Lack of initiative…

I was having dinner with friends last night (I had a small side salad and some fries….no seriously, I really did have a salad…mainly because I’d stuffed a double cheeseburger down my gob on the way to the restaurant so that I wouldn’t have to pay for a full meal once I got there…crafty!) and one of our party was bemoaning the fact she had to sack somebody’s ass in the morning….my wife as it happens.  Don’t mess.

In a bid to make her feel better about RUINING SOMEBODY’S LIFE….I said…“Oh don’t worry about it…I remember all the times I’ve been sacked.  He’ll get over it.”

Much mirthfull chuckling ensued from my fellow diners.  Turns out I was the only one to have experienced multiple sackings.

Who knew?  I thought that was all part of life’s great tapestry.

When asked to elaborate on my history of failure,  I was reminded of the first job I ever lost….and more importantly….why.

To cut to the chase, I was 18 years old and my mother was nipping my head about getting a job.

Any job.

JUST GET A BLOODY JOB MARK!

She seemed particularly smitten with the idea of me waiting tables or flipping burgers (or both at once if she’d had her way).  Neither of which appealed in the slightest. No. If I was actually going to have to work and stuff, I’d do it on my own terms goddamnit!

And so it was I got a part-time job (drum roll please) stacking shelves at my local DIY superstore for £35 a week!

Sticking it to the man!

It started off well enough.  I got my lovely red overalls and a was told to tie my hair in a bun.

Splendid!

Then I was given a sticker gun (COOL!), a trolley full of padlocks and a mission to stack as many shelves as I could in three hours.

After the first couple of days the novelty had worn off.  Stacking shelves was booooooring.  Clearly I was going to have use my initiative if I was to survive in this strange new environment.

And so it was that I began to devise cunning ways of going to work without actually doing any work.

Not as easy as you might imagine.

Here are a few edited highlights of how to kill 9 hours a week in a DIY store and get paid for it.

  1. Take your trolley of nuts and bolts and instead of actually stacking any of them….simply push the trolley slowly around the store in a zig zag fashion, LOOKIING LIKE YOU’RE JUST ABOUT TO STACK SOMETHING!  If you see your manager…stop the trolley and fiddle with your sticker gun until he goes away. If you’ve ever been shopping with a woman, this should be a doddle
  2. If you have been asked to clean up an attic area on top of the canteen room.  Simply climb on top of the roof…have a wee mooch about until you discover some cans of anti-freeze and (OH JOY!) a box full of tampons.  Now position yourself in a quiet corner of the roof and spend the next hour or so playing “shoot the tampon until it sticks to the wall”.  Eventually you will have made a nice blue lunar landscape collage that future generations of underpaid skivers will discover and be most impressed by.
  3. If you are lucky enough to have a skip full of old packing boxes out the back, and it’s a toasty sunny day.  Jump in the skip…flatten some of the boxes into a little cot and have a nice wee snooze.  Nobody will think to look for you there.  But stay alert…..I had forgotten that the skip was still in use and almost blew my cover when I was rudely awoken by a hail of cardboard boxes landing on my noggin.  Damn near took an eye out!
  4. If you have been asked to build a flat pack bench for display purposes.  Make sure you drag it out for 3 hours.  Just don’t expect your boss to be impressed by your efforts.  Apparenlty he could do it in half an hour.  Aye, right you are.
  5. If you’ve been asked to drive the company mini-van to the local tip.  Don’t forget that you can kill some serious time by taking it to an empty car park on the way back for a totally rad skid-athon.  Just be careful…those things tip way too easily.  Luckily they’re also light enough to push back up again without doing yourself a mischief.

And so, you can imagine my surprise and shock when I was taken into the manager’s office after 3 months of loyal service and told my skills were no longer required.

“I’m sorry…why exactly are you sacking me again?”, I enquired…incredulously.

“Well Mark…it’s like this….I’m sacking you for a lack of initiative. I don’t think you’re cut out for a career in this business. “ , he said with an inappropriate amount of smugness for a man whose sole achievement thus far was to climb the slippery slope of middle management in a fucking DIY store and look after twonks like me.

“And just exactly how much initiative does one need to stack a shelf?”  I huffed, as I was shown the door.

That shut him up.

Does this look like a man who is lacking in initiative?

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1 comment
  1. Ha ha!! This made me laugh mate! Reminds me of a similar experience I had once – first job after university was back home in Horsham, working as a graduate trainee for Royal & Sun Alliance insurance (simply to fund the band, but figured I may as well do something ‘proper’). Part of the deal was that I took my Chartered Institute of Insurance exams, which I duly did. Unfortunately I duly failed them too, apparently with the dubious distinction of having got the lowest ever mark recorded by a graduate trainee. I was called into the manager’s office, who sat there in his leather swivel chair, and he had a serious discussion with me about whether my allegiances were to work or music. Cue the immortal line, “Stuart, what it comes down to is that you need to make a decision between a career in insurance or a career twanging THAT” (while he simulated playing a guitar).

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