Thursday, 30 August 2007

Nige's customer service

Mark comes down and starts riffling through Nige’s desk, while Nige is sitting at this desk. Nige turns and smiles at him. He doesn’t even ask what he’s looking for, he waits for Mark to ask:
Mark: “Where are your music DVDs?”
Nige: “At home. I don’t bring them in to work, unless someone asks for an old one.”
Mark: “You don’t have any here?”
Nige: “No I keep them all in one carrier case.”
Mark: “How about any other music you bring in to listen to?”
Nige: “No, I’ve got my mp3 player.”
Mark: “What am I going to listen to then.”
Me: “Listen to Jim singing live.”
Mark: “Very funny.”
Nige: “He’s got a great voice.”

Mark: “Have you done what I’ve suggested?”
Nige: “What’s that?”
Mark: “You know, put all the dance music on the just dance DVD. All the rock music on a rock DVD?”
Nige: “No. I don’t have the time to do that. You get them how they come.”
Me: “How about the people that have a wide range of music taste? Or the ones that like the rock, but their nieces want the dance stuff, they would have to buy two DVDs then.”
Nige: “I’m bringing in this weeks tomorrow, why don’t you have a copy, then you can split it up however you want to.”
Mark: “Surely you should give me it in the format I want it in.”
Nige: “It’s not worth it. It’s not worth my time and effort for a quid to mess about re-arranging things.”
Mark: “Why not? What else do you have to do with your time?”

Silence, while they both think for a while.

Nige: “I’ll tell you what. Just for you, I’ll bring in my back catalogue tomorrow and you can look through and see which ones you want copies of. But you won’t get the copies until Monday, because I’m off on Friday.”
Mark: “What am I going to listen to over the weekend then?”
Me: “Have you got your free memory stick from last week?”
Mark: “Yes.”
Me: “Well if he brings in this weeks tomorrow you can stick some on that for the weekend.”
Mark: “That’s not a bad idea actually.”
Nige: “Only as a sampler though, just so you’ve got stuff to listen to over the weekend. Or if you want some stuff for tomorrow have a look on this site…” (shows him the HMV internet site which tells you this weeks releases).
Mark: “HMV?”
Nige: “Yes HMV, the site with a picture of Clive on.”
Me: “Let’s see.”

I walk round to have a look, there’s a picture of Shrek on the top menu.

Me: “I thought it was going to be the cartoon drummer out of the Gorillas.”
Nige: “Take a look through them and give me a list and I’ll do them for you on a DVD for tomorrow.”
Mark: “See. That’s customer service for you.”
Nige: “You’re not the brightest firework in the box are you?” (As Mark walks away)

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Absence of manager

I am one of the more senior staff left in charge this week, with virtually all the bosses and team leaders swanning off on holiday. This is part of the e-mail my boss sent round before he left on Friday:
"Absence of Manager

As discussed this morning, as I will be homeless and likely to be living in the print room from the 21st of September, I am taking next week off as holiday to go ‘house hunting’.

As a consequence, the support of the Data Technicians will be more important than usual in ensuring that it is only a ‘holiday’ for those that have booked it!

As previously directed, there will be no overtime on Sunday the 26th of August. Now, given that the Team Leaders that usually do overtime are all out that week, there will also be no overtime on Sunday the 2nd of September. (Carl – Please ensure that Double Dee is aware of this!)

Kind regards"

That is the standard of his management skills, he really has sold his own house from underneath himself and is now desperately looking for somewhere to live.

Meanwhile- back at the "coal face" it was fruit day again. I've got lots more takers for fruit juggling since I put steve on You tube. There's been lots of juggling going on (a kind of audition), although once you've got one video of someone juggling with fruit, it does seem a bit much to clog the rest of my blog up with more of the fools.

