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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

 

Losing it

One of the problems with the way my colleagues and I make a living is the stress factors involved. You’re always in a three way car crush of stressors.
Factor one; The General Dyslexic and day to day hassles of the job, threats, near assaults, and you aren’t allowed to fight back.
Factor two; Pressure to perform. Although we don’t have ‘targets’ in our locality, there is always the constant nagging competition between officers on the pretext that we are judged by how many tickets we issue. This pushes you to try and cover more streets more quickly and do a half arsed job, which some of the guys end up doing.
Factor three; Unsympathetic upper management. Junior Management is okay because they work cheek by jowl with us and see the problems we face close to. Upper Management appears to view us all as feckless idle scavengers (Well only one or two out of our number) and treats us accordingly. Our Union doesn’t seem to be much help either. Last time I raised an issue, the Union rep agreed with the Senior Manager. That’s the last time I trust that particular item of near humanity.

Considering the aforementioned, it’s no wonder that even the ‘big hitters’ cave in after a while. Let’s take one of our number; for the purpose of this entry I’ll call him Mike. Now Mike has been doing the job for a year and a half, but now his health has begun to suffer with foot complaints and a couple of other related ailments. His problem is that he was a real hell fire competitive type when he first started, determined to be numero uno booker, now it has backfired on him.

The problem is that a minority of the guys think that anything goes when it comes to getting the ticket on the windscreen. The more they actually issue the better. If they could find a penalty code for ‘having a particularly offensive air freshener on the dashboard’ then they would cheerfully slap one on the windscreen of the Mayor. Mike was one of these. The trouble is, he kept on taking more and more short cuts when booking that his cancellation rate (The number of tickets successfully challenged as a proportion of those issued, normally expressed as a percentage.) went through the roof, reaching, so I am reliably informed - just under forty percent – four out of every ten tickets he issued got cancelled. Senior Management called him in and gave him a serious ticking off, which had the effect of turning him from ‘Teachers pet’ into the ‘pupil most likely to be expelled’ in the course of one afternoon. He used to take great care in his uniform – now he’s one of the scruffiest items in the mess who does little but complain and bitch about anything and everything. His hand held breaks down twice a day at least, his printer keeps jamming. Now he’s been hauled over the coals for not booking enough – and his cancellation rate is still over thirty percent. He has lost it completely. He will probably be a rapidly fading memory in less than three months. Fired or retired as we say in this game.

Most of the rest of us are happy to try and be ‘Mr Average’ and take home a regular pay packet at the end of each month. However, I still feel a pang of sympathy for the silly sod. He managed to catch some devious bleeders who were always taking the mickey out of us with a near ingenious ‘Jungle Telegraph’ until Mike worked out how they were doing it and pounced on them. Unfortunately for him, his glory days are past. He stopped caring about doing the job properly. Just sad really.

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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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