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Corporate Wankery

Before christmas, I received an email from Big Cheese at The Client’s Offices, a man whose sole aim in life appears to be to make more pointless work for myself and my equivalent in other companies. It said:

All, on behalf of Capital Maintenance and for the H&S elements discussed during the MWAF Contractors Forum held on Monday, I thank you for your contribution.Following on from the Forum, I attach copies of the standard suite of “Safety First” Construction starter Packs that were distributed on the day together with the covering letter addressed respectively to each of you.

Whilst you have now been issued with a convenient number of suited documents, going forward, we would be delighted if you could produce further laminated copies and issue to your site personnel yourselves in similar presentation wallets (NB we feel that the transparent wallets give a special significance to the initiative each time they are issued).

 Best regards and wishes to you all for a happy Christmas and a safe & healthy New Year.

What Cheese’s ‘suited documents’ actually contained, was a poem which I am expected to put up on site, trying desperately to ignore the mocking I receive for this and the comments about laminated works of Shakespeare in the bogs, and a bloody poster that states how many weeks since last accident, last reportable accident and some other nonsense. Which needs updating every single week, on every single site and according to Cheese, in every single mobile van we have in the region. Aye, right. That’s really going to happen. As is of course his idea to glue laminated copies of the documents to the dashboards of the vans so they could be seen. I’m not kidding you either, the man wanted 4 A4 laminated sheets glued to the dashboards. The electrical manager promptly went mental and refused to have anything to do with it. Sensible chap.

Anyway, seems Cheese has been doing some more thinking about his little initiative. Either that or he’s completed Angry Birds and is looking for new ways to occupy his time. This morning I received this:

All, I am pleased that your CM construction sites are being provided with the attached suite of documents, which are being used & posted effectively.In going forward, I thought that it would be beneficial to advise how the initiative is expected to operate with respect to the Accident Board.

 With effect from 01.04.11., I will issue details that we relate to in  Competitive Tender Services, including Capital Maintenance, which will be represented on your board for the items below. I will then only inform you, at least weekly, if there has been any adverse activity to alter the total (UU CTS CM) & respective detail.

Therefore, “no news is good news” and you will then increase the weekly count by 1. Likewise, if your corresponding total is adversely affected, then you should inform me accordingly. In both cases, the running total will return to zero.

I suggest that we all share the datum of the week corresponding to 27.10.10, which is the date of  CTS last Reportable accident.

 v  Nr Weeks worked since last Reportable Incident –  Competitive Tender Services, including Capital Maintenance 21

v  Nr Weeks worked since last Reportable Incident – your “wider” Company, including other projects and projects for other company clients ?

v  Last Reportable Incident Details –  Competitive Tender Services, including Capital Maintenance 27.10.10, Fractured Rib, Daniels employee, TA Outage project

v  Topic for the Month – either  Competitive Tender Services, including Capital Maintenance’s Topic or, your preferred topic Driving Safely

 NB. The figs in red are current entries on  CTS CM Board for your information, which you can update your construction sites accordingly.

 The “Topic for the Month”, whether this is one you choose or the one nominated by  CTS CM, is expected to encourage a suitable degree of pro-activeness amongst your employees & sub-contractors throughout the month.  At the start of each month, I will advise  CTS CM Topic of the Month and vice versa.

At the end of the month, I should like you to provide feedback on how well the topic went, or otherwise. This info could then be shared across our MWAF Contractors, in the interests of best practice.

 Best regards,

This email must have taken him a while to write but I’ve got one tiny problem with it – I can’t work out what the hell he’s asking for. It’s couched in so much corporate crapspeak (and he does actually talk in this language, it’s not just the way he writes) that I can’t grasp the meaning. I suspect I don’t want to grasp the meaning because when I work it out it’s going to be something that fruitlessly takes up my time and achieves nothing of any value other than a kiss to the client’s rosy behind but for now I shall do nothing. Because it’s Monday morning and I can’t really be arsed wading thigh-deep through corporate nonsense to get to a meaning.