Nige on the London Eye

Nige is off next week for a few days to go to London. One of the Dave’s is having a go because he is taking his missus to see “Joseph”, which Dave id telling him is effeminate, or even gay. On top of this Nige lets slip that he is also planning to go on the London Eye, which is not his choice because he is scared of heights. He says that he is going to stand in the middle of the car with his eyes shut for most of the time, which mark tells him is about 40 minutes. Mark has been on and enjoyed it, he didn’t realise there was so much greenery in London. Dave tries to tell Nige that the cars are very wobbly, and knowing that Nige can’t swim reminds him that the whole thing is above the Thames, so if any of the cars fall off, they’re going straight into the water.
“Surely that’s better,” I say “…being a softer landing than the tarmac.”
“Not if you can’t swim,” says Dave.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Boss's performance

Before the boss goes on holiday for a week,he sends us this e-mail(which I think is serious):

"Team, I need a favour!

I am looking to get some 360 feedback on how you view me as a manager. Now I could ask you to fill in the umpteen page on screen questionnaire and let some consultant dress the results up prior to me seeing them, but as you are no doubt already thinking, that isn’t my style.

So this is what I am looking for…….

• While I am away next week, as I value your opinion, I would like you to consider ON YOUR OWN - What I am good at? What I am bad at? How do you view me?

• I would like you type up your answers so that they are anonymous, put them in an envelope and then put them in the fruit bowl to the right on my computer. I would appreciate more than one word answers and if applicable without it implicating the author, any examples supporting your comments.

As I appreciate that the comedians amongst you will not be able to help yourselves, all I ask is that you only put in one entry and that you highlight any remarks that I should not consider to be serious.

When considering your responses, please bear in mind that:

• I am the Section Manager as opposed to a Team Leader.

• Whether or not your working conditions have improved or worsened in the last two and half years as a result of me.

• Your own contribution to the Section.

Should you not take part, I will be forced into sending you the electronic invite!"

Towards the end of the afternoon, when a few people have left early, we get onto discussing the e-mail and what we should put on our comments.
Eric comes out with the fact that he doesn’t really have anything to do with him.

Me: “Maybe that’s a good management style to have? You don’t realise that he is managing you. Kind of …effortless.”
Alan: “He doesn’t do anything.”
Me: “That’s it I’m putting “he has an effortless style of management, that everyone envies.”

Then the boss comes to the coffee machine and says:

Boss: “You’re not supposed to be conferring. Your supposed to put your own views.”
Me: “Eric just wanted to know how to spell crap.”

Japan getting rid of internet

Yesterday I was very shocked to read:
“Japan in plans to get rid of the internet by 2020”.
Apparently they want to replace it with something better. We spent most of the afternoon discussing how they could make it better. One of the Steve’s came up with the idea of a telepathic world wide web, probably needing implants:
“Brain implants…not…bosoms.” He qualified his comment by looking down at his chest area.

I did try adding our comments to the Daily Mail site, but they didn’t accept them for some reason. I’m going to give up trying to add comments to the newspapers’ sites, if they’re just going to ignore them.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Steve juggles with fruit

One of the Steve's juggling with leftover fruit.

Morale (Fruit and mints diet)

Since getting his promotion, Junior has wanted to create better morale in the team. At his previous job they had pool tables and other such niceties to make the staff more relaxed and feel special. Fruit and mint diet. He does this in small steps, so one of his latest schemes has been to bring in a selection of mints (humbugs, soft-mints, glacier mints), but he’s only kept these for his small section, rather than spreading it throughout the rest of the team. So partly to piss him off and partly because I fancy a mint occasionally, I like to put a couple of mints in my pocket each time I have to go near his desk. I’m not sure if Junior has realised yet, but plenty of other people have seen me doing it.
I’ve also become more conscious about my waistline, and have been avoiding the sandwiches from the canteen in the morning. Instead, I’ve been having bits of fruit.
This morning Alan asked if I was going down for breakfast (this is before Junior has got into work yet). I explain that these days I am avoiding the breakfast sandwiches from the canteen and am on a diet of fruit and mints, which they have a bit of a laugh about. Alan and one of the Steve’s go down for breakfast, leaving me talking to Eric (who doesn’t have breakfast anyway) discussing if I could convince him to be filmed trying to juggle for my blog.
Junior came in late, so the others had all been down for breakfast. He does manage to get Karen worked up enough to go down for a sandwich in the canteen with him. I noticed they had both gone, so I saunter over to grab some more mints, and to see what’s going on.

