Changing the rules.

wetfloorWe had a checkover from a suit today.

It’s interesting down here among the lower orders. They (we, I suppose) get the same crap as I used to get in a much higher-paid job. Dopey management who change the rules but don’t tell you until you break them. This makes it impossible to pass an audit because nobody can know what they are looking for until they find it.

We keep passing them anyway. The Secret Ninja Cleaners have the Doctor on their side. I’ve dealt with much smarter dickheads than the current mob.

Today, the sneak claimed to have found an unlabelled bottle. We have no unlabelled bottles – except one. The pressure spray for shooting hot water into freezers has no label.

When he checked it, it was empty. It contains water only when in use and is empty at all other times. So what should it have been labelled? ‘This bottle contains nothing’? ‘Caution: the inside of this bottle may be wet’?

We won again.

He found nothing else. Nothing. We had anticipated every single crappy little detail. Also, some they haven’t thought of yet.

It used to annoy me a little that those directing my work in research, teaching and consultancy had no idea what those things actiually entailed. Then again, I could understand that they hadn’t specialised as I had, so okay, they had no real idea what they were doing.

But… cleaning? What the Hell is so complex about auditing cleaning? It is clean or not clean. Bottles are labelled or not labelled. Bottles containing nothing do not need ‘Warning: this bottle is empty’ signs. Yes, some staff are not as educated as myself (the manager isn’t, if he only knew) but ‘bottle is empty’ does not require a damn PhD nor even an elementary education to understand. Yet those checking up on us seem not to understand this.

It is management disconnect. In the old days, managers came up through the ranks. They had done the jobs they were managing and knew the problems and pitfalls of those jobs. Your manager was once in your job and knew what was and was not possible.

Now, managers come from management courses and the main thrust seems to be based on management by fear. It does not work on me. Some mop-jockeys are in the job because they have to be. I am still in this one because I want to be. If I had ambition I’d be area manager for a big chain by now. I don’t want it. I don’t even want to be a cleaning supervisor. When we have a government worth paying taxes to, I’ll consider it but I am not working harder than I have to for the wasters in charge now.

Management intimidation will not work on me. It is the main thing that makes me scary in Local Shop. If they fire me I will now have little trouble moving on. Over a year of retail experience that I never had before and I have never experienced being fired either. Hmm. Time is running out.

It’s endemic in all aspects of life now. Managers are put in place because they scored well in ‘people control’ but their methods of control are akin to Stalinism. Do as I say or suffer. The old way of persuading people to want to work for you is, it seems, long gone.

It does still work. I have local shop staff cleaning up after themselves now and moving things out of the way when I am cleaning. Local Shop managers mostly still work by intimidation which only brings resentment.

The same type of people are now in government, using the same principles.

We know best. We make the rules and if you break them, we must correct you.

What are the rules? Don’t worry about that. We’ll tell you when you break them.

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19 thoughts on “Changing the rules.

  1. There is no upside to this. Stalin would have sterilized the workplace with you inside of it. The phone company in Amerika was just like this, little brainless pricks in charge of everything but doing something useful. I miss it about as much as I miss high school.

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  2. XX Management intimidation will not work on me.XX

    Someone that is in the job for a couple of months/years, has a chance to prove themselves indispensable, THEN there is no chance of manipulation.

    This is why “Job agencys” are so popular with bosses. Nothing concentrates the mind of a worker more, than not knowing if he will still have job tomorow, and adding to that, the knowledge that two weeks “experience” in the pizza factory is hardly a reccomendation on a C.V.

    “Agencys” also go out of the way, only to take people with, what THEY think is nill experience/training/education. (What they do not see on your CV does not harm them. That is why I have “a CV for every ocassion.” Each subtly diffetent to the other.)

    This, for the same reason as above.

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    • It works both ways with agencies. As long as you are reliable and competent the agency will always find you work because you doing work is what earns them money. Since most jobs become a living death after two weeks the prospect of knowing you could be gone tomorrow is highly appealing to me.

