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You're Not My Friends, I Just Work Here

by Vicky Priolo
2 September 2013 55 Comments

I go to work to work, not to hear about your impending sprog, flick through your holiday snaps or buy you a birthday cake.

Yet again my hackles have been raised at the sight of a mewling infant being held aloft in the reception area of the office where I work. I should have guessed that the baby Jesus had arrived for a visit when my female colleagues disappeared en masse without saying anything to me. Most have figured out my antipathy towards under 18’s and don’t mention the b-word in my earshot.

If only it was just the babies that I was meant to appreciate. When exactly did it become essential that your colleagues celebrated each and every significant moment in your life? I fully understand that I am destined to spend a huge proportion of my life in the workplace. I can do the maths and I know I’d be doing myself no favours if I adopted the stance that my colleagues were a necessary evil (even on days when they quite clearly are). I endeavour to be polite and friendly to each and every one; even the fat cunt on my floor who talks to everyone like they are retarded and admires himself in his magic mirror that he believes makes him massively attractive to every female on the planet.

I’ve worked for massive corporations, small companies, medium-sized businesses and each one has its differences. What they all have in common though is that they have employed a person at some time or another who was responsible for starting the ‘traditions’ which are now unstoppable.

How about buying cakes on your own birthday to feed the folk you despise? It’s always the ones you hate that rush up to grab the spoils just as soon as you email the company that you are one year older and £30 fucking quid poorer for it. Then there is the collection. Chipping in a fiver and scrawling your name on cards celebrating ‘big’ birthdays/weddings/imminent sprog dropping. Every time you have to ask all about this person’s significant event because you care so little about them that you have never learnt the name of their fiancée or noticed that the protrusion at the front wasn’t just too much pie but a gestating foetus.

I am not, I may add, a heartless bitch. I spend time choosing appropriate cards for my friends and family, sourcing presents that I know they will love and am more than happy to put my hand in my pocket for my nearest and dearest to celebrate their cherished moments. I don’t, however, care one iota if Dave in accounts is being dragged up the aisle this weekend as I only ever call him when he’s fucked up my expense claim again. I have made friends in the workplace (believe it or not!) and when they share their news with me on a personal level I happily join them for a drink and chip in for a gift. That’s because the sentiment is real, heartfelt and borne out of friendship, not duty, obligation and emotional blackmail.


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The person toting the cards round the office, rattling the envelope of money and gathering everyone round a desk to gurn at whichever person is doing something noteworthy is the bane of my life. They are frankly no better than the chuggers who accost you outside mainline stations, thinking they will get you when you are weak and your defences are down. The main protagonists cotton on quickly to my disdain for such rituals and they are invariably the same moronic folk who drag people up to dance at office parties and expect you to sponsor them to walk 50m round their local park. And yet they still insist on trying to convert me. They ask why I told no-one about my impending wedding, why I haven’t sent out a round robin for my latest charitable venture and why I am busy once again on the day of the Christmas party.

Get this people: I have a life outside the office that is rich and enjoyable. If I need new friends I know where to find you; though God help me if I get that desperate that I ask to befriend someone in (shudder) the human remains department. I would however be most grateful if you accepted the following.

1. Bring your newborn into the office just once. Yep, that’s right, parade around in a communal area, let everyone who is is marginally interested coo and cluck then never, I repeat never let your Klingon darken the office door again. If someone wants to enjoy your child’s company on further occasions they can go out of their way in their own time to do so and not disturb me as they are handed round a bunch of menopausal women gathered near my desk. Also, where’s the bloody health and safety bitch when you need her!

2. Ban all celebrations of a personal nature being acknowledged via a collection or circulation of cards. As no-one seems capable of drawing the line I can only propose a stop and desist policy. Such cards only line the pockets of Clintons and purveyors of useless gifty tat and are usually filled with platitudes which the receiver will never recall. In fact, the recipient is far more likely to focus on barbed comments and remember those so let’s spare anyone the upset (though I will miss the pleasure I derive from making up my sentiment-free words!)

3. Forget the quirky traditions and stop the feeders. These people who ‘advise’ us that everyone brings sweets back from holiday or that I have to buy a box of overpriced, sickly doughnuts for every fucker in my company on my birthday are greedy, self-centred, cake-stuffing dictators. When I go on holiday I do it to forget work and will not waste my time queuing for fudge which mysteriously disappears after a few hours in the office kitchen. Well I say mysteriously, as I can usually spot someone looking queasy with sugar coated fingers making their way back to the IT department having claimed they came up to fix the printer….

