Jack was starting his day. The coffee in his hand was just the right temperature and the warming glow of his screen greeted him for what would no doubt be another day filled with self-doubt and dreams of colleague-stabbings. But first, it was time for Facebook, and a status update extolling the virtues of the custard danish he’d just had from that little bakery down the alleyway that everyone talks about like they discovered it.

The site you have requested has been blocked. Please contact your systems administrator. A security breach has been logged.

Jack checked the web address, typing it carefully…The site you have requested… “What the actual heck?”

Jeremy peeped over his cubicle and talked in a loud whisper. “They’ve blocked all the social media and news sites. Apparently, we’ve been doing too much mucking around.”

“Okay, first of all, this isn’t the CIA,” said Jack. “So talk like a normal person. Secondly, how am I supposed to muck around without Facebook and CNN and other sites filled with entertaining lies?”

Jeremy shrugged. “You’ll have to talk to Simon, it was his idea.”

“Simon.” Jack’s eyes squinted and he looked around the room for his new manager. The man who was removing his basic human rights. Already, Jack had lost his long lunches, and smoke breaks, just because he didn’t smoke. But now, to lose his right to flick between screens on social media, that was going too far.

Simon walked out of the boardroom, and took a seat at his desk, opposite Jack. “Morning Jack, I trust you had an enjoyable weekend?”

Jack’s eyes squinted so tightly, he could barely see. “You talk like a Hallmark card.”

Simon looked up, “I’m sorry? Oh, is there something wrong with your eyes?”

Jack’s eyes were now watering from squinting so hard. “ You took my Facebook, and my Twitter, and my daily updates about celebrity marriages.”

“Oh, the social media thing. You have to understand that our IT department tells us that the workforce is spending in excess of 17% of it’s time on the platforms we have now restricted.”

“Exactly,” said Jack. “What are we supposed to do with that 17% of our time now?”

“How about working?”

“Oh come on Simon, let’s be practical. You can’t expect someone to work all day without the government allocated 17% social media and gossip breaks.”

“That’s not a thing Jack. What’s more, we are now monitoring everyone’s attempted access to the sites and security violations are being logged with Harriet.” Simon nodded his head to a curly haired woman sitting two cubicles away. “In other words, I’ll be able to see exactly what you’re trying to do online, so it’s better to behave yourself.”

“I always behave myself,” Jack mumbled as he sat back down. He typed in www.bbc.co.uk, surely such a reputable media giant wouldn’t be on Simon’s hit list. The screen told him otherwise, and a few cubicles away there was a light dinging noise, like someone had just received a text message. He’d heard earlier, but the timing was interesting. He entered twitter.com and pressed enter.


Jack stood up and smiled across at Harriet. He then broke the world record for clicking his enter button as many times as possible in 30 seconds. Harriet’s desk sounded like it had a car alarm attached and a few people stood up to see that all the noise was about.

“Hey Harriet,” called Jack. “You can’t turn that thing off can you?”

Harriet glared back at him.

“What’s all this?” Asked Simon.

“Nothing at all,” said Jack. “I’ve just found something to occupy 17% of my time.