Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Everywhere I go people are asking me about letters. I'm overhearing conversations about them in the kitchen, in the corridor, even in the toilets. My office has got obsessed by the letters A, B and C, and it's all my fault. I've been doing psychological experiments again.

The aim of the experiment was to see if the people in my office were easy to distract. Could just three pieces of paper be used to cause the entire office to cease to function? As it turns out, it was scarily easy.

Around 2 o'clock on Thursday I put up pieces of paper with the letters A, B and C around the office. There was no reason for doing this, and no logic to the letters. At least at first anyway. By 3.30, one of the other secretaries was getting decidedly obsessed about it, and began to bring the other teams to a halt as she started conversations, speculated, or just interrogated.

Not telling a soul, I occasionally provoked things by asking quite innocently if anyone knew anything about it. One colleague, who I regularly ask questions about important work things, looked me right in the eye and said authoritively, "It's for the cleaners...they're contractually obliged to clean certain parts of the office." I'll know not to trust him in future.

By Friday morning, an E and an F had appeared. Nothing to with me. And in desperation, this secretary had put up a post-it note, demanding that staff be told the reasons for these letters. Oddly, none was forthcoming. And as I walked up the corridor, sat at my desk or made a coffee, everywhere, people were earnestly asking one another about it, and really pretending they knew why the letters were there.

On Friday afternoon, I confessed to Northern Nurse what I'd done. She laughed for about five minutes.

It's amazing to think of the effect three little pieces of paper can have. And if you don't believe me, try it in your offices tomorrow.

As for me, I think I need a new job. Posted by Picasa

New faces

It's the night before the day of her new job, and my new flatmate doesn't look like she's going to get any sleep.

"I am nervous, about this, and I do not think you are going to help by m,e saying this."
"Just say it. It always makes me feel better when I'm nervous."
"And it helps?"
"Come on, it's got me through two new flatmates, a new job and a really severe haircut. Just try it."
She frowned for a minute.
"OK, how you say, it is going to be.... fantastic?"

I was a little nervous about the girls moving in. I'm not sure why, as I thought I'd be fairly used to sharing my house with people I've only just met by now. And rather than move in the fairly dull woman with the steady job, I decided to take a gamble and move in two Czech students who can only stay four of the six months I need them for. And so far it's been excellent.

So, as I also discovered when I opted for a grade three crop last Saturday, things work out better when I take risks.

Best when we're at our boldest. Now, who says that?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Way We Lunch

As part of our research into the future of our team and whether there is one, Manager kindly gave us permission to head over to the new Hertfordshire offices at Apsley. We weren't expected, but I managed to convince the person on the desk that we were there at the invitation of the project director. Which is fairly true.

I have to say I was determined not to like Apsley One, the unimaginatively named new building next to our new base at Apsley Two. But there's a lot to like; it's clean, bright and spacious. There's comfy chairs, flashy IT equipment. It's also TWENTY MILES FROM OUR CLIENTS, and I really can't stress that bit enough.

It's strange, as I used to hang out there quite a lot, and even thought of moving to Apsley. I'd been past Apsley Two in its derelict state so many times, and it's strange to have work and home cross over like that, and this place to come up again in my life.

It's across the bridge from Apsley Marina, which I absolutely love. So we decided to grab a coffee, Northern Nurse bought us cakes, and we all had a good bitch about work.

So far, that may just be the only upside of the Way We Work project. Posted by Picasa