17 December 2009 – answers but more uncertainty

Mars Bar, not really part of the Cambridge Diet

Mars Bar, not really part of the Cambridge Diet

Well at least we know what all the secret meetings were about now. Maddie is leaving us, she’s going to be CCM, she announced it this morning. Actually I had no idea what CCM was so I asked Panda in between calls.
“Call Centre Manager, you doofus,” she laughed.
“What, in charge of the whole place?” That didn’t seem right for someone so young.
“No, just one floor,” Panda rolled her eyes. If they didn’t use stupid acronyms for everything in this place I wouldn’t look half as stupid. Honestly, even the simplest things are reduced to a handful of letters, it would make much more sense if they just said what they meant.
“D’you think it’ll be our floor?” I wondered. Until then I had no idea who our CCM was I didn’t know we even had one, I’m too busy keeping my head down and trying to hit my targets to notice things like that. Panda just shrugged and took her next call.

Of course at lunch time it was all anyone was talking about.
“Bloody hell, I take one day off and we lose our manager,” Rae said, finishing off her soup and getting a Mars Bar out of her bag.
“Crikey, Rae, are they doing Cambridge Diet Mars Bars now?”
“I’m stressed ok, I need chocolate,” Rae said with a grumpy, defensive frown.
“So what’s going to happen to us,” Eloilia asked, “they won’t really disband the team will they?”
“No, we’ll get a new manager,” Primo said.
“Shit, it had better not be Gopesh,” Panda said with a shudder. “You know Tracey Andrews reported him for sexual harassment? If that slimy little creep comes anywhere near me I swear I’ll punch him in the face. He thinks he’s God’s gift.”
“It’s not Gopesh,” Primo said with such certainty that everyone looked at her.
“Come on, spill the beans Kirsty, you know something don’t you?” Panda said.
“I did hear something but it might be nothing.”
“Enough of the riddles, what did you hear,” Panda was bursting with curiosity, we all were.
“Last week I heard Ali Rana was being promoted to manager. Seeing as we’re the only team without one…”
I had no idea who any of them were. It all felt very unsettling as far as I could see. What a crappy day! Thank heavens tomorrow is Friday.

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15 December 2009 – rumours, speculation and a win at St Mary’s

I could see the outline of fans standing in the top row

I could see the outline of fans standing in the top row

Something is going on at the Mad House, no one knows quite what but there’s been a lot of speculation. Maddie went off to a meeting this morning. There seem to have been a lot of those lately and she’s being quite secretive about them which got everyone whispering. At lunch time everyone was talking about it. Primo thinks they’re going to disband our team.
“Why would they do that?” Panda asked. “We’re the best performing team in the building. It wouldn’t make sense.”
“It would if they want to boost some of the under achieving teams,” Primo said.
“I don’t want to be on another team,” Eloelia said.
Neither do I but I can’t see me boosting anyone’s figures unless they all have piss poor wrap. Continue reading

14 December 2009 – a shower disaster

Broken shower

Broken shower

What a wonderful start to the week. Still half asleep, I was in the shower, my hair all lathered up with shampoo, when there was a sudden woosh. The water stopped dead although I could still hear it running. Trying to wipe the stinging bubbles out of my eyes I peered at the shower. Sure enough there was still water but it was running out of the body of the shower instead of the shower head. A broken shower what a perfect start to the week! Continue reading

13 December 2009 – Christmas planning and excess

Lots of pencil chewing

Lots of pencil chewing

I would like to postpone Christmas. Even though I now have three day weekends I am nowhere near ready. The number of presents purchased remains in single figures. The amount of thought that has gone into Christmas food is precisely zero.

Today I did try. There was a lot of sitting chewing my pencil trying to come up with festive meals and treats that didn’t have a billion calories. It may have been easier to solve the problems in the Middle East or find a formula to end world hunger. Actually the world hunger problem would be easy, if everyone in the Western World ate normally over Christmas and donated all the crap they would have eaten to the starving millions they’d have enough to last them at least a year, maybe two.

When you think about it it’s quite obscene the way we stuff ourselves over the Christmas period when there are people actually starving to death in other countries. Then we all spend the next three months moaning about how much weight we’ve put on and purposely starving ourselves to get it off again. Maybe this year we could just eat like normal people. Something tells me Commando won’t be all that impressed with that idea though.

12 December 2009 – pre match drinks

Pre match drinks

Pre match drinks

Yesterday was more or less a right off again, even without a hangover. Dragging myself out of bed was effort enough and I walked through the day as if I was struggling through treacle. Walking up the Big Hill to the shops was about as active as I got. There was a moment when I thought I wasn’t even going to make it to the top. At ten o’clock, when Commando came home from his overtime, he found me asleep in front of the TV. I’m not sure how long I can keep this up.

Today was all about football. Usually we walk straight to the match but today we met some of Commando’s work mates in the pub before the game. As usual I asked for diet coke. Gaz handed me a rum and coke. There seemed to be a game going on, something along the lines of how many drinks could be downed without missing kick off. The only person who actually brought me what I asked for was Commando so, by the time we made it to the stadium I was feeling a little the worse for wear.

The cold of the stadium woke me up a little and the match was exciting. Tranmere seemed to be fielding a bunch of girls, falling over and crying, which was quite frustrating, but the score line of three nil to the Southern Boys with all three goals in the second half gave us plenty to cheer about. That’s five wins in a row which is almost unheard of. Hope we can make it six on Tuesday in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match.

We rounded off the day with a final rum and coke in the pub with the lads and a Chinese takeaway dinner. The evening was rounded off with hot chocolate laced with even more rum and the match highlights on TV. Way too much alcohol and way too much food but happy days.

