This week’s guru
Portillo checks out working at Asda
Guru was interested to hear that former Conservative leadership candidate
and MP for Kensington and Chelsea Michael Portillo has swapped his Westminster
office for a supermarket checkout.
He is serving customers, tidying up and putting security tags on clothing as
part of a BBC documentary in which the MP takes on the life of a single working
parent for a week.
He has swapped his multi-million pound home and moved into a small terraced
house in the working class suburb of Seacombe, Merseyside.
Portillo was said to be "revelling" in his new role behind the
clothes counter at Asda. However, Guru suspects that the right-wing MP has
little commitment to his new job and is more likely to be grooming his
man-of-the-people image before making a fresh leadership challenge.
Burning issue of sick excuses
Guru has been impressed with the quality of workplace excuses he has been
sent, following his article on the New York city trader caught insider dealing
who claimed he was a time traveller from 200 years in the future.
HR manager Jane Boyd phoned her boss to say: "Hi Linda, sorry the
career development report isn’t on your desk today as promised, but I gave
birth yesterday so I didn’t get time to do it."
Senior HR officer Richard reminded his boss that he had been following his
specific instructions after being ‘roasted’ for ‘failings’ on a project.
"So it is the old adage of doing as I’m told," he said.
Tony Day was on the receiving end of a particularly painful-sounding excuse.
He was in charge of a smelting furnace in Zambia as an undergraduate, when he
received a letter from one of the furnace operatives stating that he couldn’t
come to work because: "My testicles have been paining me and I cannot
stand on them."
Guru’s favourite was from HR adviser Maria, who received a self-certificate
which gave the reason for absence as "I got stuck in a sunbed".
According to Maria, the lady in question claimed to have fallen asleep on a
sunbed and became so dehydrated that, on awakening, she was unable to move,
leading to severe sunstroke.
Friend of the stars thrills with frills
In last week’s issue, Guru thrilled his disciples with an account of his
meeting with England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson’s charismatic
right-hand man Tord Grip.
This week, Guru can’t resist boasting again about his new-found life sharing
the celebrity spotlight. His most recent ‘celebrity’ friend is none other than
pop diva Ms Dynamite.
OK, maybe friend might be over-egging the pudding, but they did both attend
the Commission for Racial Equality Race in the Media Awards where Personnel
Today won the specialist magazine award for its Refugees in Employment Campaign
(see page 3).
Guru is sure that Ms Dynamite kept staring at him during the posh do at the
Savoy, although that could have been because of his frilly cerise dress shirt
that always draws admiring glances.
Boss takes all on a summer holiday
This week, the TUC complained that the UK is the only country in the EU
where employers can include bank holidays as part of the statutory minimum four
However, furniture company Durham Pine has gone to the opposite extreme.
Owner John Marshall, is so grateful to his staff for helping the company post a
£2m profit, that he is paying a reported £200,000 to take at least 119 staff –
as well as their partners, children and friends – on a week-long holiday to
Majorca this summer.
Staff will be on full pay during the holiday and the break won’t be deducted
from their annual holiday entitlement. Guru pointed out the obvious benefits of
such a holiday scheme to his MD in terms of morale, commitment and
team-building – but he wasn’t buying.