The story of a day in the life of an unsuccessful office worker

1:40pm Keeping my shoulder to the wheel

In modern corporate life, you have to keep your shoulder to the wheel, your nose to the grindstone and your ear to the ground. 

Taken literally, this means working in a very uncomfortable position. 

Figuratively, it means working doggedly and persistently – putting in a solid day of work every day. 

I return to the office building after a long lunch. The huge glass doors on slide open. I step out of the sunshine and back into prison.  

Thus far today, I have enjoyed coffee with Arnie and Geoff, spent quality time with the ladies in the credit department, and had a time of daydreaming and reflection during the logistics department meeting. 

But there is a problem. These things are not what I am paid to do.  

I am employed to prepare monthly financial reports and forecasts, undertake financial modeling relating to project expansion, and resolve outstanding issues relating to the year-end audit. Such necessary evils are less exciting than watching grass grow.  

Nevertheless, the draft financial report is due tomorrow night. Non completion may adversely impact my career prospects. Accordingly, I need to hunker down and work solidly this afternoon. 

Factory workers who aspire to greatness must keep their shoulder to the wheel, their nose to the grindstone and their ear to the ground. 

As an office worker who aspires to greatness, I must keep my bottom to the chair, my eyes to the screen (away from colleagues) and my fingers to the keyboard or mouse.  

My right ear, where appropriate, must be kept to the telephone receiver.


  1. December 31st, 2007 | 8:42 am

    You got a deadline, so that should be your priority. Just go back to bludging when everything’s done.

  2. December 31st, 2007 | 2:21 pm

    Good idea, Iron Pugilist.

    You seem to have your priorities in order. I should have actually got off my backside and done some real work this morning. I am not paid to bludge.

    Anyhow, I can’t wind back the clock. This morning is gone. I’d better make up for it by getting through some real work this afternoon.



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