Among memories of bake sales, lunchtime walks in salubrious surroundings and debating with colleagues the optimum technique for making a cup of tea, my fondest memory of the office shall always be striking up a friendship – and subsequent relationship – with someone very special. Over a period of days, weeks and months, we bonded over shared interests and enjoyed the buzz of an office romance while being careful to maintain discretion. I sincerely hope that office romances will not become a thing of the past. We are getting married in spring.
Stuart, West Midlands
Years ago, I worked for the London Evening News as an advert taker. One guy started by telling me about an amazing product that was guaranteed to help stiff joints, sore necks etc. I thought it sounded brilliant, as my mother had terrible neck problems. I asked if he would like to place a boxed advert to make it stand out and he seemed excited by this.
Later that day, the sales manager flew out of his office and screamed for the person responsible for the advert. I was so pleased to tell him it was me and it was for stiff necks, but he turned scarlet and asked a colleague to take me to the ladies’ and have a word. She explained that the product was actually a vibrator, but I was young and didn’t know what that was. Nobody wanted to explain it to me and it took me years to find out – I was very embarrassed when I did!
Creanna Cullen, retired, Derbyshire
In my early 20s, I worked at a bank. I came back from lunch one day and my team members started asking if I could pop out again to get some sweets; they were feeling a bit low and chocolate or cakes would really cheer them up.
I relented and took my suit jacket off my chair, put it on and promptly got stuck. At first, I was confused – I thought I must have put my arms through the lining – but when I saw all of my team laughing their heads off, it dawned on me that they had sewn up the end of both arms of my jacket.
That aside, my colleagues really looked after me, always covering for me when I was feeling rough from the night before, making me home-cooked food and giving me advice on dating. I loved those days and that team.
Mark Hawkins, implementation manager, Bedfordshire
My favourite office memory comes from my time in Montreal. My marriage had just broken down and I was in visa hell. I don’t think I would have survived the year had it not been for my colleagues and my boss, who became like family to me during this difficult time away from my home country. I still consider several people from that office my closest friends and we remain in daily contact. We worked hard and laughed like drains. There was a true spirit of camaraderie in everything we did, whether it was laughing about an embarrassing incident or blasting Enrique Iglesias when someone’s work passed a quality check – every day was so much fun.
Elizabeth Gibson, contracts specialist, Manchester
My colleague became convinced that there was a pigeon stuck inside a wall in our office. It was a listed building and we would always talk about how loud the pigeon’s “cooing” was.
One day, she came into work early and, with the office being so quiet, she found the “cooing” extremely loud, so she contacted maintenance to investigate. They had a look and then called her into a corridor to show her the pigeon, sitting on a window ledge on the other side of the wall. The window was frosted and a blind had been pulled down, so she hadn’t realised that it was an external wall. We heard the maintenance person radio to say: “Yeah, well, it’s outside. I can’t do anything about it being outside.”
It was hilarious – and we have never let her live it down.
Charlotte, social worker, Lancashire
One day, when I was working in the students’ office of a university, I was wearing a lovely green, sparkly scarf. A young chap came to the counter. As I spoke to him, I became aware that I was being pulled downwards. The man looked concerned as an unseen force began dragging me under the high counter.
I looked around to see one of my colleagues doubled over laughing. As I was almost on my knees, they pointed at the industrial-sized document shredder under the counter. The fringes of my lovely scarf had gone into its rollers, which triggered the sensors to go full Jaws on me. “Do excuse me,” I said to the student, who was by now goggle-eyed, watching this middle-aged woman limbo under the counter. Fortunately, I was able to whip off the scarf and order was restored.
Esther Doyle, retired, London