Just as I was sitting there thinking why the hell was I doing this job (when you start to analyse peoples pictures on their desk, the probability of people turning left or right when you approach them in the corridor (so you can avoid bumping into them and their cup of coffee), the peak times for going to lunch (Always going five minutes before the hour as people always leave then) , the chance of being left with Coriander and lime and other green like looking things in a piece of bread that nobody ever buys but they still persist with every day sandwich, the chances of reaching the toilet only to be confronted with a ‘Closed – Female cleaner in attendance’ but then walking past the ladies toilet and reading a ‘closed – male cleaner in an attendance’ (why don’t they just clean their own sex toilets and save me the trip?) and the game of roulette every time I go to purchase the Coriander and lime and other green like looking things in a piece of bread that nobody ever buys but they still persist with every day sandwich, packet of Prawn Cocktail Walkers crisps with toffee crisp and copy of the Times with my haven’t got a clue how much credit is on my staff pass) I came up with another series of thoughts. Apart from using more commas and not fifteen sentence paragraphs, there really must be worse jobs than mine. And then came salvation. The auditors were in.
There is something about being an auditor that just doesn’t sit right with me. They get paid, quite a lot, to go into departments and basically, and rather proudly, rip the shit out of your work. It’s quite simple. An afternoon with the auditors is like an afternoon with your grand mothers best friend who can’t hear because, well she is ninety and deaf, giving you the Spanish inquisition. Well maybe not. After all, you get a nice cup of hot tea with your grandmother, she only asks you “So have you met any nice young ladies recently” or “How is work?” or “You have grown”, all of which you can answer with the same question, because as well as her fading hearing, she has fading memory.
So they ask lots of questions about your work. “But what happens if…..” or “What’s to stop someone accessing this work that shouldn’t be?” or the classic, and forever used, “So, if you got run over by a bus, how would we know what you have been doing?”. I would like to think that if I did get run over by a bus, a priority would be contacting my next of kin, arranging flowers, making sure my laundry got done, selling my laptop and donating the proceeds to the CancerAid collectors I keep on avoiding in the street, rather than looking for documentation I may, or may not have produced for the system I designed.
They take notes. Lots of notes. As you try to explain how the process work they give you that look. That look a mechanic gives you when you take your smoking car in for a service. You expect them to get out their big fat red marker pen out and write all over your screen with the words “Could do better”. But before I went too excessive I remembered, I know an auditor. Just because they have a job that makes them hated, they can be alright. They don’t check your washing process for signs of weakness, they don’t stand back and criticise your reverse park in real life, they don’t suggest workarounds if you are off sick in bed and can’t make that early morning cup of tea.
Then I thought. Fuck. I need to go on another six month holiday again in the sun.
1) People who have pictures of their loved ones on their desk
Well, not all pictures. I mean, a framed picture of your wife isn’t too bad. It’s just when you have a framed picture of your wife in a bikini that makes me wonder. Well, not that much, she wasn’t all that. I mean I wonder if his wife knows that a framed picture of her in a bikini is sitting on a desk on the way to the coffee machine
2) People who have pictures of their dogs on their desk
It’s true. Some people in the office have a picture of their dog smiling at them whilst they prepare for that meeting. If they have got one of their dog on their desk, I hate to think of the ones in their wallet
3) Cleaners who don’t clean
I’ve noticed a more worrying trend recently. Someone has been stealing cola bottles from my bag of sweets in my drawer. I would'nt mind. It’s just the cleaners afterall. However instead of cleaning my keyboard, they are actually leaving trails of sugar in it instead. I would'nt mind. It's just I'm starting to type 'OP's with my 'P's. I would'nt mind. It's just I'm sending "I'll poop over to you in a minute" when I instant message people. Then, to the disgust of person opposite, they replaced their blue bottle top on her water bottle with a red one. Not only do we have cola bottle sugar handed thieves, but people intend of playing mind games with us all.
4) Email Calendar alarms
Not a bad concept for Lotus Notes. Up pop’s an alarm to tell you that the meeting you don’t wan't to go to is due to start. Well, it would be good. It’s just everyone’s in the office seems to remind you thirty minutes after the meeting. Genius. What a company.
5) Mobile phones
People always say “That was meant to be on silent” when their mobile phone goes off on with a loud setting 4, vibrate all over the desk with a shitty monotone version of Tupac.
