Just another month in my life several years ago…

Way back yonder in August 2002, I was brave enough to challenge members of management on their hypocritical policy towards certain people regarding performance, attendance and overall commitment to the business. It was quite apparent that there was one rule for some and another rule for others, and despite giving the company loyal service for many years, I was treated with general disdain and very much taken for granted. Those who took lengthy absences due to alleged sickness, put in minimum effort at other times, and generally showed mediocre commitment, appeared to be the winners in the pay stakes, not to mention being the first to be considered whenever new positions were created. Having suffered for long enough, I was prepared to stand up to some of those dubious management decisions and asked for explanations. I wondered just what plausible excuses management would invent as the company had a clearly defined set of values to which everyone should have been working!

To add to my work frustration, I suffered nightmares when trying to switch suppliers of gas and electricity. Since legislation was changed to eradicate the monopoly situation for gas supplies and the regionalised electricity supply companies, we are constantly being bombarded with the option to change supplier. Whilst previously, I had not experienced many problems when changing, this occasion turned what should have been a simple operation into an administrative feast of incompetence.

I lost count of the number of telephone calls made to my chosen company, during which time I supplied all the relevant information both verbally and in writing. Despite assurances that everything was being processed, I subsequently ascertained that this was not the case. In fact, my then existing fuel supplier gave me a very obvious clue by sending out bills! Needless to say, this meant even more telephone calls plus further assurances that the situation was in hand, despite it becoming apparent that nothing had been done.

Finally, after almost tearing my hair out in frustration, I wrote to the Customer Service Manager outlining the fiasco. Whilst still awaiting a reply, I was forced to make another telephone call after receiving yet another request for information from them, all of which had previously been supplied!  I was eventually assured that my supply would transfer to the new company in the October, nearly three months after my initial request to switch.

Back to the present, and earlier this year I switched my supplier once again, and thankfully the procedure went almost without a hitch. Hopefully companies have finally become more efficient!

In my then continued search for new employment, I also had nightmares over the total inadequacy of Job Centre staff. I suspect nothing has changed to this day, as I often receive snippets of information from people currently in their firing line! Anyway, it would appear that their sole objective is to place people in work, irrespective of skills, experience, suitability and salary. They show no empathy towards people and treat them as third class citizens. The basic skill needed by employment agency staff is that of communication and most fail miserably in that area alone! In fact, I still wonder how they manage to get their jobs in the first place!

In their futile attempts to find me work, I was told to ‘tone down’ my CV so as not to be rejected for positions on the grounds of being over-qualified. I was absolutely horrified by this suggestion and left the clerk in no doubt as to how I felt. I hadn’t worked hard for years and gained all my qualifications and skills simply to discard half of them down the toilet. I had to restrain myself from smacking the clerk across the face for her impudence and lack of common courtesy.

Sadly, this behaviour is indicative of the state of this country today. So many people no longer extend basic human courtesies to each other, and believe solely in their own selfish existences for greed at any cost. Perhaps I’m showing my age, but I’d do anything to turn back the clock some twenty-five years or so when this country still had some standards of which, justifiably, we could be proud.

I share a short anecdote with you which had so much relevance to circumstances that occurred at work way back in August 2002. If I were not so cynical, I would suggest that it had been written especially for the occasion, but obviously I know better than that!

Once upon a time, in a nice little forest, there lived an orphaned bunny and an orphaned snake. By a surprising coincidence, both were blind from birth. One day, the bunny was hopping and the snake slithering through the forest, when the bunny tripped over the snake and fell down. This, of course, knocked the snake about quite a bit. “Oh, my” said the bunny “I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’ve been blind since birth, so I can’t see where I’m going. In fact, since I’m also an orphan, I don’t even know what I am.”

“That’s OK” replied the snake. “Actually, my story is much the same as yours. I, too, have been blind since birth, and also never knew my mother. Tell you what, maybe I could slither all over you, and work out what you are, so at least you’ll have that going for you.”

“Oh, that would be wonderful” replied the bunny. So the snake slithered all over the bunny and said “Well, you’re covered with soft fur; you have really long ears; your nose twitches; and you have a soft cottony tail. I’d say that you must be a bunny rabbit.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you!” cried the bunny, in obvious excitement. The bunny then suggested to the snake “Maybe I could feel you all over with my paw, and help you in the same way that you’ve helped me.”

So the bunny felt the snake all over, and remarked “Well, you’re smooth and slippery, and you have a forked tongue, no backbone and no balls. I’d say you must be either a team leader or possibly someone in senior management”.

The reason for all this? A senior manager, having decided that someone should be dismissed on grounds of pecuniary, subsequently relented and allowed the person to remain in the business. Had it been anyone else, then the situation would almost certainly have been entirely different. Once again, a case of double standards which reflected badly upon the business and demotivated honest and hard-working staff!


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