Corporate Wankery – the ‘strategic HSEQ meet and greet’ day.

It's another day of wankery folks.

And so it was with a sense of trepidation I set off to drive the hour and a half to Stafford, scene of the latest idea from the new owners of the company I work for – the HSEQ Meet and Greet Event. The word event makes me nervous, it’s a non-specific term that could mean anything from death by powerpoint to team building games and anything along the horrifying spectrum inbetween these two monstrosities. Fortunately the rest of my cynical team, people who are equally unimpressed by corporate wankery, were going so at least I’d have people to sit with who were normal.


After meeting the company’s Cable Champion, whose name escaped me (probably because I was too busy being baffled by his opening gambit – “I’m passionate about cables and cable strikes, I chair the company’s steering group on cable avoidance and I’m leading the way in assessing our performance in terms of cable events” – which from a lad who looked to be in his mid 20s, the age when you should still be interesting, was a surprise ) the meeting kicked off and we are told to go to the back of the room and get into height order. Fucking brilliant. I’m 5ft 10in in my bare feet and I was wearing heels, this makes me a) taller than any of my colleagues by a good few inches and b) by far the tallest bird in the room. Yep, I’m on my own on a table of big blokes, again. One of whom I’ve met before and who has now attached himself to me like a limpet, simply because I’m one of only two women in the room who doesn’t look like she’d win a wrestling contest with a bison.

“Oooh Alan”, says Pinstripe Twat to my new friend, “howcome you always manage to get sat next to the pretty girls, you lucky man, want to swap places?”. Fuck off arsehole, I’m not sat here because I’m shagging the boss, I’m fully qualified and spend my days on shitworks talking to the kind of blokes you’re probably scared of in pubs, so don’t sit there patronising me you sexist prick. I smile, you know the smile that says I think he’s a knob who requires a kick to the kidneys? He looks slightly afraid at this and turns away. Good, that saves me the trouble of being rude to him later when he mistakes me for someone who won’t make a fool of him for trying to letch on me at the end of the session.

Once we’ve established that Pinstripe Man has escaped from the 1950s, we’re into the Powerpoint presentation from the QA lady with the terrible teeth and massive arse that we met at the last meeting I daydreamed through. I have to say that I can’t tell you what she was talking about because I daydreamed through this session too. I think it might have been the same subject as last time because the slides looked the same but whether that was Non Conformances or Brad Pitt’s backside I couldn’t say.

Then we got down to the good stuff, the presentation from the safety directors. This wasn’t good because the content was interesting, it was good because I had a list of bullshit bingo phrases from Best Friend and I had a sneaking suspicion that this crap was going to score highly.

I was not disappointed.

I got quite a few ‘going forwards’, one ‘110%’, a ‘lifting the lid and kicking the tyres’ (in relation to auditing in case you give a fuck, which I suspect you probably don’t) and even a ‘sheep dipping contractor’s systems’. Not a clue what that’s about to be honest, having met contractors it’s entirely possible that they do actually mean dipping the sweaty buggers in vats of chemicals to kill off mites. Although given that these people never go near actual sites or people, preferring to sit behind desks shuffling paper, I doubt it’s anything that practical. Disappointingly I didn’t manage to get ‘low hanging fruit’. I had high hopes for that one.

After lunch, which I spent most of hiding in the car eating a sandwich and speaking to people I don’t think should have been drowned at birth, we have the drugs and alcohol session, which I spend sat next to a mercifully normal bloke called Chris, laughing at Pinstripe Twat who after gobbing off about anything and everything (what with him being an expert on absolutely everything everywhere) went suspiciously quiet when the girl in charge said we were all going to test the drug and alcohol kits on each other. Not so big now the group are going to know that you spent lunch snorting Bolivian marching candy off the bog cistern are you? When he inevitably failed the drugs test, he tried to loudly claim that it’s because he’s on medication. Listen mate, it doesn’t count if you buy it off a bloke in a carpark.

Time Corporate wankery day was meant to finish – 3.00pm

Time Corporate wankery day actually finished – 6.00pm

Time I left my house in the morning – 6.45am

Time I arrived back at my house – 8.15pm

Mood – Nuclear.

Dinner – Macdonalds. The dinner of choice for people who can’t be arsed even opening a tin and heating some beans.

Apparently they’re thinking of holding these things once a month. I do hope no one is expecting me to attend them, because if they are, they’re going to be terribly disappointed.


4 Responses

  1. What Fun!

    We quit having those inane “training sessions” because ‘the company’ decided they were too expensive (overtime + mileage for everyone), and the fact that we have all the training sessions on DVD at the worksite. We’re supposed to review these annually. Supposed to …

  2. I’m thinking of not being a vegetarian any more because I don’t get to have McDonalds after shit-factor 10 days like yours. Those big corporate sessions are a complete fucking waste of time. You did well not to kill anyone. Have a Big Mac.

  3. The one big thing I have always been happy with since being self employed is that I don’t have to organise training courses for myself.

    I still cringe when I think back to ones I attended in the past, and fondly remember one on database software at IBM where 50% of the people in the room fell asleep bored out of their skulls. Shame the person at the front with not a clue was not one of the 50%!!!

  4. Feeling pretty low about all the petty bullshit my company flings my way. So thanks, voice of sanity, for the laugh.

    What can we do about it though? How do we make them stop?!

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