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

9:28am Sorry boss

Bill is mad and he’s coming my way – fast. Try smooth talking. 

“I’m really sorry about those reports, I’ll circulate them before next meeting. I thought you made a good point during the meeting about .. 

“Yes well I’m very sorry you were so bloody late!” he screams at me. “Do you know how it makes me look in front of those guys when my own staff can’t even turn up to a bloody meeting on time? 

It’s bloody humiliating! We’re trying to make major decisions and you think it’s OK to just turn up any time you feel like it.” 

Another butt kicking in public. I remain silent. Let him talk himself out and pretend to be concerned about what he is saying. 

Upon reflection, some interesting observations can be made about the contrasting approaches which Bill and I adopt toward each other’s rear end – at least metaphorically speaking.  

Bill appears to prefer the use of his foot to give my butt a nice big kick. This happens when he’s upset at me, when he’s upset at someone or something else, when he needs to feel powerful or just because he feels like it.  

He likes the feel of brutally thrusting his hard, tough boot into the soft, tender tissue of my bottom.     

I, on the other hand, adopt a gentler, kinder approach. I use my lips to give his bottom big fat sloppy kiss.  

Let me stress, I am speaking figuratively here, not literally. 

Even so, this is not something I enjoy. Bill treats me like dirt. I take no pleasure in having to be unconditionally nice to a man I utterly dislike.   

But I have to make sacrifices in order to survive in the corporate world.   

9:25am The close of the meeting

The meeting closes.  

I have made a poor impression this morning and Bill does not appear to be happy. I’d better look motivated for the time being.  

“I’ll have a copy of those reports on your desk before Thursday.” I mention to Adam Johnson, attempting to sound like I truly regret not having been able to present them today. “I’m really sorry we didn’t have them today.”  

“Good man,” he replies. 

“Stewie,” begins Linda Darley, in a comforting, sympathetic tone. “Don’t worry about it mate. It wasn’t your fault that the server was down. It’s the bloody IT department’s fault.” 

“Yeah, but it just gets to me sometimes you know.” I maintain my façade about being upset. “I mean, it’s absolutely critical that we move forward quickly with this project. So it’s very frustrating when you guys don’t have access to reports like this at meetings because of technology problems. You know, it’s just not good enough.” 

9:00am The report I’m supposed to have finished

Attention turns to the Cost Analysis Report. 

“Now Stuart, about that Cost Analysis Report,” said Bill Johns, Finance Manager and my supervisor. “Obviously with the server down this morning, you would not have been able to run off your report. Is that correct? 

Did I hear correctly? The server was down! Hah hah! Yes – the server was down. You beauty!  

I am now armed with the perfect excuse – the server was down, so I could not print out the reports this morning. Now, no one has to know that I haven’t actually done them. I’m saved! 

Bless the trusty IT department! They’ve come through for me once more just when I needed them.  

But I dare not look too pleased. I fake an unhappy and somewhat frustrated gesture and tone of voice.  

“Unfortunately, no. I was planning to run them off earlier this morning, but the server is still down and I was unable to access the file. Sorry about that.” 

“That’s OK Stewie. It’s not your fault that the server was down,” said Adam Johnson, the logistics manager. “Why don’t you provide us with a copy of the reports before Friday’s meeting and we can discuss it then?”  

“No problem.” 

You beauty! I’ve got until Friday morning. No need to think about it until Thursday afternoon. 

Some say that technology always lets you down when you need to get something done.  

I disagree.  

Technology never let’s you down when you need an excuse for not producing results.

8:59am Ted Grundy’s Solution

I have not made a great impression. 

“Look I’m very sorry I’m late. It won’t happen again.” 

“We’ll, Mr. Robertson. To tell you the truth, I’m a little concerned.” Ted Grundy’s voice now assumes a tinge of seriousness, but maintains his sarcastic humor.   

“In this company, we take the health of our employees very seriously. Now it appears that the requirement to arrive at the office and start work at eight thirty is having an adverse effect on your sleeping patterns.  

As managing director and owner of this company, I feel that it’s my responsibility to help you through this problem. Here’s my solution.  

If this happens again, you needn’t bother coming to work at all. Just keep sleeping until your body tells you it’s time to wake up. Even then, you need not bother coming to work. And then you can sleep in the next day and the day after that, and every day after that.  

That way, we can be sure that our requirements in terms of starting times do not adversely affect your sleeping patterns or any other aspect of your health in any way.” 

“Ok, I understand.”. In other words, I’ll be fired if I’m late again.  

He is not happy with me now. How will he feel when he finds out that I have not prepared the Cost Analysis report for this meeting? 

I’m dead.

8:57am Sorry I’m late

Knock knock knock. 

“That you, Robertson,” mutters that low pitched, authoritative, grumpy voice. “Get your butt in here!”  

My situation is even more dire than at first thought. That’s the unmistakable voice of Ted Grundy, the Managing Director and majority owner of the company.  

Explaining myself to Bill and others in the meeting would have been bad enough. But Ted Grundy – this is downright frightening. 

“Good morning everyone. Sorry I’m late.”  

Seated around the meeting room table are Adam Johnson (Logistics Manager) Linda Darley (Assistant Logistics Manager), Nick Taylor (Division Manager), Ted Grundy (Managing Director) and of course, my boss Bill Mathers (Finance Manager). No one appears to be terribly impressed. 

“Really, Mr. Robertson,” Mr. Grundy began. “You know, it had occurred to me that perhaps the rest of us might have been early.”  

