All posts by LisaLDN

Thoughts, Articles & Opinions

The Office Meeting – Time to call your bluff

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It’s 09:30am.

The tension is unbearably thick. Accusing eyes scan the room. The boss – the conductor to this orchestra, basques in the awkward silence he has created by his mere presence in the room. He smiles smugly and takes a sip of his steamy beverage.

Nothing goes ahead without him and he knows it.

Decided on his approach, he throws his cards on the table. Cutting through the silence with his bladed tongue, slowly, he begins the sadistic routine of going around the room; picking out each victim one by one, secretly assessing their reaction to his quick fire round of multiple questions. Of course each question is loaded with cruel intention.

Watch out for when he asks for your opinions and your input.

It always starts with a “So, How are you finding things so far?”

This is a test.

Unfortunately, he already knows the answers, but the true revelation comes the moment you realise this test isn’t even for you. It comes the moment you understand you are just a mere pawn in the game of his office politics.

You see, the boss knows you have no clue to his line of questioning. So before you rack your brain desperately trying to conjure up a smart answer, admit your defeat.

Who he really wants to identify is the unappointed shotcaller when he’s not around – observing from the sidelines, waiting for the opportunity to jump in with the answers you don’t have.

The moment they jump in, falling for the trap, he has revealed his cards.

We all know this is no way to play poker.

The quiet new bloods in the corner sink into their seats, already defeated, for the purpose of the inevitable – they just don’t stand a chance!

Welcome to the ‘The office meeting’ – the moment of the day you walk out of a claustrophobic room populated by your coworkers with a feeling of complete delirium, wondering, what the fuck just happened!

Prepare to be humoured by an awkward exchange of words between people whose dry banter would otherwise drain you.

Put on your game face ready for the back and forth power play between seniors. Listen out for the sly insults hidden behind a transparent curtain of sarcasm and gritted teeth. Watch your coworkers as they nod enthusiastically at nonsensical task delegations, from the dictator at the top end of the table.

Meanwhile, you spend most of the time watching a ping pong match of opinions flying from end to end of the grandiose table in a little room, nodding every so often to show you are awake and interested. The whole time you think to yourself, “My job could have been executed perfectly without this information”. Yet you don’t share this opinion, you in fact choose to appease your seniors by smiling in their direction.

Sitting silently, awaiting your gloomy fate of impossible deadlines and targets for the week, you stay quiet and for a moment, your invisible………well, until he sees you.

Deep down, you hate him almost passionately.

You take very shallow breathes.

Admit it, you’ve been tricked. Tricked into attending a time wasting bartering exchange between your seniors, purely for the entertainment of your boss.

The meeting is also the godforsaken part of the day when the guy with the massive ego who likes the sound of his own voice, pipes up for a prolonged speech about………….well, himself. This is also the guy that will ask extra questions to ensure the director smells his not so hidden desires. The self appointed shotcaller at the table waving his cards around. Yes, that prick!

The boss humours him for a while, until he becomes sick of him, then he moves on to his next minion.

The office snitch – who walks pitifully into the arena, head sunken, no eye contact. Aged by years of undermining and empty promises of a promotion that never came.

Gosh I almost feel sorry for the lad as he sits quietly next to the boss.

He’s almost a teachers pet, but rather than being eaten alive, he’s sadly used as an ‘office informant’. The snitch. The one who informs the dictator whose late, under performing or getting divorced.

Yep, don’t feel sorry for him.

Understand that the great white sharks of the office and their evil minions awaiting to catch you alone in the sea, so they can pounce and feast on your blood, all boils down to what happens in that meeting.

What role did you play?

I’ve come to the conclusion that nobody is safe here, so put your best poker face on and be ready to reveal your hand.

Game of Thrones: The Commuter Edition

DISCLAIMER: Despite the title, this article is not a direct reference to the TV programme.

07:45am

It all starts one step behind the yellow line – literally a line between you and accidental death by tube.

The doors slide open, and frantically the commuters burst onto the train, darting crazily into different directions. The grey haired fox pushes past you to slide comfortably into the seat you had your eye on. You scowl.

Already you’ve been cheated and this wont be the last time.

If you are new to London, you will learn very quickly that it’s easy to get left behind when boarding public transport. You end up in a group called, ‘The standers’. Their usually the newbies like yourself. The capitals rookie re-locator’s, who get lost in the chaos and settle for a standing space in the aisle.

You can spot them a mile off. They are jumpy, easy to push over and suffer from a mild case of PTSD from their first commute. So please be patient with them when you tell them to move down. Know they have heard you, and their pause or minion like shuffle movement, is just a generic malfunction caused by their untreated PTSD. (And this is not a joke)

In fact during your first few weeks in the concrete jungle, these are your first commuting friends in London, as they are the ones who will help squeeze you onto a train when they backwards reverse their backpacks right into your stomach!

Every morning and every evening without fail you will start to notice the same faces. They will stand in the same spot, pick up the same newspaper and will stand on the same side of the platform.

Introducing ‘the regulars’.

