Tag Archives: work

Resolving Conflict at Work

You either love it or hate it but The Office is one of the most successful TV Comedy series of the 21st Century. Called a ‘mockumentary’, its filmed as a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary and set in the offices of Wernham Hogg, a paper merchant in Slough, ironically not far from here. The faster paced US spin-off follows the mundane daily interactions of a group of idiosyncratic office employees at another paper company this time in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and starring Gervais, The Office catapulted him to stardom in 2001, winning two Golden Globes, one for his acting and one for the show itself.[1] Jago Wynne in Working without Wilting, writes,

“The humour is very simple. It comes from observations about mundane office life, humour basically at the expense of all the different types of people working in the office. In fact, just as the TV series Friends was called Friends because it is about the relationships between different friends, so The Office could just as easily have been called Colleagues, because its about all the relationships between different colleagues.[2]

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Work: Necessary Evil or God’s Plan?

[vimeo 6557188]

Work: Necessary Evil or God’s Plan? from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

You may know I studied geography at Sussex university, which means I am just about qualified for colouring in maps with my crayons, but not much else. I also come from Suffolk where an ability to read maps, or the stars, is essential if you ever want to escape.

You may have heard of the shepherd lost somewhere in the wilds of rural Suffolk minding his own business, tending his flock of sheep. Suddenly a dust cloud approached at high speed, out of which emerged a bright shiny new silver BMW. The driver, a young man in an Amarmi suit, poked his head out of the window and addressed the shepherd. “Hi there. If I can tell you how many sheep you have in your flock, can I have one?” The shepherd looked at the car, then the young man, then glanced at his peacefully grazing flock and answered, ‘Sure’. The young man parked his car, plugged his Blackberry into his laptop, surfed the web to Google maps, used his GPS to zoom in on the field they were standing in, linked it to NASA’s real time imaging software and began a remote body-heat scan of the immediate area. He dropped the results into an Excel spreadsheet, saved it, then printed a 150-page report on the mini laser printer hidden in his glove compartment.

Handing the document to the shepherd, the young man proudly announced, “You have exactly 1,586 sheep.” The shepherd replied, “Impressive. One of my sheep is yours. Take your pick.” He watched the young man select an animal and bundle it into his car. Then the shepherd said. “If I can tell you what your job is, will you give me back my sheep?” After a nod of acceptance from the young man, the shepherd announced without hesitation, “You’re a management consultant.”

“Dead right” exclaimed the young man in surprise. “How on earth did you guess?” “It wasn’t a guess”, replied the shepherd. “First, you drive into my field uninvited. Second, you ask me to pay for information I already know. Third, you answer questions I haven’t asked. Fourth, you know nothing about sheep. Now please may I have my sheepdog back?”

Read more here cc-vw.org/sermons/work.htm