A slight chuckle echoes around the room. Ted Grundy has a habit of beginning with some sarcastic humor when you’ve done something wrong. But I know I’m in trouble. And I do not want to get on the wrong side of Ted Grundy. 

“Please, make yourself comfortable. Can I get you anything to drink? Tea or coffee? 

“No thanks.”  

“Oh, please Mr. Robertson, I insist. Since I, like others in the room here have had the privilege of waiting for you for twenty minutes, it seems only appropriate that I have the pleasure of waiting on you as well.” 

“I’m very sorry for being late and holding you all up.”  

“Oh no, not at all. You just join us whenever it suits you. Don’t worry about what time the meeting actually starts. Your time schedule and your personal convenience are both far more important than any of ours.  

I mean, I myself am only the Managing Director and owner of this company. I’m just a humble man. My time is not particularly important.  

But you - you’re the Finance Assistant. Your personal needs take precedence over anything else around here. So you just come and go whenever you please. We’ll all just fit around you.”  

Oh golly, this is just the beginning.

8:55am That early morning meeting

My eyes bulge at the site of the first item on the list.  

Panic time again.  

Blimey - the logistics department meeting! It can’t be this morning, can it?  

Think …It’s on Monday the 16th … Oh dear, it is this morning. I forgot all about it. It started twenty minutes ago. I’m supposed to be there right now, presenting my report. I haven’t finished it. Bloody hell! 

I work for a medium sized telecommunications and technology company. We specialize in providing outsourced business processes, predominately for telecommunications companies.  

One service we provide is an order and fulfillment service. When corporate clients place an order for cell phones to provide for their staff, we handle the entire order and fulfillment process on behalf of the telecommunications company.  Our call centre will takes the clients’ orders and our distribution facility then packs and dispatches the order directly to the client. 

A meeting is being held this morning to discuss a range of options which are being considered for expansion of our distribution facilities. I am supposed to be in that meeting right now, presenting a Cost Analysis Report on each of the options being considered.  

However, I did not realize that the meeting was this morning. Now I’m twenty minutes late and I haven’t finished my report. I’m in deep trouble.  

How will I bluff my way through this one? Think, think … no ideas.  

Oh dear. I’m gone.

8:52am My daily success plan

Planning is critical for success. 

Accordingly, I always follow a daily success plan. It’s a crucial element in maximizing my performance.  

With the early morning hassles now behind me, I now focus on today’s tasks.  


            Daily success plan 

Low Priority 

·        complete monthly profit and loss report for distribution to line management 

·        reconcile $63 million discrepancy in bank accounts and $38 million dollar discrepancy in inventory accounts (find out who’s stealing what) 


Necessary evil 

·        present Cost Analysis report at the Logistics meeting  at 8:30am 

·        meet with auditors at 3:30. 

·        explain to Department Head of Technology Solutions about loss of $5.9 million due to accounting error made by me. 


High Priority 

·        follow up small issues with customer accounts (chat up ladies from the credit department) 

·        relationship building task 1 (discuss the weekend’s football results with the guys) 

·        long lunch with Johno.  

·        surf the internet 

·        play a couple of games of Tetris 

·        catch up on last night’s sleep

8:50am Will I get caught?

Bing. Floor eighteen. 

Twenty minutes late – no excuses – my only hope is not to get caught. 

I exit the elevator, greet the receptionist and walk through the reception area. After a right turn, I walk past a couple of meeting rooms and head toward the main office door.   

What lies behind this closed door may determine my fate. If Bill is in his office, he will see me as I walk to my desk. The conversation will follow is too unbearable to contemplate. If not, I may not get caught and I need not stress. 

Too late for prayers at this stage. 

With a sick feeling in my stomach, I hold my security pass adjacent to the sensor. Click, click -  the security door unlocks. I push it open and walk through, entering possibly my last day in this office. 

My eyes scan frantically for any sign of Bill. In his office?…No….Talking to anyone?…No…In the staff kitchen?…No.  

Relax! The coast is clear. No need to stress. Chill out. 

I can take my time, put my bag down, get a coffee, go to the toilet, chat with a couple of people, email a few mates, check my share prices, play a couple of computer games and take it easy. No need to start any real work for another twenty minutes.  

What was I worried about?  

Being late matters only when you get caught.

8:48am What’s my excuse?

The elevator makes the slow, painful journey up to the eighteenth floor.  

I agonize about the unpleasant conversation I am about to have with Bill regarding my arrival time.  

Eight forty eight. Eighteen minutes late. ****! 

What’s today’s excuse? Think…Flat battery…no. Train cancellation…no, he knows I don’t catch the train….Caught up in traffic… that’s hardly original….ran over my neighbor’s dog….no, told him I did that yesterday.  

Bill and I often have nasty conversations about my arrival time. Bill says I am late for work every day. I disagree. Not every day. I think that’s a bit harsh.  

I mean, c’mon, I made it on time…. When did I arrive on time? ..Think… I know, Tuesday last week – oh hang on – no. I was five minutes late that day. 

Come to think of it, I have to soberly admit that Bill is right. I am late every day.  

Logically, it would be better to arrive on time. This would have a positive impact on my career prospects and earnings potential. 

But logic will not change an emotion. All forms of logic evaporate when it’s time to get out of bed. 

Accordingly, I need a fresh excuse each day. Successful people make good excuses. 

Problem is, my excuses have run out. ****!  

I’ll have to face the music without an excuse.