NOV 2014 ALSO INSIDE: David Mitchell
W O R K R E L AT I O N S H I P
NOV2014 November is here, so with the majority of organisation presumably out of the way for your Christmas party, you can start to enjoy the run up to the festivities unencumbered by the weight of that particular responsibility. There’s still plenty to be done for the festive season though, so we’ve got some fun, affordable Christmas gift ideas for you. And because we don’t want you to get too cold while you’re out and about shopping, we’ve got some snuggly winter accessories to keep you warm. We’ll also roundup the greatest hits from this year’s office* show and go into the essential office no-nos, that should be avoided at all costs. As if that’s not enough we’ll grab 60 seconds with the man who played everyone’s favourite neurotic thirty something in Peep Show, David Mitchell and hear from a reader about the nerve racking experience of being the office new girl at the Christmas party. Have a good one Editor George Carey
NOTICE BOARD UPDATE Demon celebrities and phantom holidays SAY WHAT?! Ageism and internet censorship
ON THE JOB JOB NEWS The latest career news of choice SHOW REVIEW office* 2014 WORK RELATIONSHIP DON’TS Avoid these like something utterly avoidable 60 SECONDS WITH Actor and comedian David Mitchell
LUNCH BREAK BREAKTIME Catch up with the latest reviews and recipes OFFICE CATWALK Wrap up warm for winter AND ONE MORE THING… Consider the plight of the newbie at the Christmas party
senior account manager
CELEBRATING 75 YEARS
OF INNOVATION IN OFFICE PRODUCTS
StapLING 1939 Matador
1998 NEW Matador
2015 Optima 40 Compact
1945 Crystalfile® Classic Green
1992 Crystalfile® Extra
2010 Multifile Extra
2007 Mercury Jam Free
2014 Auto Feed Micro Cut
2014 marks Rexel’s 75th anniversary. From its inception, Rexel has been known for design, quality and innovation – from the 56 Range® of stapling products, the introduction of market leading Crystalfile® and Nyrex filing ranges, through to development of the awardwinning Auto Feed shredders.
George Drexler OBE, founder of Rexel
For the last 75 years, Rexel has pioneered the world of office products, and looks forward to continuing to lead the way in the future. One thing is certain - no matter how technology develops, Rexel will be at the forefront; providing the finest, most efficient products to the trade and end users alike. 1939
To find out more please see our interactive leaflet on www.rexeleurope.com
BRITS’ CHOCOLATE ADDICTION
Magician Dynamo has revealed that children at his school thought he was a “demon child” because of a trick he did, according to MSN Entertainment. The Yorkshire-born performer, real name Steven Frayne, said the rumour started after he began doing his first stunt, taught to him by his grandfather to help him deal with bullies. It involved asking a person to lift his slight frame off the ground, then using their own weight to prevent them from being able to do it, the 31-yearold told the Sunday Times. “They started spreading rumours that I was a demon child, so it worked in a way, it got people to leave me alone,” he told the paper. “But it also scared people away from me and made me a bit of a loner.” Dynamo has built up a huge following using social media and counts David Beckham, Will Smith, Jay Z and Sir Paul McCartney amongst his fans. Dynamo grew up on a tough housing estate in Bradford, and has previously spoken about how as a thin, sickly child he was targeted by bullies.
