By UnreifeKirsche - Own workThis graphic was created with GIMP., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9677311
This week, I had to go to a training course. It was for two consecutive days, and lunch was laid on. The course is compulsory for employees, it’s cost the council a lot of money to hire the two speakers, and furnish us all with glossy, full-colour workbooks (at a time when they’re about to jettison staff in order to make savings).
By eleven o’clock, I was out in the corridor on my mobile phone, begging my manager to let me come back to work. If you knew me, and knew what I’d do for free sandwiches, you would realize how deep my loathing was. My manager said she’d have to ring me back- we were short, so it’s not that she didn’t want me back, but she had to get permission from someone even higher up than herself. Meanwhile, one of the evangelical-seeming speakers had come out, and was all but dragging me back to the room. The tea break was over. Everybody else was back at “work”. I was missing it. At that moment, my manager rang back. I took the call, she said yes, come back, and I told the speaker, sorry, I have to leave.
He looked at me, dumbfounded, angry (presumably at my missing his words of wisdom) and, possibly, concerned for my personal welfare because his course was all-important. He took me into another room and close-questioned me. Who was my manager? Why did I have to go back? As though it was the third year, and I was trying to get out of P.E.. Finally, he relented and let me go, but said that I would be rescheduled to attend this course again.
What was the course about? I don’t know. It had started promptly at nine o’clock, the speakers had been speaking. I was surrounded by council employees of every description- I was sitting next to a social worker. At one point, a speaker said: “Come walk with me,” as though he was Christ. We left our tables and followed him to a corner of the room, where he delivered a speech he might just as well have given where he was, and which we could have listened to sitting down. After which, he allowed us to go back to our tables and sit down.
There were placards all around the room about being the best you can be. They asked us to write our names in our workbooks, once with our right hands and once with our left. Does that give you any clue? Because I’m still stumped.
If I’d merely found it irritating, I might have gritted my teeth and hung on. But I found it casually offensive. In the new year, we will all have to reapply for our own jobs. Not everyone will succeed, and those who do will have to take on more work for less money. Well, the speakers started talking about us raising our own morale. For the good of the council. At this, I flipped.
It was the sort of course that might have been useful for managers of supermarkets, say. Or CEOs, or stockbrokers. On a par with the team-building courses companies used to run. Perhaps the council wants to get us all exercising together at 8.30, like Japanese corporations do. It was brainwashing, and I found it repellent.
Yesterday, Human Resources emailed me to say that I’m rescheduled to attend the course in January. I replied to them saying, no, you’re alright, let someone else go in my place. They replied, saying, this course is compulsory. I must explain why I’m not going.
Still not writing anything.