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This is a question Workplace Boredom

There's got to be more to your working day than loafing around the internet, says tfi049113. How do you fill those long, empty desperate hours?

(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:18)
Pages: Latest, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, ... 1

This question is now closed.

this is what me and the bloke beside me made to mark the border between his desk space and mine:

edit: I've realised that this photo doesn't show the full architectural splendour of the bridge, but take my word for it that Brunel would have shat his pants in awe.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:59, 12 replies)
I perform acts of impromptu revenge…

Tenuous, but it was at work…

The other morning, I was sat on the khazi, as you do…and I’d finished my unusually efficient ‘innards evacuation’ activity…without any disastrous calamity (for a change)…so was happily finishing a game of solitaire on my phone before meandering back to work…

Suddenly, I heard the sound of the toilet block door being hoofed open, quickly followed by the urgent clatter of hurried steps…somebody obviously had a ‘mole at the counter’ in quite a dire (and potentially catastrophic) way.

The next thing I heard was the door of the trap next to me being slammed shut…then my poor ears bore witness to the frenzied sounds of dunghampers being wrenched down, followed by the gurning exasperation of a man whose spluttering ringpiece was blasting forth death-defying decibels of defecation…it was an almost virtuoso musical impersonation of the eruption of ‘Mount Vesuvius’ performed on the solo bum-trumpet.

I placed my hands firmly over my ears as I heard splats ricocheting around the battered bowl, and suffered the din of a pitiful poo-perpetrator squirming on the seat, groaning, farting and running his hands down the wall panel as he tried to hold on for dear life through the sheer violence of this excessive excrement exorcism.

At this point, (mid-whimper) I recognised the voice – It was none other than Derek, the potbellied, bullying mongoloid with a face like a freshly felched fudge funnel…

The very same Derek, in fact, who thinks he’s a fucking ‘kung fu master’ just because he’s watched the ‘Transporter’ movies, and who went out of his way (without any provocation) to try and make me look like a sirloin cuntsteak in front of the board of directors at the last meeting we attended. We don’t know each other that well, but his smarmy, nasal whine is burned into my mind.

I continued wretching quietly to myself as his sphincter-numbing slurry-fest perpetuated mercilessly next door…then to my surprise I heard some of the sweetest, most beautiful sounds you can imagine following such carnage.

I heard the sound of someone reaching for the loo-roll, closely followed by the sound of an empty tube being spun about its holder…then the sorrowful groan from a total wankspanner of a bloke being rapidly plunged into darkest despair.

I checked my watch…and realised Derek was already late for a very important meeting. Also, I could barely comprehend how uncomfortable he must have been sat atop that mound of munting mess from his mutilated mud-oven.

Disclaimer: Now please believe me, beautiful b3tards, I’m normally quite a nice, amiable guy…but I think you’ll all agree that I have had more than my fair share of crapper-related mishaps and misery…besides…this bloke is a right cunt.

So now...it was PAYBACK TIME.

I patiently waited, until with cringing inevitability, I heard Derek’s voice, trembling with shame as he was forced to humbly request the kindness of a ‘stranger’ through the brown, gassy wisps that were now slowly relieving him of his life-force by way of painful suffocation…

Derek *knocks*: ‘Scuse me mate, pass us some paper under?’

I contemplated for a moment…then spitefully confidently replied:


Derek: ’Pardon?’

Me: ‘What? – are you deaf as well as disgusting? It’s not my fault if you didn’t check for bogroll before you decided to splatter the place, and befoul the whole area with your repugnant effluence…so NO!’

Derek: ’Well, erm…what am I supposed to do?’

Me: ‘Quite frankly that’s none of my concern. Now…If you don’t mind I’ll be on my way. Enjoy.’

Derek: ‘Oh god, mate, I’m desperate! P-p-p-pleeeeease?’

Me (putting on fake ‘friendly’ tone): ‘Awww …well…’

After a dramatic pause my voice changed to a more vicious snarl as I continued:

Me: ‘Fiver’.

Derek: ‘What?’

Me: ‘You heard me. Five.English.Pounds. Consider it a fine for your lack of foresight and adequate preparation…like an ‘Idiot Tax’. Give me a fiver and I’ll see what I can do’.

Derek: ‘Fuck Off!’

Me: ‘Fair enough. Not my problem boyo. I’ll just inform the board that you won’t be attending the meeting then…(Here I start to whistle with an attempt at ‘menacing nonchalance’)

Derek: ‘Are you joking?.....Awww come on?’

Me: ‘Don’t ‘Awww come on’ with me, matey….and you’d better make your mind up quick…the price is going up…’

Derek: ‘Oh my GOD!’

After a brief pause I then heard the sound of tutting and mumbling, before a begrudged rummaging of clothes, and to my utter disbelief, a wrinkled up five pound note was coyly pushed under the side panel towards me.

He must have been really desperate.

Even though I was initially staggered at his submissive behaviour, It only served to spur me on.

Me: ‘There you go…now that wasn’t so difficult now was it?’

And with that, I tore off one single square of bogroll and slipped it back under the cubicle wall.

Derek: ‘Wha….? Is that it?’

Me: ‘Well, you didn’t stipulate exactly how much bogroll you would be requiring, did you?’

Derek: ‘*whimper* oh bloody hell…ok then …*sigh*. Could I have lots more please?’

Me (cheerily): ‘Noooo problem………that'll be another fiver’

Derek: ‘Oh for fuck’s sake!…But I haven’t got any more money’

Me: ‘Oh dear….*tuts* Oh dear oh dear…You haven’t learned a thing, have you?‘

And with that, I promptly begin to make my way out…making deliberate ‘step’ sounds towards the door…pretending to abandon Derek in his rancid honk-hovel.

Derek (with an audibly increased state of panic): ‘Oh god mate…don’t be like that…help us….please mate…..mate?......MAAAAATE!?!!

I then heard his whimpers turned to sniffs, then mumbles of ‘oh-god-oh-god-oh-god' to himself…as he struggled to comprehend his options.

(I, meanwhile, became increasingly and joyously aware that he was just as afraid of toilet-related embarrassment as I was).

I then also realised that it actually wouldn’t be too long before someone else turned up to use the facilities...and whoever arrived would no doubt help him out, so I decided to bring my fun to an end.

