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on falling off trees (this week's strip)

So, this week's strip, which commemorates a spectacularly literal dream I had about my current job situation. I also dug out and completed a strip from last year -- you can tell it's from last year because we still had tea and coffee provided.

I had a conversation with a woman at a training exercise who was adamant that it was right that we shouldn't have free tea and coffee; but as I get older I'm noticing more and more how every unnecessary complication in a workplace adds to your neural load. Having to figure out the coffee situation anew several times a day through a fog of social anxiety and vague resentment is a problem. Get a large enough workplace with enough weird complicated rules and I suspect you could spend your life just ironing out these little wrinkles and never get any work done at all. Maybe that was what she meant.


halfway home
halfway home
a teeter and a totter




create, destroy - detail
create, destroy - detail
inky stuff

Comments

( 22 worms — Feed the birds )
motodraconis
10th Mar, 2011 09:06 (UTC)
Love the sinister colour and splintering wood movement in the first strip. Gah, unsettling work dream!

There's no tea, coffee or milk provided at my work. Someone has shoved a kettle in one of the offices, which you have to fill up by walking to the shared-with-students and less-than-hygienic communal toilets to fill up, through about 5 different hefty doors and one coded lock. You bring your own tea in, which you end up keeping in your drawer in another office for added faff, accessible by locked-with-key door.
I gave up in the end, I literally don't have time for all that twatting about between 3 rooms, 2 security measures and 6 throw-your-body-against 'em to open doors for a single cup of sodding tea that you won't have time to wait for the kettle to boil for anyway. Neural load - oh yes!

I make a thermos of tea at home every morning, lug it to work and drink my way through that. I've time to pour ad glug down a thermos-top of ready made tea, but no time to make a fresh mug. I suppose on the bright side I'm being very energy efficient and saving money, as one kettle-boil and one teabag or spoonful of loose tea (I brew it in a pot before decanting to the thermos) lasts me the whole working day.
Mind you, I am drinking tea without milk (spiced or herbed black or green tea usually) so that keeps nicely in a thermos, and tastes good all day or even when left ovenight. Standard milky tea tends to be a bit horrible left sitting in a thermos all day. So this strategy might be of no use to you. (And I'm not looking forward to when I start walking to work again and will have a heavy bulky thermos on my back every day.)

Edited at 2011-03-10 13:54 (UTC)
cleanskies
10th Mar, 2011 19:07 (UTC)
I don't take milk at work -- it is simply Far Too Complicated -- and just make tea using my tea ball. I do kind of wish I had an elegant solution for guests, though...
cleanskies
10th Mar, 2011 19:07 (UTC)
I mean people coming to meetings, obviously....
fjm
10th Mar, 2011 09:12 (UTC)
Free refreshments can change the tone of workplaces and meetings. I always make sure there will be food at any meeting likely to be fractious.

Workplaces tend to get rid of coffee etc not to cut costs but to cut socialising.
cleanskies
10th Mar, 2011 19:14 (UTC)
only myself to blame
Not ours, I fear -- it went as part of council cost-cutting. Possibly it was actually intended to be a fund-raiser, as we were all supposed to opt into a £5/month voluntary tariff taken straight from our pay packets. I considered the difference between that figure and the £2.72/person (ish -- I can't remember the exact amount) that they were then spending on our free tea and coffee and felt it was an internal recharge too far.
jinty
10th Mar, 2011 09:46 (UTC)
Good strip, chilling ending (1), chilling strip, warm ending (2)
Mean-spirited so-and-so saying it's right not to be provided with tea & coffee. Stupidity. Treat your staff mean and what will you get? People who aren't focusing on the main work but on externalities, side issues, grievances, complications.
cleanskies
10th Mar, 2011 19:15 (UTC)
indeed
You wouldn't believe how much of today got wasted talking about pensions....
monkeyhands
10th Mar, 2011 10:02 (UTC)
Two brilliant strips.

