Monday, 7 April 2008

Honour his name

It's almost exactly a year to the day since Francis was made redundant. Rather than let the occasion go by unnoticed, his former employers have decided to mark the anniversary in a moving and novel way.

Instead, of going for those tired, stale gestures - say, by calling him and asking how he's getting on in his new job, or putting up a commemorative plaque next to his favourite cubicle in the gents (the one with the shelf rest where he could prop up an elbow while reading the paper on company time) they've decided to honour his name by making the rest of his team redundant, too. Clearly, they do care after all.

Trevor, the man who took over from Francis, calls to tell him the news. "They've sent out a memo saying that they're reviewing the headcount, and for people not to bother talking to their line managers because 'they won't be able to give you any reassurance.'"

"Succinctly worded, if brutal," comments Francis.

"I've been called into a meeting at 2.30 tomorrow afternoon," continues Trevor. "And my second in command has been called in half an hour later. Apparently it's to talk about management issues. Do you think my job's safe?"

"Er - " says Francis.

"The thing is, I think I'll be OK, because only last week, the chairman told me that I was a greatly valued member of the team and that he'd always be proud to think of me as a friend. That shows I must have some standing, mustn't it?"

"Well, it must," I agree, when Francis recounts the conversation to me later.

"I'd go along with that - except that this time last year, the chairman said exactly the same thing to me. And look what happened next," says Francis. "That invisible menders round the corner still hasn't managed to remove the knife marks from the back of my jacket."

He whistles to the dog.

"Has that animal been adequately rewarded, food-wise?" he asks.

"Francis," I say. "You've been in too many meetings again. Speak normally or I'll have to set fire to your briefcase. And you know how annoyed it made you last time."


Iota said...

The trouble is, speaking normally is a relative thing. I remember, some years ago, laughing when I heard about a company who had renamed its Personnel Dept, 'Human Resources'. Not so funny these days.

Irene said...

I have an award for you over at my place!

Irene said...

Poor Francis, he didn't suffer any permanent physical damage during that knife attack, did he? And how and where does he read the paper now? Does he just read it on the sofa at home in front of the tellie? Probably not with all the noise from the kids and the dog and the cat and you on the piano and everything. Poor guy!

Anonymous said...

Having been made [voluntarily] redundant, I think this is ironic.

If you have ever read Joel Bakan's
'The Corporation' you will know that it is about working for a psychopath anyway.

So maybe it is good to get on the 'road less travelled'. Rather like being diverted from the motorway, and then realising the view is better from the A and B roads.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Mmm, there is much muttering in corners about redundancy where I work too. I take comfort from seeing that Francis survived, despite his tendency to tell you things you already know. My husband specialises in explaining things to me that I already understand. My problem is that even when I point this out he pauses momentarily and then simply carries on.

softinthehead said...

What total bastards! They probably have to cut back to afford some high-up's golden handshake!!

Cath said...

Oh I hadn't realised Francis had been made redundant last year! That's what happens when you burst onto blogosphere all enthusiastic but a tad bit late. Typical me.

They are sods aren't they? And poor Francis - how can he reassure Trevor when he knows what he knows? I'll await the outcome... ;0)

dulwichmum said...

Darling friend,

One year on and the economy is in an awful state. Pass the gin...

Omega Mum said...

Iota: Inhuman resources, these days. And when do you think personnel was invented. I've always thought it sounded like an effete (is this the right word?) bit of stupidity, but it's probably anglo saxon and used frequently by Chaucer.

Sweet I: Mwah! Mwah! He still reads the paper in the loo. In fact, I'm researching swivel chair options with attached cystern, so he can spend the day there.

Anonymous: I am so sorry. It is the most vile experience. If it helps, the older posts are all about the horrors - but we did get through it in the end, until next time. Good luck. Please tell me how it goes.

elizabeth: This is poetry. It's gorgeous - loved the husband bit.

softinthehead: Think just v poor management. Not even efficient enough to be cut-throat b******

crazycath: I wouldn't realistically expect you to know everything about us. Just glad you're here.

Dulwichmum: Tonic with yours or are you having it neat, like me?

Potty Mummy said...

Redundancy - it happens to the best of us...(and Husband's ex-team are currently having exactly the same conversations) At least Francis knows the warning signs now and can make sure to wear a cheap jacket.

Iota said...

Yes, ye aulde personnelle dypartmente was mentioned in Chaucer several times, I believe.

My husband worked in an organisation where the HR dept was so slow, it became known as Human Remains.

John said...

In an engineering firm near me the refer to "Inhuman Resources"