I think one of the things that amazed me, going back into the corporate workforce at the beginning of the year, was the way money was thrown at office furniture and stationery. The budget for these seemed limitless, and the spending on them was helped equally by one woman who thought that catalogues were for ticking off the things she liked, and by the nurse who came in once a week, and could spot a health and safety issue a mile off.
In the old days we put up with a lot of things that people don’t even think twice about now. Yes, I know that sounds like the ‘old codger’ syndrome, but am I alone in thinking that there’s a great deal of fuss made today over things workers of the past would consider trivial?
Certainly the advent of the computer in offices has meant that a lot of people have to sit at desks longer than in the past. But the advent of typewriters must have caused the same issue, and you don’t hear of problems from those days. Perhaps people were taught to sit up straight when they worked (I remember the ramrod straightness of the women in the typing room at my first office), and perhaps, rightly or wrongly, they were expected just to get on with life. Part of the issue today, I suspect, isn’t just that we’re much more careful about people’s health, but that the people themselves are much more fussy. I hate to say it, but I think the women in offices are more the culprits here than the men. Nevertheless there’s a great deal more fuss made over small things than ever in the past – from both sexes.