About six weeks ago I did a post on this site in which I mourned the passing of a colleague who helped keep me sane under VERY trying circumstances and also let off an awful lot of the venomous feelings that I still hold towards the Management of the company we both worked for.
I particularly let rip (in a far more subdued manner than I actually felt) at a management style that can best be summarised as “if it ain’t broke you ain’t making it work hard enough”!
“It” in that last sentence being “Tax Return Production Units” or, as you and I know them, “People”.
“Broke” was anything from resigning and going back to the part of the country you had moved there from (even if it meant taking a quick loss on your new property) to a total nervous breakdown.
I see that I omitted to mention my own place in that “scale of brokenness” – when one of my colleagues found me wandering, in a twitchy but slightly dazed state, around the staff car park trying to work out which of the wheels on the Senior Manager’s car didn’t having locking wheel nuts!
I see that I am starting to get worked up about it again but that is NOT the purpose of this piece.
Towards the end of the ranting part of the article and before I got onto the more sensitive bit I stated that:
“…..the whole three year period from 1993 to 1996 I regard as the worst time of my life!”
Now I have no wish to retract that statement – there hasn’t been a three year period before or since that I have enjoyed LESS, which makes it factually correct – BUT it does require rethinking.
It has been pointed out to me by one of my readers, who was there at the time, that there was some light in my impression of unrelieved darkness and now that I think deeply about it he is absolutely right!
My correspondent, and very good friend, who I shall identify only as “the Welshman living on the borders of Civilization and Wales” actually pointed out that it was during the time in question that I met HIM – but there were other bright spots too.
Amongst these were:
The Staff versus Management Cricket Match. Anyone who thought that West Indian fast bowling in the 1970s and 80s or the “bodyline” tactics of England in Australia in 1932/33 were brutal had seen NOTHING! I don’t think anyone in the “Staff” team was remotely interested in hitting the stumps but I KNOW that the twelve balls of my two overs were directed entirely at the heads or upper bodies of a couple of extremely unpopular Senior/Group Managers! I have never since bowled with such consistency of line and length and still wonder that no-one was hospitalised by these murderous onslaughts by myself and others. We felt better at the end of it; I don’t think the Managers did!
The annual New Year’s Eve Quiz. Remember we are talking here about the social activities of a bunch of Personal Tax experts – thus this quiz occurred on 5th April each year, for the uninitiated, the last day of the UK Tax Year. It took place at a pub in a village called Elton, just outside of Peterborough. The pub was called “The Crown” but for reasons that still elude me (not!) I always want to call it “The John”! That quiz (which comprised about 200 questions in 10 rounds of 20) was held for five consecutive years from 1994 onwards and I can modestly state that I was in the winning team on four occasions.
There were other happy moments but the main thing that I overlooked was MY FRIENDS! Some were people I had met before on training courses, others comprised a large chunk of my Sea Fishing Team (another subject to be written about soon) and yet more came down to the weekly pub quizzes and I just got on really well with them.
So I take this opportunity to apologise for overlooking their contribution to lighting up my unhappiness to (in no particular order):
Mike T , Mike J, Wilma G, David T, Iain S, Ian F, Melvin K, Keith P, Tommy J, Gary C and anyone else who I may have to go back and edit into this bit because I’ve temporarily forgotten them.
As far as I know there is only one person on the above list who actually reads this stuff (although another may be reading over his shoulder!) but another five could be told about it in a single email to an already set up email Group and I’m in email contact with two more which only leaves one to find.
I’d better get on with contacting them – anything to get the “hit rate” up!