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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Lines and signs, a study in confusion

A year or so ago I got called into the office, ostensibly over a couple of tickets I’d issued the week before. Senior Manager and Kerry, my line manager had an issue over a particular restriction which I and everyone else had thought was all cut and dried.
Senior Manager “Hello Bill. I suppose you understand what this is about?”
Me “Those disabled bays on Cross Street?”
Senior Manager “Correct. What is it you don’t understand about them?”
Me “They’re correctly marked and have a two hour waiting restriction for disabled users between the hours of nine and five.”
Senior Manager “So why have you been booking vehicles that park there before nine am and after five pm?”
Me “Pardon?” Okay, I’m confused.
Senior Manager “So why have you been booking there?”
Me “It’s a disabled bay 24/7 and people without disabled badges have been parking there.”
Senior Manager “No it isn’t.”
Me “I don’t understand.” Hang on, the markings say it is.
Senior Manager “Thought you wouldn’t.” Bloody cheek! Keep your face blank Bill.
Me “But they’re orange disabled bay markings and those don’t stop being disabled bays do they?” At least according to the Highway Code.
Senior Manager “In this particular instance, yes they do.”
Me “Hang on, the signs and plates say..”
Senior Manager “Bill, I don’t care about what the signs and plates say!”
Me “Alright, so what is the restriction?”
Senior Manager “There’s no need for that tone.”
Me “No offence intended, but my question is; I’ve only got what the signs and plates say as my guidelines. If the restriction isn’t what they say, then isn’t that signed restriction invalid?”
Senior Manager “That isn’t your decision to make.”
Me “I appreciate that, but what you’re saying is that the restriction isn’t valid before nine and after five?”
Senior Manager “Well done! You took your time getting there.” I see. Well thanks a bunch for your vote of confidence.
Me “Can I ask another question?”
Senior Manager “Of course.”
Me “I must have booked almost fifty vehicles on that restriction over the past couple of years, how come it’s taken until now to change?”
Senior Manager “As I told you, that’s not your decision to make.”
Me “That wasn’t my question. I was only asking why we weren’t informed sooner?”
Senior Manager “You do as you’re told.”
Me “Okay, I won’t book there after five any more.” I shrug. No skin off my nose. Senior Manager goes down yet another notch in my estimation, as if that were possible.
Senior Manager “Good. Kerry, anything to add?”
Kerry “No, not really.”
Senior Manager stands and on the way to the door addresses me thus; “Bill, you’ve got to learn to do what you’re told.”
Me “Ri-ight. I thought I did.”
Senior Manager, opening door and looking me in the eyes. “Your attitude is beginning to become a problem.”
Me “My attitude?”
Senior Manager “Yes, your attitude.” Senior Manager steps out off meeting room and heads off to another meeting leaving me feeling rather hurt and puzzled. What’s wrong with my attitude? I get out there and do the job to the best of my ability. My last assessment was okay so where the hell is this all coming from? Does Senior Manager suspect about the blog and this is a sly sideswipe to get me to back off? Not a chance.

I pick up my kit and fasten my webbing belt with all its gadgets and gizmo’s as we get ready to leave the meeting room. Kerry picks up her folders and notes.
Me “Kerry, What was all that about?”
Kerry “What?”
Me “All that stuff about my attitude. Where did that all come from?”
Kerry “We’re getting complaints from some of the other guys.”
Me “I hardly see them.”
Kerry “That’s just it, you don’t get involved.”
Me “With what?”
Kerry “You never go out to any of the after work do’s.”
Me “Do I have to?”
Kerry “Well, not really no.”
Me “I do have a life outside work you know. Wife, kids, family.” And the blog.
Kerry “Keep your voice down Bill.”
Me “Sorry, I had no idea I’d raised it.” Although I’m justifiably upset.
Kerry “You need to get more involved with your workmates.” Like hell.
Me “Even if I can’t stand some of them?”
Kerry “Have you got any problems with anyone?” As soon as I find out who the backstabbers are they will have a problem with me. That’s guaranteed.
Me “None I care to share, no.”
Kerry “Don’t go making me any problems Bill.” She warns me.
Me “Who, me?” I say sweetly. I solve problems kid, I don’t make ‘em.
Kerry “Yes, you. No punch ups in the mess.”
Me “Don’t be daft.” I was thinking of taking the mayhem round the back of the multi storey. “Besides, what would it achieve?” I add innocently.
Kerry “Exactly.” She gives me a look that’s not so much old fashioned as Jurassic. I leave the office and get back out on the streets, still fizzing slightly.

Now as far as I’m concerned I’ve done nothing wrong. Where the restrictions are concerned, the goalposts have moved but that’s nothing new. All this stuff about my ‘attitude’ is going to have to be challenged though. I think I know who it is and they’re going to face me when I’m seriously pissed off. Which isn’t an attractive prospect let me tell you.

Update, 2 Weeks later;
My reasoning self and I have had a good long sit down and a man to metaphorical self chat. My reasoning self says that I need the money and what with all the extra outgoings I cannot afford any foolish prideful gestures, even if it would be ultra nice to kick someone’s richly deserving arse to perdition and face the sack for it. My reasoning self says that an English midlands town just over fifteen miles east south east of Birmingham is the best place for our bitchy colleague. Word in the mess is that I’m not the only guy to be massively pissed off by his antics. My shift oppo’s and I all know what he’s like and are electing to stand together on this one.

I know it’s harsh, but he or I have got to go. Not that he will, but we just have to shut the little tattle tale out. Yes I know, according to some ‘experts’ we should sit the arsehole down and talk to him to ‘confront’ his behaviour but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to mess around like that.

Said unwelcome item just handed in his notice. Huzzah!

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Anonymous hackedoff said...

LOL, you got rid of him withing two weeks, brilliant! I know what you mean about avoiding having to socialise with the work crowd though, but in my case they all seem to be quite happy about it :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007 10:11:00 am  
Blogger James UK said...

Very interesting, as I have the same issue myself... I always felt I was expected to go to these "do's" at work, despite everyone getting drunk and chain smoking when I do neither.

I've always felt penalised for not "Joining in" and feel it's very unfair too.

Anyway, I've just returned to work after a very long illness, and simply don't feel I need to care anymore about "fitting in" now.

Monday, July 16, 2007 5:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um. I have a simple understanding of parking regulations.

This country has parking restrictions. Some of those parking restrictions have time limits applied to them. Outside of those time limits, the parking restriction does not apply.
So if there is a Disabled Only restriction with a time limit, outside of those times parking is not restricted. Put the other way around, if the parking is for Disabled 24/7, why would there be a time limit?

As a simple car driver, who has been trained to enforce parking regulations, what am I missing here?

Putting is with slightly less subtlety, if it is blindingly obvious to me, why is it not for a trained professional?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 1:47:00 pm  

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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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