Wednesday, 24 September 2008

When.... time.....goes....slooowwwlllyyyyyy

The good news is I'm still enjoying my job. Enjoying in the sense that I'm busy most of the day and when I'm not, the time seems to whizz by anyway. In fact the only times that don't seem to whizz by is the half hour before it's socially acceptable to stop for lunch. i.e., 12:00,  the half hour before the approved time to go home, ie. 5pm and, as I recently found out, during compulsory health and safety inductions.
At 3pm on Monday, me and about 20 other very bored new recruits and graduates were herded into a meeting room on the ground floor and barked at by an equally bored woman whose job, I can only assume, was to give stupid advice on serious things. She said things like "If you see a fire, the most important thing is that you are safe. Only attempt to extinguish it if it is small and you are confident" Hmmm, ok. But then: "If it's a big fire, you must activate the nearest fire alarm, then find a phone and call reception to tell them your name, the location and any other details regarding the fire".
I'm like hang on toots, if I discover a fire, I've then got to trot off and instead of yelling 'FIRE! FIRE! EVERYONE OUT!' and making a run for it, I've got to hunt through thick smoke to locate a 2"x2" red box on a wall...somewhere. Then I've got to find a phone, try and remember the number for reception (it's not 0 like other companies, they have their own 5 digit extension. So I'd have to ring 0, speak to the company operators in the Birmingham office then get them to transfer me to back to the London office reception), and inform them that the reason there are really loud sirens and people leaving the building in droves is because there's a fire, which is orange, hot, and currently burning my face.
It got better. When it came to the disabled persons advice, we were informed that this part of the induction didn't really apply at the moment, because there were no disabled people in this office. "Apart", she went on, "from Barry on the ground floor. Barry's got epilepsy" which in itself is definitely not a laughing matter. The most boring woman in the world then proceeded to explain how you could tell if he was having or about to have a fit; which to my surprise didn't mean he'd be on the floor convulsing or something, no no. You see, if you go up to talk to Barry, you'll know if he's having a fit because he'll just be staring straight ahead, twitching and not responding to anything you say, in which case you should alert someone and call an ambulance. Fair enough. "But sometimes" she continued without a hint of amusement in her voice, for she was utterly serious, "You'll go up to him and he won't be saying anything or responding to you, but he's not having a fit. So just be aware."
Probably the most comprehensively rubbish medical diagnosis I've ever been given, but there you go: If he's ignoring you, he could be having a fit -OR- he just might not feel like chatting. Either way, don't take offense, he's got epilepsy. Please god don't give this woman a job with NHS Direct.
Next up was a man whose job was to tell us about CMS. Or MSC. Or SCM. Some management system anyway, the name escapes me as by this point I was pretty much comatose from listening to Mrs Gareth Keenan explaining how to pick up a box (we didn't have a demonstration, but we did get a leaflet on how to do it. Step by step. Seriously, come on love, we've all seen this episode of The Office). The man allowed for....... all..... sorts ...... of...... interesting ..... quips. He then did that really embarrassing thing of asking 'Any questions?' at the end, then when no one had any, the guilt trip came:
 'No one? Come on, humour me, prove to me that you've at least been listening'
'Well, if you do have any questions it's my job to answer......them, I sit on the ground....floor, so come and see.... me.......... whenever.'
(silence. foot tapping. silence) 
'I suppose.... you can all go..... now.' and with that, the herd stampedes out of the room.
Believe me when I say that the hour long health and safety induction was 3 hours well spent.


BlackLOG said...

I think the woman might already work at NHS Direct. I had a balance problem and made the mistake of calling them. Final proof I am unbalanced

I must say NHS Direct were fabulous - telling me not to panic but advising me to see my doctor ASAP, before calmly adding "If symptoms get any worse call an ambulance!!!!" Wow, so really nothing to worry about then.

Robbie said...

I'm surprised the first lady didn't think the whole room of people were having a communal epileptic fit from the sounds of things.
Now THAT would of been a seen,
"Barbra, BARBRA. There's a room full of 'em up 'ere. And they're all fittin' t'gether!"

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

Tut! Now these are exactly the sorts of things I miss out on through working for a small office (i.e. me, a coupla bosses and a miniature plastic tree).

What larks, Jo!

surviving myself said...

That's why you never have a q&a session, no one is ever listening and no one ever cares.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

blacklog - just what you want to hear when you're panicking eh!

robbie - God I know. With diagnoses like that, it's a wonder that Barry ever gets any peace. He's like I'm just bloody concentrating! Leave me alone!

m.o.t - larks! missing out! HA! The plastic tree probably had more charisma than the two speakers at that meeting.

surviving - particularly when the subject matter is management systems and how to pick up a box.

Elaine said...

The last time I sat through a health and safety class I decided to actually make use of my new found knowledge. I demanded a new swivel chair with head rest, a gel wrist pad and a foot stool. So did the other 20 odd people who attended. We cost 'em a bloody fortune!


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