Also, with you on the neural load of the tea/coffee thing. I've never known a workplace where kitties didn't breed massive confusion and resentment. Having to think about every cup is hard. When I freelance at these places, I always bring in a box of teabags and make it known it's for sharing. Great if you're there for a week or two because it's seen as an insanely generous gesture, not so great if you're there for months because you start getting sucked into the resentment thing yourself.
cleanskies
10th Mar, 2011 19:18 (UTC)
I did bring in a big catering tub of coffee for sharing (as did several other people) but somehow I didn't find this act of generosity left me emotionally capable of taking coffee from the communal scheme I had not contributed to. I had hoped it might but Oh Well.
surliminal
10th Mar, 2011 21:54 (UTC)
I read thid out of context and thought kitties? people who dislike cats|??!! surely not!
monkeyhands
11th Mar, 2011 10:15 (UTC)
Hee hee! Now, real kitties in the workplace would be awesome.
cleanskies
13th Mar, 2011 19:47 (UTC)
and making headway!
I'm currently trying to convince my office-mates of the need for a floor cat.
pollitesss
10th Mar, 2011 10:56 (UTC)
Two more strips that I don't have the right praising adjective for. Beautiful if not the prettiest stories.

We still have such a civilised arrangement in my department. We even allow our undergraduates to use the free tea and coffee. But then we are not yet at such an extreme point of budget reduction. We buy in bulk from a supplier that offer hefty discounts on things to universities. Fresh milk is bought by staff on an ad-hoc basis and remarkably most people seem to chip in. People occasionally bring in boxes of teabags or tubs of hot chocolate and leave them out for sharing. I keep a personal stash of more expensive herbal teas in my desk drawer.
cleanskies
10th Mar, 2011 19:21 (UTC)
Now, that was how we did it at Oxfam, and it did work OK -- but the sheer volume of people on the floor here means that we don't really have an effective social compact in place.

And don't get me started on the Dishwasher. Really.
surliminal
10th Mar, 2011 21:59 (UTC)
Generosity does seem to build generosity. My new place does free coffee , teabags and milk and htere seems to be a constant supply of people leaving bscuits and chocs. Much more pleasant atmosphere. Rly it is a tiny cost for all but the smallest workplaces.
timscience
10th Mar, 2011 19:24 (UTC)
I did some of my first external lesson observations this week and it was noticeable that the refreshments were a bit shit. Cue two days of more experienced colleagues talking about how some biscuits or cake always puts them in a mellower mood when doing inspections.
motodraconis
10th Mar, 2011 20:40 (UTC)
I did a validation recently at a nameless Liverpool Uni and the refreshments were rubbish. No biscuits, the only food provided was a single sandwich each at lunchtime. It really did look pants.
When I validated at Cocklan, they provided trays of mini cream cakes, and I later discovered that all important meetings would be cream caked - with nothing else to eat.
Which was a bit shit for me, as I dislike cream cakes. Bleugh!

Mind you, can get very worked up over the refreshments; I recall one particularly poxy conference being exclusively vegetarian. I overheard one of the organisers boasting of having arranged it to be utterly meat and fish free and found it difficult to restrain myself from stabbing her in the face with a plastic fork.
cleanskies
13th Mar, 2011 19:48 (UTC)
or possibly am seeing it in my head right now
I now want to see a cartoon of this moment
surliminal
10th Mar, 2011 21:53 (UTC)
Ice white crow. Stunning.
After my recent efforts to write flash fic, envious:)
cleanskies
13th Mar, 2011 19:50 (UTC)
:) thanks
surliminal
10th Mar, 2011 21:57 (UTC)
Ah I've caught up now on the tea/coffee. My last workplace refused to pay for tea/coffee/mlk so everytime I ran to kitchen I had forgotten to bring a ragged sweaty tea bag and had to beg for one from people with nearer offices. Every day there woud be angry notes tacked to worktos about coffee pot thefos. For the money involved they incurred megabytes of hatred and resentment.
cleanskies
13th Mar, 2011 19:50 (UTC)
Yes, the kitchen area is now (even more of) a forest of resentment and snarky sighns ...
( 22 worms — Feed the birds )