As a final act, I walked back towards his cubicle and knocked on the door…

Me: ‘Alright then, cunt-face, I’ll let you off. Be more careful in future’.

With relief ebbing from his words he courteously gasped: ‘Oh, cheers pal’.

I then pushed his five pound note back under the door and said: ‘There you go…You can wipe your arse on that!’

At this point Derek let out a sigh so pathetic that it reverberated around the cold toilet tiles…and I just couldn’t stand anymore…I burst out laughing, then relented, handing him a big wadge of the precious poo-wipe-paper which he had coveted for so long.

And you know what?…deep down…I don’t think I’m really cut out for that kind of behaviour…If it hadn’t been for B3ta, I probably wouldn’t have done anything…

so I blame you lot – my conscience is clear…sort of…this time anyway.

But just in case…I’ll still hang on to that ticket to Hell…

(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 12:57, 20 replies)
Breasts of Doom!!!
I would love to say I photoshopped stuff or found ways to look at porn at work, but I'm as technically minded as your average ewok, so I'll tell you about the day I lost The Game.

The Game was pretty straightforward - I used to work in an office where I had the honour, neigh, the privilage of selling people mortgages over the phone.

Most of the time was sent sitting round, drinking coffee and talking complete and utter bollocks with my work colleages, so when the occasional phone call came through it was a pretty momentous event.

The Game was basically to try and put off whoever was doing the mortgage selling drivel so they would have to terminate the call.

I was pretty much unflappable.

One time while I was going through the motions with some moron over the phone, my good mate Dave sneaked up behind me, and with the sort of speed of hand that Bruce Lee would've been proud of, squirted lighter fluid across my desk and set fire to it. I didn't even flinch. Just lifted the phone off the desk, continued the call, and waited for the flames to die down.

Another time Sooty and Sweep appeared from behind my monitor and Sooty started to anally rape Sweep (accompanied by incredibly realistic sound effects, including squelching). Still, I didn't as much as blink... I was the iceman.

This really pissed Dave off, because whenever he was on a call all I'd have to do is write something like: 'Cunty-Fuck-Face!!!' on a piece of paper with a board marker and dance round in front of him for a bit until he cracked, started laughing, and had to terminate the call.

At the end of the average week I was winning The Game hands down.

That was until the office junior, Adele, decided to get involved.

Now, Adele was a pretty girl. Very reserved. Just finished her A-Levels and usually kept herself to herself. We'd go for the occasional works drinks and every so often she'd ask for my help to get some rabbid teenager to leave her alone - the usual sort of thing.

So when she sidled up to my desk and said: 'Spanky, I guarentee you will lose The Game today.'

I replied, using my razor sharp wit and mastery of the English language: 'Like fuck I will!'

It was later that day that I finally lost The Game...

Phone rings, I answer, start going through the usual tedious shit. Dave appears and stands at my side, starts slapping me round the head a bit. Ahh, Dave - you'll have to do better than that.

Then Adele homes into view and stands right infront of my desk, a strange look of whimsey on her angelic face. Dave too is a little perplexed - I can tell because he's momentarily stopped swatting me round the back of the head.

I continue the call, talking about god-knows-what to this annoying fucker who's interrupted my eigth coffee break of the day.

Suddenly, Adele reaches down and pulls up her sweater and bra and jiggles the most impressively large AND pert breasts I have ever seen in my life a few feet from my eyes. They were like two lovely pink planets colliding, two orbs of perfection dancing in perfect harmony, they appeared to leap out and fill the whole room. I think Adele's bra had some sort of weird Tardis effect going on, because I had never really noticed her comely (or should that be cumly) assets before. After a moment, Adele covered herself, turned on a heel, and sauntered off to continue doing her filing.

And I... forgot... how... to... speak...

(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 10:14, 19 replies)
I work in a place
where we get through lots of envelopes. What do we do with the boxes that they came in? This:

(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 21:01, 8 replies)
When you don't answer your phone after several attempts
It is highly likely the receptionist will pop into the office to leave a note on your desk.

What she won't expect is to see you sat there, unable to speak, with brown drool coming out of your mouth, as you had been trying to see how many maltesers you could fit into your mouth at the time.
I sadly speak from experience.
(, Tue 13 Jan 2009, 14:36, 12 replies)
Work in an office?
Got a computer in front of you?


Right, then.

The machine in front of you is the second most complex, sophisticated and fascinating machine you'll ever use (the first being your own genitals). Computers (like your genitals) are tools for the creation of rather impressive things.

All too often, people expect other people to "work" with computers. This is a silly way of looking at what computers can do; computers are supposed to be our slaves, not our taskmasters. The idea is that they do the boring shit, and we think about stuff and make things that require creative thought.

If your job involves anything that you have to do over and over again, you can automate it and let the computer do your work for you.

Copying sets of numbers from one application to another? Figure out the tab stops and keyboard shortcuts (use the tab key to move between buttons, and space to press those buttons - use the mouse as little as you can, the keyboard is always faster), write them down in sequence, and write a little program to do your work for you.

The above link will tell you all about AutoHotKey, a program (and accompanying simple programming language) for sending keystrokes and clicks to Windows. Over, and over, and over again, until you tell it to stop. The language it uses is really, really simple and easy to understand.

Even if you've never written a program or script before, just give it a go - even if you're computer illiterate, it's a lot easier than you think, I promise. And the worst that can happen is that you'll have wasted an hour on a very interesting if futile activity, and maybe learned something new.

Before too long, after you've realised just what a piece of piss it is, you'll be scripting like mad. You'll have 90% of your work automated, leaving you to do what humans can do but computers can't.

Thinking, and creating.

...now, if you think you were bored before, you're going to be really fucking bored now. You've set up your computer to do most of your work for you. Which is, y'know, what computers are supposed to do anyway, but it kinda leaves you with seven to eight hours each day with nothing to do.

So you turn up to work, you engage in soul-crushing boredom for a good proportion of your life, and waste hours of your best years that you're never, ever going to get back. Unlike money, you can't make more time.

Now, a quick shift in perspective is what's needed; your company is paying you to escape their evil clutches. They're giving you a computer, a salary, and enforcing eight hours a day where you'll be in the presence of this computer with nothing to do but use your imagination. They're practically pushing you out of the door.

