One of my photos

The French are coming!

January 13th, 2005 · Posted by Skuds in Work · No Comments · Work

It happened again today. We had a visit from a senior person in our company, so productivity took a nosedive for half the building. It is all so predictable. In the hours and days preceding a high-level visit various little improvements are made to the fabric of the building. Improvements which could have been made at any time in the past but would not be done just to improve the working environment for us or to make the staff happy. That sort of thing would only be done by a company where the management gave a shit about their employees. For example, there is a ceramic trough full of plants, the majority of which are in terminal decline with brown leaves drooping over the edge. I suppose it was an eyesore, but to be honest I was so used to it I hardly noticed it. This morning all the dead leaves were removed and thrown away. And then we get e-mails addressed to the whole building with a nice patronising message about making sure desks are tidy. I think that the management would have moved us all out and replaced us with more attractive actors for the day if they could have done.

The thing is that our offices are spread across a few arches under a railway station, with a telephone exchange in the middle, primitive facilities, insufficient toilets and desks crammed into unlikely spaces. The heating packed up three years ago and a single room serves the multiple purposes of first aid room, coffee room, out-of-hours smoking room and storage room, without being particularly suitable for any of them. With all this systemic squalor, our leader, Napoleon, thinks that pruning a few dead plants will turn it into an impressive state-of-the-art facility. The phrase ‘polishing a turd’ springs to mind for some reason.

To add insult to insult, a buffet lunch was ordered and delivered for our distinguished guests and it was all laid out in our network management centre. This is a room which has signs on the doors prohibiting food, drink, smoking and mobile phones, but that rule is magically suspended for the duration of the visit. It is bad enough that the room, which should really be a secure location with access tightly controlled and limited only to those working in it, is positioned so that to get to any other room in the building you have to walk through it!

I still hold out hope that one of these senior visitors will comment on why the command centre for such a prestigious contract is based in a total dump, and will summarily execute Napoleon for allowing it.

Anyway, it seems a good time to refer to this news story where an employeee of Waterstones made some disparaging comments about his boss in a blog and got fired for gross misconduct. Oops. That is going to be an interesting one to follow because the chap’s comments didn’t seem too strong and really the company is attracting more critical comments from more people for firing the man than they would have ever got from people reading his blog.


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