40 signs you're part of the furniture at work

Emma Elsworthy
Monday 26 February 2018 14:49

Realising most other employees are younger than you, being able to poke fun at your boss and having your own mug are all signs you’ve become ‘part of the furniture’ at work.

A study of 2,000 office workers has revealed the top 40 indicators that you’ve been in your job too long, including being able to tell if someone has fiddled with your chair settings and colleagues knowing exactly how you like your tea.

For a third of employees, being the one new people come to with questions is the point at which you know you’re in a job for life.

It also emerged it takes an average of four and a half years to become 'part of the furniture', with 56 per cent of those polled believing they have achieved that status.

Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive of international animal charity SPANA, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries, said: “The days of a job for life may increasingly be a thing of the past in this country, but it’s clear many British workers feel comfortable and secure in their roles and will stay with the right company for a number of years.

“Sadly, it’s a very different situation for working animals in developing countries.

"These horses, donkeys and camels often carry out the same gruelling work, day-in, day-out, for their entire lives.

"Far from feeling in a comfort zone, they haul back-breaking loads in dangerous conditions, with little rest and no holidays or retirement at the end of it.

"That’s why this forgotten workforce urgently needs our help.”

Other signs you’ve been in the job for too long include repeating the same phrases day after day and not making as much effort with your workplace attire.

And one in five people can remember their office going through several redesigns and redecorations during the years they have been in post.

Fifteen per cent of respondents believe being older than your boss is a sure-fire sign you’re a fixture in the workplace.

And the same number do their best to dodge company nights out, having been on dozens of them already.

A tenth of employees also reckon they’ve been working in the same place for such a long time, they don’t feel like they could ever work anywhere else – even if they don’t get the respect they deserve.

Certainly not all inclusions in the list are positive – as feeling a sense of dread on a Sunday night, everyone ‘assuming’ you are happy in your work and feeling disillusioned with changes in the workplace also feature in the list.

Half of British office workers admit they struggle with change, and two thirds don’t think they’ll ever have another job apart from the one they’re doing now.

But for 81 per cent of respondents, there was no specific moment that made them feel like they’d become a workplace institution, with the feeling creeping up gradually.

Eight in 10 office workers also say that, despite everything, they enjoy feeling like part of the furniture at work, although 68 per cent believe their working conditions – including pay, their job description and job title – should be updated.

Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive for SPANA, added: “Many workers in the UK might start to feel like part of the furniture after several years in the same workplace – with a favourite mug and their own daily routines and rituals.

“Thankfully, long service at a company is, in most cases, a choice and a sign that employees are content in their roles and have job security.

"However, many people in the UK aren’t aware about the relentlessly tough working lives endured by working animals around the world.

“These animals play a vital role in supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest families.

"Yet, despite their importance, they often lead short, painful lives and their welfare is neglected. SPANA is working to ensure that working animals have access to veterinary care when they are sick or injured, as well as educating owners about how to best care for their animals.”


1. New people come to you with questions

2. Noticing that most other employees are younger than you

3. People value your opinion

4. You can 'banter' with the boss

5. You have your own mug

6. Everyone knows how you like your tea/coffee

7. You can remember the office going through several redesigns and redecorations

8. You find yourself repeating the same phrases

9. You can tell immediately if someone has messed with your chair settings

10. Not being asked where you’ve been if you’re a few minutes late in the morning

11. You don't want to attend work nights out

12. You’re older than your boss

13. Clients ask you how your family is doing

14. You don't make as much effort with your fashion choices

15. You don't feel able to look for another job

16. Everyone assumes you are happy in your work

17. You are territorial about your desk and workspace

18. You know every single company procedure inside out

19. A desk fully decorated with pictures of friends and family

20. You are pigeon-holed in your position

21. Panicking when the company introduces new technology

22. You feel a sense of dread on a Sunday night

23. You haven’t had a pay rise in years

24. You feel disillusioned by changes at work

25. You don’t feel like you could ever work anywhere else

26. You race through tasks

27. People always come to you when they want to identify someone in the office

28. Colleagues refer to you as the "mum" or "dad" of the office

29. You feel like you don’t get the respect you deserve

30. You have reached your full holiday allowance, having accumulated extra days due to long service

31. Having a nickname

32. You have a favourite toilet

33. You have your own parking space

34. You look ahead at projects and realise you've done them all before

35. You had babies who have now left school, all in the time you’ve worked in the same place

36. Offering to get people lunch when you’re out

37. You have a fully stacked 'snack drawer'

38. None on the colleagues are still at the company from when you started

39. You can’t remember the names of many colleagues as you’ve seen so many comings and goings

40. You have spare shoes/ties/clothes at the office for whatever reason


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