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

2:51 Paper jam at E4

In today’s corporate world, technology is supposed to make office life easier and less frustrating. 

But someone forgot to tell this to the manufacturers of our photocopier. 

My three o’clock meeting starts in nine minutes, and I have to finish copying my reports before the meeting. I can’t afford to lose any more time. 

So what happens? A bloody paper jam.  Great! 

The dreaded red light on the display flashes in four different places: the main compartment above where the A4 paper is fed, the side compartment just under the by-pass tray, the compartment where the finished product comes out and the A4 compartment itself. 

I take out the entire A4 compartment and look and feel behind the area where the A4 compartment sits – nothing there.  

Checking the compartments beneath the bypass tray and where the finished product comes out retrieves one scrunched up paper with messed up ink all over it  

Now, put everything back in position and hope for the best…please…please….no. There must be a sheet stuck in the impossible to get at main compartment.   

 I open it up and my worst fears are realized. A sheet of paper has been caught underneath the drum, between the register roller and the image transfer mechanism. Retrieving the paper from this position without getting ink all over my arm will be a near-impossible challenge. 

The majority of the paper is stuck underneath the drum, and is inaccessible. The best I can manage is a small degree of purchase on a portion of paper that is exposed to the right of the drum, just above the horizontal paper transfer system. 

Pull…damn, no good. Try again.  

Pull…this time I try to lever the paper from side to side in order to free it…still no good. It’s stuck fast. 

One more try this way…Hang on….It’s coming…it’s coming slowly….got it!  

Great, I can now simply close all of the compartments and, in theory at least, the machine will be ready to start. 

That’s in theory – but in practice, I close all of the compartments and the red light continues to flash. Bloody hell! 

Try switching it off and back on again. I switch it off, wait thirty seconds and switch it on again. A green light flashes as the machine goes through it’s warm up stage. This looks promising. 

Alas, the moment the warm up procedure is complete, the light flashes red again. ****! 

Right, this machine has just gone too far. My clenched fist swings through the air and pounds into its side.  

Immediately, the machine commences what appears to be a regenerative process. The red lights turn green again and the copying recommences. 

Important lesson – violence against co-workers leads to trouble and potential physical injury, but violence against electronic office equipment gets results. 

Both my right hand and the sleeve on my right arm are covered with ink stains - not a particularly good look for the meeting.  

Still, I should wear these stains with pride, a true badge of honor.  

An ink stain from the photocopier is a true mark of a non-managerial office employee.


  1. February 1st, 2008 | 7:53 pm

    …find a new job, Andrew. Your current one relies mostly on your relationship with the photocopying machine.

  2. February 4th, 2008 | 8:04 am

    And a depressing relationship it is, too!



  3. August 3rd, 2017 | 12:20 pm

    With party elders across the political divide bowing out, we have a significant number of freshman lawmakers. Whoever the new lawmakers return as their council president will be new at his or her job as well, adding yet another source of volatility to the executive-legislative chemistry.

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