Wednesday, 3 August 2005

Feedback frolics

I winced as the shrill sound of the office phone disturbed my peaceful daydreaming. As I lifted the receiver I cursed the long decayed corpse of Alexander Graham Bell. My most famous ancestor, Robert Whitehead, was largely responsible for inventing the torpedo, a weapon the Germans later copied, dubbed the blackhead, and used to sink millions of tons of British shipping. His creation was unfairly given the moniker ‘the devils device’ yet I feel this adjective has more resonance when it is applied to the telephone, that most loathsome of instruments that connects me with the outside world.

‘Good morning, Ideal Oppotunities…How may I help you’ I recited robotically into the headset. I had uttered the words with about as much passion and enthusiasm as man who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in a Siberian Gulag. ‘Hi there, I was just enquiring about the retail academy’ came the voice on the other end. I hurriedly pressed the recall button and redirected the call through to one of my superiors, the whiney voice on the other end stuttered briefly and then stopped abruptly as the call was patched through. I sat back with a sigh of contentment: my phone had been temporarily exorcised of annoying members of the public asking questions I haven’t the foggiest how to answer. With the click of a mouse I went back to reading the BBC news website and counting down the seconds until 5.00, so it goes in the modern workplace.

In the beginning there was the working class, strong, noble and defiant, the very engine of the British Empire, toiling and sweating to produce goods that would be sold around in every city of the world. Then the manufacturing sector collapsed, jobs moved elsewhere and the long established professions of the lower classes became worthless amidst the new service economy. And so, the powers that be looked down and said ‘look at all these new office jobs being created, and look at all these unemployed people, if only those people had the skills for those jobs, then all would be well in this country!’. A great idea had been conceived, the problem being that most wonderful ideas - communism, universal health care and freeing Iraq from tyranny- are somewhat flawed when it comes to the actual execution.

Working in an office requires some basic fundamental ‘skills’ such as the ability to work in a team without causing vast amounts of friction, a basic understanding of Microsoft Office, and to be able to communicate ones views without offending everyone in the building. Quite a few of the people that get selected for our courses shouldn’t even be remotely contemplating working in an office because they can’t do any of these things, and yet that is what the job market dictates. Hence I now find myself drafting patronising ‘feedback reports’ for these poor buggers to tell them exactly why they failed the assessment: it’s a somewhat tragic task but, with my cynical outlook, its also one I thoroughly enjoy.

I find writing these things very similar to those awful school reports I was subjected to throughout my pre-university education. My father insisted on reading these out to me on the sofa, purposefully adopting a woeful tone of voice, that made every achievement sound like a disaster and every bad comment sound like he was announcing the death of a close family member. ‘Humphrey….has been improving in maths’ he would read, dragging out the ‘has’ in order to extract every ounce of cynicism from the sentence possible. ‘BUT THERE IS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN HIS GRASP OF ALGEBRA’ he would continue, dramatically, as if this phrase alone were enough to put an everlasting stain on my character. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and I find myself writing these ‘feedback reports’ for grown adults: whoever said it was childhood that held the most pleasures.

On the assessment day one woman in the ‘teamwork exercise’ had been thoroughly rude, shouting her ideas out over the rest of the group and staring with a look of outrage and disgust at any other team member who dared say anything. You would have thought the word ‘teamwork’ would have given her some clue as to what was required. We had had a meeting after the assessment to determine which of our candidates would be selected for recruitment; the notes I had taken for this particular client read ‘domineering, rude, arrogant and overbearing’. I struggled to think of subtler wording to convey this to her. Having pondered the matter at length, I decided upon ‘In her enthusiasm to communicate her views, the candidate dominated the discussion at the expense of other team-members’. Then I added –laughing my head off as I did so- ‘Effective collaboration within a team requires listening to the points of view of other members of the group and encouraging them to contribute’. I was beginning to spout Human Resources like a born bull-shitter.

title or description

The next failed candidate I turned to proved more problematic. My notes read ‘clearly mad, started talking about “crystallisation”, rude in the team exercise’. I struggled for something nice to say and decided upon ‘Throughout the assessment, the candidate was pleasant and approachable’, this, I find, is an incredibly useful generic term; heck, even Idi Amin was pleasant and approachable if you were on the right side of him. I then advised the blighter to ‘develop his communication skills’; not going on insane, psychedelic rants during the interview stage might be good place to start. Hopefully work will throw up yet more opportunities to be a patronising bastard.