Britain spends more than £3.5bn a year feeding its love for chocolate, according to research from Nationwide Building Society. Most Brits (74%) spend around £2 each week on getting their sugary fix – equivalent to a bar a day based on a typical big brand multipack of chocolate. The research says the average chocolate fan could half their £100 annual spend by limiting their intake to a bar every other day. This equates to a collective saving of around £1.8bn for the UK. The poll also reveals that about one in 10 adults (12%) don’t eat chocolate, while a quarter of people tuck into their treats just before bed, with 23% snacking between 9pm and midnight. However, more than four in 10 (43%) consume in the three hours after 6pm, hinting that they are rewarding themselves after a hard day at work. Nationwide’s head of savings, Tracie Pearce, said: “It’s no great surprise to see that we are a nation of chocolate lovers, but the amount we spend on getting our sugary fix is very impressive when you add it up. However, our love of chocolate could also be one way of saving money – and shedding a few pounds into the bargain! “We reckon that if people were to skip that lunchtime or mid-afternoon chocolate bar and save the cash instead, small but significant savings could accumulate over the course of a year. That’s money which could go towards the monthly bills.” The research revealed Britain’s top five treats: • 57% like big brand chocolate bars (e.g. Dairy Milk, Mars Bar) • 42% like sharing bags (e.g. Maltesers, Minstrels, M&M’s) • 30% like Christmas-style boxes (e.g. Roses, Quality Street) • 25% like luxury trays (e.g. Thorntons Classics, Lindt Lindor) • 23% like luxury chocolate bars (e.g. Green & Black’s, Hotel Chocolat)
flickr: Lwp Kommunikáció
DYNAMO WAS ‘DEMON CHILD’
IN BRIEF Pass masters
GET CLOSER TO KALE We all know Kale is good for you, but did you realise just how good? This Life Hack article, makes the case... 1. It has loads of iron You might be surprised that kale has been called the “new beef”— because it has more iron in it. 2. It helps you reduce LDL cholesterol Bile acids are kicked into action when you digest kale. When these acids are excreted, cholesterol levels are lowered. 3. It gives 10% of your daily omega-3 Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients and the best alternative to mercury and PCB-filled fish is kale. 4. It may help prevent cataracts Diet helps stop vision deteriorating and kale leaves contain lutein and zeaxanthin; important protective nutrients. 5. It helps you lose weight It has only 33 calories in one cup and gives loads of vitamins, fibre and vitamin C as a bonus. 6. It contains 45 flavonoids They have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties helping prevent cancer. 7. It’s the number-one veggie One cup of raw kale has 5 grams of fibre, 0 grams of fat, and 3 grams of protein, as well as being chock-full of minerals and vitamins!
When students sat down and opened their University of Salzburg entry exam papers they found the answers had already been filled in correctly. But their joy was short lived after teachers saw the error and cancelled the exam. It transpired the hopefuls had received the version of the tests meant for lecturers. It ended well though when all 144 applicants were allowed on to the course.
Faking it Dutch student Zilla van den Born faked an entire five-week holiday across South East Asia from the comfort of her own home. From snorkelling to visiting temples, sunbathing on idyllic beaches and sampling foods, Zilla did it all. Except she didn’t, posting photo shopped images on social media to show how far we can use social media to manipulate our image.
We give you our pick of the top comedy viral videos this month. Click on the text below and enjoy. Tweet us your top videos @olemagazine
Go Pro gone scary
Only in Australia
He’s so talented
T A H W S AY
I’m turning 65 in six months but I enjoy my job and would still appreciate an income. Do I have to retire, or is this negotiable? Diana, Sheffield
My office has banned certain websites from being accessed at work including LinkedIn. I feel LinkedIn is valuable for my work so do I have a right to ask for it to be allowed on my computer? Roger, Chester
You don’t have to retire, and it is negotiable. Managers are supportive of people who want to work past retirement age, but many HR departments are lagging behind with the appropriate policies, which is probably why you feel so unsure of yourself. In 2006 the government drafted the Employment Equality Regulations, which set a ‘default retirement age’ of 65, but also imposed on employers a ‘duty to consider’ requests from employees who wanted to continue in work beyond 65. Speak to your employer, emphasising all the reasons they should keep you employed, you should have a good case.
While you don’t have a right, and it’s at your company’s discretion, you have a good argument, so it’s worth asking. LinkedIn is a great way to keep your contacts in one place but some companies are wary because important client information exists out in the ether for you to access even if you moved on to a new company. Tread carefully with LinkedIn requests, especially if you’re in sales, and make sure your company knows your intentions and why you wish to use it. In essence, you’re right, it’s a brilliant business tool so go for it.