Let's come back to what I said before about your computer (and your genitals). Sophisticated, powerful machine to make creation easier. Now, you're stuck in one place all day with a machine in front of you that can do anything, really anything you can think of except think and create. Your company is, bizarrely enough, paying you to be there.

This machine, and the money you're being paid, can help you to be whatever you want to be. You can be an artist, a novelist, a poet, a programmer, a songwriter, a businessman, or all of the above.

I bought some web space and a reseller account, and set up a little web hosting company. Within a little while, it was earning me some nice extra beer tokens each month. I did it all in work, using programs I ran from my flash drive. In between, I was writing some short fiction and posting it around here and there, soliciting donations from readers. It doesn't make much money, but it's something I enjoy and my company is paying me to do it, so why the hell not?

The most frightening part about being self-employed is quitting your day job. The security offered by consistent pay is very cushy, very safe, very comfortable. But if you've got a computer that's doing your work for you and nothing to do, and your company is paying you to be there, then you don't have to quit your day job. Your company is financing your start-up costs.

At least set up something to earn some extra money for you by doing something you enjoy. Preferably something where you do the work once, and then get paid forever.

Some suggestions:

Using your newfound scripting skills, write a nifty little freeware program that does something useful, and submit it to free software websites. Ask for donations from people who like the program.

Make a website. Learn a little bit of HTML and CSS, and use Geeklog or WordPress if you want a blog. Just jump right in, this is the sort of thing that you can learn as you go along. Put something on this website - whatever you want. Put up some ads, and earn some extra pennies. You can even do this in the office without Internet access, just use XAMP on your Flash drive.

Write a story. Again, post it for free on the Internet and ask for donations (you'll actually get paid more doing it this way than with getting published - the publishing industry is a fucking joke these days).

Write a game. This is what I ended up doing, and it's full of foetid midget brothels. /shameless self-promotion

If you don't want or need to make money, make something. Even if it's something internal, like knowledge or strength or self-knowing - change something from being in one state to being in another state, but make it something that will still matter to you after you go home. You can learn literally anything, research any topic you want, using Google and Wikipedia.

Did you know that the kangaroo's reproductive process is akin to a human woman having a baby one month into the pregnancy and then carrying the foetus around in her handbag for eight months? I should probably mention that this handbag has nipples in it. Thanks, Wikipedia. Ever heard of a guy called Nikola Tesla? Look him up in Wikipedia, he invented the 20th Century and his story is fucking fascinating. Look up Pykrete while you're there, too. Floating battleships made of ice and sawdust? Yes please!

Get a pair of these (don't pay that much, though), take them into work and give them a squeeze when you're contemplating what to do next. Give yourself forearms like Popeye.

Talk to other people who are bored at work, whether they're in your office or on the other side of the world. Talk to as many people as you can. Make friends.

If you really can't think of anything to do, think about why you're in this job, how you got here, why you're bored. Sit and think, really have a good proper think, about what you want and how to get it. Imagine what would make a perfect life, and what would make you and those around you happiest, and work backwards from there. Be totally and completely honest with yourself - figure out what you're good at, what you need to become good at, what's good about life and what's bad, and how to fix the bad shit.

But for fuck's sake, do something. Start something, change something, make something better. You, with the help of that frankly fucking amazing machine in front of you, can do whatever you want.

Don't be bored.

Fuck me, that was a long post. And I only wrote it 'cause I was bored.

EDIT: And another thing!

I really, honestly, can't recommend this enough. It's a free program that helps you keep track of all your projects and where you're up to with them.

The general principle is that before you can do anything, you've got to do something else. If something's big and daunting, the idea is to split it up into little bits, and split those little bits up into littler bits, and do them one little bit at a time. It helps you to answer the big question of "Where the fuck do I start," and that's not just for projects either, it's for sorting your life out in general.
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 20:14, 14 replies)
The claw is your master!

So, 'Toy Story' had just come out and I was working in the absolute shittiest of my shitty, shitty early-twenties-and-all-I-want-is-beer-money jobs. To keep ourselves sane between 'No I don't want to do a market research survey on the phone, fuck off' conversations, my colleague Lex and I had started playing 'The claw is your master!'. Pretty simple - smuggle a post it note with the words 'The claw is your master!' scrawled on it into the opponents possessions - wait for the opponent to discover it - trill 'The claw is your master!' at them in the manner of the little three-eyed vending machine dwelling aliens in the aforementioned animated film. I know, I know, it sounds fucking lame - and I have no clue why we latched onto that particular phrase - but the cackles came from the increasingly devious places we found to secrete our little notes. Sure - we started out simple, just spamming each others paperwork. I then escalated: Lexor leaves the office on a rainy afternoon only to find the inside of his umbrella coated with claw-missives, and, whilst swearing on the pavement, is serenaded with 'The claw is your master!' from an attic window. Fine - he cuts out a precisely measured circle of post-it, be-claws it, laminates it, and wedges it in the bottom of my coffee cup: *glug* - *splutter* - "BASTARD!" etc etc. Within a couple of weeks we've both gone seriously Howard Hughes - paranoia, hawk-like mutual surveillance and bladder-straining refusal to go to the toilet unless the other was going as well. Whatever - it passed the fucking time. But eventually one of us was going to go too far - whether they intended to or not.

God knows how he got into my flat. But get in he did - teaching me a valuable lesson in the process. Specifically: even if you've got a woman you've just met in a club back to your bedroom, AND persuaded her to get her knockers out, she will not shag you if she slides under the duvet and suddenly finds herself stuck to 200+ post-it notes all informing her that something referred to as 'The claw' is now her 'master'. Instead she will run for the fucking hills.

Thanks Lex. Thanks a bunch.
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 0:05, 9 replies)
Training Day Fun
I've had the pleasure of working for lots of different companies in lots of different offices. There's always a subtle difference from company to company. Some have blue carpets, some have red carpets, some have big pot plants, some have god-awful modern art wank on the walls etc. But without question dispite these momentous differences every firm has had one ball-shudderingly tedious event in common: The sales training day.

This is basically when you get a bunch of gobshites in a room and have some overpaid moron, usually in a bad polyester suit, telling them how to be more empowered, how to push things to the max, how to achieve their ultimate life goals using a maximum potential differential ratio, and other such useless made-up guff.