4. I am a foundling. My husband is agoraphobic. I turn into a pumpkin if I stay out after 6pm. I do not need persuaded to join in. I am an adult and if I wanted to, I would. I don’t wish to know about your dull private life so don’t go sticking your nose into mine. Next time you cajole me into coming for drinks my response is ready. ‘Sorry, not tonight as I have a prior engagement. It’s my weightwatchers meeting. Fancy joining me? After all, you’ve been helping yourself to just a tad too much birthday cake of late, haven’t you?’

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

alondonstation 9:55 am, 23-Jun-2011

Bah! Humbug! Very funny, though.

Robert 10:06 am, 23-Jun-2011

It's true about the cake, but I actually like feeding people who wouldn't piss on me if I were on fire. At my last workplace there were a few supremely irritating women who were always dieting; they could never say no to cake, and I laughed to myself as I watched them cram it down.

Pirate Jenny 11:38 am, 23-Jun-2011

Man after my own heart Robert - let's clear out the dead wood of middle management via the medium of processed carb-induced cardiac arrest... Cake up, bitches!

robin lee 11:40 am, 23-Jun-2011

I once worked at a place, a bloke brought mini sausage rolls in for his birthday, in the toilet I saw him have a piss and not wash his hands then he went straight out and left one of his treats on everyone's desk. Dirty bastard.

Stick 12:10 pm, 23-Jun-2011

I can't explain how much this article speaks to me. You forgot to mention the birthday lunch though - when everyone fucks off for 2 hours and winges they don't have time to look at something for you becasue they are too busy.

revilow 12:13 pm, 23-Jun-2011

Nice to read that I'm not alone. Nobody at work knew about my impending spawn until I pissed off for 2 weeks paternity leave.

Adam 12:14 pm, 23-Jun-2011

Here here. If I had a pound for every pound I had given out for birthdays, leaving, charity, deaths I would break even but you get my point.

The Sigh 12:25 pm, 23-Jun-2011

Well, that's at least 38 times before I can think of that this article has been wrote. Net time, be original, "It was Kates birthday in accounts, all the woppers where chipping in ten bob. so I took a shit in her drawer to show disgust." sigh.

Johnny 12:32 pm, 23-Jun-2011

Wow, does this girl sit on a spike instead of a chair all day?

cleave 2:11 pm, 23-Jun-2011

Vicky, you should go and work for Foxconn, you'll get plenty of work done without the burden of cakes and conversation. I'm sure at least one of their employees will be happy to swap places with you.

Nicola Pengelly 2:51 pm, 23-Jun-2011

I would like to throw in the evil that is the office 'secret santa.' Whoever invented that needs to be put in the stocks. Buying some crap for someone I don't really like or know - how very very pointless.

oldtowner 7:10 pm, 23-Jun-2011

nicola - couldn't agree more. At our place you get pilloried for not joining in secret Santa. On the occasions I have takne part I received a foot spa, a blanket and some gimmicky tat that clearly cost less than the tenner I had spent. If people are going to take part then they at least need to put some effort in! Another year I suggested we all put the ten quid into the charity we were collecting for for Christmas, and of course it was mr who was lacking in the christmas spirit. Aaaagghhh! People just don't get it!

Grouch 10:58 am, 24-Jun-2011

I was having this very same rant not three days ago. We're in the throes of a seven year office charity event that demands a remortgage and is showing no signs of stopping. I do like the idea of feeding the office fatties with sugary cupcakes though. That's almost enough to make me change my opinion of that little tradition. What is it about people that makes then bring their kids to work? If you really can't find anything to with your nine month holiday than parade around the place that you've been excused from then maybe you should just bite the bullet and come back to work.

Ali F 11:50 am, 24-Jun-2011

'I don’t wish to know about your dull private life so don’t go sticking your nose into mine.' Amen to that. I used to work with a bloke whose stock answer to the question "What did you do at the weekend then?" was "I minded my own fucking business." I still miss him.

Tom 10:02 pm, 25-Jun-2011

There's a woman in my office, whenever the birthday treats come out (which is often) she takes a plateful and puts it in her desk drawers. Upon questioning she freely admits that she's taking it home to feed her kid. I don't think times are hard in her household, I think she's just getting her own back for having to buy a bunch of twats food when it's her birthday. I on the other hand have become somewhat despondent after working in the same office for six years. So much so that whenever anyone annoys me now I just offer to get them a water and dip my own brand of tea bag in it. Yes, I know it's sick but I'll admit that i'm a man on the f**king edge... I even do it when they ask for tea or coffee.

