The upside of the downside

“Damn. We should have brought the buzzword bingo sheets with us!”

“Shhhhh – we’re too near the front – now hush”

Our Higher-Ups do a road-show every six months or so. In theory this is to rally us troops and inspire us to ever dizzier heights of achievement. Whatever your industry and whoever your employer, these events are usually embarrassing or boring or both. Most of us work to pay our mortgage and get our kids through university. Yes, we have professional pride. Yes, we are loyal to our teams and want to good job. But most of the time we don’t think about our employer as such. We certainly don’t see them as a Cause with a capital C. (Or a capital C# in our case). When we want excitement and tribal loyalties we go to a football match.

Unfortunately all too often the Higher Ups try to play Henry V.

“… DotNet programmers in England still in bed,
Will think themselves accursed they were not here…
You few, you happy few, you band of coders;
For he to-day that tests his code for me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile…”

Dude, you’re not Kenneth Brannagh. Or Daniel Craig. Walking on to Simply the Best just shows your age. And saying “Hello Bromsgrove” just proves you’re a pratt.

Times are hard and getting harder and suddenly these events are dull and getting duller.

I was actually impressed.

We wouldn’t have completed a single row in the buzz-word bingo sheets. David Brent was nowhere to be seen. Instead the Higher-Ups were direct, to the point, honest, not particularly up-beat and remarkably jargon-free.

There were slides; there are always slides.  But the slides were boring.

It was great.


7 responses to “The upside of the downside

  1. I remember attending one of these corporate gee-em-up sessions in 2001, when I worked for The Household Name.
    There was inspirational music from MPeople when we were waiting for the highheidyins to come on. We were beseeched to search for the heroes inside ourselves.
    Oh well, at least the food was jolly good.

    Wish I’d known about buzz-word bingo at the time.

    Speaking of over-used phrases. I’ve had to stop listening to R5 phone-in shows; if I heard Not My Cup of Tea or At the End of the Day just once more, there’d have been spontaneous combustion at The Towers.
    Back to R4 for me.

  2. I remember attending one of these corporate gee-em-up sessions in 2001, when I worked for The Household Name.

    There was inspirational music from a bunch of Japanese drummers when we were waiting for the big cheese to come on.

    We weren’t really beseeched. We were told, at seriously enormous expense, what the company would be doing over the next year or two, and why. (Enormous expense involved, just for starters, hiring an area of the NEC about the size of Wembley stadium, and producing a sequence of presentations featuring the actual Ferrari pit crew, Howard Stableford from Tomorrow’s World, and “nasty” Nigel from X-Popstar-Academy, or whatever it was (remember him? I didn’t remember him the day I saw him, so I’ve no chance now…) among many others, plus a three course sit down meal and free fleece jacket for something in excess of 2000 people. I’ve still got the fleece. It’s very nice.)

    It was, and believe me I’m biting my cynical old tongue as I say this, inspiring. Because you got the impression of a hundred year old company, secure as the leading brand in its market, doing very well in good economic circumstances… not resting on its laurels. Not simply looking around justifiably thinking “we’re doing GREAT!” but thinking “we can do better…”.

    I’ve never worked anywhere else that felt so… competent. Including where I work now. In fact, the contrast is somewhat marked.

  3. I loathe these events and always do my very best to avoid them. Working in the Public Sector means, fortunately, they are few and scarce.

    Occasionally the medium part of the larger part that the tiny part of the Public Sector I work in belongs to, have horrible rallies including farce like entertainment you’re suppose to appreciate, and preferably partake in.

    I was tricked into one of them a few months ago, believing it was a “dinner and a few talks” event for just my floor. On top of everything it took place in the outskirts. The food was crap, the “entertainment” *yuk* – mostly bad jokes below the belt told by women in some kind of very fake drag – and you were sat amongst boring drunk people you never met and probably never will meet again. I managed to escape between the main course and dessert and found a bus that took me reasonably close to home. There is a new event – smaller one – later this week.

    Unfortunately I’ll be very busy that afternoon and evening so I won’t make it….

  4. Another reason why I love being self employed. Even when I was working for “other people” I never got on with a corporation so large that they did this sort of event.

    I’m pretty sure I’d be like Dragonqueen, too busy to make it. . .

    The downside of being self employed is that if I lose all my client base due to the crap economy, I won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits, I’ll just be shit out of luck. And the way our investments are shrinking I wonder if I’ll ever be able to retire.

  5. Oh, and I’m so out of the loop I don’t even know what the buzz words are, so I wouldn’t be able to recognize them and play bingo. . . I guess that makes me lucky in a sort of twisted way.

  6. Ah yes, buzzword Bingo! I think I once won a line, finishing with ‘an Elvis year’ or some such esoteric malarky. Taking peanuts to these events can be satisfying if you have a good aim.

  7. I’ve attended these rah-rah events in big companies in the good times, when they were all very impressive, expensively produced and had famous faces to do the inspiration rather than rely on the lumpen-but-driven men who had clawed their way up the company by being bigger arseholes than the competition.

    Also attended them in the bad times – not so exciting, no famous people, at the last one we were told to be grateful for the fact that although there had been a pay freeze for the last five years and a third of he workforce was doing all the work of the previous full-strength team, *we* hadn’t been made redundant. Woohoo. Way to inspire me to redouble my efforts in the next financial quarter.

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