It’s a funny old thing getting the train to work. It is, quite often, a fairly miserable experience. The unreliability, the cost, the dilapidated trains. But most of all, the biggest challenge is often the fellow commuter. Here is my list of the worst of the worst.
- The one who has their bag on the seat next to them and pretends they can’t see all the people standing up. Note to this commuter. This isn’t going to work. It really isn’t, no matter how much you harrumph or how slow you move your stuff. Be fair to others.
- The one who watches video on their phone without headphones. This should be illegal. I tolerate quite a lot on the train, but this is the one thing that I will ask someone to stop. With, it must be said, varying levels of success.
- The manspreader. Nuff said.
- The one with the excessively loud ringtone. Most often accompanied with and excessively loud conversation when answered. I’M ON THE TRAIN.
- The one who breaches the GDPR. I am amazed what people do on the train. I have seen people assessing CVs, reading legal papers, sending emails about other people, all with personal data on display. I’ve also overhead people getting interview feedback. I recently sat next to a legal type and read his court papers over his shoulder. It was fascinating stuff, but I bet the claimant wouldn’t have been all that happy about it.
- The ones that are drunk. Whether it’s the Christmas party season or that lone dude who is nailing can after can of Stella Artois, this is never the commuter to sit next to.
- The one who only gets the train occasionally and loudly reflects how they are glad that they don’t have to do this every day. Lucky you. And just for the record, we already know how awful it is.
- The one who won’t give way with their laptop. You are sitting at a table trying to do a little work on your laptop. Only the person opposite to you has their laptop out too and is taking all the space. Note to this commuter. If you are sitting opposite me, it’s going to get a shove.
- The one who talks to strangers. The person sitting next to them is a new potential friend! AVOID AT ALL COSTS.
- The one who overshares. You know the one. They spend the entire journey on the phone to their mum or their BFF and you know everything about them. Including lots of stuff you never, ever wanted to know. Shhhhh.
These aren’t the only challenging commuters; there’s the ones who bring stinky food, the ones who take their shoes off, the snorers, and those who have dubious personal hygiene.
I hope if you are reading this, you aren’t one of these commuters. I don’t think I am. Although I do crunch Werthers Originals all the way to the office. Which means that somewhere, I’m probably on someone else’s list of people not to sit next to.
PS: commuting is a wellbeing issue. It is stressful, expensive and takes away from people’s time with their family. Flexible working is a potential solution. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.