Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Mongrel Magazine, October 2004


admin blues
I may appear polite, even deferential, to the spineless jobsworths who populate my workplace. But I despise them, and I despise their petty politics. Their meaningless office-speak is this company’s unofficial vernacular. Mastery of that, as well as an ability to smile like a simpleton in any situation, is what passes for professionalism around here. The head of my department is particularly fluent:

“With er… regard to the salary review you were promised, as such, we are presently not in a position to implement any… increases, as such, going forward… at this time.”

Days later I catch him pouring vodka into a vase in his office. I don’t tell anyone. But I make a conscious decision to do a lot more dossing, going forward.Read the rest of this article here.

November 28th, 2009.

33 Responses to “ADMIN BLUES”

  1. Dolly Says:

    Good job you got out of that place by the sounds of it

  2. Dorothy Says:

    I remember these pieces but i don’t remember you having written them.

    Are you sure you’re not taking credit for someone else’s work?

  3. Eoin Says:

    @ Dorothy – I was slagging off the people I worked for. Of course it wasn’t published in my own name. Fuck off.

  4. Shady Says:

    ah now I see where the blog title comes from… I’m in that exact place now except I have internet access. It gets better right?!

  5. Eoin Says:

    Well Shady, it does get better. But even then its still shit in ways you hadn’t foreseen. So… yeah.

  6. gord Says:

    That’s a real inspiring message butsey!

  7. Ferret Says:

    I spent six months in data management in a yank company where young scientists go to die. I have worked with dementia patients, First Active and small children and never have I been so miserable or wanted to cry each morning so much. Such places should be outlawed and the middle management beaten with black-jacks before being forced to harvest turnips by hand for two years.

  8. ChrisNoise Says:

    To many home truths for my liking here. Thankfully I have internet and this blog keeps my amused for the few minutes a day I actually have without someone breathing down my neck. At least my managers nice.

  9. Eoin Says:

    @ Ferret / Chris – I hear ya (well, except on the Black Jacks bit Ferret. I’d have beaten my bosses with door knobs rolled up in a sock….)

    Worst was for the working class women, who’d gone back to work to put their kids through college. Terrified if they lost their jobs they’d never get another – which management used to bully them unmercifully.

  10. shnuuffa Says:

    The bauld butsey salwalys lookin out for littie guy, a workin class hero is osmrthing to be syas you. nOW WHERE’S THAR VASE NONW UP THE REBELS!!

  11. Eoin Says:

    Okay, either Dan’s changed email addresses or someone is after his deranged late night comment crown.

    FYI Shnuuffa – you gotta be a lot less coherent than that to take down the champ!

  12. cash Says:

    Is the vodka bit for real, or were you taking licence? I mean, really? It could easily be disguised in a oft drink bottle, or whatever…

  13. Eoin Says:

    Cash, weighing up whether to answer that question or not… I’ve decided to mail you an answer instead of posting it on here…

  14. El Kid Says:

    What’s the big secret…Why can’t anyone else know!?

  15. pantsareforsquares Says:

    I thought everyone threw a dash of vodka into their 11 o’clock coffee..how else does one get through the morning (apart from volunteering to go to the post office, spending an embaressingly long amount of time in the bathroom and saving all your online activity for 9-5)?

  16. Eoin Says:

    @ EK – ah I dunno, there are two further installments of Admin Blues to come, don’t wanna start answering questions on what is/isn’t true…

    @ Pantsetc. – there was one nerdy kinda guy in that place (can’t remember, but prob accounts or IT) who used to bring a cup of coffee and newspaper into the bathroom for fifteen minutes every afternoon.

  17. Andy Says:

    I’m looking forward to the new two instalments, particularly as I am pretty sure I worked at this same office with you back in the day 🙂

    My worst job? It’s a toss up between my first job in Ireland, working in an outbound call centre at some ugly industrial estate in the suburbs of Dublin, and a summer university job on the production line at a factory putting together rear-view mirrors for cars.

    Best job? Teaching English in Poland. “Chilled out entertainer”.

    The thing about the crappy jobs, particularly the ones you do while you are still studying, is that they focus you on working that bit harder because you know what you don’t want to end up doing in life.