Me: “Has she taken him off to give him a bollocking.”
Alan: “No they’ve gone down to the canteen for breakfast.”
Me: “I’ve managed to convince Eric to be filmed juggling for my blog.”
Eric: “ No you haven’t!”

Alan has been off for a couple of days. I ask him about the new blog he’s set up, but only put one post on as yet (meant to be a way of giving himself something to do rather than play World of Warcraft with all his spare time). I tell him about the “Road-show” IT laid on yesterday, when we all managed to come away with a free 512 memory stick, which we’d also managed to clear up does not contraband the IT policy to use on your works machine. Alan pointed out that it only takes one person with a virus on their home computer to bring the memory stick back into work and infect the rest of the company. We then go on top reminisce about the old viruses, like the “cookie monster virus” and some that Alan had written himself, that just sat on the machine, then randomly minimised and maximised whichever windows were open on your machine, which sounds like good clean fun.

Just then, while my hand is in the goody jar, Junior and Karen come back. I keep my hand closed tight around the mints, and asks them what they’ve got.

Me: “I thought you’d given up the fatty breakfasts from the canteen?”
Junior: “This is my first one for a few weeks. Aren’t you eating the sausage sandwiches any more?”
Me: “No I’m watching my waist, I’m on a new diet of mostly fruit.” (deliberately not mentioning the mints)
Karen: “…And mints.”

Crazy Helen

Crazy Helen calls me over for some help, which I’m always annoyed at anyway, because all her problems are all to do with her brain not working or not following the right procedure. She shows me the project she’s been sent to work on and suggests that there’s some parts missing. After a good look I agree that there is some paperwork missing, and she needs to phone someone to get the rest sent over. Then she shows me a bunch of paperwork that she had taken out, that she was going to discard as nothing of any importance. Sure enough, in the pile of discarded paperwork, was the very document we were looking for.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Eric's yawn

The boss has a quick chat to Karen about something important then walks off. After 4 or 5 steps he turns back and says to Eric: “Could you do me a favour? Next time I walk away could you not yawn.
It looks as if you’re just about to say “has that boring fart gone yet?””

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Neil's resignation

E-mail sent round this morning confirming Neil has resigned:
“Dear all,
There have been rumours for a little while regarding Neil.
It is with some sadness that I confirm his resignation has been received and he officially finishes with us on 25th August.
Kind regards

By all accounts Neil has gone on holiday to Northern France with his mom. He’s still getting paid for another ten days by the company.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Mid stream

I’m in the gents when Dan rings me, mid-stream, on my mobile.
I manage to stop and answer it.
“Are you at work?” he starts off, because he has phoned in sick before when I’ve been on holiday.
“Yes, I’m at work.”
“Are you in the toilets?”
“Yes, it’s okay I’ve finished peeing and I was just about to flush. Are you coming in, or you off sick still?”
“No, I’m not coming in I still feel lousy.. I tried phoning Karen, but she wasn’t answering.”
“No, well she does weird stuff some days, turning off her phone or screening calls. Are you likely to be in tomorrow?”
“I don’t know, probably not, but if I do feel better I’ll come in.” (It’s always good to know that he’ll consider coming in to work if he’s not sick anymore).
“I’m not about tomorrow anyway, got a days holiday. So if you are in, I’m not.”
“Okay, I’ll see how I feel. Have a good flush.”
“Yes (laughing), see you later in the week then. Get better soon.”