Arseholes, can’t live with them, can’t kill ’em all.

Sometimes you find someone who grinds on every single nerve ending you’ve got. This is one of those times.

We’ve got a new project manager, for ease of typing and anonymity I shall call him Tool. Tool is, I would guess, about 60 years old and has been with us for about 6 weeks. I haven’t had very many dealings with him before this week so had no idea how annoying he could be, although I did hear complaints from Fit Bloke about how Tool had stolen his chair and internet cable while he was out on site and how Tool loudly eats his sandwiches at his desk which is about a foot away from Fit Bloke.

This week I have had cause to spend more time with Tool and it seems Fit Bloke is right. He’s an arse.

Issue number one – He refers to me as ‘Vic’. Grinds my gears badly. There are people who call me Vic without annoying me, these include my brother, Best Friend (sometimes, not all the time), people at work who have known me for a few years and people on here I have exchanged personal revelations with. All these people are folks who have the right to call me Vic. Some berk I’ve spoken to fewer times than I’ve changed my car does not. It’s overly familiar and petty as it may be, it makes me want to shorten his name to something annoying. Like Twat. Which isn’t a shortening per se but is an irritating thing to be referred to while at work. Yesterday he referred to me as ‘Kid’, as in ‘Very good, Kid’. Listen dung-for-brains, I am a 31 year professional woman, I am not a kid and unless you want me to start calling you ‘Geriatric’ I suggest you cut that shit right out, now.

Issue number two – the car. For some baffling reason, given that his job involves travelling from site to site, Tool doesn’t like using his car for work. Tool prefers to get other people to drive him about, thereby avoiding the need for him to purchase fuel or put miles on his car. No, everyone else can do that. I didn’t realise this until I volunteered to go to a crane lift meeting with him and asked where on the site I needed to be, “It’s ok, I’ll show you because you can give me a lift there since I won’t have me car, good girl” he says, barely stopping short of patting me gently on the top of my bonce and telling me not to worry my pretty little head about these things. I wander off muttering words that no ‘good girl’ ever uses. The following day he rings me while I’m on site with Fit Bloke, “I hear you’re on S site straight after the meeting. Well that’s good because you can kill two birds with one stone” he says. I inform him I’ve got no idea what he’s on about. “You can drive me from the crane meeting to S site and it kills two birds with one stone” he says, somehow managing to make it sound like he is bestowing an enormous favour on me and not once gracing the conversation with the word please. In fact he doesn’t at any point ASK if I would mind driving him around like I’m working for a taxi company, he merely informs me that this is what I will be doing. Then hangs up. I’m left muttering more words that good girls don’t use while Fit Bloke laughs at me and my anger.

