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Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Ticking the damn boxes

Got pulled into the office for my ‘appraisal’ today and got a look at the forms our Management use to keep tabs on our performance. Fortunately I’m reasonably competent at what I do, so the interview only took half an hour.

However, being the ‘experienced’ person that I am, I learned long ago to read upside down and back to front very quickly. This is a useful skill for rapidly reading rows upon rows of pay and display tickets in car parks without ricking my neck or having to do handstands. Such is the publics’ predilection for sticking these things every which way up.

The appraisal went okay and the verdict; Bill Sticker gets to keep on walking the streets. Not the fastest booker on the planet but a ‘valuable and effective employee’. Even if Senior Manager wanted to know why I wasn’t as fast slapping tickets on windscreens as some of my contemporaries. I responded that I did the job properly as directed in the manner I was taught, then quoted the guidelines back at him verbatim. He couldn’t argue with that, seeing as he was the one who wrote the cursed things in the first place. Me, I just kept a straight face and did the nod and smile on cue. One thing I did notice was that the faster bookers have a much higher cancellation & appeal rate than me, so phew, got away with that then.

What amused me was the crude tools they were using to appraise my performance. I shall explain; everything we do is logged on our hand held computers. Every street we visit, every stop to use the toilet (Which is logged in the twee little transatlantic idiom of the menu system as a ‘Comfort break’), every car we start to book and end up moving on is in the hand held log. The statistics off this are downloaded to industrial strength spreadsheets and turned into whizzy flashy graphs, which mean absolutely dick. What all these graphs and flashy thingies fail to appraise is the human side of the job. Advising worried disabled drivers who are having trouble with some of the more arcane restrictions, giving directions to lost truckers and foreign tourists who have, by some godforsaken fate, strayed off the beaten tourist trail. We do a lot of this. We even get used as ‘eyes and ears’ for CCTV when some of their reprobates stray out of the cameras field of view. Not to mention fixing damaged pay and display machines. Unfortunately, due to the hand held computers software, all the aforementioned activities have no menu entry and so do not get recorded. What this means is, if you have a particularly busy day with the helpless and hopeless and your distance and number of streets drop, along with cars booked, then the god of the ‘tick box’ school of management turns his unwelcome malevolent little eyes in your direction.

As someone else called Bill once wrote; ‘Oh brave new world that hath such creatures in it’. Not in the same context of course but I can appreciate the sentiment behind the words.


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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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E-mail address : billsticker at gmail dot com


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