Next stage for a glittering career


Office-bound workers often gaze longingly at the movie stars and dream of walking that red carpet under the adoring gaze of the cameras.

Unfortunately, the closest most of you will get is the office CCTV camera following you into the stationery cupboard, to make you feel guilty for daring to think you deserve a new ballpoint pen.

However, take heart. Acting has come to the office, with the book Dramatic Success! Theatre Techniques to Transform and Inspire Your Working Life. Apparently, lots of acting disciplines can be transferred to the office to inspire creativity, improvisation and high-level energy.

There appears to be no mention of the fact that about 90 per cent of actors are out of work, and so could you be if you strut around thinking you are Larry Olivier.

But in some personnel departments, there seems to be too much strutting going on already. Senior diplomats have accused the Foreign Office of running a ‘cavalier’ personnel department, where unpopular employees were branded ‘Tossers of the Week’.

Allegedly (Guru’s favourite word as it saves a lot of legal expenses), there was a white marker board on the wall, where staff were encouraged to write comments about those they considered unworthy.

Credit where credit’s due: The Sunday Times ran the story under the headline: ‘I say chaps, it’s a bit orf being ‘Tosser of the week’ at the FO’. Inspired.

Partridge’s roasting leaves Scot miffed

The British used to pride themselves on their ability to take a joke, appreciate irony and launch into unnecessary, yet amusing bouts of self-depreciation. It marked us out from those we fondly deemed ‘bloody foreigners’.

But things could be changing. After Personnel Today printed a gag made by Steve Coogan at the Recruitment Advertising Awards, reporters were accused of being racist, crass and ill-informed. One phrase used in the onslaught was ‘complete nonsense and very poor journalism’.

Guru appreciates that normal hacks cannot aspire to the heights of honest and unbiased opinion for which he is rightly renowned, but in these circumstances, he must defend PT’s corner.

The joke was as follows: Alan Partridge (AKA Steve Coogan) said that he was disappointed that a fact-finding trip to Scotland revealed that while all homeless people in England were Scottish, it was not the reverse north of the border, as they were all Scottish, too.

A statement saying this was not the view of Personnel Today followed. Not content in thinking this would soothe Scottish sensibilities, the powers that be even ensured the journalist writing the ‘offending’ words was Scottish himself.

So the question is, whatever happened to our stoicism and sense of humour? Is it the influence of our less humorous European cousins? This whole issue is certainly no laughing matter.

As the cogs continued to turn in Guru’s over-developed brain, another question arose: If you insult everyone, is it possible to be discriminatory? if you are equally rude to one and all, surely no one can complain, let alone involve employment tribunals? It would be much appreciated if a legal eagle could clear this one up.

The taxman’s dead! How can they tell?

A Finnish taxman died at his desk last week, and nobody noticed for two days.

Apparently, all 30 people in the Helsinki office failed to realise that the 60-year-old had shuffled off this mortal coil.

Anita Wickstroem, the company director, said: “He was working alone, and his friends and colleagues who used to have lunch or coffee with him were busy.”

Friends who don’t even notice that you are dead?

Just in case this happens in your office, Guru has provided this handy checklist to ensure the person across the room hasn’t snuffed it:

– Have they not moved for a few hours?

– Are they missing important deadlines?

– Do they stare aimlessly at their computer screen?

– Are they pallid and expressionless?

– Do they smell a little musty?

Guru has to go – it appears from this checklist that there has been a massacre in the office…

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