Issue number three – manners. The meeting with Crane Man is at 9am and is ten minutes away. At 8.50am I go down to where Tool’s desk is to see if he’s there. He isn’t, he hasn’t arrived yet. At 8.55am he rolls into the office, looks at me and says “Are you ready then?” as if he’s waiting for an eternity. Am I ready? ME? Are you on fucking glue sunshine, I’ve been here since 7.30am and you’ve still got your bloody coat on because you’ve just walked in. What the hell is the matter with you? I’m annoyed already. We go to the car and set off. Having got onto site, narrowly avoiding kicking him out of the vehicle for loudly chewing gum next to my ear so that I had to jack up the radio because it was making me itch, he starts barking orders. “Left, left, right, over the bridge, pull up here I want to ring to see where Crane man is, right we’ll drive over to the gas holder now so I can see if the subbies have finished…”. If you don’t say please, you pig ignorant shite-bag, I’m going to lose my temper. He doesn’t. I bite my tongue so hard in an attempt not to explode that I make the end of it bleed. This is not fun. When we’ve finished we set off for S site, a 15 minute journey which he fills by telling me all about the Mercedes he drives and how his daughter drives a Merc and has been to Spain to test drive the new model and his wife has a BMW 3 series that she leases from the NHS for £118 a month and how he bought a BMW for £4k less than the asking price then sold it on for £25 less than he paid for it a while later when he wanted a Merc again and blah blah blah. I fill the time wondering whether it is logistically possible to open the passenger side door from the driver’s side and eject a passenger. I figure it probably isn’t so I turn the radio up again. After what feels like 40 years we arrive at site, me for a meeting with Client and Fit Bloke and him for a meeting with someone I hope has a high tolerance level. Fit Bloke arrives and knowing how hacked off I am about the whole business, starts taking the piss, “How’s the new chauffeur shaping up?” he asks Tool. “Well ok, but I’ve had to smack her a few times” Tool replies. My eyebrows disappear somewhere into my hairline and Fit Bloke looks a bit surprised, that clearly isn’t the answer he was expecting. Off we go to the meeting, me still muttering obscenities and occasionally bitching and Fit Bloke laughing at me again. After the meeting I come back to the car and there’s no sign of Tool. Where the fuck has he gone now? I’m not waiting around all day for him, I’ve got stuff to do. I start muttering rude words and Fit Bloke drives off in his van, laughing at me. After ten minutes or so I ring the office to get his mobile number. They don’t have it. I try 3 other people. They don’t either. Some nice subcontractors in the cabin remember seeing Tool on site with their manager so they ring him but he isn’t answering. After a further 15 minutes of chasing I find someone with Tool’s mobile number and call it. “Where are you? I need to get back to the office to sort some stuff out.” I say. “Really? Well I’m actually just outside the office now, I got Subbie Manager to drive me back so don’t worry about it, you can come back now kid.”.  COULD YOU NOT HAVE FUCKING WELL TOLD ME YOU UNHOLY LITTLE TWUNT??? I’ve been sat here like a pillock, inconveniencing various people in the hunt for you because you didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me you’d got an alternative life back and I was too polite to take Fit Bloke’s advice and just sod off and leave you there. Not trusting myself to speak lest any of my thoughts escape down the phone line and get me into trouble, I hang up on him.

And that is the very last time the wanker gets a lift off me. Ever. What an arsehole.


It’s a catastrophe. I have left my handbag on the table at home. We have a major audit today so I can’t skip out and go get it. I now have no money, no perfume, no mobile phone but worst of all….no makeup. I am spending a whole day at work with no makeup. I am confidently expecting the client’s auditor to run screeching from the building when he is confronted by the full horror of morning me with no slap on. If anyone wants me I’ll be at my desk, hiding behind my hair and hoping no one notices that I am at least 6 times more troll-like than yesterday.

It’s like being naked, only worse.

A letter to Apple

Dear Apple,

I am writing to let you know that I am not happy with an aspect of your service and I’m going to tell you why.

The idea was simple. Best Friend would come over to my house with some tunes on her laptop. We would transfer the tunes to my laptop (as hers is a little netbook that doesn’t have a CD burner on it) and make some CDs with them to commemorate an event. This would then be distributed among the other charming young ladies at this event. It would be the modern day equivalent of making them all a mixed tape. And who doesn’t love a mixed tape? But sadly we reckoned without iTunes and the satanic arse-up it can make of your afternoon.

Step one – we transfer the tunes over to my machine using a memory stick and pop them into iTunes which as usual opens with a message that a new version is available and it would like me to download it. I’m sure it would but given that a new version of iTunes is released roughly every 20 minutes and each one comes up with a new and novel way of doing something bad to your library, I decided not to bother. After all, I’d had enough fun during the last one when I had to reload all my CDs because each and every song not bought from iTunes (and 4 that were) appeared with a little exclamation mark next to them because it ‘couldn’t locate them’. Anyway, when we dispensed with the request for uploading and got the tunes into the library we discovered that it wouldn’t play them because it ‘couldn’t locate the source’. So we put all the songs on the memory stick back into a file and told it to look there. Which it did and now we had our lovely playlist of 97 songs.

