Monday, 23 September 2013

Hell’s Kitchen (in MY office building!)

WARNING: Gratuitous RANT alert!

The office building I work in is Open Plan.  There are no doors between the desk areas, stairwells, the kitchen or the breakout area. 

While the whole place is light and airy and there is a real feeling of space and working togetherness I have to say that the kitchen where I work really IS hell on earth….  I have the misfortune to sit near it, and the adjacent “breakout area”.  This means I also have the misfortune to hear, see and SMELL everything that goes on in it.

  • There is the slightly damp, detergenty smell when the dishwasher gets opened.
  • There’s the crusted-on, baked on, can-only-be-removed-by-a-nuclear-holocaust food stuck to the inside of the microwave.  Probably caused by the man who has soup every single day for lunch and puts it in the microwave and microwaves it until the pressure builds up and the lid blows off and the microwave is COVERED in soup.  (ie. FAR too long!) It’s only a matter of time before the poor microwave itself explodes and we all get showered with Pea and Ham soup and bits of microwave.
  • There’s the lake of  spilled water, milk and who knows what else on the worktop every morning before 7am.  Without. Fail.  It’s not like we don’t have a GIANT roll of kitchen paper – like they do at petrol stations people!!!!! CLEAN IT UP!
  • There’s the sponge that is most probably a biohazard – I picked it up the other day and my hand smelled of mildew and rotting sponge even after repeated washing and applications of Bee Lovely Hand Cream. 
  • There’s the Klix machine that sounds like it’s trying to escape when its being refilled and it churns out warm wet liquid that might be coffee or it might be tomato soup; whichever button you press seems to give the same result.
  • There are THREE fridges.  Every single one smells.  People keep whole carrier bags full of food in them.  Things are left to rot in them, and heaven help us all if someone’s milk carton leaks!
  • After 3 blockages and some very expensive plumbing work there is now a sign gently reminding people not to put coffee grounds down the sink.  What kind of intelligent person puts coffee grounds down the sink anyway???
  • There is the THEFT!  It’s rife…. You would not think that this is an office kitchen frequented by Engineering Professionals who all take home a decent wage – oh no!  It is more like a kitchen in a Halls of Residence during Fresher’s week!  I have taken to keeping my milk in an Avent baby bottle just so no one nicks any!  One of my colleagues doesn’t even keep him milk in the fridge – he brings in exactly what he needs for his 4 cups of tea and keeps it in his desk drawer so no one nicks it!  What is the world coming to where we have to resort to this sort of fun and games just to make sure we have enough milk for our coffee?
  • There is the noise… and I don’t mean the general hubbub of murmured conversation generated by working in an open plan office, I mean people full on bellowing at one another about their weekend (“oh it was fab-u-lous dahling”).  Laughing like hyenas and making a real drama out of making coffee!  It often sounds like a children’s party is going on.  Then there are the people that haven’t been organised enough to actually book a room for their meeting and have their meeting in the breakout area.  I can play meeting bingo all day listening to phrases like “push the envelope”, “think outside the box” and “get our ducks in a row”….

All I can say it thank heavens for part-time working, the quiet, serene sanctuary of the test lab, and earphones!  I feel better now – thanks for listening…..

I’m off to make a coffee (and clean up a spill, remove whatever it is that STINKS in the fridge and tut loudly because there are coffee grounds in the sink again!)

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