Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Room of doom

Our new office, in Moss Side, seems grimmer and bleaker each time I visit. The previous occupants were mostly gone this time, and the room was a shell. Wires poked up out of holes in the floor between darker patches of carpet that were once protected by bookcases and cabinets. One lone desk, papers and a diary – open on yesterday’s page – was all that remained.

“That’s _____’s desk,” said Middle Manager, “she really likes it here, so she’s staying as long as possible.”

What was the alternative, I wondered. Mogadishu? Beirut?

With a tape measure in one hand, and a bucket full of grumbles in the other, we sized up our future home. We juggled the three desks in the office we’ve been allocated. Facing inwards? Facing outwards? In a row?

“You’ll need to make room for the fourth desk too,” said our boss as she popped her head round the door, “I think I’m going to get someone else in to help you.” And then, like that – pwoof – she was gone.

Less than a week ago we had a team management meeting. We outlined approaching challenges – meaning that we got told what was going on with the team, and in particular its staffing – and devised strategies to handle service development – meaning that we got told what to do. Not a bean about a new team member. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t missed something that was implied because I asked a direct question during the meeting.

“Will we have any new team members?”

We wouldn’t, my boss had said. Less than a week ago.

Has she changed her mind, and since then decided that, yes, now you mention it, we do need a new team member? Was she suffering a bizarre mental blank at the meeting, and had in fact been planning for another team member all along? Or is she just really bad at telling her team what’s going on?

My colleagues and I looked at each other in disbelief.

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