Character Sketches from the Old Office
- Big little boss-lady in short skirts and stiletto heels, Gabby is what's called 'well-preserved'; she might even be attractive if it wasn't for her air of detached superiority and spectacularly loud and unpleasant voice, with which she regularly conducts too-obvious personal calls, often on her mobile, so piercingly that it is hard to concentrate across the office.
- Team Manager Ivan rules Commission Support with a cotton fist, enforcing his will with gentle verbal prodding and occasional exasperated looks. Evidently a man who has trouble dealing with confrontations or stress of any sort, Ivan likes to put difficult issues to one side, out of sight, where he doesn't have to deal with them till later. He is visibly cowed by forceful women, of which we have no shortage, so he is often seen in rabbit-in-headlights mode.
- Sharp-nailed, sharp-tongued and sharp-eyebrowed, Anna rants and growls where others prefer to maintain a cool façade in the face of relentless idiocy and ever-threatening tedium. Pushing thirty, she is troubled by her perpetual singledom; one can only hope that she will not be kept that way forever by the fact that she is extremely fussy and slightly alarming.
- Like a lovable old gnome lady, Ida sits in the corner of the office trying not to be noticed and frequently succeeding. Possesses a deep knowledge of the inner workings of Commission Support, which she will impart with a wry smile and a knowingness which is clearly born of knowing loads of stuff.
- Ida's partner in arms on the other side of her desk, softly-spoken Jocelyn shares the former's profound understanding of both her own job and everybody else's, as well as her stoic good humour. Although her hair and earrings may seem anachronistic in 2004, Jocelyn cannot be faulted for her sense of Financial Services-friendly style.
- Out-wrying even Ida, Martha's half-smiles and the almost-malevolent twinkle in her eye can make it an ordeal to call on her seemingly bottomless knowledge, however outwardly polite she may be.
- Formidable and sometimes bullish, Ally is one of those butch women who like butch men, keeping her desk decked with rugby players and a Robbie Williams calendar. A union woman, she agitates stridently at team meetings and keeps an 'Amicus - Don't Let Them Offshore Our Jobs' dayglo yellow top draped over her chair. I would hate to get on the wrong side of her.
- Chunky and affable, Esme has been with the company long enough to remember when computers were the size of washing machines, and nobody was quite sure what they did. With something of the womble about her, she often seems incongruously cheery in our muted, blue-grey office; when a belly-laugh is to be heard, it is usually hers.
- Mark is responsible for most of the shallower laughter we hear here. He is one of these people who appear unstintingly friendly and laid-back, finding more to chuckle at in his call-handling role than one might imagine possible - but when his guard slips, we catch an occasional glimpse of a lonely soul, glad of the human contact afforded by his job and too contained to let his bottled-up stress spill over as anything but a nervous chortle.
...I don't work there any more.