This week’s guru

‘Brentisms’ expose manager madness

It’s time to wind up our competition to find the best examples of real life
‘David Brentisms’. What started out as an easy way for Guru to fill his column
inches, has ended up as a disturbing insight into the fragile minds of our line

We’ve chosen the following five winners, who will receive signed copies of
The Office (by Ricky Gervais, not Guru), but, more importantly, it’s clear that
disciples have to get out on the ‘shop floor’ and help managers communicate.

A former colleague of Andy Cook’s asked their boss if they could take a
Monday off work to attend the funeral of his sister. The reply: "Could you
change the burial to Friday? That would be better for me."

Sue Daniel started a new job as a training officer and on her first day was
told by her new manager to attend an induction course. It was only when she
entered the room that she realised she was running the course, not attending

She babbled at the bored group of YTS trainees, until her new manager – who
was sitting in the front row – told her to show them a training film. She then
had to search the building for the projector, and fit it with an old fashioned

Finally, she was able to turn it on. But instead of insightful training
information starting to roll, the opening credits to Blazing Saddles came up.

While we’re on the subject of training, Nick Napper heard a training manager
say to his group: "You’re not a very good bunch, are you?"

David Brent would approve of the motivational techniques used by a company
Alick Jesson used to work for. On arriving for work, the telephone sales force
had to hang their company car keys on a board – if the sales director deemed an
individual’s performance to have been inadequate that day, she would confiscate
their car keys, leaving the under-performer to make their own way home.

And then there is that old chestnut – the end of year appraisal. A ‘friend’
of Tom Gemmell’s experienced the following assessment:

Manager: "You’ve had a fantastic year, I’m really pleased with your
work and your progress."

Friend of Tom: "Thank you."

Manager: "However, despite your all round abilities I can’t give you
the highest performance rating."

Friend of Tom: "Why?"

Manager: "You’re missing something."

Friend of Tom: "What do you mean?"

Manager: "Well, it’s hard for me to put my finger on it, but you don’t
have it."

Conversion therapy is a big bonus for ‘dodge’ City boys

Guru has encountered some tax dodges in his time but the latest Christmas
bonus scam takes the biscuit – or should that be Biscotti.

More than 20 leading City firms are paying staff in Turkish lira with sums
stretching to as many as 13 figures. City traders must never have seen cheques with
so many noughts as a £1m bonus is equivalent to 2,388,000,000,000 lira.
Employers pay staff using one of the world’s weakest currencies and then
through a clever loophole this can be converted into sterling without paying

With the purse strings being tightened by many businesses, Guru’s ‘Turkish
Delight’ will be to still have a job in the New Year – although a 13-figure
bonus would not go amiss.

FBU hopes to strike it rich with Acas

So the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has finally allowed Acas to enter the fray
and try to resolve the fire dispute.

Guru feels sure the FBU has heard about the pay increases at the
conciliation service, which has just increased its wage bill by 17 per cent
over two years. It didn’t take a strike to achieve it either, just a
controversial equal pay claim by a female employee…

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