The Five O’clock Blues – Ode to the Office Worker


Deadlines, Timelines, Die Lines

Waiting in Line, killing time

Texting, typing, printing, sorting

Another line, more lost time

Tie too tight, shirt not right

Ate too much for lunch, that’s my hunch

After five and I’m still stuck in this chair

There’s a solution, out there, somewhere

Contracts, Proposals, Presentations

Keyboard sluggish, adding frustration

Fingers moving at the speed of light

Hope to leave before its night

In box still full, not very cool

Neck getting sore, work a chore

All I can do is think about the door

Coffee at night, what a fright

Foot a tapping, won’t catch me napping

A job’s a job today, times are tough that way

Extra hours with no extra pay

At least I have a place to go

My job hasn’t been exported to Mexico

Back aching from my creaking chair

I’d complain to someone, but no one cares

Production, Reduction, Outsourcing

Accounting, Shipping, and Purchasing

Unemployment weighs so heavily

So here I sit until I’m seventy

Mouse finger sore, computer work a chore

Twisted phone cord my only reward

Staple and sign on the dotted line

No time to read, no time to whine

Making money for the man

Avoiding being an also ran

Looking above for something divine

What task at hand can I combine?

Kid’s at home hardly see my face

All I can think of is the database

Work, work, work, in everyplace

My existence has become the marketplace

Gotta relax but I’m too wound up

Should have skipped that last hot cup

Drive time traffic fortunately thinned

Catch some speed, just like the wind

Darkness looms like a coming storm

My life’s all work since I’ve conformed

Not alone in my nightly plight

I sneak a glance off to my right

The cars go by with other lonely souls

Other people enslaved to their payrolls

Accountants looking for loopholes

Statisticians working the daily polls

While CEO’s keep setting goals

Keeping us trapped within our holes

Shut my mouth and know my role


R J Schwartz
Latest posts by R J Schwartz (see all)

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

6 thoughts on “The Five O’clock Blues – Ode to the Office Worker

  • October 26, 2016 at 6:57 PM

    Oh my gosh! Do I ever remember those work days with the same thoughts you write about, Ralph. Marvelous! Well done! Now hang in there – before you know it retirement will be calling you, for time goes by fast. Love this poem.

  • October 27, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    Ah, the working man’s plight, a sad lament indeed. Lost we can become in false Gods and here you have nailed it Ralph, for the blood we let, is it worth it in the end? Great word usage and beautifully expressed my friend.

  • October 28, 2016 at 12:11 AM

    Most creative poetry and so very true. When you work for someone and not yourself it is always pure drudgery. Your poem reminded me that when I worked in NYC I was a marine insurance agent. One time a great big hurricane hit and there I was dragging about a ton of files (the days before PC) home to work on over the weekend.

  • November 8, 2016 at 11:14 AM

    Thanks for so many great comments – I enjoyed writing this as much as you enjoyed reading it. The concept of speed and “not enough time” has always been an interesting approach for writing – it truly captures the reader and makes them part of the whirlwind ride.

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