Monday, 13 August 2007

Car trouble

Karen’s had a bad weekend her car was broken into and her £450 stereo nicked from her car on Saturday afternoon, while she was parked outside the football ground. She normally takes her facia off and takes it with her, but she wasn’t sure what she was going to be doing, because she wasn’t down to work in the ticket office, and didn’t want to carry it around with her.
I should explain that on Saturdays she works at the local football ground, either doing admin or working in the ticket office. She was upset because she had a £500 excess on her insurance. She claimed for her back window though, that was only £60 excess.
She was annoyed that the police were useless too. There are security cameras all around the ground, and on a Saturday afternoon it’s crawling with coppers patrolling the ground looking for trouble. She couldn’t find one. Then when she phoned up they wouldn’t send a patrol car back, even though they were just driving round. The police just wanted to handle things over the phone (they only want to give you a crime number for your insurance). She drove over to the police station to report it to be greeted by a policewoman telling her she couldn’t park there.
“That’s what I got as a greeting. “You can’t park there”, I could have just been raped.”
She told the rozzer on the front desk that there are security cameras all around the ground, but from his tone of voice they weren’t even going to bother to look at them. He didn’t even want to go and look at the car. She said “What’s he going to get for it anyway, about £20”.
To top it all they lost the football match as well.
They acted as if they just didn’t want the trouble. They’ve probably only just let the culprit out of prison on the new early release scheme. Then the police will go and appeal for help from the public and are surprised when no-one is interested in talking to them.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Pop Quiz

There’s not a lot of work in at the moment, and with tomorrow being “Clean your desk” day Junior asked what we could do to keep everyone entertained. We ended up with a kind of quiz that they could do at some stage of the day. I did my ten questions and we’re just waiting for Junior to do his ten. I e-mailed my part over to Junior and Karen, and was promptly beckoned over and told “you’re going to have to change one of the questions, someone might take offence.”
It was obviously the Helen Sweep question, which she knows nothing about. I told them that she would not know what it referred to. “But she’ll be asking everyone about it though.”
“We could leave her out of the quiz”. But they thought she would get offended if she wasn’t allowed to join in, so question 7 has got to come out. I wasn’t sure what we should give as a prize. I suggested we all club together and by the winner breakfast on Monday. Karen said that she wouldn’t mind paying for that, but Junior pointed out that not everyone has breakfast in the canteen. Junior came up with the crazy idea of giving them a free hours worth of overtime for nothing, but I don’t see how that would have worked out, especially if whoever won didn’t usually do overtime.
I eventually volunteered a company mug as a prize, which seemed quite popular.
“Where are you going to get one of them from?” asked Junior.
“Have you got one, where from? Can you get me one?”
I told him that Andy had got me one, but they were very easy to come by because there was a big box full of them at the other end of the office. All Andy was doing was going and pinching them one or two at a time, to order.
“If I get in early, as usual tomorrow I’ll go and grab a couple.”
“Will you grab one for me as well?”

When I leave the office I tell Karen I’m changing question 7.
“That’s good,” she says. “What are you changing it to?”
“Who’s buying the sausage rolls for Clive’s leaving do?”

Fruit Day again

It’s fruit day again (only the second one this year) and there’s already trouble. When the fruit bowls are distributed around the desks some people go round and decide that the others have got more grapes or plums than they have. We are actually queuing for breakfast when they come round, so when we get back up and see our allocation, some sod has pinched all but two of our grapes. Nige takes it upon himself to right the wrongs of the fruit pinchers, and goes round to inspect what everyone else has got and commandeers some grapes (like a green grocer Robin Hood, re-distributing the wealth of grapes).
In the afternoon Sarah gives us all a laugh by asking if she can “pinch our plums” and all the double entendres that follow about plums etc. With “juicy pears” being brought into play, we are hoping to see some melons next week.

