By Marilyn Vinch
We spend hundreds of hours each month in that bittersweet environment we call ‘the office’, yet – with the exception of the occasional sitcom or romcom – our culture rarely honors the importance or the peculiarity of the place.
Negotiating the ins-and-outs of office politics, habits, and processes can become a micro-culture of its own. And every culture needs its arts scene! That’s why the CashNetUSA people have put together this new set of haiku poems to celebrate the ultra-ordinary yet often bizarre world of office life.
The haiku, as you may know, is a Japanese form of poetry in which the three lines contain five, seven, and five syllables, with each line of the haiku putting a subtle twist on what we’ve learned in the preceding lines. It’s a great way to take a fresh look at the many layers we encounter each day at work.
The double-edged sword of offering to make tea is a good example. You want a cuppa, and it’s always nice to offer your colleagues (not least so the gesture might be reciprocated later on), yet it’s always a gamble – what if everyone says yes? Then you have an office-load of tea to brew up and carry, not to mention trying to remember how many sugars each employee wants!
Another tricky social aspect of this shared space is returning from vacation. That terrible strip lighting can make anyone seem instantly pale and unhealthy, regardless how relaxed and full-bloodied they feel after their break. There’s also the annoyance at having to tell thirty different people the same response about how you enjoyed your trip. Yet, if you tried to sit them down together and give them a slide show, they’d be horrified, right?
Other aspects are more work-oriented. When your computer gives up the ghost, you’re subject to delays, missed deadlines, lost work and – worst of all – an encounter with the IT manager, who is as unfriendly as they are tech-savvy.
Same can happen with conference calls. Harnessing the full power of modern technology, you bring together disparate employees and clients from all around the world, only for the signal to drop. Can they still hear you? Can they see you turning red in your seat, or has the call dropped altogether? Sounds like it’s time to call that IT manager again. Oh, great…
There are always ups and downs in the office, but you can brighten the darker moments with these haikus:
About Marilyn Vinch