Things I wish I’d known: In the Office

Living and working in a city eight times smaller than London (Bristol, for example), there are certain universally accepted truths:

  • You will bump into that person you’ve been avoiding in the dairy aisle of Sainsbury’s, no matter how drunk you are
  • you will find your way home like an inebriated homing snail, and
  • your corner shop keeper does remember every embarrassing thing you buy…

Small town life – it’s a blessing and a curse. But now you’re off to the big smoke, and everything’s about to change, starting with office life.
Until this point, your working life has probably involved working in a luxury shoebox with colleagues who have the same background as you. Now you’ve got a transfer to a 45-floor building in the City, or one of Silicon Roundabout’s red-bricked basements.

Don’t spend the night before your first day on the job preparing for work. Instead, read our handy guide to the Londoner’s office.


Hometown: Everyone takes their turn, working to a well-timed system. Your novelty mug is kept warm by the constant pouring of hot liquid. You may contribute to a kitty. One poor bastard is always dealt the devastating blow – finding the milk carton empty.

London: No concept of turns. As the newbie, you’ll be expected to remember the specific orders; tea with the milk in first, tea with a splash of milk last, black coffee, coffee stirred really quickly “to mimic a latte” and a Tetris pile of water bottles. On the plus side, your office provides everything. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a 20lb sack of tea bags.


Hometown: What security? If you’re the last to leave, you’re responsible for locking the windows and setting the alarm. Forget to do it, go to the pub, then make sure you’re the first in on Monday so no-one knows you left them open all weekend

London: Make friends with the security guards. They will be your best friends when you a. forget your keycard, b. need them to let you in after hours when you get caught short in central and c. need them to develop temporary blindness while you carry out a sack of tea…


Hometown: Exists only in rom-coms. Everyone is honest about the fact they do very little work.

London: Beware the office martyr. Can be seen arriving a convenient five minutes before the boss, owns a collection of coats which feature on the back of a chair in random rotation.


Hometown: You might have been divided in school, but now you’re bonded by your mutual history. Once-annoying quirks are now loveable office jokes

London: School’s back. Keep your eyes peeled for the jocks reloaded – super health freaks that go on and on and on about their weird protein shake porridge and compete in distance running. The mean girls are back and meaner than ever – point scoring has never been more complicated.


Hometown: Mostly used to share hilarious gifs and images comparing celebrities to cuts of meats

London: Now replacing conversation since 2001. Got something mildly important to say? Email it. Want to announce a meeting? Email it. But just remember this: Everything is recorded. Keep your bitching sessions to private email.

Have you seen this? Londoners’ 28 worst Office Screw ups… A hilarious collection of cautionary tales; for example, try not to give the CEO of your company a lap-dance at the Christmas party.


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