Another morning of driving into the office. This time I was driving from Southampton, rather than Reading. It could all go so easily wrong. Despite leaving a reasonable 90 minutes or so for the 50 mile journey, it only takes one dickhead to destroy my chances of getting into the office on time, or, in a more extreme case, at all.
I'm not going to put myself forward as the world's best driver. It's not me. I'm barely even in the top 10... million. However, I have a reasonable sense of what I'm getting at when I drive. I want to get to the other end of the road. I want to do it as quickly as possible. I don't want to obstruct the traffic behind me that wants to go faster (unless to get out of their way would put me at unreasonable speed in a crawler lane). I want to keep a sensible distance between me and the car in front. I just want to get to the other end of the road.
However, there are people in the mornings who are not like this. They'll happily drive in the middle lane, because that's bound to be okay, right? There are people who drive with such care and attention that they end up involved in accidents. Ok, so I'm sure some accidents are totally unavoidable and I should be more sympathetic, but for the large percentage of accidents which have been caused by people driving irresponsibly, then I have no sympathy. Why? Because the net result of someone's selfish stupidity is that an entire road, which is congested already, can come to a stand-still. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people are inconvenienced because someone couldn't obey some simple rules.
I've never had to commute to work before and I will be planning my life in future to keep this task to a minimum. With some of the country's most congested roads between some of my wake-up places and my office, it's no surprise that I'm already sick of it. The biggest frustration is how generally avoidable it all is. Overall, if you can't drive, get a lift or get a train. Don't get in the way of everyone else!
So long and buzz off
This isn't turning into a positive post. So be it.
There's a long-standing tradition for people to give their work colleagues some sort of leaving present when they leave. Fair enough, I suppose. Matters must be more complicated when you work in a team of about 3 people and you decide to leave. They want to hold a collection for you, but if they each grudgling chuck in a fiver, you've still only got £10 to spend on a card and perhaps a box of chocolates. Not necessarily the big send off that you might hope for after years of diligent service.
I've always been frightened of collections and leaving presents, which is why I specifically told my work colleagues to get together and donate to charity when I left my last job. It wasn't so much an act of altruism on my part. I genuinely did not want to know how much they felt that my service to the company and friendship was worth. In pounds. Sterling.
So, should we perhaps feel sorry for the woman who is leaving the service of the coffee shop here at my new employer's place. She works with a couple of other people. They are all clearly on low-wages, so surely there's barely going to be enough for a card, let alone a box of chox or a bunch of flunches (sorry - flowers).
Well, her work colleagues have quite innovatively put a collection bowl on the counter for the punters to chuck a bit of money into. Now that seems fair enough. After all, she's been serving people coffee and sandwiches. Perhaps we've all come to love her and want to give her a happy send off.
I really want to shout stuff into her miserable face. Just being near her is one of the most depressing experiences you can have in this office. However, it's a product of the ethos of that cafe. Rather than turn what has been a ranty post into something more ranty, I'll write the instructions to the next miserable work-dodger who comes into the cafe to replace her. Here's how to be as good as the rest of the staff here:
- Never let a customer interrupt your conversation
- Take your lunch at lunchtime, with other service staff and bitch about things
- Don't worry about the lunchtime rush on the cafe - people will soon go elsewhere or wait in the huge queue
- Sandwiches are to be made slowly
- Don't dare go fast enough that we can see movement
- Never make eye contact with customers
- Polite conversation with customers is also to be discouraged
- Smiling is not allowed
- Your job is safe even if you give bad service, so don't push yourself
A large queue, whether it's on the road or in a cafe, will always annoy me if there is genuinely more capacity for dealing with the queue than is presently being made available. If the road is wide enough for that many cars, but bad driving is crippling the flow, or if 3 members of staff in a cafe could conceivably deal with the customers, but are not doing because they are too lazy, then I get cross.
I like to get things done at speed. Then I get more out of life. Or at least I would if I were not wasting my time bitching about it.