Zoe, the intern, is across all social media but has trouble finding a paying gig © FT illustration

In the second instalment of the series, we hear from some more of the people you typically meet at work — and some you may want to avoid.

Zoe, the intern

“Mum! Are you busy? I just need to share some news!

You know Alex? The marketing manager I’m meant to report to? Well, this morning, he asked me to compile a database of guests to the launch party and get soya lattes for the team, including Jack — the male intern — who was helping the top people prepare a pitch.

I can’t afford to work my way up slowly, Mum — things are different now. I’ll be 30 in eight years. If you want me to leave home by then, I need to get noticed.

The noise? A blender.

I AM at work! They keep making smoothies. Apparently, if you’re building a wellness-tech company you have to live the brand. I’ve been at the office since 7.30am. Got to look keen!

Jack was already at his desk when I got here. Yes, I did pack the sandwiches, thanks for not adding avocado this time. I actually hate it.

Alex was still smarting over my Instagram post of him eating a McDonald’s — hashtag: meat-too. But then he was called into THE big boss’s office and came out acting really nice to me. Why? Because, Mum, and this is why I called. I sorta went over Alex’s head and pitched a new feature for the app — a hydration counter! It displays the results through a urine-coloured chart. Yes, I suppose you could look in the toilet. But our customers are time-starved professionals.

’ll be working on the hydration counter for free, but it’s great exposure. Don’t wait for me for dinner. I’m off to meet Sam, my friend with a PhD. He’s going to tell me about working for Deliveroo. I can fit it around the other stuff and hopefully make some cash.”

© FT illustration

Brian, the final salary pension member

“Yes, that seat’s free. Be my guest. What did you go for? Chilli con carne? Again! I think they were serving that when I joined 35 years ago. It’s probably the same batch.

Yes, I heard that a few of the young ones — well, I say, young, I guess they must be in their 40s by now — were taking the voluntary redundancy package.

No, not worth my while, mate. I’ve still got one sprog in private school and then as long as they’re paying into my pension, I might as well stick it out. You aren’t final salary? That surprises me, I thought we were about the same age — children of the ’60s and all that. Well, poor you. I think the defined contribution bunch got shafted, frankly, but what can you do? It’s every man for himself.

You’ve got to go? OK, no problem. I guess you’ll need to work until you’re 70, so you’d better get on. My only worry is that the whole thing goes belly-up, Carillion-style, before I start cashing in. If the company doesn’t last longer than I last at the company, my retirement plans are shot. Still, so far so good. Anyway, I think I’ll have another coffee and see you in the team meeting at three. The cookies there are always good. Toodle-pip!”


Work Tribes will appear fortnightly.
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