Tech & Work

Know when you are working in The Office

Do you currently work with a real-life David Brent? Follow our list to see if you do

Do you currently work with a real-life David Brent? Follow our list to see if you do.

Last year my flatmate and I settled in one evening to enjoy the entire two seasons of the Ricky Gervais/unbastardised version of The Office. We barely made it through the first season before we had to switch it off. Not because it wasn't funny, quite the contrary, but at the same time it was highly depressing as it involved flashbacks to jobs past (and in my flatmate's case, the current one).

Therefore the following checklist can be used to determine whether your manager is a David Brent protégé:

"That's what she said"

Genuinely humorous people do not need this retort because they can come up with something better. And they most definitely do not repeat the same line ad nauseam thus whipping the ground bones of the dead horse into dust and utterly removing whatever humour existed to begin with.

High fiving

Look around you, how many people are there high fiving each other? Unless you are at a basketball match, the answer should be none. Most people keep this number to zero with good reason — it's just not done. The alert should be raised to DEFCON 3 if said high fiving occurs within the 30-second pun execution window.

Boss's best mate

Do you know who your boss's best mate is? Have you ever seen them about your workplace? Do they love to tell puns? Have they been involved in copious high fiving?

If you've gone four from four with this point, start looking for the cameras — someone out there may be laughing at you right now.

Overdressed over-professionalism

This creature typically appears in small companies and start-ups. It is easily identifiable by the penchant for suit wearing while the other employees barely give enough effort to their presentation to wear jeans and sandals, particularly when the company works out of a garage.

Meeting of the minds

They also love to create extensive agendas for meetings that would be less than 10 minutes long, if it weren't for all the agenda reading at the start taking every meeting overtime. It's true that if it's not written down it never happened, but if your manager starts taking the minutes of casual conversations in the lift down to lunch — you may have a problem.

Managerial Doublespeak

There's managerial doublespeak and then there is managerial doublespeak. If the phrase "XML firewall is doublegoodplus ROI with SQL investments, stat!" could slip out of your managers mouth at any moment — that's a sign.

A love of dropping buzzwords into conversations without knowing their meaning and context is a sure sign that some doublespeak is on its way.

Logic and understanding have no effect — the only known weapon seems to be a return volley of doublespeak. But do you really want to sound as bad as they do?

Two finger guns with the thumbs cranking off rounds after a "joke"

If you see someone doing this, try to back away quietly.

If you're a manager, and you're starting to get a bit red behind the ears remember this: The Office is a comedy, not a handbook. If you get the urge to take notes rather than laugh heartily, something is up.

On the other hand, if you're were thinking about your own manager and you've ticked off more than two points than you have a proto-Brent on your hands. I wish I could offer some consolatory words but I cannot.

You will look back on it all one day and laugh with an affinity that most cannot. More than likely during some British comedy reruns on the ABC.

About Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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