6) Corporate buzz words
This is my current top list that I have observed in the last week
1) It's not rocket science 2) Lets touch base on Monday 3) Let's not blame but try and learn from this for next time 4) Lets not be busy fools 5) It's a win win situation 6) It's a no brainer 7) I think we should take this offline 8) At the end of the day 9) Lets be pro-active, not reactive
………..and my conclusion? It’s all to get around not doing any work or taking any responsibility.
1 - It's not rocket science
“It should be simple to do but obviously nobody has been arsed to do it before. I’ll just say it so I don’t feel so bad giving it to you as an action after this meeting”
2 - Lets touch base on Monday
“Actually, lets not. I’m going to be vague on purpose. By not saying I’m going to call you or email you, hopefully you will forget. After all, it’s the weekend between now and then.
3 - Let's not blame but try and learn from this for next time
“We all know whose fault it is. Let’s just not embarrass them in this meeting”
4 - Lets not be busy fools
“Everyone in this department is a lazy bastard”
5 - It's a win win situation
“It’s easier for me if we do it this way”
6 - It's a no brainer
“You stupid fuck. Why are we even having a meeting about this”
7 - I think we should take this offline
“I think you are talking shit”
8 - At the end of the day
“This conversation is going nowhere. I wish it was the end of the day”
9 - Lets be pro-active not reactive
“In theory we want to not have meetings about the things that go wrong, but in reality we all know that next month we will have exactly the same meeting about the things that went wrong this month that we forgot to act upon in advance”
The last thing I noticed was...........
7) I should really do some work and stop being such a nosey bastard
When I was away, I heard the same comments. “I would love to visit some day and visit all the historic things like castles and buildings”. For a minute I would pause. Yes it would be nice to see all those castles and old buildings. After all, they are down the road. Literally.
So why don’t I just pop down to the castle on a weekend? Well, it’s a castle. It’s been sitting there all my life. To my knowledge, the castle hasn’t changed since then. If it was built to stop lots of French people with nasty long swords and armour invading in 1066, I doubt it would be troubled by adolescent thirteen year olds using it to skin up on.
And another thing. Suggest a day out to see a seventeenth century listed building in the little village of Gorge on river, and your friends, if they haven’t already, will think you are in the middle stages of a midlife crisis. Of course, that would never happen. I would be doing the crossword that weekend anyway.
This weekend I got the chance. Well it helps when people from foreign countries are visiting. Apparently, sixty miles up the road from me, is a collection of rocks sitting in a field that someone carelessly dumped there five thousand years ago. They talk about the youth of today having no respect yet they seemed to be able to get away with it back then. And what’s more, people are actually paying five pounds a go to walk around this dumping site.
The car park was full of foreign number plates, standard hire cars, German coaches and mini buses with “Stonehenge Tours Ltd”. Amazingly the layout had not changed in twenty years, they were even selling the same flavoured ice cream. I remembered that bit. I did after all drop a double scoop of toffee and Strawberry ice cream over a French woman in 1985 much to her distain. There was however one addition. They were handing out an incredibly sophisticated looking wireless commentary system (they bore a striking resembleance to my could try harder and looks like shit 'C- Technology project in 1992) that allowed you to stroll around and listen to the facts at your leisure.
As I walked around with the black, larger than two sets of your parents unnecessarily large but need to have big keys to operate mobile phones, something quickly became apparent. People were mistaking the black listening devices for cameras. As you stood there and learned how it would have taken a hundred men to move one stone, a queue would form in front of you. It was only when you made the “It’s the same black thing you are holding, stupid” face at them that they realised it wasn’t a camera, but, in fact, the same black thing that they were listening to, that they could walk past without disrupting the imaginary picture I was meant to be taking. I noticed another strange thing in day full of amazing, ground breaking observations. As I walked around the circle of stones, they weren’t changing in size or shape. Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t feel the need to bend down, arch my back or turn my head sideways like most of the other tourists around me. But just to conform I stepped back and refocused. No, to my dismay, they still looked the same.
Of course, as posh sounding commentator said on the neck hanging sophisticated commentary system said, it was one of the world wonders how these stones got here, why they got here, and what they were there for. Of course there was a sense of history, quickly followed by a sense of what the fuck. They must have been on some good weed back then, well and truly stoned.