I am writing to you after experiencing my first day at my new office. The sights I have seen, the horror, the chaos; I scarcely understand the system before me and how any success is achieved here in local government. It may be of a shocking nature, but I feel I must share all I have seen to warn you, lest my younger siblings ever harbour secret desires of joining me in public service. I shall take you through my initial lessons in turn; be warned however, that you may wish to sit before reading further, lest your weak constitution get the better of you.
To begin with, when I arrived I was greeted and informed that a bowler hat and monacle was not “required attire”. I struggled with this concept for a period of time, but eventually agreed to acceed to their request and dress “smart casual” (note to self: discover what this actually entails and whether or not coat tails are truly “casual”).
After this came the biggest shock of all: I was introduced to the concept of “flexitime”. I do hope I do not cause you distress by using quotation marks so freely, but I feel this issue requires such flagrant overuse of these grammatical devices.
Apparently, through “flexitime” staff work the hours to which they have been contracted: can you imagine such a thing? If they have agreed and signed up to deliver 36 hours of work each and every week, this “flexitime” arrangement allows them to do just this. But that’s not all.
“Flexitime” is apparantly a shortened form of the words “flexible” and “time”, and mixes these two issues somewhat strangely. It allows staff to take a flexible approach to their work, resulting in them potentially not sitting at their desks at every moment of the day (statuory recommended meal and relief breaks notwithstanding of course).
Can you comprehend such a situation? If staff have arrangements in their lives which would benefit from a more flexible approach to organising their hours, then they are encouraged to do so. Madness! This sees some staff arriving at eight in the morning and leaving at four o’clock without a by-your-leave or query from the security staff, whilst others arrive at the ungodly hour of ten in the morning. Ten o’clock! By such a time Mr Godfrey would have been at his desk for some time in the office back in the village. (more…)