Haven’t done this for a while, shit gets in the way, the world over particularly in these topsy turvy insane times globally so thanks Mr Fandango I shall join in with the FOWC once more and see what I come up with.
I had a very poor Boss, he is what is called my Production Manager and he earns more than me for managing my production. There are a few of these guys (all men i’m afraid to say) around the country, maybe about 12 or 15 or something and their collective job is to manage our production and then at the end of the year write a report telling us that we are totally fucking amazing or totally fucking awful.
We don’t make widgets, so comparing like for like is, as the old adage goes, like comparing apples with oranges. This has always been the way for as long as anyone can remember. When one person’s figures are compared with another persons figures there will be reasons why the numbers may differ; many, many reasons. The production manager should have a really good working relationship with their staff and understand why folk differ, usually it all boils down to Geography.
We also have meetings with our production manager which he organises and then gets us to actually organise. What I mean is, he looks on everyones calendar to see when everyone is free and then sends an email out to ask us to book a venue, organise the lunch, make sure the coffee doesn’t run out (especially just after lunch, everyone’s flagging then, our production manager has usually left by then anyway), we are also told to prepare an agenda and suggest someone to come and tell us something we don’t really want to know about. These meetings happen about once every 6 or 8 weeks so the maximum we have a year must be around 10, no more I wouldn’t have thought. Everyone will miss one or two due to holidays, illness or something else. These meetings are where our manager forms an opinion of us which he (remember no female production managers), will then use to determine how he will mark us over the course of the year, which will then determine if we end up with a pay rise at the year-end.
I’m relatively new here, being an employee for only 20 years, pretty much doing the same job but with better and more fancy technology. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m out and about every day of the year predominantly in the countryside and still enjoy it; when I’m left to my own devices. I’m good at my job, and I care about how I execute my job, but I do not give a shit about the company anymore, because they don’t give one about me or any of my other colleagues who do the similar operation.
We work remotely, all the offices were shut down years ago, so we had to work from home, to save the company money, and the by-product was to fragment the workforce. They also stopped us having meetings, so now we steal an hour or two in secret, like forbidden lovers.
Life goes on, people retire, the people who retire are not replaced and we have more work and larger areas to cover, the production managers are told by their managers to produce more, so they tell us to, and so we make more of an effort to meet up to bitch about them like children, at a garden centre cafe (free wifi).
There is an HQ, far from where we are; its really modern and everyone there hot desks and breaks out to get involved with some blue sky thinking, coffee on tap, subsidised canteen, lots of females in HQ, lots of glass and metal and metal and glass in HQ. Senior managers walk around in chinos and button down shirts, theres a real push to help prevent or be understanding of mental health in the workforce. People come and talk to the staff in HQ and tell them to listen to music, go and have a chat and take breaks from your desk. We listen to the people who come to talk through a webinar from our home offices and they tell us to listen to music, go and have a chat and take a break from our desks.
The HR representative for us remote workers is protecting a friend of mine from his boss (my old one) who was and probably still is bullying him. My friend had 6 months off and could not bear to look at him in the face let alone hear his voice. When my friend told the HR representative how we work, what our daily routine is, she had no idea and so will find it very hard to protect him. I imagine she will probably be able to write a definitive report on my friend, for her superiors, after meeting him for 2 hours.
Meanwhile someone, somewhere in one of the brushed aluminium, tubular, modular break out spaces in HQ, will be putting a tick in a box to show to their superiors;
“Right that’s mental health covered. Oh turn this song up, I like this song”