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The shortest job I ever had lasted for 17 minutes, it was with a telemarketing firm, The firm was desperately trying to appear to be an efficient, go-aheadm American style business, and so was grabbing any management tool it thought would help. Now as I said I only managed to work for them for seventeen minutes, so my view could be utterly inaccurate, but from my short time there, Im fairly sure its accurate.

I was rung up by an agency, in the middle of  a Friday afternoon, and asked if I could start on Monday for a permanent job. Needs must and financial desperation being in the wind, It was the 1980s and I was living amongst the attempts of the government to destroy the towns major industry so choice of employment that didn't involve shovelling carcinogenic slurry into the back of leaking lorries was somewhat limited. After a couple of minutes conversation with the agency, it transpired that the employer had asked if I would go down that afternoon, to make sure that I could see  whre the place was for the Monday, and fill in a couple of pieces of Paperwork. So suited and booted, I turned up at 13 minutes past 4 in the afternoon, for a 4:30 finish. Papers signed, entry card issued, I was sat in the main room, at a large oval table with a group of about twenty people, each with a pile of paperwork, and a telephone.

after I had said hello to the people either side, who were dressed in 1980's red braces, standard yuppie uniform, I thought theings didn't look great, but they took a spectacular turn for the worse when a manager strolled in.  the person to his right lept up to attention, and barked "I have sold an insurance policy and two life insurance policies" then shot back to his seat. the next one got up and and did similar, this proceeded all the way round till it got to me, who having not be there could only shrug my shoulders. When it got round to the end  of the people at the table the manager yelled "We will now sing the company song" and they all leapt to their feet and started hammering out this godawfull musical disaster.

At some point during the first verse of this abomination (Oh yes there were three verses) I unfortunately lost the ability to keep a straight face, and when the second verse kicked into gear, I started laughing. by the end of the third verse I was just about barely in controll. However they did thank me for attending and said they would see me, first thing on Monday morning, which since I had just spent five minutes laughing through their company song was something I thought fairly unlikely.

On leaving the building I tracked down a phonebox, and gave the agency a bell,  desperately trying to think of a way to get out of the nightmare of telemarketing I could see about to occur. Fortunately they had already phoned to say that there was no point in me turning up, as they didn't think that I had quite the right attitude to management theory for the sort of person they were looking for.

So I now always imagine that the person on the other end of the phone is possibly sat with eyes like saucers, having been asked to  carry out something from a bizzare and half understood american management speak textbook, because that is how their firms manager immagines that its done in the states

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 16th, 2009 at 08:56:56 PM EST

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