Darren 10:09 pm, 26-Jun-2011

I reckon everyone thinks stuff like this but would never say it! At the end of the last 3 school years I've had to chip in for a retirement present, each time for someone I hated!

Steve 10:43 pm, 26-Jun-2011

on my very first day in an office i was expected to chip in for someone i hadnt even met and when i left 6 month later i never even got so much as a thank you card .

king of the slums 12:49 am, 27-Jun-2011

Spot on, worst are the cliques that arrange to meet up at weekends, all know eachothers partners names. After avoiding their 'Thursday Drinks' for a year you go along and when introduced to their partners they reply 'oh you're KOTS, I've heard so much about you..' What like, I'm a twat?

Ian s 12:24 pm, 27-Jun-2011

Who do you think all of these annoying people are? They are you, me, all of us. Just face it, you have a sh1t job and no matter what you do there, you're gonna be p1ssed off!

jim beam 8:58 pm, 27-Jun-2011

worked in an office for seven years and i was the only male their pmt hell a total bullying and blame culture

Neil Ruston 10:25 am, 19-Jul-2011

You really do struggle with the concept of 'society' and that human beings cannot and do not flourish when alone or lonely. We all struggled with the concept that not all people were to our liking when we were younger - didn't we progress past that stage and come to recognise that that's life and part of the challenge by the time we reached our mid to late teens? Embrace life and all the challenges therein - the alternative is that you remain bitter until the very end. Sad.

Colin 10:10 pm, 25-Jul-2011

Fuck working as an office drone and whinging about it, my advice is get a life and do something interesting with it

Daysofspeed 11:13 am, 23-Nov-2011

Once joined an office where they explained in detail how the "tea club" worked. Only £1 a week, it included an afternoon biscuit. You got to vote on what biscuits. There was a written list of "milky & 2" type detail for the rota. I said "I'll just get my own from the canteen", was asked to do the sums and challenged why I'd make such a financially foolish decision. I answered "I can't be doing with making 14 cups a day when I want one". I might as well have declared "I fuck animals in my spare time". I didn't last long there...

Daysofspeed 11:19 am, 23-Nov-2011

Spicing up secret Santa is simple. I once bought someone - whose name I didn't pull out of the hat - a cock-shaped soap. The person that had drawn the name and had bought her a present was puzzled the minute it was handed out (obviously they'd wrapped their 'official' gift and didn't recognise it). You'll do fine imagining how it played out and yes it was as much fun as you are hoping.

Jimmy James Jameson 12:48 pm, 23-Nov-2011

I just opt out. When I first started here it seemed every week I was putting a fiver (the minimum contribution) toward someones birthday/wedding/baby gift. After a few months of this I sent an email out to the self-styled office "entertainments managers" asking not to involve me in these voluntary contributions, using the words: "going forward all I am prepared to offer is a kind word and a firm handshake, please don't ask me for anymore monies". job done. No need for passive aggression and whinging just tell them straight and move on. You must sit there fucking seething all day every day. lighten up. I wonder if you are the frosty faced bitch who sits across the office from me?!...

baz 12:57 pm, 23-Nov-2011

Fuck 'em all, work for yourself like I do.

Spugsy 1:19 pm, 23-Nov-2011

I fucking love this, I hate cunts who always demand that birthday people buy cakes and the rest of it. And don't even get me onto fucking 'team bonding' nights. Stick that go kart up your jacksie and leave me out of it.

Andrew Parker 4:48 pm, 23-Nov-2011

Enjoyed the article, brave stuff. Come and live in Norway. Nobody gives a shit who you are and what you do outside of work, especially if you are NOT (horror of horrors) Norwegian.

Dom Clarke 8:15 pm, 23-Nov-2011

I like team bonding. I like the people I work with

Dom Clarke 8:17 pm, 23-Nov-2011

...(Cont)...I like my work very much. What I don't like is this cake/pub lunch on birthdays business. WE ARE ADULT MEN, NOT BLOODY CHILDREN.

Matt Wallis 8:52 pm, 23-Nov-2011

I'm so glad I don't have to work with half the miserable fucks on here! I would hate to be like some of the arseholes on here who don't know how to get on with people and be sociable. Get a life and make friends with people rather than spend time just moaning!