I always enjoy these training days. Yes, they're tedious, but I'm getting paid. And if I wanted to get paid for something I enjoy doing my cock would probably have fallen off by now. So I'll take my chances having some oddball treating me like a mental patient for the day. Beats the hell out of working for a living.

The training day is an excuse to have a bit of fun. Once, I actually got expelled from one of the courses. The trainer asked me to leave and gave me a look as if I'd just got my cock out and dangled it over the cot of her firstborn.

The reason I got asked to leave was as follows...

We file in, sit down, talk some bollocks, as sales people do in a getting-to-know-you vein.

Then the trainer asks us to answer three questions with one word answers. She would then go round the room and see what amusing anecdotes we, as a group could come up with. This is called ice-breaking, apparently.

So, she starts with a few of the newer sales force who appear to be getting into it. Oh, how we chuckled. Then, I think she must've seen the look of cynicism in my eye as she pointed a finger at me and said:

'Errm, Mr Hanky, could we have your effort please.'

And I leveled her with my patent pending steely-eyed gaze and retorted.




And that was when I was asked to leave. Ree-sult!!!

That was a hard one to explain to my boss, but she actually saw the funny side and let me sit at my desk and pretend to work while the rest of the 'team' endured a day of this useless bollocks.

And the three questions we had to answer???

What bird would you be if you could be a bird?

What activity do you enjoy the most in your spare time?

If somebody could discribe you in one word, what word would that be?

Oh, happy days!!!
(, Wed 14 Jan 2009, 14:50, 9 replies)
I tend to dick about with stationary
This was my greatest triumph and highlight of my working life to date. It is a fully working siege catapult I made from pencils, sellotape, an elastic band and a spoon. It was amazing.

(Tell me if i'm not supposed to put pictures in a QOTW, I'll link if needs be)
(, Mon 12 Jan 2009, 0:45, 13 replies)
The Devil and the Idle hands of young men
Working at the tip over you summer holidays at uni isn't everyones cup of tea. The job entails sweeping and tiding up and making sure that some old duffer doesn't kick off when told he cant put his asbestos in with the glass recycling. Like the trenches this sort of work leads to long periods of boredom, followed by short periods of headless chicken like activity.

In a lull in stuff to do myself and one of the other lads came up with a new game to pass the time:

MAGNET CHICKEN. The rules are simple, climb inside a empty skip and take it in turn to throw magnets at one another.

you average tip is lousy with discarded stereos, a swift toecap to the speakers yields a collection of magnets. As your empty skip is basically a 5m long steel corridor a thrown magnet will vear off and stick to the wall with a wonderful 'SPANG' noise. The aim of the game is to see how hard you dare to throw a magnet at your friend.

One fine yet dull day me and a workmate decided to take up potions and begin a game. I tossed the first magnet, pitifully it slammed into the left wall whole feet away from my opponent. He retaliated by overarm bowling a 3lb monster from a car subwoofer at me at lightening speed. 'WANN-NNG' the whole skip reverberated as this thing slammed into the wall next to my head after missing my eye by mm.

"you cunt, have some of..THIS" I replied wrenching the magnet from the skip and hurling it back at him. I throw underarm and am quite cack handed so something different this time happened. Once the magnet had cleared the top of the skip, It shot over the side as if guided by a lazer and landed out of sight with an almighty reverberating KER-SPANG.

Leaping out of the skip we were confronted by a horrifying sight. A middle aged man, pale faced and shaking with terror was frozen to the spot halfway through the process of removing an oven from his boot. An oven with a crater sized dent centered around a speaker magnet, in it.

Quick thinkingly I came up with "errm, sorry its our job to look for the magnets cause sometimes they repel one another and it acn get quite errm dangerous" The man mumbled a hasty "oh I see" and hurried off. After that the game of magnet chicken was no more.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 22:23, 6 replies)
A typical day
*arrives at theatre*

*completes daily ritual of hating the theatre pigeons and devising 403rd new and original way in which to destroy them (today - highly trained killer lions)*

*deflects all pointless and repetitive questions from Barry the Caretaker Who Is Special But Not That Special, and who has been here making coffee since 7.30am despite the place not opening until 10am*

*gets coffee*

*switches on pc*

*checks emails*

*opens the box office*

*checks b3ta and gazzes*

*opens the post*

*wonders if we should programme in a show telling the story of the Highland Clearances through the medium of shadow puppetry and interpretive dance*

*foot bounces on floor in jiggly impatient manner*

*contemplates can of mulligatawny soup on desk*

*deals with member of public who lost scarf in auditorium about a month ago (no it's not there, no I'm not going to check, we'd have found it by now)*

*wonders vaguely about running off some invoices*

*explains to different member of public that no, they can't just "go and watch" the ballet classes*

*wonders if should report to police*

*asks if the techie is up for a game of Pringles Hockey*

*Pringles Hockey not allowed in newly refurbished cafe*


*stares at ceiling*

*has to go sell a couple of tickets*

*then thinks, oh though, I suppose I should do those invoices*

*chews end of pen for a bit*

*gets bags of change for the cafe*

*tidies desk*

*tears off clean sheet of paper to write list of things to do*

*chews end of pen again*

*thinks, I really need a writing hat*

*builds improvised writing hat out of old theatre programmes*

*wonders if hat looks silly*

*tells the 150th person that day that no we aren't selling tickets for next year's pantomime yet*

*takes hat off as person looked at self in funny way*

*chews end of pen again*

*cleans ink from mouth*

*rearranges scarf*

*checks hair in mirror*

*gets more coffee*

*checks gazzes and b3ta again*

*wanders up to the tech box to look for nails and hammer to put up new noticeboard*

*is frustrated as there only seems to be lightbulbs, cables, and empty diet coke bottles in the tech box*

*wonders if should have used Oxford comma in above sentence*

*trips over cables in tech box due to fruitless grammatical debates with self*

*has a little cry*

*wanders back to own office*

*gets excited about delivery from Viking - ooh, office porn!*

*deflects questions about next week's chair arrangements for next week's private hire from Barry the Caretaker Who Is Special But Not That Special*

*hums a little oooh-what-shall-I-do-now? hum*

*hum turns into full rendition of Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and That Woman Wrapped In a Quilt*

