There was a slight rumpus in the team at work this morning: a woman’s cup had gone missing. “It’s got my name on it,” she explained. “I’d target all other Sues,” I said to her (she’s called Sue) and nodded in the direction of someone new to the department, called Sue. It is no laughing matter, losing a cup. I don’t know how I’d feel if my Barack Obama cup went missing (I do: I’d be indifferent, but seeing as I struggle to form emotional attachments to human beings, I am hardly likely to get sentimental over a cup).
It would be harsh to say there was a big fuss made over the cup. It might be fairer to say there was a bit of a to-do. What it really needed was whoever is in charge around here to be sympathetic and make sure as little fuss was made as possible. Only I am the person in charge so it was just ignored and my only acknowledgement was to shake my head and say, “No-one has taken it, you’ve put it down somewhere and forgotten about it.”
At this point I was the uncaring insensitive manager. I had the opportunity to change that though – later on when the cup was discovered on the window ledge where she had left it yesterday, while having a chat on her way back from cleaning it. At this point I could have become the smug bastard manager. However, I didn’t do that. That was my opportunity to change the uncaring insensitive bit: when everyone crowded around her (this really happened, it was like they’d found her missing Oscar or something) and someone pointed out that was exactly what I’d said had happened I just said, “I don’t give a shit” (under my breath) and then said, “that’s brilliant” out loud. But I think they knew I didn’t mean it – by how obvious I made it that I didn’t mean it. So, in a way, I had changed from uncaring and insensitive to uncaring and sarcastic. People skills that people.
I don’t just foster poor relations with the team I work with, I try to maintain a negative image across the organisation. The other day The Drum had pointed out that on an intranet blog the chap in charge of internal communications had spelled inaccurate incorrectly. But he didn’t want to point it out through fear of being pilloried for being a pedantic. This is the state of the nation: people being embarrassed about saying something is wrong in case people judge them to be a smart arse.
It had annoyed me that the error remained in the text – if you cant spell the word inaccurate correctly in a blog about accuracy then you should probably be a bit ashamed. Fuck it, I thought, I’ll email him and get it changed. His initial response was polite, though not embarrassed. He seemed to think the irony was outstanding. To be fair, it was. I said that I was aware of the irony but hadn’t wanted to point it out. He replied with a smiley. A fucking smiley. (IN CHARGE of internal communications remember). He then followed it up with another email saying “I donut know waht hapenned my speling is normaly so good” or similar.
I think I did well not to find out where he was situated and slap him around for a bit with a couple of heavies from the Bronx.