Confronting failure before it happens

Every now and then, Guru gets the sneaky suspicion that he hasn’t achieved everything he once hoped for. Fortunately, it is a fleeting thought when he remembers his good works as UN ambassador, which were nicely offset by a brief stint as a dictator in a small republic near the Congo.

But not everyone is so lucky. There are plenty of folk out there who are working in jobs they don’t like. You know who I mean – you’re paying them to be on sick leave at the moment.

They grew up dreaming of being astronauts or sporting stars, and now the closest they’ll get to that pole vault record is when the boss says ‘jump’ and they say ‘how high?’.

You’d think that those who were lucky enough to get the job they’d always wanted would be content. Well, think again. asked more than 3,500 adults what they had wanted to be when they grew up. Train driver grabbed the top spot among male staff.

Yet train drivers are one of the most consistently argumentative and generally discontented groups ever to grace the industrial landscape. Did all these people dream of something else and accidentally fall into the top job? Perhaps they were particularly visionary children who analysed workplace trends and foresaw the 52 days’ holiday on the horizon?

Maybe the human race just has a subliminal need for confrontation. The two top spots that girls dreamed of were nurses and teachers, where abusive patients and unruly kids are a day-to-day occurrence.

Sadly, the survey also found that few youngsters pursue their childhood dreams when they get older, and often end up searching for jobs in the administrative and support sectors.

Fortunately, HR is strictly a strategic function these days.

Grudging approval gets Guru thinking

Following on from the story above, maybe Guru is in the wrong job after all. Take this letter from ‘disciple’ Mary:

Dear Guru,

I was beginning to think we had an ‘alternative’ Guru writing for the back page – your articles over the past few months have not quite had that edge.

The back page is the first thing I turn to (followed closely by the jobs pages – say no more). I then proceed to wind up my boss by quoting aloud some of your funnier articles (hence the scrutiny of the jobs pages).

However, I see you are back on form with the wonderful line: ‘This health kick is gaining weight’. Ha-ha – welcome back, mate.

This would indeed be funny if Guru had actually gone anywhere. Oh dear. So it is puns you want rather than the gems of wisdom that most pay vast consultancy fees for, is it? Previous satisfied clients include Enron, MG Rover and WorldCom.

Since Guru is one to bear a grudge, he’s going to tell you one of the world’s worst jokes. That’ll teach you.

A mate of mine has just been sacked from his job working on the dodgems. He’s suing them for funfair dismissal.

Playboy staff given corrective classes

Think your HR job is a challenge? How would you fancy the job of HR for Playboy magazine? Sadly, the job isn’t up for grabs, as if it was, Guru wouldn’t be vigorously working on this column right now.

But HR matters are afoot. Staff at Playboy’s New York office have been sent on a political correctness course to help them avoid sexual harassment charges. The goal is to make sure they don’t treat women as objects, one imagines. Employment law can be a real thong in the side of business.

Guru has to tread carefully here, because while he’d love to ‘have his day’ with a bevy of ‘Playmates’, he’d rather it was in the Hugh Hefner mansion than in a courtroom. For this reason, he will simply congratulate the management at Playboy, who are clearly keeping abreast of legal developments.

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