15 Jul 2004

The Longest Post

I’m back – I’ve not been away – I’ve been in a state of flux and inactivity following last Friday’s Away Day. Sit back, get yourself a coffee, find your slippers and adjust your seat according to your latest workstation assessment, as this is going to be a long one.

The Jolly Boy’s Outing

As a Customer Service Adviser on the phones, way back in the Dark Ages, I used to envy the Team Managers when they went on their Away Day meetings. We never saw anything happen as a result of their day away from the cut and thrust of the office, but we heard the stories of debauchery: bed-hopping, drunkenness, broken bones and shattered egos.

I would not go so far as saying that it was a motivating factor, you have been here long enough to realise that self-motivation is not a natural skill I possess, but I naturally was excited at the prospect of taking part in one of the events when I was promoted.

Like most things in life, they did not live up to expectations as they are usually a mixture of Sun Tzu bullshit and power point presented nonsense that’s the fuel of modern British industry. At least there’s always been alcohol to fall back on.

In previous years we have worked together to build bridges from drainpipes and caught each other as we fell backwards, in order to create trust in the team, only to have it ripped apart later in the bar when the Aftershock and Bailey’s kicked in.

This year promised to be no different. Bernard had prepared us for a Treasure Hunt – Brenda was looking forward to playing Wincey Willis to his Kenneth Kendel – we were due to hot-foot around city centre Manchester looking for cryptic clues and shopping for unusual items (Kola Kubes, 3B pencils and out of season vegetables).

Instead, Bernard had other plans. When we met in the Trust House Forte car park he revealed our mission. We were to spend the day clearing a derelict area of a park and plant flowers. Brenda got excited; “I’ve gone from Wincey Willis to Charlie Dimmock in one swift move.” HONK! Honk! HONK!

“Do us a favour Bren,” Ian said, “leave your brassier on.”

We all honked at that.

Drive it like you stole it

We were bundled in the back of a van, fitted out in Billy-Bob-Hill-Billy overalls and handed a spade.

The morning passed quickly as we thrashed through dandelions, “They make great herbal remedies, it is a shame to waste them.” SMAGELL said.

Ian rolled his eyes and wiped his hands on his “I’ll Have a Guinness” Tucan, T-shirt. “I can’t believe we are doing this. What’s the bleedin’ crime? We’d get less for robbin’ a beamer.”

It was at that point we both noticed that Martin – the Shaolin of Sales, the Son Of Bernard, The Best Boss in The World (according to his mug) – was not served with the same Community Service Order.

Public Enemy

Martin was back at the hotel preparing for the next stage of the Away Day- the afore mentioned power point presented bullshit – he was the ‘facilitator’ for the afternoon session and was ‘tasked’ with reprogramming us for the next six months.

After a packed lunch we were bundled back into the van and sent back to the hotel to listen to Martin waxing lyrical about predictive dialling and process re-engineering. Our resolve was broken following the morning’s exertions so we were glad to sit and listen to his Sun Tzu nonsense.

But I started to contemplate my job. I’ve started to realise that I work in one of the most despised professions in the modern world. Tax Men, Traffic Wardens, and lawyers are famously hated because they are seemingly employed to administer arbitrary fees on unsuspecting people.

Outbound tele-sales people, on the other hand, are despised for mithering people who are watching Eastenders.

Tax Men and Traffic Wardens have inspired songs by The Beatles; Steven Spielberg named the shark in Jaws after his lawyer and killed the lawyer in Jurassic Park to cheers from the audience.

Now it’s time that these artists were inspired by Outbound tele-sales (I understand Spielberg’s latest film features a killer robot known as ‘mithering-predictive-dialling-bastard’, although I may be wrong, don’t post it on IMDB yet).

I need another life.

After Shock

I was feeling down when we met in the bar for the evening session. Brenda came up close, she’d glammed up for the evening, complete with her feather boa (she’d picked out the bits of sick from the last do), she came up close …

I slipped into a coma.