All we had to do now was burn them onto a CD. We had 97 songs which came to a total of 380mb of information. Our CDs were 700mb so we figured this would fit. Wrong. Apparently even splitting them into 2 playlists wasn’t going to work because half our list wouldn’t fit on one CD either. We had a look in the help menu to find out what the problem was. The problem was that the help menu wasn’t helpful, given that it gave us fuck all information on what to do in the likely event of something going wrong while you’re trying to burn a CD. We decided to test the burn facility out by burning just 5 songs onto a CD to see if that worked. It did, well at least it did for the 10 seconds it ran before an error message appeared, ‘CD burning error – it may help if you calibrate the CD’. May help? Well will it or won’t it? And while we’re about it, what the chuffing hell is ‘calibrating’ in reference to a CD? I’ve heard of formatting but calibrating? It’s a CD, it doesn’t have variables that need aligning, which is what I understand calibrating to mean. If you’re going to have it leave messages, at least make them sensible. So we tried again and this time it worked. Lovely. So we figure that maybe we’ve just tried to put too many songs on one CD and cut it down to 15.

Off we go with burning our 15 songs onto CDs. It’s all going well until…”Unknown error 4405 – burning cancelled”. Fucking special. Brilliant. Unknown error, that’s really helpful, if iTunes and my laptop don’t know what the problem is, what hope do we have? By this time Best Friend and I have lost the will to live, let alone burn bloody CDs for people and every time we blink we’re seeing images of dismembered Apple programmers scattered across a carpark. I go to test the CD in the car and all the tracks bar the last one have burned fine. So I make an executive decision, bugger it I’m going to do them all and they’ll just have to live without the last track. So I continue with the 14 other CDs, some of which did get the extra track, some of which didn’t, in a completely random fashion designed exclusively to piss me off. Tonight I face the fun task of testing every track on every CD to see if they’ve actually worked. Do you have any idea how many times you have to hear the opening bars of ‘Gold’ before you go batshit crazy? This evening I shall find out. Perhaps I will email you the answer, assuming that I’m allowed to use the computer in whatever secure unit I end up in and am not just sat in a corner wondering when they’ll let me have my shoelaces back.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, my requests are these:

1) Enough with the constant updates of bloody iTunes. Stop it. Twice a year is more than enough, Ford don’t feel the need to recall my car every time they have an interesting idea then return it to me with something else broken, follow their example and leave it the hell alone.

2) I realise that you people have a massive bee in your bonnet about digital rights management. I get it. But let me let you into a little secret that makes perfect sense to those of us who don’t spend life in a hermetically sealed box trying to find ways of making iTunes more complicated; the more difficult you make it for people to do things like make a CD of their music, the more they’re going to use the illegal ways that you can find on the internet. We in Britain are not afraid of your threats of prosecution. Our police force don’t even bother to come round if your house gets done over and your pet gets microwaved, do you really think they’re going to spend 4 days filling in forms because Clare from Dagenham downloaded a copy of Adele’s latest album from someone in cyberspace? They aren’t, believe me. We just want a simple way of doing things, a way of making a mixed CD that doesn’t make us want to tear out our own eyes with frustration.  You should not have to have a PhD in advanced computer programming to put some cheesy 80s and 90s pop onto a CD. It’s ridiculous.

3) If you’re going to have an option for ‘burn playlist to CD’ in the menu, at least have a system behind it that will allow you to burn the bloody playlist to disc because currently if you were showing any sort of honesty, once you clicked the ‘burn playlist to CD’ button it should display the message ‘error 5937 – you’re a fucking idiot for thinking this would work’.

If you could address these matters immediately I would be most grateful. Obviously it will be too late for me, I will still be sitting in my locked cell humming the opening bars to ‘Gold’ over and over and over but it may save other unfortunates from the same fate.

Kind Regards