of our training, food consumption and bodily functions.

Things that a GJ might say:

'I'm on a new diet, no carbs after 1pm'

'I had to change my training because my body was becoming too used to it'

'What's the point in doing Cardio? its boring'

'Men's fitness has got some great articles on blasting your abs this week'

'I'm down to 6% body fat now, that the same as an elite athlete'

'I need to replace the electrolytes because I have low blood sugar'

'I can't come out at lunch, I never drink when I'm training'

'My legs are hurting so much today because I was training so hard in the gym'

We just don't need to know.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Office Characters #5

The Planner drone:
There are many people in media for which this is the normal attire. Jeans, brown shoes and bad polo shirt (sometimes stripy shirt).
It's called smart casual apparently but I like to call it 'dad wear'
Media planners inherently love numbers above genuine reasoning. I heard a description recently that people can be 'maximisers' or 'selectors'. Maximisers want the most from life, and if they were in a shop would look at everything adding the items the wanted. Selectors want a limited choice, they are too narky and closed minded to spend more than one minute choosing, so they want a narrowed down choice.
Well, to be a planner, you have to be a selector. You get a lot of offers thrown at you and have a lot of information to digest. So you have to be impressed to even bother listening to someone. These office drones wield power over people who work for other companies. They are the clients, and love to make that fact known.
Planners don't get much chance for creative though process, machines and computer systems take care of that. Just make sure you don't get blamed for a numerical error, planners can never bear the blame they will try it on!
They tell their mates that they are the cool ones who make the decision for Coke, the BBC etc, and talk about how frustrating it is that the Times keep wanting to take them out to the Ivy. But usually, they live in drab London suburbs like Reigate or Croydon where they can afford houses and shop almost exclusively through the Cotton Traders catalogue. It's not my cup of tea.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Office Characters #4

The Fashionista,
Its all about the looks. We all like to look nice, but be don't all spend 6 hours of the working day beautifying or shopping online.
Better looking employees can often get away with a lot, especially in a sales environment. Lets face it, no one would buy a £4 watery tequila shot in a bar at 2 in the morning if you were buying it from a 300 pound hairy chap named Terry.
Fashionistas are a distraction for both the office and themselves. So much hair flicking, nail filing, and co-ordinating what to wear on Friday's casual day.
Entire lunch hours are spent on ASOS, or out shopping (if it is within 3 days of payday). In fact, I think Fashionistas are the worst for moaning about being broke. These are the girls that keep the high street going, how do they spend £200 p/m on clothes alone. I'll tell you how, by building up a hideous credit card debt. At the end of the day, it's OK, they can move back in with their parents to save money. Cocktails and dinners out every night don't come cheap you know.
They are just looking for Mr. Right anyway. 'Sex and the City' has made all of this behaviour socially and morally acceptable. People in Chaucer's time certainly had harsher judgements to make on the Wife of Bath's antics.
n.b. The Fashionista is not to be confused with the Recessionista - a new incarnation who has downgraded from All Saints to Top Shop in order to pay off some credit debt.