Sunday, 11 September 2005

Upheavals

My boss sauntered over to my desk as I was reading the BBC news online page for about the 20th time that morning. ‘We are just having a bit of an office reshuffle, would you mind moving back over to Amanda’s desk’ she said. I always seem to get moved on from desk to desk in this fashion as if I’m a particularly troublesome family of Travellers. I’ve subsequently learned that this seemingly innocuous sentence is actually management speak for ‘we have just sacked your best mate in the office, get over there and keep quiet or the same thing will happen to you’. I had been wondering why my unfortunate comrade had been sitting there in floods of tears for the best part of the morning – I had assumed it was just that the drudgery of mail merging had got to her. Eventually she could no longer take it and stormed off home in distress.

‘Did she leave her security pass when she left’, my boss asked. This seemed a tad insensitive until I realised that this is simply the way of the workplace; we are all expendable cogs in the bureaucratic machine and must routinely blame all our mistakes on other people as a method of survival. The office is similar to that show ‘Big brother’, and as a temp I am constantly up for eviction. I learned subsequently that there was a debate over which temporary employee to sack and I came out on top - no so much survival of the fittest, more survival of the fattest.

Apparently Amanda was sacked for being incompetent. This seems to me to be a tad harsh as the entire organisation is founded on incompetence. Instead of putting some money towards improving our abysmal crime statistics that are wreaking the city’s reputation, we are spending £300,000 on hiring a bunch of P.R people to spread propaganda. Crime in Rottingham-on-Trent is both troubling and hilarious. Apparently my neighbourhood is infested with a bunch of louts called ‘The Waterfront Gang’. This explains why there is infantile graffiti all over the place saying things like ‘WFG tru soldiers for life’ and ‘P.C Johnson is a black bastard who smokes crack’. One of the gang members who is being tried for the Danielle Beccan murder, apparently had his postcode tattooed on his head. It goes without saying that this is incredibly stupid - what happens if he moves to a different area?. The only possible advantage I can see it that when you get whacked in a drive by shooting, or something of that ilk, you can be posted back to your neighbourhood. Its incredibly silly, but I suppose that’s what happens when you spend your days sniffing glue and pretending you live in south central Los Angeles and not a sleepy English suburb called ‘The Meadows’ – its not the most ‘Gangsta’ sounding placename.

Another thing to come out of that meeting is that the council employs a rather KGB-esque group of busy bodies, whose task is to spy on our Internet history and make sure we aren’t sending any dodgy emails. They seem to have twigged that the working day of me and a large percentage of my colleagues consists of playing solitaire and googling random stuff on the Internet. The truth is that my job involves a lot of mindless data entry and I need something to keep my brain going, hence I read encyclopaedia articles in between rare bouts of activity. If I didn’t do this I would probably go insane, declare an ‘office jihad’, scrawl ‘Help Me’ on my chest in biro and set about attacking my colleagues with the Referrals folder. This, I suspect, would be more of a barrier to productivity than me wasting time on the internet.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to fight back against ‘the machine’. The only plan that I’ve come up with so far is to send normal office emails such as ‘Here are the stats for quarter March 05 – August 05’ but to give them snappy titles like ‘Anal Hardcore Action XXX’. This should fox those nosy parkers who spy on all our correspondence, or get me fired.

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