Office life: 6 reasons to love your workplace even if the air con is bust


By Simon Henry @simlington

A wonderful part of not dying when you’re young is you get to work with young people as you get older.

These youngsters bring exciting new philosophies and aspirations to your office.

And they’re a reminder of a younger you – who still had hopes and dreams of a better life and fulfilling career.

But mostly they complain about how dreadful your office is – the coffee machine doesn’t serve skinny lattes, the air con is two degrees too cold …

And why the hell can’t they have table football and a meditation suite with complimentary Indian head massages?

So here’s why those pesky spoiled youngsters should zip it. The Six Deadly Sins of  the 1980s office. Welcome to hell, my young friends.

1. Smoking at your desk was encouraged – viewed almost universally as a social lubricant and stress buster. It also masked the smell of colleagues who didn’t wash more than once a week (see 5 below).
Workers were given a huge ashtray on their desk – and were often forced to work late if it wasn’t overflowing with tab ends by 5pm.

2. Food: The office canteen offered one choice – School Dinners. This consisted of a stodgy meat-based main course with overcooked veg, followed by stodge and custard. The skin on the gravy and custard wasn’t quite as thick as the school canteen’s – but it was there nonetheless.

3. Bullying was encouraged. The JFDI theory of management (“Just F***ing Do It”) was still practised widely – in the mistaken belief that the way to get the best from your staff was to shout until your face was purple and sweat-streaked – and they were crying tears of humiliation and fear.
Of course, some bosses still act like this today – and they are universally loathed and lonely individuals with no Facebook friends, except for their immediate family (who also secretly hate them.)

4. Blatant sexism and racism were rife. The only jokes here are those who still hold these attitudes. Shame on you.

5. Personal hygiene didn’t get the attention it does today. A meterosexual was someone who used anti-dandruff shampoo once a week. On a hot summer afternoon, the smell from a British office could match the worst a medieval crowd gathered for an early morning hanging could muster.


6. Technology: Fax machines that spat out metres and metres of grease-proof paper with indecipherable writing on, rotary dial telephones that made you wait ages to actually dial each number and dictaphones you had to self-consciously speak into complete our tour of the historic office.

Still complaining? Perhaps you need a course in Mindful Meditation to bring you to your senses.

Make sure you follow me on Twitter @Simlington if you like what you just read.

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014


2 thoughts on “Office life: 6 reasons to love your workplace even if the air con is bust

  1. Clarke Echols

    A suggestion for your site: It’ll be a lot easier to read if you change your theme to display text as black instead of gray on white. This is a major problem on a lot of websites because designers think it’s pretty, and they’re right. It’s pretty hard to read for people who don’t have exceptionally good eyesight.


    1. simonhenry1 Post author

      Hi Clarke. Many thanks for your comment. I’ve updated the theme and hope this makes reading the blog easier! I really appreciate you taking the time to get in touch. And I really hope it improves the blog 🙂



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