22 Mar 2005

Exit Interview

In my daydreams I have rehearsed my leaving speech a dozen times. I suppose its like attending your own funeral, you hope to discover that you’ll be missed and that people really do rate you.

In my daydreams, Bernard is weeping uncontrollably at the thought of his protégé being released, while Brenda has an ‘Ernie Wise’ moment as she sees her potential double act collapse before it has begun. My team are fawning at my feet, John three clutching my leg, begging me not to leave, but it is too late, the crematorium curtains are being drawn to the sound of a Springsteen ballad. I’m falling behind.

The reality is much more sobering. Thrush, Tizzy and Joan always make sure that they are off the phones and ready for these events. Everyone else is carrying on like nothing is happening, pretending that the call they are taking is far more important than the maudlin nonsense going on around them, pushing their ear-piece closer to their head to drown out the splattering of applause as a card is passed to me.

I open it sheepishly and read the “Good Luck”, “Best Wishes” and “Don’t come back” messages made by people I don’t know. The people I do know seem to be suspiciously in the same handwriting as if it was dashed around on the last minute.

“Speech. Speech!” Thrush chants.

I smile and quote, “This is it. This time I know it’s the real thing…” you can always depend on Dannii to capture the essence of moments like these.

There’s a pair of Dilbert socks and a Six Thinking Hats book given to me by Martin on behalf of the other Team Managers (Ian’s idea apparently). Brenda looks like she wants to be somewhere else as I thank them, “It’s not the work; it’s the people I’ll miss.” I resist the urge to add, “taking the piss out of,” and reach a rousing end, “thank you for the good times.”

I pack away my headset in its velvet-lined box for the very last time.

“I’m made up for you, I really am made up for you,” Thrush taps me on the shoulder.

“I know you are. You all are John. Thank you.” I say.

Thanks for all your comments, but its time to get this show on the road, until then it is, “Adieu. Adieu. Remember me.”

15 Mar 2005

Dear Bernard

I don’t want to go to Wigan. I don’t want to carry on blogging this nonsense. I’m going to give it all up …

“Dear Bernard, I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally escaped the clutches of this soul sapping job” No make that “vampiric nightmare of a job that has sucked me dry of energy, creativity and the will to live.”

Ahh…let’s start this over…

“Dear Bernard, It’s hard to write this after having such a fulfilling 12 years working here. I’ve become part of the furniture and its time for a make over. If CHANGING ROOMS has taught us anything, it’s that a ‘throw over’ will only spruce up an old settee for a short period of time and that the time comes for a new one. Its time for this comfy old armchair to move on…”

Nah. No … corny, too corny for my taste, I mean, let me try and make it more profound.

“Dear Bernard, There comes a point in everybody’s life were they need to develop, move on and leave the stability of the place were they have been nurtured. Like a newborn making its first tentative steps I am going to stand on my own two feet …”

No, it’s going to be too preachy. I mean, you know … let’s face it; I want to hand in my notice here …

“Dear Bernard, I hope that you see this as a wake up call. People are dissatisfied with the work they have to do here. There is too much surveillance and not enough vision from …”

Too angry … I don’t want to be angry.

“Dear Bernard, Please accept this letter as my resignation. Thanks for all your support and encouragement. Yours sincerely.”

Love it.

7 Mar 2005

Safety Last

The Catalogue That Cannot Be Named have introduced a new promotion. They have a job lot of First Aid kits to shift. At the end of ever call we need to ask the customer if they want one, they say yes, and one is hastily despatched… oh if it was only so simple.

When you telephone in making an order for a new bulb for your SAD light, the last thing that you want to hear is some numpty trying to pass off a box of bandages.

The complaints have already started clogging up the system. There are no scissors in the box.

Martin has armed his team with some objection handling techniques: “Well we have cut its price and it’s still a snip. It’s the last chance to get first aid.”

Pass the smelling salts.