Monday, September 24, 2007

Je Ne Regrette Rien

This job is feast and famine. One minute it's update a spreadsheet this and cone-bind a document that. And then the next minute, there's nothing. A glorious, incalcuable black hole of absolute nothing. More often than not I'm given less work than an Iraqi Santa but it pains me to admit - because I know your incredulous reaction - that doing nothing can actually be rather difficult.

Seriously, it's harder than you think. Here are my constraints: Internet quota of 30 minutes per day (except selected sites such as and wikipedia). No reading of magazines. No wandering off for a walk. No talking to the person next to you (because they are over 3 yards away). Your task, should you choose not to accept it, is to find the most productive way to do sweet FA.

If no one gives you any work to do, here are some of the things you might like to try:

* Puff out your cheeks and make a noise like this "Pwwwwwfffffffffffffffffffff" whilst placing your hands behind your head in a rather nonchalant manner. This can be repeated up to 10 times a day, but they must be spaced out lest anyone thinks you are having an asthma attack.

* Spin round in your chair. Maybe anti-clockwise first, then clockwise after. If you're a real mentalist you could try clockwise first, but that way madness lies.

* Go to the toilet. Let's face it a pee takes, what, 2 minutes? A poo could take, I don't know, potentially 10 minutes. Always go for the poo. I have sat on the toilet a couple of times, lid down, trousers up, sending abusive/amorous/random texts. No one knows you're not opening your bomb bay doors. Relax and enjoy your toilet-based hiatus.

* Go for a walk. Except don't look like you're going for a walk. George Costanza from Seinfeld has a golden rule when at work: never walk down a corridor without a folder in your hand. Then, even if you're going nowhere, it looks like you're going somewhere

* Peruse the internet sites that are not blocked. eg Wikipedia. Their "random article" function is useful. So far I have managed to read up on the Suez Crisis, Benigno Aquino's assassination, The Counter Reformation (featuring the Jesuits and The Index Of Prohibited Books), Mebeverine (an antispasmodic hydrochroride-based pharmaceutical), an earth leakage circuit breaker, Romanian despot Nikolai Caucescu, Neasden Town Hall and "Gong Farmers" (Medieval Toilet Attendants who mucked out latrines and privies during the Plague)

I am fountain of knowledge. Well not so much a fountain as a squirt under pressure (a fitting description for me, I think).

Even with these five potential escape routes, inactivity can be draining. The point is you're always a little bit on edge in case someone actually does give you something to do. It's difficult to reconcile, as whilst doing nothing and getting paid for it is ultimately everyone's ideal job, you still find yourself secretly wishing you'd been charged with some menial task.

Yet, conversely, when the boss man starts approaching, you do feel like "oh, he's going to ask me to do something....Damn....and I'd just started a daydream about me playing an epic guitar solo onstage at the New Wembley Stadium...bummer"

Nevertheless, though it's like sitting in a doctor's waiting room for EIGHT FRICKING HOURS, I can think of worse ways to earn my money. Being a Gong Farmer for one.

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