I usually love this time of year. The office is quiet and the annoying ones are away on holiday. However, this time around things haven’t quite gone to plan.
First to ruin the glorious work hiatus was a well-known stickler for detail. Stickler Man hadn’t even made it through Customs when he was on the phone panicking about having forgotten to set up his out-of-office message alert on his email account. Of course, I was happy to oblige when he asked if I would “be a love” and do it for him.
I’m pleased to say he now has a personalised message informing his clients that he’s busy looking for a child bride in Thailand. Naturally, a couple of his clients have already inquired about the procedure for changing to a new account manager, and the message has been active for only a couple of days.
Next up on the “I’m so important” list was the HR manager, and she hasn’t even gone on holiday yet. No, she left it to the last minute to insist on taking a company laptop away with her. Consequently, she’s been bitching all week to the IT team who, after missing the monthly deadline for purchases with the official supplier, have had to put on a rush job and dispatch an IT junior off to PC World to purchase a laptop for her. She was none too pleased, though, when IT Junior came back with the cheapest laptop available. “I said the pink Sony VAIO. Does this look pink to you?” she was overheard sniping to him. The IT team have all been sniggering about pink spray paint ever since.
The most intrusive, absent but insecure prize must go to the managing director, who, at last count, has called from his yacht-phone 17 times this week – and he’s away for three weeks.
Each call requires the recipient, after reassuring him that “No, we haven’t forgotten to do what you instructed in your lengthy handover document”, to politely inquire as to his whereabouts and whether he’s having a wonderful time. This, of course, prompts a detailed rant about being “stuck on board with a poisoning chef, who he’s going to sue the minute his feet touch dry land”, followed by an impromptu signal break.
The recipient is then obliged to call him back for fear of being deemed rude, thereby risking a negative aura at bonus time. Last time I called back, I endured a lively 20-minute debate with his nine-year-old about turtle hunting.
I wish I’d opted for an August break now, instead of bowing to the unspoken expectation of the parents in the office having the priority. And to cap it all, my boss has a bowl of chopped and peeled fruit on her desk, courtesy of her housekeeper. Presumably to remind us all that she’s far too important to peel, let alone take a holiday.