WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's diary

WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's diary - MONDAY

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


Arrived latish after an early meeting with my duvet ran over. Shirley on reception asked me whether I worked for Smokehouse, which she does without fail every time I arrive after 9.30am. Found my desk weighed down by huge glossy brochure from HR department - 'Your Behaviour is Our Business'. Inside it told us that we should behave in a way that reflected the core values of the Smokehouse brand. I binned it in a way that reflected the Smokehouse reputation for immediate, forceful action. At that moment Giles Renton-Willets (weirdo HR director) popped into my office and asked me what I thought of the big new initiative from his department. I said there was certainly a place for that sort of thing.


Got in slightly late because of appalling traffic. I had to wait at home until it had completely cleared. Was crossing the car park when Bill Peters shouted from his window that I wasn't walking in a way that was consistent with brand values. 'Report to HR! Report to HR!' he yelled. I didn't know which was funnier, Bill Peters' shouting or the look on the face of our CEO Sir Marcus Rigby standing outside reception with important business contact. Shirley asked me whether I was paid undertime - money for coming in late. Does having someone that sarcastic on reception reflect well on the firm? Bill e-mailed me suggesting we should write another brochure called 'Our Behaviour is None of your Business'.


Arrived late and told Shirley I hadn't heard the alarm. She recommended turning it on. At meeting of Exec I asked whether Renton-Willets' pony-tail was consistent with Smokehouse brand values. Or come to that, whether Renton-Willets was consistent with brand values. We were ahead on points until Bill suggested a programme of selective breeding of graduates to fit the brand. There's something about this new HR offensive that's got right up Bill's nose. We went for lunch, which extended into dinner, and then I can't remember anything much after that apart from Bill asking the entire wine bar where the company was going and why it was in a handbasket.


Arrived slightly late because of bad two-leg-in-one-trouser-hole situation at home. Noticed a police car outside reception. Apparently there had been some kind of break-in. Shirley asked if it was me coming to work early. Len on security called me down to see the CCTV footage. It showed someone shockingly like Bill Peters weaving across the car park. The next bit showed him arriving naked in the HR Department. He took a copy of 'Your Behaviour is our Business' and rolled it up. Anyone who plays rugby knew what was coming next. He inserted one end where the sun never shines, set fire to the other end and then goose-stepped round the office with the flaming brochure behind him. He then stood for a minute flicking V-signs at Renton-Willets office. It was Bill's idea of constructive feedback.


Emergency board meeting started with a thermo-nuclear bollocking from Sir Marcus while Bill nodded sagely as if he was talking about someone else. I suddenly had a thought. I interrupted Sir Marcus (which is like handing him your P45 for signature) and asked why we had cameras inside the office. Were spy cameras consistent with our brand values of openness and honesty? Renton-Willets muttered something about transparency before going redder than a dot.com. Sir Marcus told Renton-Willets he would be facing a disciplinary procedure if he weren't already in charge of disciplinary procedures. Then in a Solomon-like masterstroke, he punished Bill by telling him to write new staff behaviour guidelines. We decided to crack them over a few bottles of red with some top totty. As we left for lunch Shirley said: 'Goodnight'. There's a woman who understands behaviour.

Contact John Weak at john.weak@smokehouse.co.uk.

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