Crowding into the lift

The Quality Assurance manager is in the lift, coming down from the sixth floor when we are going down for breakfast. We all pile into the lift (about six of us) so he is wedged up the corner.
“Going down for breakfast?” I ask him.
“Yeah, is that where all of you are going?”
“Yeah, and you’ll be the back of the queue.”
“Can I make a request?”
“I’m conducting an interview at 9.00, so can I jump the queue and go straight to the front?”
“Yes, that’s fine”.

I don’t know if it’s just a story because he doesn’t want to queue, or not.

“What’s with your departments new uniforms?” he asks. (They are mostly wearing black shirts, except for me. There’ve been big increases in black shirt wearing lately, which I thought was just a backlash against Pink shirt Thursdays”, but it seems to be a common colour throughout the week now.)
“I think it’s because they can’t be bothered to wash their shirts, so the black shows the dirt up a lot less.”
“…either that or they’re all working in Starbucks in the evenings.”

Tony from the third floor comes up looking for our latest recruit, Russell. I am always asked, because I’ve been here longest and I’m known by most people.
“Which one is Russell…….?” He asks me.
“He’s over there towards the middle. Black shirt and glasses.”
It’s only when he wonders off that I realise that a couple of them wear glasses for working on the VDUs and there is a good 70% black shirt coverage.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

This is how I feel

Clean Your Desk

E-mail sent round by the boss

Subject: Clean Your Desk Day!

Team – As decided at our ‘O’ Group on Monday morning, we are going to ‘down tools’ at 1400hrs on Friday afternoon and have a concerted effort at tidying up our end of the office. To compensate for the energy used, tea and cakes will be provided at 1500hrs.

Fellow Managers – Should you wish to join in, please advise me of how many doughnuts you need (That is to eat and not help!).

Friday, 3 August 2007

Supposedly the best bit of the movie

according to:

junior's week

Junior had originally booked Monday as a half day, because his brother was getting married the day before. Eventually when he got up on Monday he phoned in and asked for the whole day off. Then on the Tuesday morning he still wasn’t happy about something and asked the boss for the Tuesday afternoon off. On Thursday though, he did get quite a bit of work out. I said in passing to Alan “He’s done a good days work.”
“Yes” says Alan, “Spread over the week we do get about one days worth of work out of him”.

Chalk Homer

Saw this on the news last week, but couldn't find a picture until now.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Fruit Day

Like last year, for a couple of months during the summer, Wednesdays were declared “Fruit Day”. Around 11.00 on the Wednesday morning we get bowls of fruit distributed through the office, which you imagine would be a good gesture, but usually there is a lot of wastage. Usually the easy to eat fruit (bananas, grapes, etc) all goes very quickly, so you are left with oranges,(which are impossible to eat at work), apples, pears and nectarines (which are much less popular. At some stage last year they even had pineapple and melons (cut into pieces of course). Then the left over stuff remains lying around the office for the rest of the week, until Thursday afternoon and Friday become “Fruit football” days, where the left over apples and oranges are rolled down the office, kicked around, or lobbed at people’s heads.

Genuine slide from Julys Team Brief

This is taken from a real slide for Team Brief:

“A positive example of how raising awareness can influence our behaviour and make this a safer place to work.

On 31 January this year, we held ‘staircase day’. This was an opportunity for everyone based at office sites to take a short time out to learn about a major injury that involved a colleague falling down stairs and discuss our approach to safety.

In the four months prior there had been 27 incidents when people had fallen on stairs and in the four months since there has been a reduction to seven.
This improvement is down to your efforts in making sure you are aware of the risks and in challenging each other. A manager visiting the head office recently was seen to answer his mobile phone whilst walking up the staircase and was please to be challenged about a momentary lapse.