10 December 2009 – not bottom

You could have knocked me down with a mosquito's wing

You could have knocked me down with a mosquito’s wing

Thursday morning huddle, affectionately called cuddle, the last one of the week and the most important. Just like Biggest Loser, Thursday is last chance work out and Thursday cuddle is where you find out how hard you’re going to have to work to hit your weekly targets. In my case that is almost certain to be very hard, or so I thought.

When Maddie went through the team league I wasn’t exactly hopeful of being anywhere but bottom with the possible exception of wrap time where I’m confident of being in the top three. My face was already arranged in apologetic mode as Maddie started reading through the scores and I was hoping I wouldn’t do something stupid and embarrassing like cry if she told me off. Lets face it it’s humiliating enough being told off by someone younger than your eldest child without compounding the issue by bursting into tears. I coughed a couple of times so I could pretend to have a coughing fit if the worst happened and I felt anything trying to leak out of my eyes.

You could have knocked me down with a mosquito’s wing, never mind a feather, when I wasn’t bottom. Not even second from bottom. Both Eloelia and Tom were below me and I was actually lowest wrap for the week.
“Well done FG,” Maddie said and everyone clapped. I still had to fake a coughing fit because I almost cried with relief. Then it dawned on me that I’d still have to work hard because Eloelia and Tom would be desperately trying to leapfrog me before Monday. Does the pressure ever stop in this place?

8 December 2009 – team talk

A reprise of the colour wheel

A reprise of the colour wheel

“Team talk today,” Panda said this morning when we were loading up our systems.
“Oh ” I said. I didn’t have a clue what team talk was but she seemed pretty pleased about it. “What is it?”

Turns out every four weeks we get a whole afternoon off the phones. It’s meant for training on new products or team building exercises. Everyone loves it because it means time off the phones. Time off the phones is like gold dust in the Mad House. All through the morning Panda kept looking at the big screens that tell us how many calls are in the queue and show the latest product deals.
“I hope it isn’t cancelled,” she said, over and over again. Apparently, if call volume is too high team talk gets cancelled which means everyone spends all morning on edge.

Our luck was in and team talk went ahead. After lunch we all went up into one of the training rooms on the top floor with an air of the school trip about us. Lots of chatter and laughing but the training room was a little too recent a memory for me to really enjoy it. Still, it was a relief not to have a head set on and a customer in my ear.

The training session was all about customer types and colours. Exactly the same one I did just a few weeks ago but I pretended it was all new to me for fear of being sent back down to the phones. Actually the trainer, a big Irish guy called Calum, made it far more interesting second time around. He was way more laid back than Jas and Dev, full of jokes and a little bit flirty. I’m pretty sure Rae has a bit of a crush on him. It was probably the best afternoon I’ve had in my whole time at the Mad House. If only every day could be like that.

6 December 2009 – a Christmas Shopping debacle

Christmas shopping madness

Christmas shopping madness

Now Mini Commando’s birthday is over and done with it’s time to think about Christmas. Shopping for presents to be precise. Seems to me Christmas would be so much nicer if we didn’t have to do the present thing. Everyone goes out and spends loads of money they don’t really have to buy people things they don’t really want. Wouldn’t it just be more sensible to each buy ourselves a present?

Sadly that’s not the way it works so this morning we went into town. Sunday seemed like the best day to do it, we thought it would be quieter. Turns out shopping in town this close to Christmas, even on a Sunday, is a bad idea. Mini Commando was after a play station game, one of those shooting everything that moves, stealing cars type of things. It’ll probably turn him into a delinquent but he is twenty now so at least he won’t be a juvenile delinquent.

Game was like an asylum, hardly room to move there were so many smelly, raggedy looking teenaged boys bouncing around pouncing on games and so many parents with glazed eyes wandering listlessly looking totally lost. I was one of the latter. It took me ages to find the stupid game and when I did the queues were so long I almost wished I hadn’t. The queues moved so slowly I felt as if I was going backwards and then the skinny lad behind the counter with the piercings and tattoos glanced at the box and said, “not sure we have any more of these in stock.”

What’s the point of having the empty boxes on the shelves if you don’t have the actual games to fill them? He handed the box to another lad, or it may have been a girl I couldn’t really tell, with purple spiky hair and he or she went off to have a look. About four hours later the purple haired one came back with the box, complete with game inside. “You’re lucky, that’s the last one,” he or she mumbled.

It was the only present I bought. By the time I got out of the shop all I wanted todo was go home and have a lie down. Goodness know where Commando had been but he had lots of mysterious looking carrier bags. Somehow I think I got the short straw.

4 December 2009 – a waste of a day off

My Salvador Dali poster sums it up nicely

My Salvador Dali poster sums it up nicely

What a waste of a day off. The only reason I got through four ten hour shifts was the thought of the three day weekend ahead. So, what did I do with it? Mostly I slept. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was dozing or staring into space. Maybe the team night out played a part. All those blasted Jäger bombs. Maybe I was hung over. Not being a drinker I don’t know all that much about hangovers and I don’t intend getting better acquainted with them.Personally I think the ten hour shifts played their part. Ten hours of stress, four days a week is very tiring. Seems to me having three days off a week is a bit pointless if you spend one of them asleep. How on earth am I going to do this week after week? Continue reading

3 December 2009 – Team night out and Jäger bomb insomnia

Team night out

Team night out

The weekend started tonight with my first ever team night out. Frankly, after ten hours on the phone dealing with everyone’s problems and being shouted at on a regular basis I just wanted to go home but, in the interest of fitting in and not seeming like a miserable cow, I went along. Continue reading