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Friday, 8 February 2008

Chinese New Year

As I watch a small caterpillar saunter across the roadway while I dither, trying to decide whether the cars stopped three blocks away have psychos at the wheel, I realize I'm probably being too cautious. I now understand how my great friend Grasshopper might have jumped at the sight (or sound) of operator controlled grass care equipment some years ago, after her disastrous encounter. Of course, it sounds funnier saying she was run over by a lawnmower, or that I am accident prone (which I definitely am) but today ex post facto in respect of my own hit-and-run, my reality is that humans and machines co-exist in an uncomfortable balance and as far as I am concerned, neither human, nor machine are to be trusted in eachother's company.

I stand four feet away from the edge of the kerb deciding whether it is safe to cross. A final check of the terrain, and climatological conditions and the race is on. I scurry across the driveway at the entrance to our building's car-park and continue today's mission; Operation Silver Lining.

Operation Silver Lining is based on the premise that my broken limb represents a real opportunity to once again move towards the heady realms of management. Human motivations can be complex, but in my case the rationale is quite simple. Managers get paid more money. Or, more accurately, Job Descriptions that include the word 'Manager' in the title attract greater remuneration.

In Nova Scotia, the company owner of Atlantex, who sporadically half-read 'works' with titles like "How to Get the Best Out of People" and "Recession? It's spelt O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y" gave everyone in our workforce an impressive sounding title after he had scanned a few pages of one of these books. "Good for morale" he told me. Shortly after Stevie Michaud, the caretaker, whose granted title was "Physical Services Manager" came to me asking for a pay rise. "I've got more responsibility now I'm a Manager," reasoned Steve "I've got to make sure all the cleaning supplies are stocked up, and that coyotes do'nt get into the garbage". "You had to do that before," I pointed out to Steve, whom I was responsible for 'managing'. "Yeah, but now I've got to manage it all see. Gordon[Atlantex's owner] said so." I really liked Steve, so I gave him a pay rise, but it was'nt long before Tony Monk came knocking on my office door, wanting Managerial status. There is an awful lot of Ploppyshank in most companies, and I suppose, retrospectively, I should have made Tony manage that, but he was due for one of his regular firings, so I just gave him a day's extra vacation instead.

Operation Silver Lining is simple. I have volunteered, while incapacitated, to undertake some of those vital managerial tasks that none of the nine managers who manage myself, Andy and Icksy, seem to have the time to do. This includes establishing Health and Safety policies, ordering equipment and materials, estimating jobs and planning projects. My suggestion is accepted, and today is my first day of working from home, managing. I wonder while I write this, with the files ready to be worked on, what all the other managers actually do all day while they are supposed to be managing.

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