22 June, 2006

Something, nothing

By way of some kind of "summer" treat at work yesterday, the canteen was turned over to some "new bands" who it was promised would provide "exciting music" and "fresh sounds" to evoke the mood of the season. What squawking guitars, vocal histrionics and thunderously out-of-time drums have to do with summer left me stumped, though it did succeed in instantly driving me out of the building and into the sunshine, so I guess there was some corollary.

They're always doing these demented things where I work. As part of some ostensible publicity drive to drum up interest in another bizarre musical-related venture, an Ozzy Osbourne impersonator was employed to wander stupidly around the building for an hour getting on everyone's nerves and shouting. He then tried to get his photo taken with every single employee, at which point I went and hid in the toilets.

In April there was an Easter Egg hunt (careful how you say it) wherein titular ovoids were hilariously sequestered on different floors of the building and you were expected to give up the best part of your day to traipse around the place trying to find them, all in order to win a couple of tiny chocolate bunnies.

This was followed in the evening by an event which I did not attend involving, yes, a "new band" providing "exciting music" and "fresh sounds".

For a company that can't afford to buy desks for its own minions, it's remarkable how much cash there nonetheless seems to be sloshing around to shell out on, variously, sticks of rock, battered fish, candy floss and energy-saving light bulbs, all of which have been given out for free during the last few months.

When the World Cup match between England and Trinidad & Tobago took place during working hours, a giant screen was set up in the canteen to show the game, but no chairs were provided upon which people could rest and enjoy proceedings - though several giant bowls of warm punch were in evidence, presumably to fortify you while standing up for two hours.

I fail to see the merit in a company functioning with such a confused set of priorities. Don't they think that such a disparity between providing essential tools to allow people to do their jobs and providing freebies of a less than obvious kind registers poorly in the minds of its staff?

Sadly things are about to get far worse. The entire organisation, including me, is being packed off to the seaside next week for an "away day" that involves staying overnight in a hotel and a terrifying portfolio of "team games", "bonding exercises" and, good lord, "fun quizzes".

During this prolonged period of enforced conviviality, various boring announcements will also be made about the corporation's "thrilling" past and its equally "thrilling" future, while those listening in the audience will be mindful of the pennypinching which necessitates everybody sharing a bedroom.

More about all that anon. Meantime...anybody interested in a stick of rock with my company logo running through the middle? It's too much for me to stomach.


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