Published: 132 articles

The newbie

Today I was thinking about my earliest office experiences.

I had come straight from University into a full-blown recession.  Permanent jobs were scarce.  Especially if you didn’t know what you wanted to do, and hadn’t walked out of a top-seeded University with a First – which was me to a T.
After sitting at home twiddling my thumbs and getting depressed at having to live under my parents roof again (no more heady hedonistic stumbling home drunk on 50p shots at the student bar), I signed up with some agencies and got a contract at a local firm for two weeks, helping them with their filing.

scared office girlI remember being so nervous on my first day, that apart from nodding when expected, I didn’t ask a single question, I didn’t speak to anyone, I didn’t even go to the loo til lunchtime, I just kept my head down and legs crossed, filing I don’t know what diligently for seven and a half hours (with one miserable thirty minute break, eating a soggy sandwich alone), and headed home the minute the clock hit 5 pm.

Looking back, I’m not sure if I came across as nervous, or just aloof.  I certainly didn’t make any effort with anyone around me.  I was far too scared to actually look up from my filing and even attempt to make eye contact.  And no-one there made an effort to chat to me either.  Maybe it just wasn’t a chatty office.

But next time you have a newbie join you, whether it’s just for a day on work experience, a couple of weeks doing the grotty jobs everyone else has been avoiding, or whether they’re starting their first ‘proper’ job, maybe take five minutes to say hello and ask them how their day is going.  It might not seem like much to you, but I promise you, I’d probably still remember if someone had made that effort with me on my first day in my first office.

What’s it all about?

So, I’m sitting here, having finished the seventh draft of the book.  It’s been sent to some kindly but keyboardcritical reviewers for their comments, and it’s time for me to sit back.

And as I do that, I can’t help but reflect ‘what’s it all about?’  What did I want to achieve with this book?  And have I done that?  Have I done the best I can, both for the book and for you, my precious reader?  And if I have done it, what is it exactly that I’ve done?

What’s it all about?

I guess, for me, it’s about finding a bit of peace, and a bit of joy.

Having worked in all the different places I’ve been lucky enough to experience, I know how much our working life affects and impacts the rest of our life.  It has to.  We spend the bulk of our days, weeks, years, and decades at work.

If what we experience in that time is hassle, pain and confusion, it’s bound to leave us feeling unhappy.  And we carry that unhappiness with us.  We carry it to our homes, our partners, our children.  We carry it in our bodies, in the way we hold ourselves, our tone of voice, our expression.

And having experienced both ends of the spectrum – having been in truly awful Horroffices as well as genuinely amazing places, I know from my own personal experience what that impact is.

So I guess my hope for the book is that it reaches the people that need it most, that will benefit from what I’ve put into it.

And my hope for you, dear reader, is that it helps you find some peace in an often fraught working life, and a way to connect back to your joy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and to share your journey.