This month’s picture
Last month’s winner: Sarah, Gravesend
I just can’t seem to stick to my Atkins diet on a cold Monday lunchtime ”
Win £50 worth of M&S vouchers! Email your captions to email@example.com
on the job
JOB NEWS IS BIG BUSINESS SET FOR BIG CHANGES? isrupted by A new book entitled iD l Baxter, claims John Straw and Michae ’s 100 largest that only 19 of the world still be in that companies in 2012 will says that even list in 2042. However, it understating this bold claim may be how things will pan out. mpanies Of the top 100 global co d experienced identified in 1912, 29 ha disappeared by bankruptcy and 48 had s one of just 1995. Eastman Kodak wa d in the list 19 companies that staye at the start of during these years, yet ital cameras the 21st century, with dig ites, it too fell and photo sharing webs technologies. victim to the rise of new many of The authors claim that strong, such the industries we see as rs and energy as oil, car manufacture ading for the companies, could be he xt few decades. graveyard within the ne
CAN ON-THE-JOB DISTRACTIONS HELP PERFORMANCE? Have you been hankering after an office foosball table or a company juice bar? Well it might make you into a better employee. In his latest TLNT post, John Scott explains the benefits of a tou ch of tomfoolery in the office. An office environment with the righ t mix of distractions is part of a hig h performance culture. We don’t hav e the mental endurance to consistent ly work straight through the day. Res earch shows that adding breaks is essent ial. It protects you against burnout and enhances your ability to innovate. Many companies have harnessed this fact by offering fun ways to encour age their employees to take breaks. I’ve seen companies with foosball tab les, collections of Nerf guns or dartbo ards. Providing fun distractions is more about the long-term benefits and if your chosen distraction is a team gam e like pool or foosball, you’ll be building a stronger team by promoting bondin g among employees that play the games together. So get your game face on and think of fun ways to get your office going.
on the job
PRIVATE SECTOR PENSION SAVING RISING AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE New Department of Work and Pensions figures show that automatic enrolment is continuing to play a major role in reversing the decade-long decline in private sector pension saving. There were 6.7 million eligible workers in the private sector saving in a pension in 2013 (46%) – up from 5.9 million (42%) in 2012. Young people in the private sector showed the largest increase in proportion saving into a pension, growing more than any other age group – 30% of those aged 22 to 29 saved in 2013 compared with 24% in 2012. But growth in the number of pension savers was seen in all age groups, including those aged 50 to pension age. The increase in the number of people saving is largely due to the Government’s policy of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions, which is currently being rolled out and has already affected over 4.7 million workers. Pensions minister Steve Webb said: “Automatic enrolment is getting Britain saving and helping build a fairer society. Almost 7 million people in the private sector are now saving, including many from low to middle income occupations who have never had their own workplace pension before."
STRESS IS THE UK’S TOP HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERN A new TUC survey of union health and safety representatives published for World Mental Health Day found stress was the top concern in UK workplaces. Over two-thirds of safety reps (67%) taking part in the biennial survey said stress, and its effect on their colleagues, is one of the main concerns they deal with at work. The survey suggests stress is a particular concern in public services most affected by austerity. Topdown reorganisations and backdoor privatisation are having a huge impact on staff morale and well-being in the NHS, schools, local government and the civil service, says the TUC. General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Employers and managers need to do more to identify and reduce risks and to provide support to employees."
