Wednesday, August 03, 2005

(Un)happy anniversary

Shoot me now. Yesterday I got the following email from my employer (automatically generated, naturally…)

"Dear X [they did insert my name, but I decided to delete it for blogging purposes],

Happy Anniversary! Thank you for your 5 years of service with [I know better than to blog my employer's name!]

We are pleased to present you an award in recognition of this achievement. In an effort to make this event meaningful, please choose an award you will value. You can view the choices at the following website: [you guessed it, the website was listed here…]

Five years!? Where did the time go? And what do I have to show for it?? Mind you, it's not often that people get to email me a Happy Anniversary message (well, not any more…) so I suppose I might as well make the most of it. But I have to admit to feeling a little uncertain as to whether this is really a moment worth celebrating. I think maybe it's a moment to stop, take stock and make some BIG decisions. (P45 anyone?)

Still, my employers clearly think this is a milestone worth celebrating. And to help me do this, they have kindly offered to present me with an 'award' of my choice. Now, before you all shout me down for being ungrateful and unnecessarily critical, here's the deal.

Firstly, the website has a list of options to press, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years etc, with each button taking you to a different page. The pages display 30 or so 'awards' that I can choose from. I picked the '5 years' button first. There were two biros (posh ones, I'll admit, but biros all the same), a couple of vases (which even my mum would say no to, and she rarely says no to vases), some cuckoo clocks (no, I don't work for a Swiss company, so I have no idea either…) a penknife (useful, but if they check my bags at the tube station on the way home from work the police will confiscate it) and some binoculars. I don't mean to sound disparaging and it was a very nice gesture, but I can't help commenting that the quality of the goods displayed was less John Lewis and distinctly more TJ Hughes.

Secondly, no matter what button you press (5 years, 35 years, 50 years, whatever) the selection is exactly the same. It's the same batch of vases, photo frames and ceramic figurines. How disappointing; imagine working for the same company for 50 years and, on your final day, being offered a pen knife as a reward? You'd want to use it to slit your wrists, there and then.

Mind you, the thought of spending 50 years at the same office, doing the same job for the same company is utterly terrifying. To be honest, I'm finding it hard to come to terms with my 5 year anniversary. I have to admit that the congratulations being showered on me by my boss are not quite as deserved as he suspects. What he calls my 'loyalty and dedication' are actually utter inertia and laziness. I'd rather stay put and do my time than actually try to find something else or something better.

And so, with that in mind, I felt I should revise the rather flowery Note of Congratulations that I received from my MD. I won't show you what he actually sent me. Here is what, I feel, he should have sent me. You can decide for yourselves…

Congratulations!

Dedication and loyalty are attributes not found in every individual, and indeed, we struggled to find any devotion to [company name] evident in you. Nonetheless, we sincerely thank you for your commitment to our company and the laziness intrinsic to your personality type that has prevented you from pursuing an alternative career. We credit our successes to individuals like you who recognise a good deal when they see one, and opt for an easy life for low pay rather than aspire to excellence.

It is always a pleasure to recognize our employees' achievements, but it is especially gratifying to acknowledge those who have attained recognized terms of service. Think of us as a jail term or an unhappy marriage - best referred to by the number of years under your belt. As a thank you and reminder of our great appreciation, please select a service award from the following choices. You might like to choose the binoculars, to help you find your missing career. Or a watch, to slowly count the hours, minutes and seconds of the next five years. But choose carefully. We scoured the very best offers from the Argos summer clearance catalogue to come up with this selection of goodies. Your award will include the company logo, for which design we paid a jumped up 'creative' more than we've paid you during your five years service so far.

Again, congratulations on this great accomplishment and thank you for your continuing inability to face the Guardian job pages on anything like a regular basis. Together, we can continue to achieve the level of excellence to which we have all grown accustomed.

2 Comments:

Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Brilliantly conceived. Perhaps you might offer your services to companies in need of congratulatory letters for their employees?

Might you translate certain terms for your less Britishly gifted fans across the pond (much as you did with Les Liaisons Dangereuses)? What is a biro? A p45? Thank you. And congratulations!

2:39 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

Good point - for the benefit of cousins divided by our common language, a biro is a (very cheap) ball-point pen and a P45 is the tax form you fill in when you terminate an employment contract...

(Oh, thanks for all your very kind comments...)

2:50 pm  

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