So, once I’d got my foot in the door, my plan for world domination could commence, BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
Ok, a bit melodramatic but it is true to say that my normal plan of action on starting a new job is to try and render myself indispensable at the earliest possible opportunity.
Fortunately it seems as if the ability to use minimal deductive reasoning, relaxed communication skills, a little humour and moderate intelligence was enough (when combined with the magic clipboard) to convince managerial types that I was some kind of minor miracle worker and that I should be given all the cooperation I needed by some of the less forthcoming, more old-school staff – i.e. the ones who were not yet over the “Uh-oh, clipboard-asshole alert!” stage of our relationship.
Indeed, the department head to whom I report was already putting in the occasional quiet word that I should be given a bit of leeway in poking around areas of the factory that were controlled, like personal fiefdoms, by some of the longer-serving team leaders, wary of some stranger sticking his nose into their carefully organised work schedule.
Because my sole purpose was to prioritise parts that had got lost in the system somehow, thereby disrupting the well-oiled flow of work, I wasn’t always popular with those who had to drop everything in order to start a completely different job. But I did my best to get on good terms with the staff I most regularly had dealings with, especially the quality inspectors who had a lot of say over which marooned components returned to the manufacturing stream.
And slowly it began to pay off.
Then one day my manager came up to me and said; “You’ve got to be in the conference room at eleven o’clock”
Instantly suspicious, I replied; “This isn’t more bloody ethics training is it? I’ve done mine this year already.”
“Just be in the conference room at eleven,..” he paused, grinning, “I’ve put you in for employee of the week.”
This was too much;
“Oh you’ve GOT to be fucking kidding!”
I should explain that this “honour” was bestowed upon a few (?) of the 400 staff each week but, unlike Employee Of The Month, which carried with it the added bonus of £250 in cash, this was very much a token award.
Anyway, I sauntered down to the right room at the right time and peered through the window. I was pleased to see that there appeared to be some sort of high-level meeting going on and, assuming I’d missed my unwarranted photo-opportunity, returned to the office, pausing only to determine that, yes, indeed there was a management review meeting going on in there right now
But no sooner had I got back to my clipboard and computer than I was summoned over the p.a.system back to the bloody conference room.
When I knocked and entered, I was immediately descended on (bad choice of words, he’s only five foot tall) by my department head, who to my dismay went straight into an enthusiastic summing up of my apparently near-mythical abilities to find oddly-shaped bits of metal in unlikely places and then, accompanied by a cringe-making spatter of applause from the assembled management big cheeses, proceeded to grasp my hand for the obligatory frozen rictus photo.
Even more painfully, the camera failed to function correctly and I was left holding hands for thirty increasingly uncomfortable seconds before the HR woman got her snap of me being presented with a cheap pen and I made good my escape.
But it all helps I suppose, there’s nothing wrong with playing the game, as long as you’re a good sport and are prepared to get fouled occasionally.
I’ve since applied for two “real” jobs in the same vein and I just hope I get one or other of those, before my fictional one really does cease to exist.