Office chuckle

Deep in his throat a chuckle
blooms,veneering pink of slips,
and the black-book notes.

Is there menace in his gaze?
Or in the way he punches
numbers on the telephone?

We analyze his every word
for traces of conspiracy,
his intonations, and the words

left out, or if you meet him
coming as you’re leaving
you wonder if he’s burning

midnight oil to downsize you,
but you say hello, hoping that
your name is off his list.

Office in a small city by Edward Hopper

Office in a small city by Edward Hopper

Today we have a guest blogger (surprise, surprise) at dVerse who challenges us to write a character description, somebody inspiring you, or maybe someone you fear or who intimidate you. Try to describe through actions, and don’t tell us who it is.

May 17, 2016

24 responses to “Office chuckle

  1. You, per usual rocked the prompt; excellent description of the ape in the corner office. Might be tough one for me, to describe someone without identifying them; we’ll see.

  2. Interesting “character” Bjorn! I’m sure most of us have seen this person in our travels. Sideways glances and the chance to avoid his ire… or worse. Nicely done!

  3. Sadly, too many of us, have met your “office chuckle”, Bjorn, especially, given the leaner and meaner side of some companies, have gone, over the past several years.

  4. Yikes, I think I have met him before ~ I will be smiling but clearing out of his way ~ I specially admire this part:
    We analyze his every word
    for traces of conspiracy,

    Good one Bjorn ~

  5. I met one of these guys once. My revenge was delivered by a higher power; he got sacked a week after me! Wicked poem. Beautiful!

  6. Oh geez…I’ve experienced this. And once, when I was asked to downsize “cut labor budget by 50%” (the week before Christmas) I told them to take me instead. And they did. It was just before I needed my transplant and I couldn’t handle anymore of their B.S.

  7. Hopper has always been one of my favorite painters, mainly because of his great, lonely characters. And that’s what I sense in your poem… loneliness. A quiet longing.

  8. This speaks to a term I coined years ago when my husband’s office was downsized and he ultimately lost his job. The term is “upside-down-sized” – the process of determining who will stay and who will go in a chilling atmosphere of deliberate deception (in order that employees continue to work right up to the moment that they get the boot). unreadable smiles, requests for input on how processes can be improved, micro-management in order to point out (and record) failure to follow through on the most trifling (usually unnecessary) measures, and so on, and so on … until the workplace in turned so upside down and toxic (so ludicrous that black humor erupts at every turn) that employees are left praying that they’ll be one of the lucky ones to escape. Wonderful capture!

  9. As one time municipal worker–I loved this person. I had wonderful hours of pissing him off by always pushing out more and more and more product (police cars on the road). Once his boss knew where the uptick in numbers came from…I was golden to cuss these bastards right out. *sigh* Retirement sucks.

  10. Oh, I agree with Glenn about rocking the prompt. I recognise that ambitious office ape, the dreaded line manager – you get them in schools too. I never want to go back there.

  11. Oh the office politics and dynamics. Wonderfully true insight into many an office these days — and we do watch to see….will it be me?

  12. You’re all saying you never want to meet this guy again, or work for him. But wouldn’t it be fun to BE him, just for a day? We had an office manager like that when I was young, who sat at a slightly raised desk at the back of a huge open-plan office, and I can still feel his eyes burning into the back of my head.

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