Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Everyone has bad days at work

I had a bad day this week, a one off. You know, one of those utterly shit days at work that gets worse and worse, until it culminates in you having to go to your desk and look unblinking up at the ceiling to stop you making a tit out of yourself and wailing like a demented walrus at all around you.

One of those days where you have to put into practice all those things they ask you at an interview; those tried and tested questions of endurance: 
 
"Can you work under pressure?"
"How are you at prioritising?"
"And how would you handle working with difficult people?"

You can always tell when a bad day at work is about to rear it's grinch-like face because it's about as subtle as an angry horse; ie. it never creeps up on you, it just happens. It's just there as soon as you get in, or wake up, staring at you like that mental pale kid out of The Ring. You forget to set your alarm and wake up 40 minutes late. You walk through the office door at 10am and don't actually put your bag or coat down until half past. You have a million and one things to do for the three people you are PA for, and then another, slightly less important person asks you if you can get them a cup of tea.

Then you hand the Director papers while they are on the phone, which three minutes later he claims he was never given. The Script Supervisor gets involved and reprimands you, "why didn't you give him the papers?". You reply that you did. They ask where you put them. You point to the TV on their desk and say "Look, they're here. Where he put them." They reply that you should always put them on his desk, so he doesn't miss them. They ignore the fact that you actually handed them to him. Neither of them apologise. You carry on with work.

The day continues, and the Script Surpervisor is constantly checking that you have fulfilled the basic requirements of your job. Every time she asks, you confirm that yes, you've done it. This satisfies her but leaves you on edge, worrying about fucking up the simplest of jobs.

You're already counting the hours until the end of the day, the way things are going you expect the next request the Script Supervisor makes to be in the spirit of the day: crap. So when she says "Jo, my soup exploded in the microwave, you think you know what's coming. When you jump in with a preemtive "Argh, I'm not cleaning a microwave", you're thinking not so much of the task itself, just that you've got so much else to do. It turns out they weren't going to ask you that at all; they were letting you know so that you didn't use it. Now she's offended. You realise you were in the wrong and nip off to do something you forgot earlier, planning your apology on the way back. You return and before you have a chance to explain yourself, she launches into what can only be described as a right telling off in front of three other people. You've heard her on the phone to her kids before, the manner they talk to you is not dissimilar.

At that moment, what you really need is that bit of you that will pipe up and put up some sort of defence and stick up for yourself, or at least explain that your response was the culmination and reflection of a shitty day of underpaid media work...not a reflection on them, or what they were saying. That you were going to apologise, this bringing down in front of people isn't necessary. But you don't get a chance because you're too busy feeling like a 10 year old who's just been given a dressing down in front of school friends. All you can do is apologise and shuffle away.

For the first time since you started at your job in live TV, your eyes are stinging from frustration and embarrassment. After a few minutes, you take yourself off to the toilet and look in the mirror, wondering how come your eyes are red if the tears have only been coming out of your nose. You hope no one noticed. You fan your eyes, dab at them a bit and blow your running nose. Breathe out a few times. Shut your eyes for a few seconds.

Then you get back to work.

11 comments:

nuttycow said...

Sorry you're not having the best day... if it makes you feel better, me neither :(

Robbie said...

Hey Jofish. Hope your day goes with out anymore hiccups, sorry to hear its not been the best.

China Blue said...

Aw, sorry you're having a crappy one Jo. I remember being given a dressing down last year by someone I was PA for, dissolving into tears there and then. Thing was, she was a nice woman (honest) but working with her put me on edge and I made silly mistakes, which is how my nerves manifest. Not long to go before the day ends... :-)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

nuttycow - Oh bless ya. See, we all have them!

robbie - All this happened yesterday, I wish I'd had the time to blog about it there and then!granted everyone was a bit stressed out but blimey, sometimes it just gets to ya!

china - That's the thing, when people put you on edge by constant questioning, it's just maddening! Getting into bed yesterday was the best feeling ever.

Shameless said...

uggh sounds like the people in your office can be right tossers. at least it's bank holiday this weekend ey!

James said...

Sorry to hear you had such a bad 'un yesterday. Hope today has been better.

I once lost my cool at work and entered into a four letter tirade directed at one of my seniors. Not only that but it was right in the middle of reception. I was a little pissed. We did the childish going quiet for a few days with each other and then it was all water under the bridge.

Question: Did you at any point during your crap day think..."this could make a good blog post"... because that is a sign of a true blogger.

Clarissa said...

Oh, yes, I know that one. The fanning the eyes as if that will make the red go away. Deep breaths and biting the tongue. You strike me as consumately capable.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

shameless - Strangely the people who work in my office full time are fine, it's the people who appear once or twice a week who seem to be the biggest pains.

James - today has been better, but I feel the whole week's been tainted if that's possible. Your right, half the time it's not the argument itself, but the awkwardness of the next time you see them. In answer to your question, I guess I fail the true blogger test...it was afterwards, in the evening I told my mum about my day and she shared her crap day and said "Well Jo, everyone has bad days at work". True story.

clarissa - I'm usually capable of answering back. Had I been caught earlier in the day and given a telling off then, I probably would have let rip back. Its just by the time it happened, I was at the end of my tether. Bah.

Miss Understood said...

I think I'm too hot headed to take it all lying down...stupidly I'd probably have blown up and walked out. Well done for keeping it together Jo. I hope today is better :)

Ladyshambles said...

Holy moly, I hope your week improves! Well done for holding it together. I would have definitely done big crying. I salute you.

London-Lass said...

Sorry about the office badness .. I've done the silent tearing up too. But not at this job. Although at my current position (working for four guys) it's not exactly a bed of roses (I mean we are talking about four guys with a LOT of issues here) it's 10 times better than the job I found myself in about 11 years ago working for a 2-partner firm of `Entertainment Accountants'. I was new, everything was daunting and I didnt have a ruddy clue what the ruddy heck was going on (due to girl I was meant to be replacing constantly snapping and snipping at me in a `God you're useless!' type way and bosses constantly rolling their eyes as soon as I opened up my frightened little mouth) and so, after realising that, yes, I'm good at working in busy/stressful environments but, no, not for utter bastards, I left the firm after just 2 weeks employment.

PS : BTW this is not a suggestion that you should leave Jo. Just a `sharing in your working woes' post.

 

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