*fetches new pen*

*chews pen*

*gets bored of pen, fetches pencil*

*explains to 800th person why, exactly, they can't reserve tickets without paying for them (because the system won't let me, and I don't want to)*

*sells a couple of tickets*

*herds small children out of office; politely asks mother of small children not to let them roam unsupervised; tells mother of small children that yes, there is a toilet here, and no, you can't use it, this is my office, the public ones are at the other end of the cafe*

*goes through four files to find out the precise length, to the minute, of a show that isn't happening until March because some woman wants to know as she's to cook dinner afterwards for 8 friends and their tennis partners and their tennis partners' pet tortoises*

*sharpens pencil dangerously*

*tears off another sheet of paper*

*finishes nomming coffee*

*wants another one*

*does some sort of technical related thing with splitters and sockets*

*doesn't understand*

*wonders why the can of mulligatawny soup seems to have moved by itself*

*takes random member of public round dark and empty auditorium because they've asked to see what it looks like and they want to know where their seat is before they come to see whichever show their daughter-in-law bought tickets for as a coming-out-of-hospital present after the hernia removal operation*

*wanders off to play in the tech box again*

*listens to the daily history lesson from our techie*

*learns about life in the Navy during the Napoleonic wars (ie picking the weevils out of biscuits and drinking urine)*

*helps to rehang stage curtains for show*

*regrets wearing skirt and heeled boots to work on the one day is required to go up ladders and things*

*sets fire alarm to 3-minute delay for show*

*sends audience upstairs*

*soothes ushers*

*escapes back into office for a bit*

*plays about on b3ta until show ends*

*cashes up box office*

*unsets the fire alarm*

*goes upstairs to lock up scary dark empty auditorium*

*gathers up half-melted abandoned pots of overpriced icecream*

*is sticky*

*hopes not to see ghosts whilst in state of stickiness*

*frightens self with overactive and unoriginal imagination*

*scampers to car park in the dark*

*falls over on icy car park*

*drowns in puddle *
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 15:22, 8 replies)
Motorway madness
I spend a lot of time working on the motorways of the West Midlands. I'm one of those guys you see in a by the side of the road stylishly bedecked in hi viz yellow trousers and coat with hard hat and ear defender accessories.

Anyway, you might have noticed the occasional set of brick & concrete steps that lead from the hard shoulder up the sides of cuttings. I like to brighten up the day of fellow workers and passing motorists by descending those steps in showbiz fashion, kicking out to the side with each step and waving my hard hat aloft, shaking it cabaret style.

The minutes fly by.
(, Tue 13 Jan 2009, 21:04, 10 replies)
Late Night Exploring
You think you've got the ultimate workplace dossing-around solutions? You don't know the half of it!

Working, as I do, for a large media company (name? come on, I'm not *that* stupid) gives opportunities the average office-monkey can only dream of. I'm in the prefect position of working shifts, which means I'm around in the middle of the night. The security are mostly arthritic and over 40, so we've pretty much got the run of the place.

You can sneak around the sets of a well-known soap opera, trying to slip small items into visible positions and then see them on TV (sadly, it's more difficult than you think... they take polaroids of everything to make sure!).

You can take some of your colleagues down to wardrobe and see what fits you (the time we found a sodding great box of school uniforms was great - who can beat an evening of St. Trinians style transvestism?)

Using sound studios for wind-up calls is good too. These range in subtlety from using the odd sound effect CD to make your housemate think the living room has been invaded by sheep, right through to using voice-changing gizmos to ring your mother and pretend to be a Dalek. (In case any anoraks are wondering, the secret is to use a ring modulator at 20hz, and then shout down it).

Then there's the brilliance that is the annual Christmas Tape. For those that don't know, these are a broadcasting tradition that go back years. They're the forerunner of programmes like "It'll be Alright on the Night" and "Auntie's Bloomers", a nice collection of the year's cock ups edited together with plenty of spoofs and thoroughly non-PC humour. If you want a good feel for how fantastic some of these can be (featuring stuff they'd never, in a million years, allow on air) do a You Tube search for "Good King Memorex" or "White Powder Christmas".

There's many more, some I *really* can't speak of (in order to protect the guilty) and some which I would type-up if I wasn't too tired at the moment (like the fun we used to have in the good old days of tin-pot local radio, and the magnificence that is "Car Park Challenge")

Click 'I Like This' if you think I should bother.

Edit - OK, OK... you win... new post on the way!
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 0:55, 8 replies)
I don't really get a chance to get too bored in my current job.

That has not always been the case.

My first job after Uni, back in the haylcon days of 1996-2001 was for a well known and not very well respected educational awarding body.

I have never suffered such tedium in my life.

After moving 'up' through the 'ranks' one of my tasks was reading course proposals submitted by all the desperate ex-polys that were trying to attract students by offering weirder and weirder courses and then making recommendations as to whether we should put our name to them.

It didn't take me long before I realised that both the senior verifier (who I made my recommendations to) and his and my boss, who had final sign off, weren't actually doing anything other than taking my word and approving or rejecting courses on sole basis of what I said.

So I started to test the limits, to see what would get through, just to give myself some amusement.

I started saying yes to things that I didn't think would have a hope in hell of being passed if anyone was really paying attention.

And that is how, in 1999, Thames Valley University found itself condemned in The Daily Mail for making a mockery of our educational system when it offered students a HND in 'making curry'

Follow up:

Before posting this, I just googled it to see if I could find the news story.

I couldn't.

Instead, to my surprise, I found a BBC news article from 2005 saying this:

"The shortage of curry chefs is being exacerbated by a lack of training courses in Britain.

Customers are also becoming more sophisticated, demanding higher levels of skills in the kitchen

Being a curry chef is a highly skilled profession and the training can take several years.

But there simply aren't the training courses available to bring on a new generation of curry chefs.

The only large scale training academy is based in London.

The Academy of Asian Culinary Arts at Thames Valley University launched the UK's first curry course in 1999.

The university offers an National Vocational Qualification in Asian Culinary Arts.

Over the last five years the academy has been producing chefs skilled in the art of preparing a tantalising tikka or the perfect pasanda."

OK, so apart from misremembering the type of qualification I approved, it looks like I inadvertently did our nation of curry eaters a favour.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:40, 12 replies)
Sandwich Joy
The formula:

1 - Work out exactly how much you earn, per second (this should pass a depressing 15 minutes or so, and look like work, with spreadsheets and stuff).