S TAT AT TA C K
Percentage of the British workforce who feel the pay gap is too big
on the job
A C E L E B R AT I O N O F A L L THINGS OFFICE There was only one place to be at the start of October and that was office* 2014. GEORGE CAREY headed down to see what this year had to offer
on the job
t was another fantastic year for office* delegates with inspirational speakers from lawyer, businesswoman and original advisor to The Apprentice’s Lord Sugar, Margaret Mountford to former PA to Lily Allen and founder of You Need A Vicky, Vicky Silverthorn. Vicky commented: “When I first started out as a PA, with so much to learn, I would never have dreamt that I would have a career interesting and exciting enough that I would be invited to speak at office*. It just goes to show that you can take yourself anywhere you want in life.” But with National PA Day on the opening day and the embracing of an international occurrence aimed at the average admin worker, this year’s event felt as though it were more about the everyday, hard working PA. SURVEY The event saw the celebration of National PA Day and the unveiling of the results of this year’s National PA Survey. Completed by a sample of 1,275 PAs working across the UK last month, the survey results provide a fascinating insight into the role of modern PAs – often the unsung heroes of the workplace. “There are an estimated 650,000 people working across the UK in a PA role. Although their job titles may vary, together their profession contributes positively to the productivity of every single part of the economy,” says office* event manager David Maguire. “The majority of survey respondents very evidently enjoy the important work that they do. But whilst many do feel appreciated by their boss or bosses, there is still an overwhelming consensus of feeling that the PA profession is undervalued as a career choice. By recognising – and promoting – the achievements of PAs on National PA Day, we aim to encourage greater support and enthusiasm for this great profession as a whole,” he explained. Some of the most interesting survey results included: Which of the following salary bands do you fall into? Up to £20,000 - 7% £21-£25,000 - 20% £26-£30,000 - 26% £31-£35,000 - 21% £36-£40,000 - 13% £41-£50,000 - 10% £51,000+ - 3%
Do you feel that being a PA is undervalued as a professional career choice? Yes - 78% No - 16% No opinion - 6% Do you feel confident to ask for career development budget? Yes - 49% No - 51% What one word would you use to sum up the role of a PA? Most used: Multitasker, Organised, Challenging, Invaluable, Undervalued, Support, Busy, Essential, Rewarding, Demanding, Hectic, Varied… A year to remember This year’s event also highlighted a wonderful, global happening, namely the International Year of the Secretary and Assistant (IYOTSA). In 1984, a similar international celebration was organised by the PSI and 2014 marks its 30th anniversary. The 2014 celebrations are coming out of South Africa and aim to raise the profile of the role as a profession, rather than just a job, changing the perception of the secretarial role as purely a support role and explaining how businesses can best use those that are in the role. With a fifth of the world’s working population employed in administration, the vision is to change the world for assistants so that they are recognised for the work that they do. Not just an inward exercise in selfcongratulation, the campaign wants assistants, their businesses, associations, trainers and companies that support this sector to campaign for the recognition of this role as a profession. As well as a the inspirational speakers and role affirming initiatives, there were some good old fashioned goodies to get your hands on. To celebrate its tenth birthday the Perception team hosted a range of special birthday events at the show, including a luxury prizegiveaway and a record-a-song event at the worldrenowned Abbey Road Studios. If that wasn’t your thing, KDM Events were offering free hand massages and spa day prize draws to highlight their fresh collaborative team exercise ‘Castaway’.