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      • Does/did not work like that in the five in G.B I worked for, or the four here.

        They have so many coming through the doors, they could not give a toss how good you are, in fact, as I pointed out, that is seen as a disadvantage.

        It is a standing “joke” in ALL those agencys I have met “Work here (The agency, NOT the placement(!)) more than six months, you get a long service medal.”And that is not the fault of the workers either. It appears to be agency policy.

        Any excuse will do.

        You take a holiday day, (ONE day) which you are entitled to, and when you get back, they have given your place to someone else, and “We have no work for you. Telephone us every day at six, and be by a telephone all day.” After a week of that, they can, and DO “let you go.” And that is ENTIRELY legal!

        They don’r care, they have a waiting list hundreds long, literaly.

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  3. I have stepped up pressure on the local NHS regarding my total abandonment by them. An MSP has been involved as have the top two members of the Health Board. I have a friend at the other end of this vast constituency who worked with them both when he was a local councillor and he agrees with me that Health Board members are chosen for their ability to defend the NHS rather than to help patients.

    They know the right words to use (and are amoral enough) to pretend that their pathetic service (or total lack of) can be recified if only I telephone their special patient care number.

    The ex-councillor knows the head of the local CAB patient support service who are going to court over a few NHS issues. That sounds more like what needs to be done. He has arranged for her to phone me today.

    You can’t do that with the boss of a shop, thoough. I worked in one for 3 1/2 years (aged 16-20), so I know what you mean. I stacked shelves, worked the fruit and veg area (when all items had to be weighed and priced up by the veggie man), did some warehouse work, joined in the stocktake and worked in the booze and ciggie department (booze had to be kept separate in those days – 1979-83), so I knew a thing or three. The booze stockroom was something else. It was a vast long cavern that snaked around one corner of the building and was filled to the rafters with drink. Wow! Just as well I hadn’t turned alcoholic until a few years after I left.

    But we didn’t have armies of snoopers, either government or head office snoops – it’s the same thing these days with employees doing the government’s dirty work out of fear. I served under three managers. One was very easy going, the second was OK and the final one was a control freak who thought he knew everything.

    But the country runs on fear – those who allow it to infect them. The GPs and Health Board are terrified to break the rules of the Dept. of Health. One GP gave me an extra week’s worth of prescription medicine he shouldn’t have, but I kind of insisted and he was clearly shaken at doing it, but also wanted to help me – a rare doctor with a conscience?

    A lot of rules and ‘norms’ have changed since 1979 and almost all for the worse that I can tell.

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    • XX But the country runs on fear – those who allow it to infect them. XX

      See the “Nes”paper reports. How many times some wee git with a water pistol gets reported as an “armed robber” and the residents were in FEAR!”

      I wonder how much of that is Media rhetoric, and how much is actualy TRUE these days.

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      • Fear indeed!

        In America, in any given year, there are about 160,000 lung cancer deaths out of a population of 315 million.
        That is a rate of 5 per 10,000.(5/100ths of 1%)

        9,995 per 10,000 do not die from lung cancer.(99.95%)
        That rate would hold true for most countries.

        Public Health moans and groans and spends billions of dollars parsing what is responsible for the largest part of that 0.0005 part of the population’s deaths.

        It would seem to be more logical to understand why the 99.95% of people do not get lung cancer.

        Of course, it would be difficult to improve on a 99.95% success rate.
        Even the dumbest politician would be hard pressed to provide funding for that.

        Smokers and never-smokers are equally likely to NOT die from lung cancer.

        Never-smokers are only 1.0005 times more likely to not die from lung cancer than smokers.
        That is not a statistically significant increase.

        Amusing paradox:
        Altho smokers are claimed to be many times more likely to die from lung cancer, smokers have the same probability as never-smokers for not dying from lung cancer.

