Friday, 8 February 2008

It's that pesky day job again.

I was going to try my best not to complain about work - I should be putting all my energy into finding a new job rather than bitching about this one - but we had one day this week when the sheer idiocy of the culture left me feeling as disconsolate as days of old.

It all started with a little bit of office politics. We've had something of a backlog of work for about the last 3 months because there's been a huge increase in the number of applications we've had to process (I'm talking in terms of over 30%) so of course we've been struggling. We were told first thing in the morning that we're not allowed to use the word 'backlog' as it has too many negative connotations so instead we're supposed to use terms like 'sudden influx', 'doing our best', 'everything processed in date order', etc. If the person we're talking to decides to say 'backlog' that's fine but we can't say it ourselves. There's one in the nuts for morale.

The most junior member of staff in the office, one I've referred to in previous posts as being less than efficient, takes the day's new applications down to one of the academic schools each morning. On this day she was allegedly questioned by the senior contact in the school who wanted to know more about how our office works, apparently because they're not happy with the service we provide. Now, given our lady's penchant for gossiping and rumour-mongering she could very easily have read too much into the conversation, but it's equally likely that there was some malignant political intent in the interrogation. Either way, it caused a great deal of indignant speculation which of course meant morale's decline got a little steeper.

And finally, the icing on the cake was provided by the marketing department. Apparently they've decided to test each department's customer service skills by adopting a 'mystery shopper' method, telephoning or emailing the poor victims and pretending to be difficult customers. Some of the academic schools have already received the out-of-work-actor-trying-to-get-by treatment and we've been told we may be next. Now that may be true, in which case they're a bunch of c**ts. It could be a rumour started by someone in management (or even in marketing) who thought it'd scare us on to greater heights of administrative efficiency, in which case they're a bunch of idiotic c**ts. It could even be the fabled 'Chinese whispers' created by the ridiculous internal politics of a large organisation. I think you may guess what my opinion is at this point.

It seems to me that the business-oriented management types they've now got running the place have decided that the lazy attitude that has historically existed across most non-academic staff of the university is unacceptable so they're using good old-fashioned Gestapo shock tactics to wake people up and make them work harder. Unfortunately, it also means they're creating a lot of unnecessary subsidiary work and making life difficult for everyone involved. The underlying ideology is obviously the ancient management philosophy that morale is an unnecessary component of working life.

Right, I'm off to update my CV.

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