2 - Purchase a sandwich.

3 - Consume said sandwich at your desk in such a period of time that your post-tax income in the sandwich-consumption period was exactly the same as the cost of the sandwich.

4 - Free sandwich!

5 - Repeat.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:25, 10 replies)
Picking on overweight children.
As one of the only people at my last workplace who came in by car I used to do the works chip run. I always was happy to volunteer for this task as I got 'paid' in a free can of coke, at least thats what I let my coworkers assume why I did this.

The real reason for my eagerness to get chips for everyone was that there was a school nearby to work. To get from work/school to get to the chippy you had to go along a long straight stretch of road that was about a mile long. At lunchtimes there would be a long line of children, often in heavy backpacks dashing along this road trying to find the time to buy chips and get back before their lunch was over.

Leading the charge was always a group of overweight kids sweating in the summer sun waddling with all their might to get to the chippy. The highlight of my day was to turn my radio up all the way and wind wind my windows down. Casually waving at these child obesity statistics as I cruised on by.

That wasn't the best part though, I would time my speed along the road so I could pull up and get in the chip shop just before the first children arrived. Then as the first kids would burst through the door I would nonchalantly present my order for everyone at work, tying up the staff and keeping the kids impatiently waiting for up to 15 mins.

This would happen every day for weeks, until the start of the school summer holidays.
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 12:12, 5 replies)
I got disciplined by the police because of b3ta.


Apparently, they weren't very happy that I used 4gb of Lancashire Police's bandwidth a month sat refreshing /talk, reading QOTW and browsing old newsletters.

Luckily, I was too awesome at my job so didn't get fired for that. I had to write a written report to go with the investigation about why I 'abused' the police networks and explain what b3ta was about.

Most of the activity was on /talk (due to refreshing so much), when they went to check it out for themselves, it just happened to be a thread about Madeline McCann being raped and stolen by gypsies. That's right.

I had to explain the concept of dark-humour & irony to Lancashire Police's HR dept because one of their forensic staff had been discussing, in a very low-brow sense, over a period of months, child rape, racism and what I'd eaten for lunch.

It's my own fault, I know this; still pretty funny that b3ta was in the top ten most visited sites for Lancashire Police for six months though.

Click this if you think the police are now constantly monitoring b3ta for potential sex pests.

(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 14:16, 4 replies)
Not me, but...
A teacher I knew in college was ex(ish)-navy. One day he regailed us with a story about how life on ship can get really incredibly boring. So, to lighten the mood many of the crew pretended to be riding motorbikes. Before they started to 'walk' the would pop out the kick start bit (peg?) jump on it and make the noise of the engine (Vroom!) then twist the right wrist with apporpriate sound effects and go.
Well, one day some top brass people were visiting and a crewman went past at high speed on his 'bike' (imagine the doppler effect engine sound).
"Stop that man!" said the surprised VIP to one of the people showing him round.
"Cerainly, sir," said the sergeant (do the navy have sergeants? I dunno - equivalent thereof. Anyways...) "Cerainly, sir," he said and kick started his own bike in persuit!

Length? An ocean-going vessel of some sort, so not small.
(, Tue 13 Jan 2009, 12:38, 24 replies)
Intel Inside
I used to work in a call centre selling hosting accounts for a small web-host outfit up north.

Once you've read the same specification for a dedicated server a million times it can get a bit tedious, so I invented the "Intel game".

Rules are simple: Each time you read out a specification and you get to a bit that says "Intel Pentium..." you have to quickly hum/sing the Intel jingle from the adverts "Dum, dum dum duuuuummm" down the phone, and then carry on as if nothing untoward had happened.

If the customer queries it tell them it's a legal requirement.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 15:14, 1 reply)
Exam Invigilating
Possibly one of the most boring jobs there is. You're stuck in a room for three hours with 200 stressed kids who aren't allowed to talk. You can't read a book or text people because you're supposed to be watching the kids. There's nothing to do but stare out at a sea of downcast faces and hope that someone wants to borrow a rule to break up the hideous monotony.


Introducing: INVIGILATION PACMAN! [for 4+ players, requires grid-style exam room]

One teacher is Pacman. He must get from point A to point B in the room - variations include going via other points, having to pick up various objects on the way etc.

The other teachers are the ghosts. They have to 'capture' [surround or block movement of] Pacman.

You can only follow the grid-layout of the room. AND, you can only walk at a very sedate, quiet pace, keeping a straight face throughout. You have until the next child puts up a hand to ask something to catch Pacman!


Exam-Room Bingo!
[requires scrap paper, grid-style exam room or numbered seats]

Set up some criteria before the kids come in. For example: 'forgot a pen' 'brought whole stationery shop' 'first to cry' 'first to finish' 'won't even write his name' etc. etc. etc.

When the exam room is settled, all but one teacher will take their seats at the front of the room and note down the seat number of the child they bet will fulfil each of these roles.

The remaining teacher [who doesn't know the criteria] will pace up and down, noting down the seat number of anyone who catches their eye. When they pass the front desk, they hand their numbers to the contestants.

First to match all their numbers wins!

This game is good for post-exam gossip. i.e: "did you see the pus-factory in G7?" "i had to get the drama-queen in H15 another box of tissues, for fuck's sake!" and so on.

Remember kids: your teachers respect and care about you. yes.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 0:45, 2 replies)
What happens if we leave a pint of milk in a warm office overnight?
Overnight turned into 'a few days'.
A few days became a week.
A week became a month.
A month became...'however long we can'.
Eventually it was named Steve and did more work than the people who left it there.
It all backfired when our line manager brought some visitors in, and picked up the box files it was hidden behind. Then opened it to investigate. One woman was sick in the bin.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 22:23, 4 replies)
In the 1980s I worked in a seafood shop.
So here I was, 21 years old, no car, living in a very bad area of Rochester NY (to give you an idea of how bad, it was the area that Arthur Shawcross was picking off victims from), and living hand to mouth. My place of employment? A seafood wholesaler and retailer three blocks away. My job? Run the retail store.

By now you've gotten to know what I'm like- working a minimum wage job frying fish and weighing out cod fillets for old Italian women was a bit on the stultifying side, to say the least.