on the job
Can’t stand Helen in accounts? Convinced Dave in IT gave you evils last time he upgraded your operating system? It’s time to stop being paranoid about that co-worker from hell and start working on your work relationships. learns a thing or two from relationship expert VAN MOODY
on the job
ow you interact with your colleagues, whether your teammates, boss or clients, can make or break your career path. Problematic workplace relationships can cause anxiety, burnout, clinical depression and even illness from stress – and what’s worse, they can undermine your chance at that much sought-after promotion or put a stop to your career success altogether. On the flipside, good relationships can get you far and people will stoop to all kinds of lows to achieve them (like Rachel taking up smoking to land that promotion). Relationship expert and author of the book The People Factor, Van Moody says it’s essential to evaluate relationships intelligently. Ask yourself: what makes a great relationship? How do you keep a relationship great? What are the warning signs of trouble? Forming workplace allies is all down to you. “While it’s so very easy to blame the other person in a distressed relationship, it’s far more effective to consider and assess the situation objectively and build your relational IQ – the mind-set that helps us to better understand and control our professional relationships to maximise happiness and realise life-changing success,” he explains. He says relationships are an art that most of us lack the skill and mastery to keep up: “Naysayers might ask: ‘Is it really possible to master relationships?’ The answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’ – if you’re willing to learn skills and proactively apply tactical techniques, that is.” To help you improve your interactions in the office, Moody offers 10 pitfalls to avoid when seeking to develop and maintain good relationships with your work colleagues: 1. DON’T HIDE. A person who hides their true feelings from others will never be able to enjoy an authentic relationship. “Being real and authentic with others and even making yourself vulnerable from time to time can foster tremendous emotional connections, including allimportant trust, and forge unbreakable bonds,” says Moody. 2. DON’T TWEAK THE TRUTH. Studies show that 10-30% of job applicants admit to ‘tweaking’ their resumes. This can only lead to a troublesome future relationship with a new employer. “Even slightly altering the truth is one of the most destructive forces that can permanently damage a personal or professional relationship,” says Moody. “Keep your work relationships transparent and honest to build trust with your superiors, colleagues, and customers.” 3. DON’T RUSH AND MISS CRITICAL RED FLAGS. When forming healthy work relationships, it’s important to notice any subtle friction and learn from it. A good connection needs time to develop. “Resist the desire to take shortcuts or race through certain aspects of a relationship,” says
Moody. “Even if it is painful or boring, embrace it, knowing that it offers a healthy purpose for the big picture of a relationship.” 4.DON’T FORCE IT. If a relationship isn’t working out, don’t push it. Move on and invest in the more promising relationships at work. 5. DON’T REPEAT THE PAST. You are not defined by your past relationships. “While previous events and actions might be a life lesson, the nature of every journey is to move forward,” says Moody. “Don’t repeat those actions that did not produce the intended results; instead, focus on new choices that will effect a more desirable outcome.” 6. DON’T BE A ‘TAKER’. Giving is better than taking. “When we think about what we can do for others instead of what they can do for us, we get to the very heart of healthy, successful interactions,” he says. “In a strong relationship, both people willingly give far more than they take.” 7. DON’T STAY IN AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. We do sometimes end up in relationships that are not beneficial. In these cases, it’s important to know how to end a toxic relationship. “If someone is not able to accept a change in the status or direction, is not loyal and stable under pressure or in the face of challenge, or had once been dependable but now is unreliable, these are strong clues that the relationship may not be worth saving,” says Moody. “Whether it is a customer or client, a colleague, or your workplace, don’t let feelings of misplaced guilt or sympathy get in the way of making good personal choices.” 8. DON’T LOSE PERSONAL POWER. There are, however, situations in the work environment where relationships with toxic people are necessary. It’s down to you to develop strong enough personal power to not let the actions of those people hurt you. 9. DON’T FORGET WHO AND WHAT REALLY MATTERS. The most valuable people aren’t always the most visible. “People of true value bring fulfilment, not frustration,” says Moody. “All too often, those taken for granted or overlooked are veritable lifesavers or ones that silently help us achieve goals, provide encouragement, or offer important insights and connections.” 10. DON’T ACCEPT EVERYONE. “The people around you right now are setting the course for next week, month, year and possibly the rest of your career,” Moody concludes. “Accordingly, there must be a qualification and selection process for those you choose to surround yourself with. Blocking the wrong people is the only way to make room for the right people who help you achieve your dreams, enrich your lives, and create a happy, satisfying experience.”
on the job
6 0 S ECONDS WITH…
D AV I D M I T C H E L L The Peep Show star and panel guest extraordinaire talks time travel and the cruelty of armchair critics Do you look at the reaction to your columns online?