Unlike ‘the standers’, these individuals are the top primates of the jungle. The top of the food chain, the ultimate contenders, who have fought this fight nearly all of their lives. This is their habitat and they will display their position of hierarchy by who sits first and who stands.

They display their position by offering a seat one of ‘the standers’ have been guarding, to a lady behind them.

Apparently, they were more in need, despite the lack of visual ailments which would say otherwise.

You bite your tongue and say nothing.

The game starts.

Grabbing onto the handles above, staring at the weakling below, the feeling of being cheated comes rushing back and all of a sudden you need to sit down.

You stare at the person seated below you intently, practically seething at the mouth, knowing that by every turn of the head, and every bum shuffle, they will eventually get up – and that is when, the throne is yours!

Yes the throne, that oh so precious throne that was unfairly pulled from your grasp by these savager hunters. That enticing seat with its magnetic pull that charms you towards it, tricking your mind into believing this seat is yours for the taking.

The moment you sit on it, you’ve won the game!

You body immediately relax, letting your mind travel to a place of satisfying tranquility; amidst the pandemonium around you. Deep down, you can’t believe you’ve finally won this precious seat, and you try your hardest not to gloat in your recent win.

The win of the luxury of sitting on the throne of ignorance, where you can ignore everything!

The losers look over you sour-faced at the reality of being stood for what could end up being hours, constantly being tugged from side to side like a boneless fish.

In this game of thrones where every move is calculated, there can only be one winner. Whilst the vultures congregate greedily- pushing, shoving and cheating each other for a seat, you begin to understand the savage behavior and the unique mindset of the people here.

Lack of eye contact for example is definitely one of the biggest signs of a savage. Understand that this is part of the community here, and as a outsider, you will notice accidental eye contact will create an awkward exchange of eyelash fluttering and robotic head movements. I call it, glitching.

You see, the lack of eye contact makes the cut throat behaviour easier, it allows you to remove yourself from the human you are as you ignore the pregnant or disabled and keep hold of your throne. By not looking you can pretend you are disconnected rather than ignorant and heartless.

Pregnant and disabled have even started to wear badges on their scarves or jackets, to ensure people can see these individuals are a priority.

What type of a nation needs to be prompted in this way?

In Manchester, you don’t have to wear a badge. No local will allow you to sit in a disabled seat if there is a pram, elder or disabled person on the bus or train. It just wouldn’t happen. Mancunians are way to self- aware of their surroundings to have the luxury of ignorance, especially when such an obvious injustice is taking place in front of them.

The Game of thrones is just another example of the problems with capitalism and the retention of rivalry it produces in the hearts of the people who live in these cities.

Common practices like commuting; turn into an almost animalistic combat between a nation of competitors who just don’t know when to stop.

It’s a sickness and it has poisoned us all.

This is why people here look the way they do. There soul is slowly and surely being chipped away, with every commute, with every push, scream and abusive threat on the tube. You will notice the people sat down will give you dirty looks. They kick you if you accidentally touch them. In this seat they feel they have an advantage above ‘the standers’.

They avoid eye contact so they don’t have to give up their throne to someone who may need it.

Its a different world here.

A world where the highly strung and driven meet their savage contenders in the fight of all fights, ‘The Game of thrones’.

London: The fight for a piece of the pie

We all know that in the capital, life is bigger, louder and schedules, are tighter. That being said, there is a majorly naive presumption that there is more opportunity.

There is no wonder that there are so many people flocking here to get a piece of that heavily carbed capitalist pie – that is London in its essence. The naive presumption comes in when you think there is so much opportunity, that you are as entitled to a piece of the pie as anyone else.

Why? Well because you have worked hard enough to be at the table. The education, the experience, the burning ambition to win!

You see the competition here starts way before you have the job, or even during the interview stage.

The moment you come across that first job description, know one thing, there is more than meets the eye and you have literally signed up to the hunger games!

What they don’t tell you Is that this city is full of over qualified dreamers and scarily competitive employees. Once they sniff out competition, the hunger games are on and you have to fight a good fight in order to sit at the table.

By working here, you will notice there is alot of smoke and mirrors, and dont think that behind the scenes there is someone cheering you on. If you are good, you have to be brilliant!

Picture a calm office on the surface. Very quiet, people sit silently and focused. Laser beamed on the task ahead.

Your lucky to hear a pin drop. It’s silent and you can almost taste the stress and anxiety. Behind every banging drum beat of people slamming their fingers into keyboard oblivian, is a floor trembling undercurrent of hatred, jealousy and greed. Nobody says a word. There’s no small talk, just focus and straight faces. Every conversation is calculated

An email too far, a “fuck off” under the breathe and mix of oversized egos are a normal part of office life here.

Everyone is gunning for that position, that title and that intoxicating piece of that pie that smells so good on this boiling melting pot of concrete.

I can see why, as everyone wants to be that somebody, the somebody that makes the decisions, gets picked up by their driver and avoids the overcrowded traffic of savage commuters and sits comfortably upon a pedestal of wealth.