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  4. Another tobacco paradox
    Data from the summary of Doll’s Doctor Mortality Study.

    Altho smokers have a higher IHD(heart attack) death rate than never-smokers, the never-smokers have a higher probability of dying from a heart attack.

    This paradox comes from the difference between IHD death rate and the IHD percentage of total deaths.
    death rate per year;
    never-smokers = 6.19/1,000 people

    smokers = 10.01/1,000 people.

    Smokers have a 61% higher death rate than never-smokers!!!!

    IHD as a percentage of total deaths:

    Smokers = 10.01/35.4 = 28%
    that is 28 IHD deaths per 100 total deaths

    Never-smokers = 6.19/19.28 = 31%
    that is 31 IHD deaths per 100 total deaths

    Never-smokers are 10% more likely to die from a heart attack than are smokers!!!!

    For an even greater paradox, let’s compare never-smokers and heavy(25+/day) smokers.

    heavy smokers = 11.11/45.34 = 24%
    that is 24 IHD deaths per 100 deaths.

    Never-smokers are 29% more likely to die from IHD than heavy smokers!!!

    Obviously, smoking does not ’cause’ heart attack deaths; because, smokers have a lower probabillity of dying from IHD.

    Or one could say that this way, when comparing total deaths:

    Smokers have a 1 in 4 chance of IHD death compared to a never-smokers 1 in 3 chance of such a death.

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    • meanwhile over at the daily fail ” Breathing in smoke ’causes positive changes in cardiac rhythm'”

      haven’t put a link but it’s in the health section

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  5. Fear indeed.
    We must fear being over-weight: cause, it will kill you.

    Here is an ‘Obesity Paradox’ for you.

    ● being overweight (BMI 25 up to 30) was associated with a 25% lower risk of dying

    ● being obese (BMI 30 up to 35, which includes about 80% of all obese people) was associated with a 12% lower risk of dying.

    ● And the risks associated with the most ‘morbidly obese’ (BMIs 35+) — the uppermost 3% of this Canadian cohort— were statistically the same as those with ‘normal’ BMIs.

    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/06/even-obesity-paradoxes-cant-excuse.html

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  6. Auditors always find problems… it’s what (they think) they are paid to do. Their general mindset is that if they don’t report any transgressions it will be assumed they haven’t carried out the audit properly or even at all. The result is inevitably a ratcheting build-up of silly petty special case rules.

    Often the auditors’ managers may not have given them any targets/quotas (though perhaps rare these days), nor would have actually reprimanded them for finding nothing wrong. However the sort of people who generally end up being auditors are the type who assume “better safe than sorry” and would do anything in their power to avoid even the possibility of having to politely justify themselves to their seniors.

    Just occasionally though, you do come across health and safety people who are the opposite of this – they spot minor contraventions of existing rules, point them out to staff but basically say “to be honest it looks safe to me, don’t worry about it but be prepared to justify it if anybody asks”, taking the matter no further. These people see their job as trying to make everyone’s life as easy as possible whilst staying inside the law and typically have a knowledge of the law way in excess of the box-tickers, largely acquired through previous experience of real work and having to get it done when the silly type of auditor is trying to stop it.

    I can vouch for the effectiveness of the “I don’t give a crap about my continued employment” approach to petty bureaucrats. The look of dismay in their faces when the only weapon in their fact-devoid arsenal is suddenly rendered totally useless. Very effective against autocratic managers and so-called HR departments as well as health and safety auditors.

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    • I saw a job ad in the local paper for a one handed accountant. When I called the number and asked what a one handed accountant is, he said, I just get fed up with accountants saying, but on the other hand…

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  7. He found nothing else. Nothing. We had anticipated every single crappy little detail. Also, some they haven’t thought of yet.

    My uncle told me of once in Germany when his motor pool crew aced every single aspect of an inspection, except that they had replaced all the lug nuts on the Jeeps backward. Just because.

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