22 Oct 2004

Thank you for calling. You're through to Judith Chalmers. I'm on holiday again and will be back on 1st November. Alternatively leave a message after the tone. Goodbye.

20 Oct 2004

Doing Lines

The gridding tape arrived. It’s not much good for wrapping Christmas presents so don’t bother putting an order in. It’s designed for drawing lines on white boards.

I asked John Doe to draw a table on our flip chart board so we could mark up the sales on the team. Big mistake.

“What are you doing?” I asked, “Its not the bleedin’ Sistine chapel!”

He was working with a protractor and a setsquare trying to get the lines dead straight. “I can’t believe it. It’s like a dogs’ back leg!”

It was about a millimetre adrift. Before I could say anything he pulled it off the board. He was caught up in a lattice of gridding tape like Spiderman had webbed him.

I can feel my ‘giving it up as a bad job’ senses tingling.

15 Oct 2004

Pen is from Heaven

The little sticks of Stabilo heaven have arrived! (they are actually 'Niceday' copies)

The first stage of my bid for world domination starts today. Watch out Poland here I come.

I've tested them and they work perfectly, apart from the red. Red? Red. Who thought red was going to be a good idea? A black one is as much use as a red one as it obliterates anything it highlights.

I've ordered some 'gridding tape': not sure what it is, but it sounds useful.

Outspan, the Quandix sun-bed king was impressed, "What a nice shade of orange."

I can see a request going into 'Tantastic' this weekend: "Turn it up to 11 love. I'm going NICEDAY!"

13 Oct 2004

Sadam’s Stock Clearance

‘The Catalogue That Cannot Be Named’ (for keeping my job reasons) has launched its ‘All New’ Autumn Catalogue.

‘The Weapon of Dirt Extraction’ caught my eye, but it turned out to be a power-washer.

It’s pleasing that they are continuing their bid for papal beatification by extending their ‘miracle’ product range. There’s a ‘miracle’ ‘No Nails Coat Hook’ but still no sign of a cure for leprosy. Perhaps they are waiting for spring.

Estimated time of arrival for the highligher pens: two days

11 Oct 2004

Muck and Bullets

The turf war between the Team Managers has transformed the Call Centre into ‘Bedlam, with florescent lighting’.

In one corner there’s Martin (the modern day Robert Owen) whose team is a cooperative based on selling, hard work and self enforced fun. They are almost entirely self-sufficient and peer down their noses at everyone else.

Janice has new contact lenses that make her more severe than ever before. Her team of drones plug themselves into the consensual reality as soon as they walk through the door and don’t twitch until they leave. It’s not so much ‘The Matrix’ than ‘The Mattress’. The only sound is Bess sucking on her teeth.

Ian has a team of temps who are working on … I’m not really sure what they do, apart from wear cropped tops and leggings. Ian strokes his tie and whispers “ding dong” as they reveal their tiny tattoos.

Meanwhile, the nkotb, Quandix, the team who were in-sourced to work on the new outsourced campaign (taking orders for sanitary bins), run their team like they’re galley slaves. I get tired watching them. Johnny Knucklehead wanders through the team and waves his arms at Outspan like the bastard child of John Mcerrick and John McVicar, on speed, while Outspan puts down the scores on a flip chart.

In all the excitement I put in an order for highlighter pens from stationery. I've got some big ideas.

7 Oct 2004

In saucing

"I hear that the Iraq survey group have come back with nothing more than 'wall ties' and 'check the damp proofing'" I said to Ian, feeling pleased with myself; he wasn't listening.

"What on Earth are they doing now?" he said as he furiously stroked his 'Star Trek, The Next Generation' tie while he watched the 'insourced' Team Managers at work.

Outspan and Johnny Knucklehead were pinning florescent, positive affirmations on the wall:

"Imagination makes the world go round"

"Any idiot can paint a picture, it takes a genius to sell it"

"If you don't change, you'll become extinct"

"Don't leave dirty cups on the desk"

Ian shook his head, "I don't even get the last one."

6 Oct 2004

Hockey Cockey

Bernard attempted to explain what in-sourcing was in today’s meeting:

“We’re an OUTsourcing company. Work comes OUT to us, but we can’t get enough people IN, so we have to go OUT and get IN staff through other sources.

I don’t want it to get OUT that we’re getting these people IN – how can you outsource outsourcing – so keep it amongst yourselves errrrrrrrrmmmmm!

They’ll be IN the office while we work OUT how many people we need IN. Then they’ll be OUT.”

Fair enough – but it isn’t cricket.

4 Oct 2004

Source of the Bile

Things aren’t the same in the Call Centre. I think it was that great man of English letters, John Prescott, who said that when the tectonic plates start to shift, everyone moves into their position.

Steadily, over the past few months, Bernard has been moulding the office into his own image, and his vision of a pre-cog Call Centre that’s dynamic, proactive and all those other things he reams off at away days, is slowly coming to pass and everyone is running for cover.

Ian and Brenda used to rule the roost around here but the introduction of Martin and his innovations: “in my last place we used to…. (Fill in the blank)” has knocked them off top spot. I’m sure that Bernard thinks he jogs across the river to work.

I’m sure that he’s has made up the concept of ‘insourcing’ to cover his tracks. We have exhausted the local job market and to avoid recycling the dregs of unemployed, Bernard has contacted Quandix to ‘insource’ staff.

It’s not clear how they manage to get the people that the Call Centre cannot reach, but it appears that they are willing to wallow deeper in the local gene pool for their staff than our lot will go.

Heads turned when their crew shuffled in behind Outspan and Johnny Knucklehead. It was as if a chain linked them as they snaked through the cubicles, gorping at my team, while they sneered back.

There’s been a turf war breaking out over the past week so I’ve been keeping my head down. It’s the most dramatic event since SMAGELL and her legion of undead started hot-desking with my team in the evening.

I’ve put a label on my calculator … just in case.

3 Oct 2004

I’d rather jack …

On Friday, I went on my first ‘corporate’ since I was invited to the Tantazia ‘Stu Francis’ night last year. Quandix have a hospitality box at the MEN Arena and they gave Bernard a number of tickets to see the boxing and all the prawn sandwiches we could eat.

Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton was fighting another schmuck to defend his title and earn Frank Warren another condo in the South of France.

He should not be confused with Pete ‘The Hitman’ Waterman – although I’d pay good money to see HIM getting a good pummelling – “this is for not letting Kylie ‘explore her creativity as an artist” BIFF “This is for the Reynolds Girls” PUNCH “This one is from Cheryl Tweedy.” KO!

My team looked unhappy as I packed up early to get there. They begrudge me leaving earlier than them and the hard stares made me uncomfortable.

John ‘the Moomin’ was silently fuming. Smoke was rising from the foam of his headset muff.

I explained that I would still be ‘on duty’ but it didn’t wash. A debate broke out about the ethics of boxing.

Barney, the Big Gay Bear, cut it dead by chipping in: “Well I think there’s nothing wrong with consenting adults having a good licking in the ring.”