Fict or Faction?

I’m sitting here wondering what to write again… I have found that writing a blog piece helps get the juices flowing ready for writing my next essay… It’s not that easy at times because when I’m writing these things, I very rarely know what I’m going to write… Yes OK so sometimes I’ll write about our latest trip but, as you have probably noticed, most of the time I write complete drivel and then try to justify it by claiming “stream of consciousness”

I tell you what, I’m going to tell you a little story… Now I’m going to have to be very careful with this… Officially I am still employed and as such cannot say or do anything to bring my “employers” into disrepute (at least I can’t until the redundancy cheque comes through 😀 )… So what I am about to relate to you is going to be presented with  a couple of disclaimers…

This is a work of fiction, any similarities between real events and/or people (living or undead) is entirely accidental.

OK, so where to start? Oh, I know…

Is that a blue box over there? No, but it is a very good device for suggesting that the events to follow were some time ago…

Picture the scene… Our hero (Six foot Four inches in his stockinged feet, Dark haired, Blue eyed, Devilishly Handsome,  Almost Criminally Superior in Intelligence, Stylish without being Gauche, Charming, Witty, Modest, All Round Wonderful Guy) is sitting in the works kitchen having his lunch on what he believes to be his final week at work… For just over a year he has been seconded to another branch of a not-very popular high street chain because of unfounded and malicious allegations of unfair treatment of staff (read bullying), for which Our Hero was completely and justly exonerated, he has just informed his current line-manager of his impending redundancy from his primary position… Cue lot’s of hurried phone calls featuring offers, counter-offers, bribes, threats, excuses and downright lies… result? Our Hero is not facing his final week at work… Joy of joys, he has been installed at his current position permanently 🙂

Our Hero is actually quite happy about this turn of events. A few years previously Our Hero had turned down a chance to work at this establishment, foolishly thinking he wouldn’t fit in, but now here they were “head-hunting” him… Apparently his easy-going nature, twinkly-eyed charm and bohemian attitude are an asset to the environment and a welcome addition to the workforce… according to the silver-haired, jewellery rattlers that frequent the establishment, he is, anyway… Added to that are the friendships he has made with some of his colleagues and the increase in Per Diem’s and it’s no wonder Our Hero thinks things are on the Up and Up…

Fast forward a few months… things are no longer so Rosie… After working every Saturday for practically the entire year a line has been drawn… As a result, Our Hero is no longer the golden boy… It has been a disheartening few months already, Our Hero has lost the welcome presence of two of his colleagues (whom we shall call… er…erm Arthur and Frank 😉 ) and will soon lose another (who will hereafter be known as Tiffany) and now comes the news that there is to be a cabinet reshuffle… A few weeks go by (Blink and you’ll miss them) and Our Hero is in the unenviable position of having to reapply for his own job… Except things are about to change…

The penny-pinching overlords have been systematically destroying the very nature of Our Hero’s organisation over the past few years… various techniques have been employed to this end… the most obvious of which is the removal of staff members to be replaced by people more in tune with the corporate guiding principle… namely, make people work for nothing… Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with people working for nothing, I’ve done it myself a few times but the problem arises when they expect people to work a full day for nothing, without reimbursing them for their expenses… you cannot expect people to pay to work…

So now Our Hero has sailed through his interview and is to continue his employment… But wait! What’s this? A twelve week probationary period to prove he can do the job he has been doing (Quite successfully I’d say) for the past seven years… And so the new conditions of Our Hero’s employment are introduced… to be observed/introduced in addition to his standard contract… Do you smell a rat? Our Hero does… And the smell of this rat gets worse as the weeks go on… To retain his position Our Hero has to do some things he’s not prepared to do, somethings he is not actually able to do and somethings he’s not allowed to do… This isn’t a plan to get rid of him is it?

So what does Our Hero have to do to keep his position? Here are just a few of the things…

  • Recruit at least two non-payed workers (one of whom must be prepared to work under you when you are in and replace you on your days off)…
  • Recruit another non-payed worker (this one must be prepared to work at least one half day per week and have own van)
  • Rearrange and improve warehouse area to make it more user-friendly while improving health and safety aspects
  • Take over producing works rota so that no-one is disadvantaged or favoured over others with regards days on and off

Our Hero can already see some flaws in these plans and so starts asking questions…

What follows are a sample of the questions raised and paraphrased versions of the answers

“So, these non-payed workers… Are they going to be reimbursed for their travel and lunch?”

“No. We don’t cover those things any more.”

“But, hold on, our current non-payed workers have these payments, namely ~I’ve told you before, No Names!!!~ and ~No NAMES!!!!~”

“Ah yes but they might not be staying. All of these expenses come out of our budget, and that affects my bonus…”

“So you are saying that these people will have to pay to work here… What about petrol? will this non-payed van driver have to pay for their own?”

“Of course they will.”

This really doesn’t add up and so Our Hero continues questioning…

“Where is one supposed to get these non-payed staff from then?”

“The local area… Colleges, Universities, Libraries… the usual places…”

“Considering one does not live in the area, how is one supposed to recruit in the area?”

“Do it on your day off.”

“I’m sorry? Incur more expense and waste more time traveling  to do this? Can it not be done during working hours?”

“No, that’s when you are meant to be at work.”

“But it is work.”

As you can see, Our Hero had a Sisyphean task ahead of him….