Andrew Parker 3:35 pm, 24-Nov-2011

Make friends, "The Matt Wallis Way". Nice one mate, showing us the way to be sociable.

bruce fisher 4:52 am, 26-Nov-2011

It’s always the ones you hate that rush up to grab the spoils -Brilliant line! MORE!

bruce fisher 5:06 am, 26-Nov-2011

I was once told I had to make a donation first if I wanted to sign the card that she waved under my nose- I went & bought my own card and sent it. Have had a comment to a very old friend tipp-exxed out(censorship!)cos I dared to to differ from 'good luck' or'all the best'

The Baron 9:44 pm, 27-Nov-2011

Washing one's hands after a piss is more than a little effete isn't it Robin?

martin green 3:49 pm, 17-Jan-2013


All about the love 6:03 pm, 17-Jan-2013

LOL thanks

Dom 8:37 am, 18-Jan-2013

Put laxative in the birthday cakes when it's your turn , or take pleasure in purchasing out if date / stale cakes. If you are going to have to by cakes you might as well gain some pleasure from it

Lucca of westminster via Roma 12:37 pm, 18-Jan-2013

Dom that is funny...

Julie Foreman 6:04 pm, 18-Mar-2013

How sad that someone doesn’t appreciate her colleagues wanting to make a fuss of her on her birthday. We have someone in our office like this who claims she has divorced her family to avoid having to celebrate her birthday with them or us. I thinks she’s just mean and spiteful and know full well she’s the bitch who sends my mug on holiday and sends me mail addressed to Meddlesome Ratbag. She must have such an empty life like the author of this article. I suggest she gets a hobby (like golf or cycling) and spend less time snarling about other people.

Julie Meddlesome-Ratbag 6:08 pm, 18-Mar-2013

I think Vicky is a mean and twisted person. Celebrating birthdays with cake is fun and livens up the office. Also, I love it when my friends bring their babies into the office for us all to see, in fact we make an occasion of it. These distractions from the humdrum normality of office life make it worth coming to work. (As long as you aren't naughty and have too much cake!!)

amancalledbuck 6:29 pm, 18-Mar-2013

Anybody that works in an office is a cunt.

Some people here are morons. 8:26 pm, 18-Mar-2013

Some of the fuckwits here clearly haven't heard of dark or black humour. But carry on pissing and whinging about how awfully mean and terrible the author is you boorish cunts. If I was working with morons like you, and I had to bring cakes in, I'd lace the fuckers with anthrax and laxatives, ya gibbering, slow-witted bell-ends.

Allmodcons1965 9:11 pm, 18-Mar-2013

Some people here are morons,you beat me to it..I thought it was funny as fuck...

ryan 2:06 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Very good. I thought I was the only one that thought like that.

katerina stratford 2:36 pm, 21-Mar-2013

I'm sure they all hate you there too... What a hearless bitch.

Craig 10:00 pm, 27-Mar-2013

This is so true. I thought it was just me who felt like this. Very funny

Ali 9:12 pm, 9-Apr-2013

This made me chuckle! workmate of mine" have you got her on your facebook?" me" no, I don't have anyone from work on my facebook, that's my private life" look of shock from workmate. I laughed.

Sbat 12:02 am, 25-Apr-2013

This site is full of misanthropist writers

Richard 10:47 am, 27-Apr-2013

just discovered; Excellent funny & true article, very well written.

Henry 1:09 pm, 30-Aug-2013

Just discovered this site - and this article had me trying very hard not to laugh at my desk. Every word in this article is true, and many of the comments are applicable too.

rob 9:49 pm, 2-Sep-2013

Just do what I do when it's someone's birthday or they're leaving: write a vaguely unpleasant message and sign it with a made up name. They'll always wonder why they never met Horatio from accounts.

unclekeith 9:52 pm, 2-Sep-2013

...and the friendly, guilt-imposed (mandatory) magnanimous management "dinner" after work, that "the Sr. VP is so nice to organise on the company credit card)...that I have to get in my car and drive across town for. Fuck You...I have "dinner plans"...with my spouse..after I slog through an hour and a half commute to my home...after dealing with you febrile morons all day!

Grimjim 11:20 pm, 10-Sep-2013

Well said ! I hate people coming up and asking how my weekend was or have I got anything planned for the coming one. I don't care how there weekends was so fuck off asking about mine. The people that throw themselves into all the work place bullshit are usually the ones with no friends outside of work

Craig 8:20 pm, 11-Sep-2013

Well said Grimjim. I work in an office with the most dull people I've ever met. They clearly have have no social life outside of work. I don't care about them so I wish they would stop asking about me.

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