I see Cambridge University has spent three million pounds on booze. I can’t criticise without being hypocritical. If I had three million quid, that’s what I’d spend it on too. Not all of it, obviously. I’d set some aside for tobacco. But mostly booze. Not wine, that’s easy to make. Old malt whisky is not easy to make.

One thing I would not buy would be a pack of twelve rolling papers for fifty damn quid. There is flaunting it, and then there is just being silly about it. Besides, the heat transfer properties of gold do not bode well for lip-blisters here. I could never buy those even if I one day become less than skint.  My infection with North Scottish money matters would never allow it. Och! Ye want hoo much? Git awa’ tae buggery wi’ ye. Ah’ll offer ye ten shillings, and no’ a penny mair.

Today I met someone who did not understand that sugar is not a problem for a cleaner because it just dissolves away when you put water on it. Really. This was serious culture shock for me. I was too surprised to make up a devastating lie, such as telling her that sugar will evaporate or spontaneously generate flies. Okay, I know I now work among the sub-120 IQ people but even so, the education system really produces people who don’t know that sugar dissolves in water? How far has it sunk? Do churches now float, and gravy, and little stones? Looking at the state of modern science, I fear that it is indeed so. They all float, Georgie. Oh, they float.

I mentioned putting sugar in tea and she relented slightly but… ‘I thought it had to be boiling water’ and ‘In cold water? No.’ almost made me forget to breathe. She realised in the end just how dim it made her appear and made me promise not to tell anyone. I promised, the political way, and then put it on the internet. I did not promise not to write about it. I will at least be sure not to tell anyone her name is Lisa. That should be good enough.

Work is now embroiled in a childish spat between the Secret Ninja Cleaning Company and Local Shop. Hours are reduced and workload increased and now they have devised an upcoming audit based on checking we have done things they have never asked us to do, and which nobody can possibly pass.

I have seen this before. Management think they are being all smart and strategic while letting the actual workers take all the shit from both sides. What they think they will achieve is always a mystery but what they actually achieve is always the same.

First, they reach a point (they might have now reached it) where their staff say ‘Okay, we can’t win, might as well stop trying’. Work does not gradually decline. It plummets. All previous standards are dropped. Morale does not reduce. It snaps. All gone in a moment. Staff start to look for new jobs and the best staff all go first.

What they are going to be left with when the dust settles is a bunch of two-O-level mop-jockeys who aren’t able to find alternative employment and they will expect those staff to work as if they have spent 30 years lecturing on cleaning and disinfection and food hygeine. Best of luck. I’ll be among the first to leave. Already looking for something new and interesting. I was born in the Year of the Rat according to Chinese lore so am entitled to be first off the sinking ship.

I could be an asset to the Secret Ninja Cleaning Company but I don’t feel like it. I could train their staff, even their simians, to almost lab standard (even cat 2 would be way above any shop standard) but I am not doing that on cleaner pay. I charge a lot more for that kind of knowledge. Or, with what I now know and with the management disasters I have observed, I could set up in competition with the Secret Ninja Cleaners and wipe them out. I am not going to do that because it would earn me a lot of money and I don’t want to pay the tax on it all. So things are getting interesting. Of all the staff, including the management, of the Sectret Ninja Cleaners, I am probably the only one who can fix the mess they have made for themselves. Will I or won’t I? It’s likely to be ‘sit back and watch the pompous morons fold’ at this stage.

Why? Well here’s a hint. It’s something the smoking ban did to me.I realised there was no way to win, no way to appease the fundamentalists. I stopped trying.

So have some pension fund managers. Tipped by Prog in comments, a pension fund manager declares that his job is pension fund management. Not heath. Not bowing down to some mindless bimbo who stamps her little feet if her tantrum is not indulged. The breaking of this round of Puritanism is under way. There will be spite before the end.

This post was full of random, disjointed bits to fit into the new form of politics.



8 thoughts on “Disjointed.

  1. I have experienced both public and private employers from a vaguely similar position. I am convinced that those in what’s laughingly called management are so busy trying to look necessary viewed from above and important when viewed from below that they devise schemes to justify their own existence. They create endless streams of valueless paperwork for others to complete, hold unnecessary meetings to emphasise the “work” they’re putting in and just generally fork the job up. Their key tactic, though, is never, ever, on pain of ejection from the golf club, to consult those actually doing the job; that would give away just how little they really know. Meanwhile, the paying customer gets pissed off and looks for an out while the staff get pissed off and, as you say, start looking elsewhere.