“I just wasn’t thinking, and was really pleased when someone stopped me and pointed out that I was putting myself at risk. My own and others safety is extremely important to me and this was a moment’s lapse that highlighted to me the need to be constantly aware and the importance of looking out for each other.” Colin Sankey, Head of Strategic Change,

People often don’t appreciate the impact that a momentary lack of concentration can have. Broken bones can mean that you can’t drive and/or be the family taxi, do the shopping, play sport and lots of other day-to-day things we take for granted. Are you confident to challenge unsafe behaviour when you see it?"

Yes, they really did spnd some time showing the staff how to walk up and down stairs properly.

Alan’s head hunting

Alan had gone for a word with the boss this afternoon, which cleared up much of the to-ing and fro-ing that was going on regarding his non-existent job application. It turns out that Alan had been moaning about wanting to get a new job sometime soon, which was overheard by the Quality Assurance’s boss’s wife. She mentioned to Alex that there was a job advertised up on the sixth floor, to which Alan politely said “I might take a look”. She told him that he could apply, then he could always withdraw his application if he changed his mind. Then on the Monday they had the management meeting in which our boss asked QA’s boss how many people had applied for his vacancy. He told them ten, but they are expecting eleven. Then he became quite smug that they were going to poach Alan from us.

The boss from Quality Assurance on the sixth floor came round yesterday, showing some people from outside what goes on in our building. With my Team Leader being out he collars Alan to talk them through what we do. Alan is always very good at this, I always feel hassled doing this, in case I say the wrong thing or get too sarcastic that people can’t tell I’m joking.

Later in the afternoon Alan comes over for a chat and I ask him how he got on with them.
Apparently the QA boss had gone back later and asked why he hadn’t applied for the job on his section, after he had applied for a similar job many months before on a section his wife works on. The deadline for applications was yesterday, but Alan really wasn’t interested in working in that department. As I’ve said before, the sixth floor is a bit of a quiet place to work, but the QA section is worse than most. Whenever we have cause to go up there everyone has their head down working, no one is ever away from their desk and it just looks a really boring environment to work in. Coupled with the fact that it would have been a sideways move rather than a promotion, he decided it would be better to tell him that he is looking for a job outside the company now.

What I thought was odd was later on, our boss had come to see Alan and asked if he had put in for the job, and that they had been discussing him in a management meeting last week as a likely candidate. I’m not sure if our boss wanted him to go and move section (they haven’t always seen eye to eye on everything), or if he was concerned that he might loose Alan.

This morning though. The boss asked me if I knew what had been said between Alan and the boss of QA. I gave him a flippant answer saying that Alan told him his section was boring and he wasn’t interested in working for them. It sounded like the people who had applied for the job were unsuitable, less experienced staff, only looking for more money.

So when the deadline for applications had past and Alan hadn’t applied, it was our boss’s turn to be smug. They’re just like big kids really.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Dictaphone man

Some old guy comes into the office looking round, stops in the middle, says something into a Dictaphone he has in his hand and goes over to the coffee machine. He gets himself a cup of coffee, talks some more into his Dictaphone, then walks off out of the office.
“Who was that?”
“Haven’t got a clue.”
“What was he saying into his machine?”
“He was talking too quiet to hear.”
“Probably – “I’m going to get a nice cup of coffee now”.
“Maybe he has Alzheimer’s disease. So he has to talk into the machine so that he can remember what he’s supposed to be up to.”
“What, like- “I’m going to the fourth floor to get a cup of coffee. I’m wondering aimlessly around the office until I find a coffee machine. I’ve found a coffee machine, is that what I was looking for? Why did I want the coffee machine? What’s my name again? How does this Dictaphone machine work?””
“He’s probably gone out into the corridor now to listen back to find out where he came from.”
“Do you think he’s only gone to get a loaf of bread from the shops and got lost?”
“That reminds me of the boss at my first job.”
“Why did he have Alzheimer’s?”
“No. He had a Dictaphone. Everyone else in the office had to write out their letters in rough and hand them over to the typing pool. One day one of the guys asked him “can I borrow your Dictaphone?” Of course he said “No, use your finger like everyone else.”