Marketing were annoying this week, so at least they're having some effect on something.
Monday: AJ called us together for the morning meeting and said he'd decided over the weekend to implement a "managerial support" policy to follow on from last week's "trust and co-operation" policy. He said the results of last week's questionnaire had shown we all believed in his ability to manage the office, and this week's "managerial support" policy would allow him to build on this. So he has a new questionnaire for us all, to find out how much managerial support is needed.
He gave them to Amy to hand out and went back in his office, so I took a quick look at it while everyone else was talking about how come he likes questionnaires so much when he doesn't like anything else written down. James said it's because he can make the percentages fit whatever he wants them to, and where does he get these ideas from? Donna said what does "managerial support" policy mean anyways - are we supposed to be getting support from the manager or are we supposed to be giving support to the manager? James said don't be silly, it doesn't mean anything.
I said look, he's asking how much interference we all want from him, and there's mostly a choice of "lots", "some", or "none". If we all go through it and just tick the box that's closest to "leave us get on with it", it should be OK.
LeeAnn and I sat down to it and worked out which to tick, so the others could fill theirs in. He should be grateful for the time we all take on these stupid things, and at least it won't be too complicated for him to work out percentages if we all give the same answers.
Tuesday: Things must be quiet in Head Office right now - AJ told us the Marketing project group to decide on the new brand name for our item has been set up, and they're scheduled to have their first meeting this Friday afternoon. James said well, that's pretty impressive and it looks like you'll win the sweepstake Mike, but Donna said no that's just the first meeting. I said we all don't know how many people are in the project team, so we all don't know how long it'll take for them to agree on the next meeting yet.
Amy said what's the number of people got to do with it? and James said look it's quite simple - the more people, the more they'll argue. I said normally you say it takes one day for one person to convince the others to join him in succession, plus one day when they all turn on him, so that's a minimum of seventeen days in-fighting and that's if it's only five people. James said hold on - how do you get that? I said five plus four plus three plus two plus one, plus the extra day for the final bust-up. James said that's only sixteen days. I said yes, but you also have to allow another day for the Boss who wanted the project team in the first place to get tired of waiting, find out what they've come up with, tell them what result they were supposed to have reached by now, and for them to all roll over and agree with him. James said yes, you've got a point there - so why have you gone for twenty-two days in the sweepstake then? I said the only problem is every time he convinces one new one he's got to keep those he's already got as well, and so you've got to allow extra days to recover. That's where the fun comes into it - trying to figure out how many he'll lose and how soon he'll get them back. LeeAnn said you've lost me, and James said you know, you're even more cynical than I thought. I said thank-you.
Wednesday: Mike came in and plugged his mobile recharge unit in - to the spare socket I've been trying to get him to use all last year! I think he's forgotten the big printer socket is closer to his desk than the spare socket is. Not that I'm complaining.
I've found out why AJ's gotten so keen on questionnaires recently. He called me in because his printer wasn't printing dark enough and after I'd told him it was because the printer ribbon was worn out and needed replacing he told me to do it while he went in to speak to Andy. Once I'd replaced the ribbon, I went on to his laptop to check the printer setup, and saw a new icon on his desktop.
That worried me as he's not installed a program before and I'd like to keep it that way so the PC will keep working - besides that, nobody's supposed to have anything on their PC that hasn't been cleared by Head Office IT and is on my list. I'm supposed to check everybody's PC from time to time and delete unauthorized software too, although I've never done so yet.
So I checked to see if he was coming back and, when it was clear, I opened the program and had a look at it.
It's a give-away called "Questionnaire Maker" - I didn't get much chance to look close at it but it looks like it's a pared-down version of a program that generates basic tick-box questionnaires from a simple template for Marketing personnel, so I guess that's where he got it from. We'll all be getting more of them until he gets tired of it, and it's another reason to hate Marketing.
Thursday: Mike came in as normal this afternoon, and came over to me and said you deal with all our electrical things, don't you? well I've been having trouble with my screen again. I said why what's wrong with it, is it shaking? and he said no, I keep getting these wavy lines across the screen, and it sometimes blanks out for a second and then pops back again. I said have you got it with you, it sounds as though the screen needs to be looked at, and maybe it's something as simple as interference and degaussing might help. He said what's degaussing, so I said it's where you … umm … it helps the screen look nice and bright, and it's a good thing to use - have you got it with you, and I'll show you. He said no, it's at home, but I can bring it in. I've never noticed a degaussing button on it before though, just the color, contrast and sound buttons, and the plug for the video recorder on the back. I said what? and he said the remote control isn't working that well either.
We finally got it worked out that I don't maintain his TV, only his laptop.
Friday: AJ said at the morning meeting that he'd like to thank us for all filling out this week's "managerial support" policy questionnaire so promptly, as the answers we should have given will allow him to build a secure relationship with us all in combination with our expression of trust in him from last week. He hasn't actually read the answers we've all put down to this one yet, but he'll read them over the weekend. By our calculation the two questionnaires will just about cancel each other out - we'll all have to see what he says on Monday.
Just before he left to go to the afternoon meeting at Head Office, he told us the Marketing project group to decide the new brand name for our item will be meeting on Monday instead of today, as several found they had conflicting meetings scheduled in. One of the main people AJ's Big Boss wanted co-opted onto the project team hasn't been told he's on it yet either, as he's still on vacation and not back until Monday. However the good news is they've already got one suggestion to work with. His Big Boss has suggested one himself which's similar to our main competitors' brand name - that way we can get the benefit of their advertising as well as running our own campaign. James said oh good, we'll be sued then, but AJ said it won't be that similar, just similar enough. I said well, if it's Marketing doing it, we'll all not just be sued, we'll all go to jail for copyright infringement and defamation of character as well. AJ said now you're just over-reacting, and why are you all so pessimistic? Marketing have done some great work.
After he'd gone Mike said well if Marketing've convinced AJ they've done some great work then they're not as bad as I thought, but I said hold on there, they've only convinced AJ - not like it was some big challenge or anything. LeeAnn said well, OK, but they must've been able to get through to him. James said they probably just told him his Big Boss said they'd done some great work - if he believed it AJ'd believe it too.