jan’s thoughts

Lanyard People

Every morning on my walk to work, I see the same people. One group particularly stands out: well-groomed young professionals with those ubiquitous lanyards.

A lanyard typically consists of a flexible fabric strap, lovingly decorated by an ornate logo print and a key ring or snap hook, which holds an ID badge or keycard. Men hang it casually out one of their front pockets. Women usually carry it around their necks, for lack of front pockets in contemporary British women’s office wear.

Do these perfectly fine people carry their corporate lanyard as a sign of identity? A sign of tribe, or pride?

Why would you keep your ID cards out there in the wild, on display, for everyone to see, when in fact you need them just twice a day? When you walk in and out your office.

OK, maybe four times, to open the door when you sneak out for lunch only to come back and hoover it up at your desk.

The lanyard people got me thinking: what other people are there? I counted plenty more.

The ones with corporate umbrellas. Just like their CEOs’ egos, often terribly oversized for the streets of Edinburgh.

Then there are the ones in conservatively dark-coloured business outfits who wear dazzlingly colourful trainers. Surely, at least your morning walk should be comfortable - unlike the rest of the day glooming at your horizon.

I love the ones who carry a well-ironed shirt and matching tie, not on their body but neatly on a little plastic coat hanger. I very much sympathise with them. No need to look ready for serious biz until the clock strikes 9 am again.

I will probably never know their stories. Yet they all have a place in my heart and those meaty drawers that make up my brain. Drawers littered with cliches and stereotypes of British office life, which I escaped just before it was too late.