By Nury Vittachi
Before we all drown in gloom, I must just share this. A friend of mine received a memo from the "human resources department". It must be called that to distinguish it from his office, which is clearly the "sub-human resources department", judging by how they treat him.
Anyway, these geniuses had noticed that his typical work-day now contained several activities not listed on their timesheets, which had not been updated since the Mesozoic Era (defined as "before Keith Richards' first wrinkle").
The timesheet listed activities such as "1189: Filing carbons from forward ledger" and "1214: Cleaning cyclostyle stencils." I mean!
Missing from the list were ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL modern office tasks such as video-conferencing, conducting software audits and forwarding not-safe-for-work email funnies.
"The department welcomes suggestions of activities which could be added to the timesheet," the memo said.
Neat idea. So I sent him a proposed list of timesheet codes and activities for things that office workers actually do.
Early Morning Activities:
3155: Drinking overpriced coffee;
3156: Reading celebrity gossip;
3157: Checking personal Gmail accounts;
3158: Sitting at desk with eyes closed to get over the stress of starting another day;
3161: Tidying desk to psyche oneself up into Full Working Mode.
3162: Watching old video clips on YouTube;
3163: Waiting for suitable time to suggest another coffee break;
3164: Suggesting another coffee break;
3165: Drawing lots for a staff member to go to Starbucks to get lattes;
3166: Drinking latte while complaining about boss.
Late Morning Activities:
3167: Attending useless meeting;
3168: Finding posture in which to look attentive during meeting while catching up on sleep;
3170: Copying down list of personal “action items” from meeting;
3171: Throwing away list of personal action items on way out of meeting.
3177: Ordering lunch from delivery lunchbox store;
3178: Waiting for lunch from delivery lunchbox store;
3179: Spilling smelly oil from delivery lunchbox over important papers;
3180: Attempting to wipe smelly oil off important papers;
3181: Giving up attempt to wipe smelly oil off important papers and throwing important papers away.
Lunch Hour Activities:
3182: Eating lunch while swapping malicious gossip about other staff;
3183: Going to the toilet;
3184: Sleeping in the toilet;
3185: Thinking about how awful life is;
3186: Planning ill-fated social event to make life better;
3187: Rewriting CV;
3188: Secretly faxing CV to other employers;
3189: Sneaking out of the office to see headhunter.
Early Afternoon Activities:
3190: Running your own business on company time;
3191: Complaining about opposite sex;
3192: Complaining about life;
3193: Complaining about pay;
3194: Writing sci-fi screenplay on company time;
3195: Staring into space, thinking about things;
3196: Staring into space.
3172: Reading movie reviews on Internet;
3173: Checking personal email again;
3174: Moving filing cabinet so that it hides you from view;
3175: Putting head on desk for five-minute "power nap";
3176: Waking up one hour later.
Late Afternoon Activities:
3197: Pretending to work while boss is watching;
3198: Engaging in possibly illegal fantasies;
3199: Waiting for six o’clock;
3199: Tidying desk and preparing to leave as six o’clock approaches:
3200: Smiling for the first time that day as one leaves the office.
Okay, okay, I admit it. That’s not really a new set of timesheet codes. It’s how I spent yesterday. But don't look so smug. You probably did exactly the same, didn't you? Huh? Huh?