The weeks trickle by… He can do some of the things he has been ordered to do but only after arguments and recriminations. Others things he is still having problems with. Is he prepared to sit waiting for a call on his days off just in case they need him at short notice… Time he will not be paid for… Simple answer… NO. Is he prepared to work extra days without pay to do the things that he has been told to do to keep his job but which his line manager will not allow him to do during his normal days? Again… NO. Is he prepared to spend his own time and money doing things at home when he should be doing them at work? You can see where this is going can’t you?

Is he starting to believe that most of the things that he has been ordered to do (on top of his usual tasks, don’t forget) are in actual fact pointless, unwelcome, actively discouraged and increasingly unachievable within the time frame? Oh that’s a great big YES!!!

Is Our Hero beginning to feel that he would rather just walk away? Maybe give one or two people a piece of his mind on the way out? That’s a big ol’ Yessirooney right there!!!

Is Our Hero too pig-headed to give them the satisfaction? You bet your last sprazzie he is!!! There is no way he is going to make this easy for them… And so he holds out. He keeps his head down… he does what he gets paid for… he endures the snapped orders and snide remarks… he bites his tongue at the sexism and racism, the homophobia and the ignorant, bigoted, privileged attitudes… He just keeps going.

The physical, mental and spiritual pain is crushing him at times. He sometimes lashes out at those that least deserve it. He dreads getting out of bed on work days. There are days when he doesn’t know whether he is going to vomit or mess himself as he cleans his teeth. He care barely look in the mirror. Our Hero is very close to the edge.

He just keeps going.

To the train station on feet that feel like lead. Crammed into a carriage with less space than veal. The only things preventing him from tearing off his own skin to get away are his music and his book. First change… try desperately to banish image of shuffling, downtrodden workers from the movie Metropolis… more wet coats, backpacks, bad-breath, farts, coughs, laptops, iPads, scritchy headphones, red lights, “Mind the Doors”, not enough space, bent almost double, “Excuse me, can I get off first?”… More, “Stand on the right!” … More, “Don’t just stop at the top of the bloody escalator.”… More, “Why are you standing there? There’s a whole fucking platform!!!”

More, I don’t want to do this anymore.

He just keeps going. Our Hero.

But it can’t go on forever… The twelve week probation period is almost up… “You know that we have a meeting to discuss your progress on ####, don’t you?” “Yes, I do. But as I told you last time you mentioned it, I’m not in that day and I have other things booked. Can we not change it?”

“You know that we have a meeting to discuss your progress on ####, don’t you?” “Yes, I do. But as I told you last time you mentioned it, I’m not in that day and I have other things booked. Can we not change it?”

“You know that we have a meeting to discuss your progress on ####, don’t you?” “Yes, I do. But as I told you last time you mentioned it, I’m not in that day and I have other things booked. Can we not change it?”

“You know that we have a meeting to discuss your progress on ####, don’t you?” “Yes, I do. But as I told you last time you mentioned it, I’m not in that day and I have other things booked. Can we not change it?”

“You know that we have a meeting to discuss your progress this Friday, don’t you?” “Yes, I do. But as I’ve told you each time you’ve mentioned it, I’m not in on Friday. I have other things booked. Can we not change it?”

Cue a day of phone calls, threats, concessions, demands, blame-throwing, denials, lies and posturing… Result? Meeting moved… From 11.30 Friday to 17.00 Friday… Keep your head down, Hero. Keep Going. Do as they demand. Put your life on hold for them. Keep Going!!!

The Meeting! Arrive with just two minutes to spare… Minor Victory…

What follows is almost an hour of total BULLSHIT!!! Everybody involved knows the outcome. Everybody would rather be somewhere else. Everybody has already been terribly inconvenienced. Everybody knows the outcome… So why is it still a kick in the guts when it happens? Why does Our Hero feel like, cheering, crying, vomiting, singing, running, hitting? Why has this happened? I’m good at my job. What am I going to do? How am I going to tell Lone Support Angel? Whassat? What’s he saying? Garden Leave? Take my accrued holidays… Don’t come in tomorrow… or ever again… Do I understand? Yes. Yes, thank-you… Where’s the door? How do I get out? Why is he still talking? Why am I still sat here? Now I know why you haven’t been able to look at me for the past hour you two-faced, selfish, lying… “What? Yes. Yes, I understand… Don’t come in tomorrow. Yes, I’ll get redundancy. Yes, don’t come in tomorrow…” Where’s the door? Time? Why are you still sat here you plank?! “Yes, thank you. I’m late. Thank you. Gotta go. Thank you.”

Stairs. Door. Street… Walk. Fag. Aaahhhhhhh…. Walk… Walk… Dance step… Walk… Laugh… Run… Laugh… Cheer… Walk… Laugh/Cry… Walk… Just Keep Going…


Turns out that telling Lone Support Angel wasn’t that bad. It helped that we both had an idea it was going to happen. It helped that we were both secretly hoping for it. We were prepared and had both already come to terms with it… We were going to… Going to…

Going to have a damn good evening. Lone Support Angel’s sister had brought her clan to the Big Smoke for the first time and as an additional punishment had decided to force them to endure my company for a few hours… But it was in a theatre… We were joyfully signing along with the show… We were having a damn good night at We Will Rock You!!!

And Tomorrow? Well, tomorrow Our Hero doesn’t have to go to work.




2 comments on “Fict or Faction?

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