Desire for chocolate is ill-kept secret

MI5 recently launched a website to warn companies of the danger posed by ‘insiders’ who would help unfriendly elements infiltrate your business.

Guru perused these pages and found them to be filled with interesting and helpful info, although much of the advice seems quite applicable to dealing with the danger posed by staff rank idiocy, let alone terrorist threat.

The recommendations include a brief warning about how a vulnerable member of staff could be coerced or blackmailed into acts of skulduggery. Some worrying stats have come to light that might challenge companies to pay a bit more attention to these weak-willed workers.

A survey by Infosecurity Europe found that almost three-quarters of workers were willing to give away the details of their computer password in exchange for… wait for it… a chocolate bar. Researchers were interrogating busy commuters at London’s Liverpool Street Station. The most common password categories were family names, football teams and pets. Although the most popular was the devastatingly original ‘admin’. Lucky these people were only working at the heart of the UK’s financial centre, and not anywhere considered a serious target.

So much for name, rank and number – it seems Brits these days will flake when dairy milked for information.

With MI5 on a massive recruitment drive at the moment, will potential staffbe benchmarked against the Milk Tray Man?

Text discrimination raises its ugly head

Dot com millionaire, John Witney, 39, who set up Jobserve, the first ever ‘jobs by e-mail’ service, is set to launch a new mobile text alerts service, Jobstel. This is the first service of its kind to be free of charge for jobseekers.

This seems a great step forward from the cads at the Accident Group who, last year, fired a whole lot of staff through the medium of the text.

At the time, Guru couldn’t see the problem with this because it seemed to fulfil flexible working provisions by allowing staff to get fired at home or in the office. He has since seen the error of his ways and realises this is a clear-cut case of text discrimination.

It’s also likely to be covered by new laws governing textual orientation – what if those on one ‘network’ could receive the message and those on another couldn’t? Finally, what about race discrimination in this area? If one person had a more powerful phone or network than another, their text would get there first, thus winning the aforementioned race to the potential detriment of another.

Pole position slip is like red rag to bull

Never one to miss a cliché or pun, Guru turned up aboard The Aurora for the HR Forum a week or two ago. Admittedly, he went a bit overboard – in fact, sometimes he was all at sea.

This is a wonderful venue for gossip and scandal – most of which cannot be reported for legal reasons. However, provocation means the following story will be told, albeit anonymously. One HR director was heard to answer the question ‘what would you do if you were not in HR?’ with the riposte: ‘I’d be a pole dancer’.

As soon as the person said it, they regretted it, as Guru’s blue bonce was mere feet away. This was followed by another HR director threatening GBH on Yours Truly if it was reported. Does the phrase ‘red rag to a bull’ not mean anything to you?

Ear to the ground …
Safety where? Key theft scuppers firm’s safety drive
Which clothing importer needs to clamp down on its security chief?

This week’s company just seemed to have security coming out of its ears. Not only was the head of security involved in this incident, but the company imports safety clothes. You’d think it would be safe as houses; sadly you can never underestimate the human element. This rent-a-cop fellow took to leaving minor bits and pieces in his car. This just happened to include all his important papers as well as the entire set of company keys – the keys to every building and door on multiple sites. Guess what happened next? Yep, the car was nicked along with everything that justifies the existence of a chief of security. It cost the company in excess of £600 to have the locks changed.

Do you have any true stories about your (or anyone’s) workplace that you’d like to see in ‘Ear to the Ground’? They will be kept strictly anonymous and you will be able to bathe in a sense of righteous satisfaction. Please send them to

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