01/05/28 to 01/06/01


A great week - only four days and three people with brains to talk to!

Wasted the whole day, even though it was the last Bank Holiday vacation until August.

AJ called us together for the morning meeting as we all weren't there yesterday, and said he'd decided over the weekend to implement a "Meeting management" policy. He's noticed that some of us take a long time to come to the point in meetings, and we all waste valuable company time by reiterating obvious statements, so from now on we all must monitor our performance and make sure we all get what we need to say done in fifteen minutes. No meeting from now on must go on longer than fifteen minutes, fifteen minutes is long enough for everyone to have their say, and this will concentrate us all on preparation so we all don't repeat ourselves in meetings.

He's obviously been brooding all Bank Holiday over that meeting I had with Jeff the Head Office IT guy last week, and I guess he's still hacked about it. He took thirty-seven minutes to tell us all though, so after he'd gone back to his office James said we all walk out on Friday if the morning meeting goes on too long, right?
I said I will if you do.

Jeff from Head Office IT arrived during the lunchbreak today with Kate and Bob, just as AJ was going out. He stopped to come over and see what was happening, and Bob gave him the letter from Head Office to say we all were to be tested for computer literacy. I pretended it was news to me, so he said OK then, go ahead.

Jeff and I got them in to my office and he told them stay clear of him until it's too late. Bob said oh, is he the one then? Jeff and I both nodded. I guess he'd be pleased if he knew everybody at Head Office has heard of him.

I said is it true if these tests are adjusted to fit I can't complain about them all being stupid any more then? Bob and Jeff shook their heads and Kate laughed. She said no, we'll make sure nobody does too badly, but the real results will go back to Head Office too. I said in that case there's no need to actually run these tests then - I can just tell you all who'll get what. Jeff said no, we have to be seen to go through the motions. Kate said I'd be interested though - we can see how close you are.

The big printer wasn't working after the lunchbreak again.
Bob walked over, pulled Mike's mobile charger, plugged the printer back in and said (loud enough for everyone in the office to hear) why don't you use the other socket, Mike? Mike went apple red and LeeAnn's head shot up.

Spent most of the afternoon doing as much shipping as I could to get it out the way, while Kate, Bob and Jeff worked out who'd help who. The tests will start tomorrow.

We began to run the tests on everybody this morning - so far they're going well, and hardly interrupting anything. Each one takes about five to ten minutes and everybody's done two or three already - it's a break for them and they still think they're fun.

Kate said you know you're doing too much for Donna, Fiona and Amy, as they know they can get you to do even the simplest things for them whenever they want. I said yes, and I'm proud of the way I've trained them to ask. Mike doesn't ask me anything because he doesn't want me to think he can't do it, and it takes me four times as long to repair the damage he does than it takes to just fix Amy's margins or set Fiona's printout up for her.
She said just out of interest, how much time a day do you spend on them? I got out my timesheet for last week and we added it up.

I spent between five and ten minutes a day helping out Donna, ten a day helping out Amy and five a day helping out Fiona.
I spent about ten a day resetting Mike's email account and clearing the misposts and duplicates, about five a day talking him through connecting his laptop up to us whenever he's with a client, and another five a day talking him through plugging in and signing on here in the office when he comes in after the lunchbreak. Last week I also spent nearly two hours putting his database back together after he deleted half of it. She thought about it for a while, then nodded and said OK, I see your point.

Bob said he'd given the special test papers to AJ, who'd said he'd do them later as he was busy right now. Jeff said fine, leave it and we'll pick them up tomorrow afternoon - he should have done them by then.

AJ said at the morning meeting nobody was to waste too much time on the tests as they were easy enough to do, and we all should do our own work as priority. He then started on about how well the office was doing, hoping Bob and Jeff were listening - James began fidgeting after seventeen minutes, and LeeAnn began looking out the window. I was too busy watching Bob and Jeff to see what they were doing so I didn't notice which one of them made the move first, but after twenty-two minutes either James, Fiona, Donna or LeeAnn got up and started tidying their papers up - by the time I realized and looked back around they were all standing and making ready to go. AJ just sat there, and if only I believed he was capable of human emotions I could have sworn he looked surprised. He said what's going on, what's happening? so James (as the leader of the little rebellion) said well, the meeting's been going on for twenty-three minutes now and so it must be over. AJ said but I haven't finished yet.

We all reluctantly sat down again and AJ said the idea of meetings only taking fifteen minutes is a guideline only, and obviously some meetings will take longer. You don't have to take me so literally.

He went on for another ten minutes, but his heart wasn't in it and he soon let us go. I didn't care - we all heard him say we all were expected to interpret whatever he said from now on, and we all don't have to do it if we don't want to.

We all were sitting working out scores when AJ put his head around my office door just before he went to the afternoon meeting at Head Office, to say well I'm off now. I said yeah, sure, see you Monday, and off he went.
Bob and Kate looked at each other and then Bob said does he always do that? Jeff said if there's anybody from Head Office around, yes. They both looked at each other again, and Kate turned to me and said if you ever need to ring anybody, you know, if you're feeling desperate just to talk to someone - call us. I said it's OK, I've gotten used to it. Kate just shook her head, and Bob said make sure you call us - don't feel you're on your own out here.

We'd gotten the scores averaged out to a total out of twenty for each part by then, so we all sat around and worked out who'd passed by how much and if anyone'd really failed, and how close my predictions had been.

^ Andy did badly on all three - getting nine on Word, seven on Excel and two on email - we all said it was OK and passed him anyways because he doesn't actually need to use his PC as LeeAnn does most of his work for him.
I'd said ten, five and five.
^ James got twelve on Word, but seventeen on Excel - so we all gave him another mark on Word for realizing he'd closed it down without saving the document just after he'd done it, and took two points off his Excel score to add to his Word score to make both a fifteen passmark. He got twelve on email, but we all gave him the benefit of the doubt.
I'd said ten, fifteen and ten.
^ Donna got fifteen on Word and twelve on Excel, but I said well, she doesn't need to use Excel much - so we all let that go too. She got eighteen on email though - and without any help. She uses it to spread gossip, so I wasn't surprised. She'd have gotten nineteen if she'd not done one whole post with Caps Lock on.
I'd said fifteen, ten and fifteen.
^ Fiona got fifteen on both Excel and Word, because Kate finished off both for her, and sixteen on email because Bob did that one.
I'd said five, ten and five.
^ LeeAnn got fourteen on Word, Excel and email without help, so we all said she would have gotten the fifteen on each of them with help - so that was OK too.
I'd said fifteen, fifteen and fifteen.
^ We all gave up trying to justify Mike's scores of seven, four and nine, and just passed him anyways.
I'd said ten, five and ten.
^ Amy passed all three with twenty each on Word and Excel and nineteen on email, because she just did exactly what I told her to do. I was mean and only gave her nineteen out of twenty on the email one because I thought it might look a tad suspicious if she'd gotten twenty out of twenty on all three.
I'd said fifteen, fifteen and fifteen with help, and five, five and five without.

AJ didn't do the tests - they were just left on the end of his desk where Bob left them for him.
I'd said five, five and ten - and I'd bet cash money I'd have been close on that one too.
Jeff said well, we'll say he didn't score at all. Bob and Kate nodded, then we all laughed so much James came in to see. We all went out and Bob said now you know what you should be able to do without help, and you ought to learn how by the end of next month - we might be back then. Until then if anybody asks you, you all passed - congratulations.

I said will you be back next month then? Kate said no, but they might try harder if they think we might.

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