Archive for February, 2008

Big and Clever

I’ve just been to the supermarket at 9.30pm on a Saturday night. Half an hour before closing, the store is quiet and eerie – the music has stopped and the staff have that purposeful look about them, tidying, clearing, stacking. If you catch their eye the look they give you says: ‘hurry up and get your shopping, member of the public. I really want to get out of here on time. Its Saturday night, you know.

So I did my shopping. Not much, but milk and bread, bacon, cheese and a few other bits and pieces to get me though the next few days. I don’t know when I’ll next have the opportunity to get to the supermarket, so this is a tide-me-over shop.

Anyway, as I leave the shop, the shutter is half down, to discourage late-night wanderers from heading inside in the last 5 minutes before closedown, but the security man opens it to let me out. I push my small trolley towards the car – which isn’t far away – and get my keys and prepare to stow my shopping in the boot.

As I get to the car, I hear a commotion. Up near the cash points I see a small black car screech away from a standing start, with its front passenger door wide open. A girl all in pink with big hoopy* earrings tries in vain to get into the car, then gives it up as a bad job and starts swearing at the top of her voice. The expletives are so thick and fast and gutteral, I can barely understand them, but I know that they are there because she finishes the sentence with ‘…ya prick.’ She glares, and marches off to her equally pinkly-dressed friend. The ‘boys’ in the car stop a few yards away, car-door still agape. A heated conversation ensues between two boys from the car, through hastily wound-down windows, and the two pink girls. There are more swear-words per sentence than actual meaningful words. Hoopy-earring girl is the worst of the bunch, but not by much. The competition is stiff.  

‘Distinct lack of useful vocabulary’ I found myself saying as I got in my car and locked the doors, and instantly felt old. ‘Is this how you tell when you’ve grown up? You’re a grown-up because you can swear?’

Of course not.

Anyone can swear; age is not important. Mouthing off using a string of expletives is easily done and requires very little skill or intelligence at all.

The real grown-ups know that swearing is only effective if used occasionally at just the right moment.  Then a single swearword is like a piece of fleeting artwork. It is beautiful for one single, shining moment. There, on show, briefly, for all to see, but gone just as quickly.      

That’s the kind of swearing I like. The impressive stuff.

Not this chavvy rubbish.

    

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“This one’s useless, throw her out”

Regular readers will know I work in Human Resources. I have had to deal with a spate of people just lately who are deemed by their managers to be ‘not up to the job’.

They come to me and tell me their tale of woe, about how X is terrible at their job, or how Y just isn’t working at the level we want, and how Z is just never here. In the old days I wanted to hope that their managers had given them a fair crack of the whip, that they had inducted and supported their new member of staff and now, sadly, things just weren’t working out……

But no.

X has been working with us for 8 months (8 months!!) and now his manager has decided his conduct is dreadful and there are about 4 complaints from service users about his methods. The manager hasn’t really tackled him on the issues, though X does know about them, but he doesn’t know what he needs to do to improve because his manager hasn’t explained it properly.

Y made it clear at her interview what level she was working at, and her manager was quite happy to appoint her at the time! She doesn’t know what she’s done wrong – all she’s aware of is her manager keeps telling her off and she can’t seem to get anything right.

Z? Well, Z just isn’t at work enough. Since October he’s been in work about 14 days. I think he’ll have to go.

As for the others. Maybe. But not yet.  

We can’t just chuck people out of employment because we don’t like the look of them. This isn’t an angling competition!

A pond is not a pond without the water…

Woman 1: “Oooh, what a lovely fountain in that pond!”

Woman 2: “Oh, isn’t it beautiful! Very pretty. ”

Woman 1: “I do like the swans, too.”

Woman 2: “I’d love to have a fountain like that in my pond, but I just don’t have the water for it.”

Stating the obvious

I went to Sainsbury’s at the weekend for a few things, hobbing about with my crutches in my trolley and my big grey plastic boot-brace on my gammy foot. As I was going about I had become aware of a small boy of about 3 or 4 years old, following his dad about the shop in a rather distracted way. He looked as if the puffiness of his padded jacket was holding his tiny arms off his body a bit so he mildly resembled a baby penguin. I didn’t pay him a huge amount of attention as I traipsed around the aisles because supermarket shopping isn’t real purposeful walking, and it was making my poor ankle ache terribly.

Anyway, as I stood looking at my shopping list near the bakery items, the little boy appeared in the aisle near me. Then, arm at full stretch he pointed me out to his daddy and said in a loud voice (since daddy was at the end of the aisle, and a fair distance away):

“Look Daddy. That lady has got Something Wrong With Her.”

I pretended I hadn’t heard, and the father coaxed the little boy from me quickly.

I had to smile.