Most of the time – in fact all of the time – I stick to company policy. I remain polite. I remain non-aggressive. I try to appease. I apologize where necessary. For the ruffians I am sometimes moved to call the police but that is (a) another story and (b) just self preservation.
But for the rest, particularly when they have been rude and unnecessarily superior, I have often wished in retrospect that I had been a little less mollifying. A little less obsequious. Yes, it has kept me in my job but it has darkened my soul somewhat and certainly damaged my self-esteem.
It would be nice not to give a damn one day and really lay into someone, give them the kind of tongue lashing that would turn Frankie Boyle’s hair white.
Yeah, well if you don’t like the state of the toilets why don’t you drag your sorry arse out to the local park and wipe your backside on a thorn bush you pisspoor excuse for a human being...!
Don’t talk to me like that you stuck up harridan, why don’t you take your stupid blue rinse out to the nearest soup kitchen and go and boil your head?
Some days even a simple eff off would do.
My problem is I’d never have the balls to do it. I’d worry too much about getting into trouble or losing my job. The only time it would be possible would be during that glorious period of employment when, for whatever reason, you have handed in your notice and are working out your last week before moving onto pastures new. I mean what could they do? Sack you? Ha ha! I piss on your corporate sacking procedures!
And then it struck me. I did have the opportunity to do that once. Years ago.
The first job I ever had was as a telephone operator at British Telecom. What an utterly soul destroying job that was. I used to get sympathy from world weary vampires. A couple of months before I left I watched enviously as a colleague of mine worked out his notice. On his last day he went out at lunchtime and got blindingly drunk. When he came back for his last ever afternoon shift the air was peppered with four letter words and expletive combinations that would have made Frankie Boyle’s hair fall out. Callers were cut off, told to eff off and do things with their orifices that those orifices were never meant to do. The superiors could only look on white faced and let him go home early.
Absolutely ruddy fantastic I thought. I shall have some of that when my time comes.
But did I?
Did I hell.
No, on my last shift I remained as polite and professional as ever. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not even a “go boil your head” passed my lips.
What an idiot!
Looking back on it I blame my extreme youth, nervousness, fear of authority and general callowness. All qualities that I have gradually shed over the intervening years. Now I think my tongue would dissolve in the acid I could muster.
No job is for life these days, they say, so sooner or later I’ve got another last day coming to me. When that day comes stay out of Leamington, my friends, stay out of Leamington...