Wednesday, March 02, 2005

wot I lerned on the telly this mornin'

For the weight conscious:
1 hours shivering is equivalent to a 6km walk. So you know, if you've had one too many chocolates, and it's winter, go stand outside for an hour in your underwear.

Here's a worrying story, from the personal files. Monsieur comes home after finishing work at a stupidly late hour last night and over the course dinner casually mentions how he was 'shot down in flames' (a pleasingly accurate translation)that morning during a work meeting.
'oh' I say casually 'what happened?'
Bear in mind that I still wear a heavy mantle of naivete regarding common decency towards other human beings, even if you do happen to think they suck. So I'm not imagining anything particularly serious here.
'well, I was asked after the outcome of some tests done last week and I couldn't really give an answer, so I was sort of a bit exposed in front of everyone'

Now Monsieur is a very passive person all round (unlike yours truely), and isn't possessed of too much in the way of aggressiveness or even really much defensiveness for that matter. But I figured there might be a little more to this story, so after a few probing questions I uncovered some pretty disturbing results. Not only had he not been provided with those data asked of him to start with, but he was not ever actually informed that the tests had taken place. Ok, so that's pretty unfair for starters. But his 'dressing down' (bear in mind that this occurred during a work meeting, in front of a multitude of colleagues) took the form of aggressive threats of being fired for his ignorance, did he really want this job?, there were hundreds of other candidates just like him. Essentially that he was a lowly bit of computer technician chaff. This tirade came from someone that he had never seen or spoken to before. In addition, Monsieur has been in his current placement for approximately 6 weeks.

I am informed that this is not unusual for the info-tech domain in Paris. But I have to confess to being totally shocked at some of the stories I hear regarding workplace ethics in this part of the world. I'm sure businesses in any big corporation in any country can be like this, but God, is this what workplace society is coming to? Now that large numbers of service providers are outsourced - it kind of cuts them off from the 'work team' environment, and makes them convenient scapegoats.

It also presents the tricky problem of how I convince Monsieur that he needs to get more defensive. Not agressive as such, but you need a sort of barrier and language that effectively bursts the ego bubbles of supreme workplace arseholes. Otherwise I fear for him being eaten alive, or supremely taken advantage of at least. He agrees with me on that point, but I'm not convinced he's going to put it into practice.

'So is there much call for info techs in Australia'? he asks
'As much as anywhere I imagine, but you're going to need to brush up that English of yours first'

(yes, a sad state of affairs, but our wall ears hardly ever hear English spoken, except when he wants to try a few phrases out, or I'm off on one of my long winded mutters)

oh yeah, and we're breaking all sorts of cold temperature records or some such thing, snow ice cold, blah blah.


wandering lizard said...

Ah yes, being warm blooded is a great thing for weight loss. When I was teaching a first year biology lab a the university of Wisconsin, we compared breathing and heart rates for different kinds of activity. One was standing outside without a jacket (it was February in Wisconsin, and about -15C at the time). 10 minutes of that brought people's heart rates up to the same level as the people who had been told to run up the stairs to the 4th floor and back twice.

Of course, if you stand out in the cold too often, you start putting on fat to insulate...

Nyx said...

I sure hope you gave them some hot chocolate after that :p

wandering lizard said...

Hot chocolate or hot coffee. Then we looked at the effects of caffeine on heart rate...