Shock! Karen returns to work after two days off to find everything absolutely fine

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An overbearing and self-important middle manager has returned to work this week after a full two days off, only to discover that everything is absolutely fine and most people didn’t even realise she was gone.

“I just can’t believe it,” said Karen Stoker, 32, who spent the first two hours of her day asking incredibly obvious and vaguely offensive questions to employees who are only slightly more junior than her.

“Did you did you get the projections to Stephanie on time?” She asked Melanie Stanton, 25, who has a master’s degree from a Russell Group university, but still shares a damp flat with five other people.

“What about the merchandise? Did you arrange an alternative day for Joe to pick everything up?” She asked another androgynous millennial, whose name she hadn’t bothered to remember.

The not-at-all challenging ship had, in fact, been kept on course with little difficulty by the junior members of staff, most of whom replied to Karen’s repeated questions with weary sighs of assent.

“She told us about all of this stuff before she left, left obnoxious sticky notes on our monitors, then sent us another email while she was out of the office reminding us to do it,” said Henry Campbell, 23, who graduated with a 2:1 from St Andrews and really thought London would have more to offer than this.

“We do promotion and marketing, it’s not exactly a UN bloody peace deal.”

In a fatal misstep, Karen also decided to approach her own boss to apologise for taking time off with only three weeks’ notice.

“Hi there Steven, just popping my head in to let you know I’m back and ready to hit the ground running,” she said, as cheerily as the next idiot.

“Yeah, great,” he said, without taking his eyes away from the computer screen, where he was busy writing a passive-aggressive TripAdvisor review.

“Did you make sure to get skimmed milk this time?” He asked, inadvertently crushing Karen’s professional self-confidence which had been tremulously built upon a standing desk of lies. “The full-fat stuff has started giving me a bit of a dicky tummy.”

Nicola Middlemiss

Nicola is a journalist in Sydney and usually writes about business and employment for a living. Originally from the North East of England, everyone always assumes she’s Scottish and nobody can quite believe how pale she is.