A guy has to entertain himself somehow, right?

The fresh fish was kept in a case that had originally been a glass front refrigerated display from a deli. It was still refrigerated, but the boss had removed the glass from the front so customers could reach in for things themselves. The result: glass doors in the back, a metal shelf across the front with an overhanging lip, and bins with crushed ice in them and fish laid on top.

One day we got a load of Maryland blue crabs in. The body on one of these things is about the size the of the palm of my hand- not very big. You boil them, then eat part of the body and the legs. The thing about them, though, is that they're very active and very hostile.

I happened to know this, having spent some time in Maryland catching them with another kid. Apparently the boss didn't. After the crabs spent the first morning scavenging the fillets on display, they were kept confined in a box in there.

Well, so now I had a supply of pets to play with.

If you set a blue crab on the floor he scuttles sideways, typical crab style, with his claws raised threateningly. They're quick, and if they catch onto something with a claw they will not let go, no matter what. Vicious little bastards. However, if you're quick you can grab them by the back of the shell- basically by what should be their butt- and their claws can't reach you.

So what did I do? I grabbed them by the butt, let them raise their claws, then held them up to the metal lip of the case and put their claws around the edge of the metal lip and shook them. They grabbed onto the lip and wouldn't let go.

My record was eight of them strung up in a row like some sort of demented Christmas decorations.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 14:41, 8 replies)
Blade Bingo
crackhouseceilidhband's post reminded me of something we used to do at work:

One of my postings mentioned the use of 'bleeding edge' equipment. All good fun when it works, but it's often riddled with bugs and glitches.

My employer was an early adopter of new technology, especially motherfucking blade servers. Blade servers generate enormous amounts of heat, which, if not properly cooled leads to hardware failure. We installed thousands of the power-hungry bastards, all installed by the book. Despite following the instructions, we had so many problems in the early days it became a running joke when completing our morning checks, as dozens would have failed overnight.

Our repeated calls to the vendor begging for a fix seemed to be going nowhere. Logging so many individual failures was unbelievably tedious, so to pass the time, bingo sheets containing the system serial numbers were produced to motivate the jaded support staff and inject a little competition into this thankless task.

One particularly bad day, a sales rep from our vendor's main competitor was in the office and was walking past my desk just as I leapt up to shout "HOUSE!" before running over to my manager's desk to claim my prize (a fun-size Mars Bar, no expense was spared). Intrigued, she asked me what the fuck I was playing at. Sensing a golden opportunity to rock the boat, I explained and gave her a copy of the "blade bingo" sheet which she took back to her firm's UK headquarters.

From there it took on a life of its own. The bingo sheet was passed around the offices of the rival company, picking up derisory comments as it went. It ended up being forwarded on to someone working for our vendor where, after being emailed around some more, it made its way finally to the blade server product manager's desk. A friend who works for this firm told me that the manager was so ashamed about the problems with his flagship product that he made it the headline item in the company newsletter three months running. Escalation meetings were held, our global technology manager and several of my colleagues were invited to fly out to New York at considerable expense to discuss the problem. It became something of an embarrasment within the IT industry and probably cost our vendor a shitload of business, which serves them right.

They eventually fixed the reliability problems and gave us a 75% discount on the next batch of hardware purchases as compensation. Yay for blade bingo, yay for subversive vendor manipulation tactics!
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 3:35, 7 replies)
What a wonderful life.
Before Uni, when I first started out on the road to adult working life I worked in my local McDonalds. As I was not a complete ignoramus and could add up without using my fingers or moving my lips, as well as being able to remember more than 3 things in a row, I was quickly promoted to that hallowed being, a ‘floor manager’.

This meant I managed the floor and all the stuff that was on it including the people. So I was 17 and in regular charge of an entire business, albeit for 13 hours of a day. It was on a main road but quite far from any major boozers so we didn’t get the drunks. So it was reasonably quiet and I liked that.

It was there that I mastered the zen art of doing absolutely nothing constructive at all whilst getting the overall job done.

The other staff used to like me because I instigated such initiatives as turning off all the external lights and powering down the internals by 30% so we looked closed at 8pm. This meant a considerably low footfall. If anyone did have the temerity to come in they would find the whole restaurant cordoned off, apart from one table in the far corner of the place by the toilets.

I stayed in my office watching videos most of the time and eating junk food. I used to regularly start the closing procedures at 9pm and then stay on myself in a virtual catatonic state when everyone had left. Sometimes the next manager would find me at 6:20am the next morning claiming I was ‘gurning’ on purpose but actually I was asleep with my face in a gurning position.

Anyway, things I got up to for 13 hours at a time in my office:

- Played myself at Monopoly, Scrabble and the Game of Life using all the player’s counters (not all the games at the same time though)

- Updated from memory my complete book and film database including basic plot points and MS paint drawn cover art.

- Tried to mentally synchronise the multiple CCTV cameras of the staff and customers interacting to episodes of the Archers on the radio.

- Restarting a song when it got to half way on the store audio to see if anyone would complain. I managed to string together over 20 halves of Aqua’s Barbie Girl before some bloke, apoplectic with rage, came to complain. I soothed him by saying that we have to cater for all sorts of people’s musical tastes and it hadn’t really been on repeat but modern music did sound the same didn’t it?

- Painstakingly glued together 70 odd empty fry boxes to makes a giant teepee to keep my Bigmac father, my Chicken McSandwich mother, and nugget and fishfinger children happy and dry. Ketchup dip baths were also provided for the children every other day. Pongo the dalmation and flubber were the family pets.

- Warming to the theme above, I used to make complex dioramas using old happy meal toys. I still remember to this day I created Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2.

Main Cast list:

Hamlet: Flounder (from Little Mermaid)
King Claudius: Hercules
Queen Gertrude: Mulan
Rosencrantz: Twigs the beanie baby
Guildenstern: Scorponok

Supporting artistes:

• Wedding Rapunzel Barbie
• Tomagotchi #6
• Baby Pegasus
• Tomagotchi #2
• Baloo the bear
• Tomagotchi #5
• Sebastian the crab (Little Mermaid)
• Tomagotchi #9

Sadly now I have to work for a living. I leave playing with happy meal toys until I get home nowadays.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:19, 8 replies)
I've been thinking long and hard about this one
Alright, it just popped into my mind without any mental pummelling at all, but it frankly sounded better in my mind. So, apart from procrastinating on these *ahem* "hallowed" pages, I like to gross out my work colleagues with some frankly disgusting stories. One of which I have just told to a frankly astounded colleague of mine.

