Sunday 26 May 2024

Me vs The Office Cleric

normally don’t write about work, particularly when I still work at any given location. Exceptions can - and have - been made, but for them most part I’ve decided not to bite the hand that feeds. This is just sound logic for a number of reasons, not the least of which are that I live in a small town, someone might actually read this, and I can’t afford to get fired.

That said, this isn’t about work per se, but more of a dive into the lengths that I will go to in order to entertain myself in the office, where life can rapidly oscillate between chugging along like my own office-bound version of Thomas the Tank Engine, and “the world is basically on fire now” levels of chaos. So, in order to keep myself from succumbing to the pandemonium, I’ve been trying to find creative ways to lighten the mood and find fun.

And so I bring you today’s offering: The Office Cleric.

Patent pending, or maybe a trademark….is that a thing I can do?

For those of you not familiar with the Office Cleric™ (which I have to assume is everyone since I just made it up. Also, google didn’t immediately tell me this wasn’t an original concept: Office Clerk - yes, Office Cleric™ - no) then let me explain.

It’s time for a lesson in etymology, which is different from entomology. We’re not here to talk about bugs.

Back in the before times, and more specifically ancient Greece, the Greeks borrowed parts of words from late Latin; basically, very little, if anything is actually new. Except Office Cleric™. That is (maybe) new.

The Greeks took the Latin word clēricus, put it through an antiquated google translate system, and came out with κληρικός; and for those of you in the back who have let your ancient Greek lapse, this more or less says klērikós (or at least it does according to Wikipedia….where all the best low level research is done)

To make a historically (and probably inaccurate) long story short, all these words basically mean the idea of casting lots or drawing names for public servant positions. Many of the public offices in Athens were staffed this way.

In summary, while the term cleric used to refer to public servants doing clerical work, the more modern understanding of cleric is primarily associated to clergy members, or more commonly, to a debatably mediocre character class in games like Dungeons and Dragons. Those of us working in offices are now more commonly referred to as clerical staff (same historical base word....see, we all learned something together!), which is a term I hate with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. 

But I intend to bring cleric back to its original etymological roots. While I realize my obscure humour is lost on some, I would like to propose that all of us public servants out there be referred to as Office Clerics™ moving forward, because it’s just so much more epic then admin, steno, clerk, assistant or any number of other diminishing terms for who we are and how much we do. Cleric implies that I know things. I see things. I can make or break your day. Much more fun. 

The concept of the Office Cleric™ feels more fitting, because much like the D&D clerics who hold parties together with their versatile fighting and healing skills, we make offices run, which frequently feels very much like doing battle and salving metaphorical wounds. Furthermore, Clerics can repel or control undead creatures, and I would argue that depending on the mood that day, and the amount of coffee people have had, I basically shepherd the undead as well, making sure things still get done despite the zombies.

In closing, I’d just like to say that I’ve probably put waaaay too much thought into this in the interest of a good story. I’d also like to say that I have no regrets, because I now have my very own Office Cleric™ sign at my desk for all to see and squint at questioningly because they have absolutely no idea what I’m on about.

I am a conduit of the gods themselves. The armies of the dead fear my presence.” – D&D, probably

.but also good for an Office Cleric.


  1. However clerical staff is also correct as most are shafted on regular occasions. Perhaps this is the root of the term staff

  2. I like it....there's no end to the creativity of words