When you are young and sexy and urban, there is a tendency to socialise after work, with your colleagues. Even if you are working in a suburban industrial estate, you migrate towards like-minded people of around the same age.
I remember when I worked in Dublin, from the tender age of twenty one, I partied like it was 1999 with work mates. In those glamourous days, 1999 still seemed an exotic future date, and the scam that was the Y2K virus had not even been invented. My co-workers, like I, were freshly plucked from college. Still a little green around the gills, and new to the high octane lifestyle that a medium sized city like Dublin seemed to offer, we were young, wild and carefree. Back then I was physically able to stay out in the discotheque until 3am, and still be reasonably compos mentis at 9am as I slithered behind my desk at 9am, later in the morning.
Those days are long gone. The intervening years have seen an inexorable rise in my requirement for sleep. Nowadays on the rare occasion that I am out at 11pm on a school-night, I find myself checking my watch worriedly, as I mentally calculate how much more awful each additional minute carousing will make me feel the next morning.
The glories of middle age.
Having said that, I am single. And I live in a very nice flat in the city centre, and I keep myself gainfully occupied to the best of my ability.
My colleagues are not so lucky. Strangely enough they remain in the same age bracket as myself. It’s probably not a coincidence. Unless you are exceptionally ambitious or talented, your career seems to progress at a steady pace. Your peers may change as you change job, but remain at approximately the same age as you, treading the same well worn path of advancement. To the dizzying heights of the middle.
My colleagues are all heterosexual (as far as I know), married and parents. And all living in Dublin’s suburbs or commuter towns. .
I must be some fierce exotic fruit for them. Not merely a homo, but a city dwelling homo who has actually lived abroad.
I’m not jealous of their circumstances. It sounds pretty hellish if I am honest. The only upside as far as I can see is that they have children, meaning that assuming they are not monsters in their personal lives, they might have someone to take care of them when they are older, and might need some additional TLC.
They get their kicks from baking.
On a regular basis there is a bake sale for charity. At random times. This week was ‘Quality’ week – so every day a different person from that department brought doughnuts to work. On every Friday there are random buns and cheesecake and home baked biscuits, meticulously laid out in the canteen. Usually accompanied by a hand scrawled poster with a smiley-face saying ‘ENJOY’.
It is an equal opportunities bake-off – the men and women equally involved in this bloodthirsty game of culinary one-up-manship. Whose tart has the crispiest crust? Whose cake fails because of its soggy bottom? Who makes better ‘Rocky Road’ – is it Janet from Accounts or Paul from HR (not their real names)?
When I was accused of not feeding my colleagues I addressed that in a practical manner – they were given pre-packed Marks and Spencer chocolate chip cookies the following day.
It’s a cut-throat world, the world of office bake-offs.
Today’s effort was disappointing however. I think there should be anonymous feedback forms. If there was then today’s review would have been scathing. Those chocolate muffins were bland and dry, with insufficient chocolate, that he smiley face made from icing did not cover.
I’ll give them a B for effort, but a disappointing outcome overall. Must try harder.