March of the Lemmings?
Every few hours a group of different people – between three and ten seems about right – walk through the office, looking at printers as they go, clutching their coats and bags and smiling and laughing with one another. Sometimes they have a leader who is talking at the front, other times they seem bereft of guidance, although they all walk with purpose.
We are slightly bemused by all of this, and have obviously started conjuring up some ideas to explain this phenomenon away. Below are some of my favourites I have either heard or had sent to me…
Theory 1 – The Tour
We are on a tour route. Maybe it’s a tour into the gruesome history of the area. You know, its the final bit were they say, “So we told you how the criminal gangs used to run the place and have showed you their favourite hang-outs, we showed you that an evil killer kept this place in fear (we showed you the site of three of the murders), we explained the political fights of the 70s and 80s, we have introduced you to the times tensions in the community have come to surface with running street battles and riots, but now we have a treat.
“We are showing you here that after all of that life is still normal in this slightly boring office. Or maybe we are showing you a continuation of those gruesome battles; these are the people that will now have to deal with the fall out of the latest political battles. Only time will tell how they will survive.”
Theory 2 – The Bailiffs are in
The Council has a lot of bills to pay, and it stands to reason that with less money available, some of these might not be paid quickly enough or at all.
Some of these bills are no doubt owed to shady front companies, who have no compunction about sending ‘da boyz’ round to balance the books a bit. Knowing their trade, these are usually unflinchingly polite but with an air of definite menace, and may even give some local staff the chance to earn a little extra cash with a second job stripping the Council bare.
These groups then are walking around the whole building, appraising the equipment, resources – probably even the staff too – in order to work out what is valuable to their employers and what they will later repossess. Meanwhile, those in the know are hiding their stashes of paperclips and cuddly toys to try to avoid the coming cull of valuables. Or maybe they will ignore the office equipment and just resort to reposessing us staff instead.
Is this what the government meant when they said people leaving the public sector would find private sector jobs – are we being traded as slaves and serfs?!
And my personal favourite…
Theory 3 – The Trap Door
Getting rid of good people is never easy. Many have been around the place for longer than a persistent STD on Russell Brand, indeed some have in that time produced consistently high standards of work and are only unfortunate enough to live in a time when talent has less to do with securing lasting employment than patronage.
This is why they are now being lured to their dooms in the style of the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. With the promise of treats of one form or the other they are taking a stroll along, looking at their less fortunate colleagues while expecting the Chief Exec to rain praise and gifts upon them for their valiant efforts.
They enter the big office and are a little confused to be asked to stand on the big, red X on the floor. With a not entirely hidden smile the Chief Exec explains that whilst they are great people and do good work, they are no longer required so are being dropped – literally – and that in order to cut down on costs they have been asked here today. Interestingly trap door prices are cheaper than redundancies…
A quick reach for the comedy lever precedes a drop into oblivion for the unfortunate group, who will probably never be seen again. There is just enough time to stop laughing and to reset the trap door before the next group comes in with smiles on their naïve faces…