    • The author Northcote Parkinson had a very interesting experience during his military service. He and two other senior officers were in charge of a camp. One week, one of his colleagues was off sick, and the other away visiting somewhere else. During this period, the normal hectic bustle of paperwork ceased almost entirely, yet the camp functioned as before. Parkinson found himself mostly at a loose end, with almost nothing to do.

      That period was when he formulated Parkinson’s Laws, chief of which is that work expands into the time allocated for it. Management begets more management, and bureaucracies are always in a state of growth, semi-failure, or death. There is no such thing as healthy, steady-state bureaucracy. Understand Parkinson’s Laws, and you understand the modern world.


  2. Regarding the work situation – what The Jannie said. Stuff like that makes me even more convinced in the existence of the Bozone layer. 😉

    On the pensions front I quite like the obvious daftness in this quote:
    This attitude was attacked by Ms Duffy, who added: “While tobacco companies still try to recruit new generations of smokers, the numbers continue to decline.
    “So removing all investments from tobacco companies can make sense financially, as well as morally and ethically.”

    Yes, it could make sense financially – and when it does, I guarantee you that the fund managers will drop those investments like a stone. Until that point…they will keep doing their job.


  3. “While tobacco companies still try to recruit new generations of smokers,”

    Question is where are these tobacco company recruiters?
    I’ve never seen one but I don’t get out much. Do they set themselves up in an empty high street shop?
    Do they have mobile recruiting vans that sit outside schools and supermarkets competing for space with the NHS (get off tobacco and onto a purer form of nicotine, the patch’ vans?
    Do they cruise the nightclubs indoctrinating the pissed?
    Do they run old folks homes indoctrinating the old?
    Do they get jobs as Jet2, Ryanair and Easy every fucking thing hostesses and do their devious recruiting there?

    I think there is no tobacco recruiting going on for one very good reason, Capita aren’t involved.


  4. Imperial Tobacco (Golden Virginia, Drum)

    Number of employees: 35,300.


    British American Tobacco (Cutters, Samson)

    Number of employees: 87,500.


    Looking at profits after taxes, BAT has been better managed than Imperial. Problem with Imperial is their operating expenses are 2.5 times higher than BAT; a result of buying under performing assets through debt.

    Both still pay very good dividends and their tax bill is pretty impressive. What the pair of them need to do is poach the tax people from Amazon, Google, Starbucks et al as they pay virtually no tax in the UK.

    Pension funds like high dividend shares, with GSK amongst the best of the pharma’s. That’s what pension funds need and any reduction in share price simply makes them more attractive to those who buy for yield.

    The pension fund manager was correct to slap her down as the only alternative is to increase business and residential property rates to make up any shortfall.


  5. There is flaunting it, and then there is just being silly about it

    I hadn’t seen gold, but I’ve seen clear rolling papers. This particular brand tasted so strongly of oil that I actually checked to be sure that my gloves hadn’t somehow become saturated with motor oil

    How far has it sunk?

    My wife met a distraught lady in a parking lot that could not get into her car because the battery in the key fob had gone bad. The spouse took the key from the lady, inserted said key into the lock and unlocked the vehicle, handed the key back and walked away. I have no idea how the poor dear managed to start the car with a substandard key.

    I could train their staff, even their simians, to almost lab standard (even cat 2 would be way above any shop standard) but I am not doing that on cleaner pay.

    Perhaps you could, but I’d simply mention that there is an old saying “If I didn’t have personnel problems, I wouldn’t have any problems at all.” You spend what seems an inordinate amount of time training someone, and then they’ll leave just because their girlfriend got a job as a lingerie model and is moving to LA and so you have to do it all over again. You’re talking about a job, or to put it bluntly something so distasteful that someone has to pay you to get you to do it. If it were fun, they’d pay you in order to get to do it.

    There will be spite before the end.

    Math is a terrible, vicious master, and will brook no opposition. People raised in a cooperative environment are sometimes nonplussed when they first encounter math, and the damned rigid rules involved. Don’t like ’em. Won’t listen to ’em. But math wins, in the end. Always. I think they call that “bad luck”.


First comments are moderated to keep the spambots out. Once your first comment is approved, you're in.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s