Disclaimer: All characters and events in this story are fictitious, and any similarity to a real person or city council, living or dead is entirely coincidental and unintended by the author.


oakleyses said...

tory burch outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, coach outlet store online, polo ralph lauren outlet, chanel handbags, true religion outlet, ray ban outlet, red bottom shoes, burberry outlet online, prada outlet, kate spade outlet online, nike free, polo ralph lauren, christian louboutin shoes, nike air max, christian louboutin outlet, coach outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, burberry outlet online, true religion, nike shoes, longchamp handbags, coach purses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, oakley vault, tiffany jewelry, louis vuitton outlet, nike air max, prada handbags, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, longchamp outlet, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet store, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton handbags, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet online, michael kors outlet online

oakleyses said...

chaussure louboutin, ralph lauren pas cher, nike free pas cher, burberry pas cher, guess pas cher, ray ban pas cher, converse pas cher, barbour, true religion outlet, tn pas cher, air max pas cher, sac louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, vans pas cher, nike roshe, nike air max, abercrombie and fitch, air jordan, nike free, louis vuitton uk, scarpe hogan, michael kors uk, mulberry, true religion jeans, nike air force, sac vanessa bruno, oakley pas cher, air max, nike roshe run, new balance pas cher, longchamp, north face, ralph lauren, lacoste pas cher, nike air max, hollister, ray ban uk, hermes pas cher, hollister, lululemon, michael kors canada, timberland, sac michael kors, louis vuitton, north face pas cher

oakleyses said...

canada goose outlet, asics shoes, giuseppe zanotti, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes, birkin bag, uggs outlet, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, reebok shoes, north face jackets, mcm handbags, ugg boots, babyliss pro, marc jacobs outlet, vans outlet, lululemon outlet, mac cosmetics, canada goose, herve leger, nike trainers, north face outlet, roshe run, beats headphones, longchamp, instyler ionic styler, valentino shoes, ugg soldes, insanity workout, p90x workout, ugg, jimmy choo shoes, canada goose outlet, abercrombie and fitch, nike huarache, ferragamo shoes, nfl jerseys, ghd, new balance outlet, chi flat iron, rolex watches, celine handbags, mont blanc pens, ugg outlet, hollister, uggs on sale

oakleyses said...

moncler, canada goose, links of london uk, air max, hollister canada, uggs canada, oakley, canada goose pas cher, swarovski jewelry, lancel, parajumpers outlet, juicy couture outlet, toms outlet, canada goose, montre femme, ray ban, replica watches, moncler, canada goose uk, coach outlet, swarovski uk, gucci, supra shoes, louboutin, baseball bats, pandora uk, moncler outlet, converse, nike air max, vans, louis vuitton canada, ralph lauren, moncler, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, thomas sabo uk, ugg, iphone 6 case, canada goose outlet, karen millen, hollister clothing, timberland shoes, moncler, juicy couture outlet, hollister, wedding dress, moncler, moncler, converse shoes

oakleyses said...

louis vuitton, nike outlet, nike free run, nike air max, polo outlet, longchamp outlet, nike free, replica watches, nike roshe, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, prada outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, ugg boots, tiffany jewelry, sac longchamp pas cher, christian louboutin, tiffany and co, louis vuitton, replica watches, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin uk, polo ralph lauren outlet online, ugg boots, michael kors pas cher, louboutin pas cher, polo ralph lauren, longchamp pas cher, burberry pas cher, jordan shoes, gucci handbags, nike air max, air max, longchamp outlet, jordan pas cher, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses wholesale, kate spade outlet, christian louboutin outlet, christian louboutin shoes, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, replica handbags, nike tn, nike free uk, coach purses, burberry outlet, michael kors, polo lacoste, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max, hollister pas cher, ray ban uk, guess pas cher, michael kors, true religion outlet, hogan outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air max uk, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet, new balance, michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, mulberry uk, nike air force, abercrombie and fitch uk, lululemon canada, north face uk, ray ban pas cher, burberry handbags, michael kors outlet online, kate spade, true religion outlet, ralph lauren uk, sac hermes, nike air max uk, vans pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister uk, nike roshe run uk, true religion jeans, north face, michael kors outlet, sac vanessa bruno, true religion outlet, oakley pas cher

oakleyses said...

new balance shoes, chi flat iron, nike trainers uk, vans outlet, ghd hair, ipad cases, iphone cases, mont blanc pens, bottega veneta, ferragamo shoes, mac cosmetics, herve leger, timberland boots, s6 case, wedding dresses, nike air max, iphone 6 cases, ralph lauren, soccer jerseys, valentino shoes, oakley, longchamp uk, baseball bats, soccer shoes, nike roshe run, babyliss, beats by dre, north face outlet, iphone 6s cases, nike huaraches, north face outlet, hermes belt, iphone 6s plus cases, celine handbags, lululemon, hollister clothing, mcm handbags, asics running shoes, nfl jerseys, abercrombie and fitch, insanity workout, jimmy choo outlet, iphone 5s cases, iphone 6 plus cases, hollister, instyler, giuseppe zanotti outlet, p90x workout, reebok outlet, louboutin

oakleyses said...

juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet, ugg, pandora jewelry, moncler, replica watches, moncler outlet, pandora uk, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, gucci, canada goose uk, swarovski crystal, converse, marc jacobs, canada goose outlet, moncler, supra shoes, ugg pas cher, hollister, swarovski, thomas sabo, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, louis vuitton, moncler uk, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, canada goose, canada goose, links of london, toms shoes, montre pas cher, pandora charms, doudoune moncler, moncler, barbour uk, louis vuitton, ugg uk, karen millen uk, moncler, ray ban, coach outlet, barbour, lancel, louis vuitton, hollister, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, wedding dresses, nike air max

dalia alaa said...

Lucky me I came across your website