Who said management was easy? Still, there's nothing that can't be sorted out with an axe...

Year 1997 - Episode 14


I CAN'T BLOODY HANDLE IT ANY MORE!!! I was doing so well with the managerial position - allocating funds to worthwhile projects (stereo colour video monitors hooked into state-of-the-art satellite receivers) when the bomb dropped.

I find out that I'm expected to attend around six 'planning' meetings EVERY week! My former opinion of management dropped even further...

There's only so many times someone can ask what 'those byte things are again' before you find yourself dreaming of the company improvements you could achieve with a simple axe and a heavy duty wood-chipper.

Speaking of wood-chippers, the first priority meeting had the highly important topic of, should we hire our office plants? Given that we already own office plants I felt that the issue was somewhat redundant - but obviously my mind wasn't attuned to management. I'd forgotten that this little group had requested not one, not two, not three, but FOUR department restructures (to reflect the company's hierarchy restructures) in the past 18 months.

So after only two hours of deliberation, it was decided that we'd go with the rented product because then the rental company would be responsible for making sure the plants got watered. (As if the taste of the company tea and coffee didn't ensure that already).

And after that two hours there was another half an hour deciding what to do with the plants that were already in the building and had been since the building opened - the ones in the open areas upstairs that are far too large to move anywhere. Which is where the minor brainstorm of the wood chipper comes in. The plan is to hire a chipping machine, take it up in the freight elevator and perform some on-the-spot organic recycling.

By this time I'm pining for Network Operations. Things were so simple then - a user rang with some problem that they'd caused in the first place, you tortured them for a bit, then solved their problem in the most convenient way possible. Simple. Effective. Quick. I need help, so I go to the one person who might make head or tail of it.

The ex-boss. The ex-boss is a changed man. He now treats users with the thinly disguised contempt of a networking professional who has heard one time too many the ubiquitous question why is the network is down? He's seen what we've seen, he knows what we know.

He IS a bastard! I track him down in a comms room where he's sending 240AC down the phone lines to cremate the phones of certain users. I tell him my problem and he listens sympathetically.

"There's nothing you can do," he replies. "You just have to do it. Just keep your head down or they'll tell you to restructure your department."

A thought occurs to me. "Do you want your old job back?" I ask.

"Nope!" he replies, without pausing. "Go on," I plead (being a manager, so it's not beneath me).

"It'll cost you," he says. THE BASTARD! I knew I shouldn't have hired him.

"How much?" He mentions an extortionate amount of dosh with the air of someone not open for negotiation.

Sadly, I sign a, >sob!< personal cheque >sniff< for the amount he asks. He whips off to cash it after giving me some very good advice.

The arrival of the wood-chipping machine is apparently a company photo opportunity that none of the meeting group wishes to miss - being yet another new era in company policy.

I, of course attend, and stand through a set of "okay, one with you pointing to the chip catcher. Another with all of you looking into the feed funnel" requests.

When all of the photos are finished, I sidle up to the chairperson and mention what a coup it might be if he were to appear in the photos with an actual piece of wood being processed. I tap on a plastic bag I'm carrying which gives a chopping-board-like clonk.

He smiles. We wait till everyone has gone then get the photographer to set up for the shot because once the machine starts the other managers are going to sprint for the chance to be in-shot, so he has to be quick.

He sets up and I start the machine, emptying my bag into the chipper.

To be fair, he takes the grinding to sawdust of his yachting trophy quite well, only dismissing me from my position on the spot.

A day later I get a call at home from the once-ex-now-current-boss offering me a job as a network operator with a very reasonable salary.

I accept of course. The new position is GREAT. The boss, with his experience, makes everything worthwhile. Life cannot get any better.

"YOU'D BETTER COME QUICK!" the PFY yells as he bursts into the room.

"It's the boss! He's locked himself in the management meeting! Apparently he asked the secretary to bring his axe up and now they've heard the wood-chipper starting!" Bugger.

I knew it was too good to be true...