Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ticking my boxes

I love working for an organisation with an identity crisis – it makes me feel relatively secure in myself.

However, the assaults on my identity since I arrived here have been legion. My desk was bare – I had to ask for a phone. When the phone arrived I had to blow the dust from it before I could risk making a call.

Part of the extensive welcome induction I never received covered the need to sign in on arrival. Norman, the Operations Manager, pointed out this need to me 4 weeks after my first arrival. I then found the signing-in book and showed willing. I pointed out that my name wasn’t on the current staff list.

‘Oh, just add yourself by hand at the bottom.’

Last week Norman booked me in for a Health & Safety induction. He had been threatening this for several weeks.

‘How about just after lunch for your Health & Safety induction? Sorry it hasn’t happened sooner….’

‘That’s fine,’ I replied,’I’ll be extra careful until then.’

I watched his lips move and nodded regularly as Norman went through the various perils of working at The National Clay Pipe Centre. Many of them didn’t apply to a non-craftsman like myself – so he breezed through them. I had a quick look at his checklist and noticed that he’d missed a couple of his bullet-points out. One of them read ‘Personal Hygiene’.

‘You’ve missed that one out Norman.’ I reached over to his clipboard and tapped the sheet with my pencil.

‘Oh that one. That’s there because – between you and me – we’ve had a few bad experiences with whiffy volunteers.’

Norman touched his nose when he intimated this.There was an awkward pause and Norman smiled weakly.

‘Well,’ I said,’do keep me right if I let my standards slip.’

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