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Grumpier Old Men

"I don't believe it !" - Victor M.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007
Posts: 3724
Location: Cheshire
(This one really isn't so much of a grump, but more of an observation, or experience, so I've posted it here...)

I was talking to an old acquaintance of mine on the phone a few days ago and it gave me inspiration for this thread. Amongst the usual New Years pleasantries and asking how family were e.t.c, we got onto the conversation of previous employment. In particular, odd companies we'd been at.

For me, I started at a particular a company almost exactly 20 years ago. From the outside looking in...and during the interview for that matter...it seemed to be a very reasonable place. Decent hours, local to home and only a matter of a few hundred yards away from where Depressed Senior was still working before he retired.

Anyway, cutting a long story short I was only there about four months. If that.

It turned out that the manager of the depot was a pleasant enough chap but was clearly a Grade A bull***ter. He was someone who I could tell had worked his way towards the top simply by having the gift of the gab rather than any real knowledge. A good 'people person', but very little in the way of skill beyond that. It took me all of a week to come to that conclusion and that was before a routine 'how are you getting on' chat in his office trying to ascertain what my role actually was. Until that point, I seemed to be little more than a spare part which wasn't how the job was described to me.

I could see how the company made a profit on their orders, but how they actually won them or completed them mystified me. There seemed to be no organisation or clear defined roles for those outside of the general admin/accounts office. Paperwork littered most desks and those putting paperwork down in places weren't necessarily the same people who picked it back up and took it somewhere else to lie around. There was often a feeling that many people were treading on each others toes. The manager didn't seem bothered by this but that was probably down to the fact that he hardly left his office during the working day - other than to the canteen area where the kettle was.

I recall towards the end of my time there was three days on the trot where I was in a small shared back-office with one other chap (of whom was about the only person I got along well with and knew what he was doing). In the eight hours I was there on each of those days, I'd be hard pushed to say I'd done three hours worth of work. It's just not in my nature to sit back and do little whilst at work.

By now it had become clear to me I was taken on for a job which wasn't actually there or the position had been altered to a 'general dogs body' between the interview and the starting date. It got to the point where I'd had enough and I needed a 'cards on the table' discussion with the manager. Without some clarity, I really couldn't see any future for myself in the company - and deep down, I'd felt like that for three quarters of the time I was there.

The meeting took place. I won't go into detail but it remained civil and we agreed to part-ways after my notice period. I had the feeling that he was glad to see me go. Not because he didn't like me on a personal level, but he seemed to be embarrassed that he couldn't really answer many of my questions. I felt as if I was simply taken on for my experience and information to share to others. Once they'd got enough of what they wanted - I'd be disposed of. However, I jumped ship before that happened.

Even on my final day, I simply didn't know how that company operated. I still didn't know exactly why I was there. I've never known anything quite like it in my working career before or since.

To little surprise the particular branch I 'worked' at, which was the only one they had in the North West, closed down 18 months later. The company itself, whose main office was somewhere in Teeside (Thornaby rings a bell) didn't survive much longer after that.

Strangely enough, a quick search on companies house out of interest suggests the parent company who I owned them is still operational and their accounts are up to date. I've never come across them since I left, despite the company I went to after that being in a similar industry.

Well, that was the strangest place I've ever worked at in my career. Feel free to ignore this or just liked it to read through. However, I was wondering if any fellow GOM's have been in similar positions where it turned out they we're just a square peg in a round hole?

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