It was late one night, and I was still living with my fiancee of the time. Now an ex-fiancee- very much so. And I am very grateful for that fact, but I digress. Now, it was three months before we were due to go back to university, but her seriously deranged mother got it into her head that perhaps it might be a good idea to buy us both a kitten. She just rocked up with it one evening, to my eternal confusion. I mean, who buys a kitten out of the blue? But once again, I digress. This seems to be a frequent activity of mine.

Anyway. At the end of the same day, in that activity common to all humans, we went to bed, placing the kitten (now named Sweetcorn after she got her head stuck in a used cup of chicken and sweetcorn soup- we'd just had Chinese that night) on a little cushion on the bedside table so we wouldn't squash her in the night, but still giving her company at the same time. And off to sleep she went, and then off to sleep we went. And I thought that would be the end of the matter.

Alas, no. I woke up with a rather curious feeling on my chest. Specifically, my nipple. It was being sucked on, and padded. I checked on my fiancee, she was fast asleep. The kitten however, was not on her bed, she was in front of me, padding my chest attempting to draw milk from a nipple that was, is, and will remain forever dry, as I don't suffer from an extreme case of gynaecomastea. Naturally, I was a little freaked out by this occurrence. It is not every day you are woken up by a small fluffy animal attempting to draw sustenance from your chest. That is, unless you happen to be a lady of the breadfeeding variety, and last I checked, babies are rarely furry, unless suffering from hypertrichinosis (a genetic condition rendering the sufferer to resemble Chewbacca). So, back to the sadly deluded kitten.

I calmly detached her from my chest, ignoring her quietly meowed protests, and then a thought hit me- a rather evil thought. I can be a bit of a bastard sometimes, and then was no exception. Lifting the covers, and leaning over my fiancee, I attached the cat to her, and leaned back to watch the show. My fiancee woke up, smiling at first, and then opened her eyes, and looked at me. And then puzzled, she looked down. And then, dear reader, I did my best impression of Jesse Owens and legged it out of the room as the shouting began.

So, how do I spend my time at work? Shoe-horning frankly bizarre, yet utterly true stories into an otherwise unrelated question of the week.

(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 17:22, 6 replies)
Zumf's post down there reminded me of this..
A while ago, bored at work, I ordered a pack of stick on, goggly eyes from ebay. When they arrived, I went round my desk giving everything eyes:
We're watching you!CFB!
(, Thu 15 Jan 2009, 8:43, 7 replies)
Hurrah for netsend :D
A few years back we had a normal Windows NT network about the office, which was every desktop with Windows NT and a Z number as an identifier for the network. I'm not the best with comps (but I'm always learning something new on them every day, have done for the last 10 years) and someone sent me an e-mail describing how to correctly do a "netsend".
For the un-technical in the audience, this is a way of sending a simple pop-up alert through DOS to make an alert pop-up on Windows with a small message of your choice and an "OK" button in the middle of it. It was like "Z******* has sent you a message. [Whatever the message] OK". Simple and sweet, but highly odd if you have never seen one before.
So I test it out with one of the guys on the team after I get his computer's Z number and we have a small laugh. After a few minutes though, I get bored and decide to up the ante a bit.
I get my manager's Z number while he's away from his desk and write it down on a notepad (they used to be on stickers on the base units). I walk back to me desk and wait a bit until my manager turns up. Up comes the DOS box and I send him the message.
"Pornography has been detected on your hard drive. A member of staff from I.T. will be with you shortly."
He went white. I could hear him swearing from my desk and could literally see the fear in his eyes. "What's this? Oh god, I'm fucked, I'm fucked..." He calls one of the other managers over who reads the message, notices the Z number tag on the message then walks around our desks as I sit there trying not to laugh. They find it on my comp and he comes over saying "You utter, utter bastard!!!" He spent the afternoon throwing rubber office stress toys at my head for the rest of the shift, but not until I set up another member of staff with the same prank for him lol.
Ah well, keeps us quiet.
(, Sun 11 Jan 2009, 0:41, 5 replies)
Car Park Challenge...
OK then, you asked for it.

This one was dreamed up by a couple of colleagues and myself in the days when I (occasionally) worked in Liverpool. The rules go like this:

1) Drive into a large (the taller the better) multi-storey car park.

2) Park on the very top level, and go off and do your shopping/work/whatever else people do in Liverpool.

3) Return to your car and drive to the very top of the first ramp.

4) Take your car out of gear.

The object of the game is to see if you can make it all the way back to the bottom without using the engine.

Sounds simple, I know... but you have to make sure you get enough momentum going from one ramp to take you to the start of the next one. The feeling you get when the car is just slowing to a halt as you reach the next ramp and then starts moving again is unbeatable!

There are different 'grades' of car park too. Ones with a big spiral ramp would be a '0', because they're piss-easy. The further apart the ramps are the higher the grade. This game even used to have it's own theme tune. It was some cheesy 60's library music I found on an old CD, can't for the life of me remember what it was called though.

On a serious note, some people have been known to turn their engine off. This is NOT a good idea as, depending on your car, you may lose your power steering and brake servo.

Now, you might be sitting there thinking "What a load of childish bollocks", and you'd be right. However, I bet you £20 and a packet of Jaffa Cakes the next time you're in a big car park, you *are* going to try it!
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 12:25, 26 replies)
Tis alive......

shake his hand, see what he does
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 23:49, 4 replies)
Cup tinkering boredom
A while ago I was working for a (now bust, and deservingly so) greetings card company. I was a lowly photoshop monkey and my job was basically to take existing designs and rejig them slightly so they could milk the most out of the original artist's work (eg. This is a cute bear. We want a christmas bear. Add a santa hat to the bear. Re-tint the bear pink. Mirror the bear, etc...) Pretty dull stuff.

As shitty Nescafe machine coffee was the highlight of my days, I'd find creative things to do with my cups with tippex, permenant markers and googly eyes (greetings card place so they were available) This was my crowning achievement:

(, Thu 15 Jan 2009, 1:45, 3 replies)

This question is now closed.

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