01/01/29 to 01/02/02


We all got a 'suggestion box' this week. AJ said it wasn't a 'suggestion box', it was a 'hojwasha box'.

AJ called us together for the morning meeting and said he'd decided over the weekend to implement an "anonymous help" policy. He knows we need his input although (for some reason he's not quite sure about) none of us have asked him for his expertise and guidance so far. He's finally realized the problem is we all are too shy to ask him.
So what he's going to do is make it possible for anybody else who can see us struggling to tell him on our behalf. He's going to do this by using a new Japanese method called 'hojwasha', which consists of putting out a box for us to put the information in.

James said oh, you mean a suggestion box, but AJ said oh no, the 'suggestions box' method is now completely outdated and totally discredited. To the non-management level person the 'hojwasha box' method looks very similar to the 'suggestions box' method, but in actual fact it's completely different.

What you do is write down your idea, sign it so I, your manager, know who to come to for further information, and then put it in the box.
In this case you don't write down your idea, you write down anything about your co-workers you think I should know. You don't have to sign it, you can leave it totally anonymous so anybody can just report someone else's imcompetence without feeling self-conscious about doing it. He then said no, I didn't mean incompetence, as such, I only mean inability.

He's going to put the box out on the little bookcase, behind Amy's desk and right in the center of the office where we all can see it, so we all won't forget about it. The only problem is he hasn't got a real box, but it's OK as he's got a spare wire mesh postal tray he can use instead.

We all exchanged glances that said 'this one's dead in the water.'

Andy came over to talk to me this morning, but unfortunately AJ was wandering about - he saw Andy come over so he came over too, in case either one of us needed his input.
Andy'd come over to ask if the urgent item a customer had rung him about had been despatched yet or not. I told him yes, it had - it'd gone the week we'd all come back from the Christmas vacation. He said oh good, but why didn't you tell me? I said I didn't know he wanted to know. He said oh, OK, but AJ said hold on a minute - if customers are ringing you up, Andy, it might be embarrassing if they ask if their order's been shipped and you haven't been told.

I said once the item's gone I split the despatch slips and one of them goes to Donna, as she's Customer Service, so she'd know if it's gone. Shouldn't the customers ring Donna instead of Andy?
AJ said that would be the ideal, but we don't live in an ideal world, do we?

Andy started to back off, but AJ caught him and said from now on when you tell Donna, you tell Andy too, so he'll be able to tell the customers as well. AJ walked off and Andy said sorry.
I said well, I can just copy Donna's slips for you, but I've got a better idea - if a customer rings you why don't you put them through to Donna and she can tell them. He said yes, that's what I'll do - after all, I am rather busy and it's not my job to talk to the customers, is it? I said no, that's right.

Donna came over to me after he'd gone and said thanks for that, it'll be great if he stops interfering. I get tired of telling customers it's not ready yet when he's told them it's going to be despatched tomorrow.

The 'suggestion box' tray is still empty.

Amy lost a file this morning. She'd been working on it last thing yesterday and it's not there today.
I said did you save it and she said yes, I did - but it's not there now. She said it's called letter3, but I couldn't find it on the server or on her hard drive, or in the last nine Word files.
I checked Lotus in case she'd done it in that, but it wasn't there either. Then I went through 'find files or folders' and searched for letter3 but it definitely isn't there, so I went through and searched for everything she'd done yesterday instead.

I finally found an Excel file called let3re which I thought might possibly be it, but couldn't get it open as it was on her A drive. She said oh yes, it's on the little flat disk so I'd know where it is, and it came up when she put the floppy in the drive. She said yes, that's it, and I meant to ask you if you can get rid of all those lines.
I said yes, closed it and opened it in Word, then did a quick format of it. She said oh yes, that's much better.

Fiona and James haven't been talking to each other today.
Apparently Fiona didn't like James ignoring her yesterday afternoon, but James said I didn't realize I was ignoring her - I thought when she said 'leave me alone for half an hour because I want to finish this', she meant it.
I said maybe she did for the half hour, but she didn't mean for the rest of the day as well.

The 'suggestion box' tray is still empty.

Carly told Donna last night the Marketing team at Head Office that's working on rebranding our item had another meeting yesterday, and the Team Chair told them he'd had enough and he quit. AJ's Big Boss went in after he'd walked out and told them he hadn't quit, and even if he'd said he'd quit he didn't mean it. The guy then went back in the meeting and told them all AJ's Big Boss had told him they were to reach a decision by Wednesday next, or else.

Carly said they were all quiet when they came out, so it looks as though I'm going to win the sweepstake after all - and it'll be twenty-two days exactly!

The 'suggestion box' tray is still empty.

Amy said how does AJ get to know about these Japanese ideas? Do you think he knows a lot of Japanese managers? I said no, a lot of Japanese companies have good management ideas, and people write books about them - AJ gets it all out of books. James said yes, they write them in revenge for the Second World War, just like the Common Market is Germany's revenge. I said what are you talking about? He said you're American, you wouldn't understand.
Donna said ignore him, he's just bitter because that nice German girl Astrid got the Head Office accountancy job he went after. James said that's not true, and anyway she's welcome to it - I didn't really want it, I just went along to the interview for practise.

LeeAnn came in 7 minutes late - she said the bus didn't stop for her.
It looks like the latest boyfriend's on the way out again.

AJ said at the morning meeting he was very disappointed in the apparent failure of this week's "anonymous help" policy. He'd checked the tray several times during the week, and before the meeting - the tray had been empty all week, and it was still empty. We all exchanged glances at that.

We all know he's been checking the tray. He's been checking it at least four times a day, and every time he'd look into it, pick it up, sigh, put it back down, look around at us all totally ignoring him, and then go back in his office.

He said we'll keep it going for another week, and I expect to see some input from you. How can I mentor you if you won't tell me what you need?

After he'd gone to the afternoon meeting at Head Office James came over and said you know, I've just worked it out - if Marketing do come up with something on Wednesday that'll be twenty-two days exactly. I said yes it will be, won't it. He said OK then Mystic Meg, what lottery numbers are going to win this weekend?
I said I don't know. He said well fat lot of use you are if all you can get right is work-related stuff.

I said look, there's only a limited number of combinations for the lottery, while work stuff's harder to guess at as there's no limit to stupidity - you should be more impressed.
He said I would be if you could get the lottery numbers - I'd be very impressed, in fact I'd probably kiss you.
I said there's no need to threaten me like that, just because I'm going to win the sweepstake.

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