I’ve yet to experience the uplifting northern atmosphere of office banter. I’ve actually been truly spoiled in Manchester, because during my past office experience there; the employees are real people, humans. Not relentless working machines with no soul. When your bored, get up and walk over to another desk, for nothing other than a chat. It is normal for the girls to be chinwagging about boyfriends and big brother in Manchester.

But here in London, where the crown is so heavy and the power is so close that it’s almost as if you have it, here, everyone has this imaginary piece of the pie.

Well, until they really don’t.

Yesterday I turned up for work and got fired: A quick story from an Ex Restaurant Hostess

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There are some moments in life when you just know that you are reaching the end of a specific stage. You have exhausted all avenues, ran in a relentless tirade of circles and reached the stage where you can no longer do the same thing anymore and you move onto something new.

Then there are times where you turn up for work and get fired and your manager tells you:

“Your everyday late, you have been warned and again your everyday late so you show up today on time and you are supposed to show up 10 minutes early, so you can take your uniform off and you can go”

Word for word this is how it was said, with a smug smirk and bad English. I just stood there until the first response that came out of my mouth was:

Will I still get paid?

She confirmed, and after telling her I had no other clothes as I was silly enough to wear my uniform to work, she told me to bring it back another day. She later threatened me and told me I would not get paid If I didn’t bring the dress back, which is highly unethical and unlawful, but I digress.

I share this because I want you to know that you are never safe in this city. One day your in, the next your out and the people here take pride in positions of power no matter how low or high they are, and they will abuse it.

Restaurant turnover is high anyway, and in this specific restaurant there was so much going on behind the scenes that I understood why people left so frequently. Despite these faults the doors continue to sway, and people turn up in the truckloads to be seen and be seated in this place which is purely smoke and mirrors and verging on the slippery slope of going one turn away too far.

Regardless, my time here was short and sweet and I learned so much. But one lesson that I am glad I have finally mastered is to not be late!

London Life: Why reading the paper is Fundamental to Newbies

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13.07.18

Only in London can a Trump visit majorly interrupt your day.

So I am three months into living in this illustrious city and my days are longer and nights are shorter. It is my third month of joining the army of Wimbledon local’s stomping the concrete to the district line (local train) at 7.45am. The moment I got my first, ‘Marning lav’, I realised, I am officially a commuter.

I’ve been squeezed, pushed and shoved out of the way, I’ve been the girl desperately running onto the tube, obstructing the doors from closing behind her with her annoying backpack- whilst locals curse me under their breathe referring to me as a ‘fucking tourist’. I’ve shouted explicit language at the back of buses in central London as they drove past me in spite of me standing there for what felt like hours on end. I’ve been through it all here, but despite my champion ability to just go with the flow, there was one major detail I missed. One important detail in the morning that every resident is never without…………. the fucking newspaper!

Please understand that the daily newspaper is the blueprint to London living.

It is not only used to read, but used as a weapon to hit and an obstruction tool to avoid all eye contact with the person you have just shoved out of the way to either get on the train or sit down. But thats another story.

You see this is not just a newspaper but more of a guide for living. It can be found in every tube station, bus station and empty seat (if you are lucky to find one of those rarities). Picture it as a precursor to what is planned for the day.

The problem emerges the moment you miss the paper, as this is when you miss important information like train delays or strikes! Even dangerous news such as crimes and even terror attacks!

In my case, the one day I missed the paper, I completely missed the news of a major protest and naively walked right into it!

Imagine the shock when I stumbled across hundreds of frustrated residents in the middle of central London marching and banging drums!

My initial thought was …..what in the hell?

Heres the story, I was heading towards Covent garden, and from where I was, google maps, my director and saviour since I have been here, directed me to get the tube from Oxford Circus.

Walking towards the station slowly, I took the longest root. The rationale behind this was that I had a two hour layover between both appointments, so there was no way I could be late.

Strolling slowly, all of a sudden I start to hear what sounded like drums banging in a repetitive rhythm. Not thinking anything of it, I continue to stroll.

It was when I noticed I was no longer strolling alone that things started to become weird. Looking around me, I realised at some point on my stroll towards the station, I picked up a dozen followers.

What was even weirder is we were all walking at the same pace with a purpose in the same direction.

I turned around and I kid you not, there was a whole group of around 20 people following me. Mothers and children, students and randoms. All dressed in what looked like festival dribs and drabs, walking fairly quietly holding placards with words I didn’t even have time to read.

Undetermined by the crowd, I shrugged it off and continued to walk to oxford street, and when I hit the corner I was immediatly bombarded by a sea of placards and banners held proudly in the air by an assemblage of troopers from all walks of life, who walked directly into me sporting their multinational flags.

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You see, If I would have read the paper that week, I would have been informed that Trump was planning a visit to the UK on Friday; and Londoners wanted to make it very clear that Mr Trump knew he was not welcome.

It was loud, it was aggressive it was colourful and vibrant!

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I watched on the sidelines in complete awe, and did what anyone else would do and well, took pictures.

This was just one of the many reminders I have that in London that anything can happen at any time. So for all the newbies in the city, read the fucking paper!