“No. Not at all. I really try and stop myself because there are such horrible comments and human nature is such that even if there are nice things as well you sort of need to see nice things at a greater rate than none to come out psychologically even. Somehow a jibe has more rhetorical impact than a compliment.”
How do you think studying history at Cambridge has affected your style of comedy?
“I suppose I tend to see things as part of a broader historical direction of travel, either sort of good or bad. Most of the sort of things I try and write jokes about, whether it’s sketches or on panel shows, they tend to be about things now that you think are absurd, or dangerous, or laughable, the kind of direction that things are going in…”
If you could time travel to any period in history, when would it be?
“I’d go everywhere – ancient Rome, ancient Greece, medieval times, the Holy Roman Empire, lots of places. But actually to settle, I think you want somewhere with ready access to antibiotics and not too much fighting in the streets.”
What about your travels in London? Have you moved around much?
“When I left university some friends of mine had a flat above a row of shops near Swiss Cottage roundabout then they noticed a couple of flats in the same road coming up for rent. They were very aesthetically displeasing from the outside, like a stereotypically bleak bit of urban 60s concrete building with bins everywhere. Because London’s so massive if you don’t know it and haven’t grown up in it you often end up in the neck of the woods you start in.” Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse is out on 6 November from Faber & Faber. Book tour information available at www.faber.co.uk.
BREAKTIME desktop dining WEST END W AT C H
C O U R G E T T E , P O TAT O AND CHEESE SOUP
High camp returns to the West End for another year with La Soirée, an incredible mix of burlesque, vaudeville and circus sideshow. Some performers astound with feats of physical nerve while others charm with character sketches and slapstick. This seamless show allows no time for you to pick your jaw up from the floor before the next act takes to the stage. Le Gateau Chocolat, the crossdressing tenor, holds the audience in rapture with his operatic take on modern pop and rock music and with his flirtatious performance – men in the front row beware!
Spiegeltent at the South Bank
• • • •
500g potatoes, unpeeled and roughly chopped 2 vegetable stock cubes 1kg courgettes, roughly chopped bunch spring onion, sliced – save 1 for serving, if eating straight away • 100g extra-mature cheddar or vegetarian alternative, grated, plus a little extra to serve • good grating fresh nutmeg, plus extra to serve
METHOD Put the potatoes in a large pan with just enough water to cover them and crumble in the stock cubes. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook for five minutes. Add the courgettes, put the lid back on and cook for five minutes more. Throw in the spring onions, cover and cook for a final five minutes. Take off the heat, then stir in the cheese and season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whizz to a thick soup, adding more hot water until you get the consistency you like. Serve scattered with extra grated cheddar, spring onions and nutmeg or pepper. Or cool and freeze in freezer bags or containers with good lids for up to 3 months.
T R E AT Y O U R S E L F WATCH THIS
LISTEN TO THIS
The Judge Out 17 October
The Judge sees Robert Downey Jr. playing a hotshot defence attorney who returns home for a family funeral only to discover that his father stands accused of murder. Hank Palmer is a successful lawyer who is reunited with his family for the first time in years, but his arrival stirs up old feuds and tensions between them. To make matters worse, his estranged father, who also happens to be the town judge, is accused of murder. Despite their frosty relationship, Palmer agrees to defend him in court. Look out for an excellent performance by Robert Duvall.
Ella Henderson Out now
Proving that finishing sixth on X Factor is no barrier to success, Ella Henderson’s first album, Chapter One, is set to rise to the top of the album charts. Henderson has worked with Ryan Tedder, Babyface, Eg White, TMS and Salaam Remi on tracks for Chapter One, which should go some way to ensuring it’s a decent record. Hit single ‘Ghost’ is probably the stand-out track while another song to listen out for is the melodic ‘Glow’. Prepare to hear more from this rising singer-songwriter star.