  18. Eoin Says:

    Hey Andy, yes, you’re right – it’s the very same. Can’t believe it’s not one of your worst jobs. And you’re right about the crappy jobs in general too.

    I mean, I could probably have gotten something a bit better – but I deliberately stayed because it gave me an incentive to work for what I really wanted.

    Also, “chilled out entertainer” – that I’d have paid to see!

  19. Andy Says:

    It was definitely the worst-run company I have ever worked for, the management was completely rubbish. But given this, there was no-one breathing down your neck to get things done, and lots of opportunity for skiving off, having a laugh etc. Boring yes, but not one of my worst

  20. barbara Says:

    This place sounds pretty appalling lads. Makes me feel very grateful my shit temping admin days behind me now hopefully (touch wood) permanently.

  21. Eoin Says:

    @ Andy – re: lots of opportunity for skiving off etc.

    Well again you have a point. I was so much better read then than I am now. Every fortnight I’d consume the New York Review of Books cover-to-cover (via email) the day after it came out. Never had any swear words in it, so like half a dozen 5,000 word articles would never get blocked.

    Particularly remember once reading about Hannah Arendt, who coined the phrase ‘the banality of evil’ after observing trial Adolph Eichmann.

    I was surrounded by people who talked about nothing but reality television programmes all day… I remember thinking “Lady, you may know something about evil, but you know fuck all about banality…!”

  22. Chris Says:

    I find it funny that you spend so much time in these places and never get to know anything substantial about the people there. You usually get what they like to watch on TV and complaints how much work they have to do. Its pretty freakin isolating. Anyway its time for me to go back to my clerical work.

  23. El Kid Says:

    People are freaks… Who wants to get to know people…

  24. Eoin Says:

    @ Chris – next installment, I’ll try and post early next week, is about getting to know workmates better. One after that about management. (This is kinda like the Wire now that I think of it, isn’t it??)

    @ EK – I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who works with you anyway… Ziiiiiiiiing!

  25. Conal Says:

    “(This is kinda like the Wire now that I think of it, isn’t it??)”

    why stop there Butsey! its better than Dickens!

  26. Eoin Says:

    I just meant insofar as each installment tackles a different area. And also insofar as, in a thousand years people will look back and say that this was the artistic high point of all mankind. Downhill all the way from here on, son!

  27. El Kid Says:

    Don’t sell yourself short Buts…. I’d have said you were more like… what’s that guy who wrote Notes from Underground called?

  28. tad Says:

    Eoin: Yr office Xperience sounds just like a coupla newspapers I 1nce worked 4…. Lotsa cubicles & lotsa work & lotsa people Bing bullied & no $$$ & no time-off & always more work 2 do. Hope yr newspaper Xperience has turned out better than the admin stuff….

  29. . Says:

    a pale bloo dot

  30. Dawn Says:

    can only assume Tad is taking the piss when claiming to have worked for a newspaper. Alternatively, the reasons for the collapse of newspapers are suddenly horribly apparent.

  31. Rob Says:

    Hey Eoin,
    Just read this, vodka in a vase! Wow! Why did I not think of that? It brings me back. Demoralising yes but I would have to agree with Andy…that place was a holiday camp compared to anywhere I’ve been since. I remember sitting behind you for a while and you had that fast alt tab screen change thing going on whenever a management type approached you, which was hardly ever lets face it, while you were in the middle of writing up your album reviews. Haha. One of the senior sales management type guys walked right past myself and Rory one time while we were smokin’ a big tooth outside the front door. When I think back I wonder what the hell was I doing but at the time I didn’t give a shit, but neither did they, it was great!

    Saw this just now, dunno if you’ve seen it already but could be worthy of your blog, had me laughing:


    His one on the blow up doll is pretty funny too.

  32. Eoin Says:

    Urgh, I remember once I went for lunch with my serious older sister in Merrion Square. Rory spots us sitting on the grass, walks over hands me a half smoked spliff and says “this is for you”. Walks away. I haven’t smoked anything illegal since early 2003, so I just put it out, but didn’t even pretend to my sister that this was out of the blue. But it must have looked to her like this was my daily routine.

  33. THIS IS FUNNY(-ISH) | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    […] You may not find it funny if you’re not from the Wesht. But it made me laugh. Muchas gracias to Rob. […]

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