POWER HOUR ONE-MINUTE BURST This fast-paced DVD programme from celebrity trainer Paul Katami is based on the science of one-minute burst intervals. You’ll repeat reps of each move—one highintensity cardio, one lower body, one upper body, and one core—for one minute, then take 30 seconds of active recovery before repeating the round four more times. The exercises are basic (think pushups, lunges, and burpees) to ensure optimal effort and results, but this workout is definitely not for the faint of heart.
BOOK THIS PURNELL’S If you’ve got a few extra pennies burning a hole in your pocket, you might want to give this high-end Birmingham-based treat a try. Glyn Purnell’s trademark unfaltering quality is on show night after night with delicious dishes such as a duck egg yolk with black pudding crumble, bacon, cauliflower purée and trotter nuggets for starter or poached and roasted duck, rolled in liquorice charcoal for your main course. 55 Cornwall St Birmingham
LOVES Ho ho hope you’re organised It’s time to get some of that Christmas shopping done, so here’s a few ideas
HOME 1 Accessorize, Lexi Emb hardcase clutch, £45 2 Amara, Ted Baker tweed iPad mini sleeve, £19.95 3 Amara, Orla Kiely tulip blush pink apple vase, £35 4 Cuckooland, As good as gold hip flask, £39.95 5 Getting Personal, Coz-e-reader floral tablet cushion, £19.99 6 Cuckooland, Hook Line and Sinker washbag, £34.95
O F F I C E C AT W A L K The weather outside is frightful… But this knitwear’s sooo delightful
WOMEN 1 Crew Clothing, Snowflake mitten, £15
2 Get the Label, Pieces vail knitted snood, £7.99
1 Burton Menswear, Burgundy cable knit hat £10, scarf £14 and gloves £10
3 Simply Be, Tartan scarf, £20
2 House of Fraser, Barbour tartan gloves, £59
4 Dune, Bow gloves, £39
3 White Stuff, Seagal plain scarf, £25
5 Simply Be, Nude chunky knit bobble hat, £10
AND ONE MORE THING ...
N E W T O T H E PA R T Y Office manager ALEX DEWHURST asks us all to consider the plight of the office new girl at this year’s Christmas party
ALEX DEWHURST Office manager
Did you agree with the columnist? Think you can do better? Email us with your ‘And one more thing’ of approx. 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org
The office party season is getting closer. If you’re an office veteran getting your outfit together and dusting off your dance moves, spare a thought for the office newbie. I seem to have a track record of starting new jobs around the August/ September mark. That means that I’ve been working for the company long enough to be expected to attend the Christmas party, yet not quite long enough to know what to expect! So here I am: the newbie once again, and I am filled with the familiar dread of not knowing what will become of me at this year’s festive celebration. This sweaty-palmed, queasy tummy feeling is fuelled by a few issues that crop up every year. Firstly there is the booze situation. Now we’re all grown ups here and most of us like a bit of a festive tipple at any office party. However, being a little, shall we say ‘tipsy’, for the first time around your new colleagues is always a daunting prospect. The advice of some is to just do it quick, get involved and get it over with. However that doesn’t sit well with me and I certainly do not want to be known as ‘the new girl who flashed her knickers’ for the next 12 months. Note to self: stay away from the punch. Also, what do I wear!? Is this an office of ladies who like to get the gladrags out and dance around their handbags, or are they more of the ‘just add heels and lippy’ types? Who knows? Beneath those drab trouser suits and sensible courts there could be an army of LBDs and six inch heels just waiting to be unleashed. And I know what you’re thinking: “Just ask someone!”, but I’ve been there before, and let’s be honest –people lie. I propose a motion whereby all new starters are issued with – alongside their contract and directions to the loos – an Office Party Etiquette Guide. I’m thinking photos, morning-after quotes from the staff and general statistics on volumes and units consumed. All in favour say “Aye!”.
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