11 July 2008

Let me tell you a story....

Now this story doesn't concern me, I'd like to make this entirely clear from the start. It was told to me by someone I know whom I shall call Mr A for the purposes of this post. Not that his surname starts with an 'A', or indeed his first name. In fact, his name doesn't even include an 'A' and therefore his nom de guerre is indeed excellent.

Mr A used to work in a largish building in Bristol (okay, that narrows down who Mr A is a little bit, but not enough to reveal his identity). His company did softwary stuff and took up one floor of the building, the rest of which was filled with the accountants, lawyers, other IT firms and agencies - the usual mix.

Mr A's company, which I shall dub 'Company A', was expanding at the time (which dates this story somewhat) and was interviewing for new developers. One candidate in particular was outstanding and could start almost immediately. Salary was agreed and the candidate - the cunningly named Mr B - was due to start in a fortnight.

The Friday before Mr B was due to start he contacted Company A and said that due to unforeseen circumstances would it be okay if he delayed starting for a week? Company A agreed.

A week passed, as they tend to do.

The day Mr B was due to start he did indeed arrive, but not until 10am - which Mr A found strange as it hardly made a good impression with the rest of the staff. Nor did Mr B's frequent and very lengthy coffee and toilet breaks. Nor his nearly 2 hour lunch breaks.

However, he did stay late every night and completed his work satisfactorily.

After two weeks of employment Mr B started to arrive at work unshaven and looking increasingly ragged, and while his work quality didn't dip, his timekeeping and taking of impromptu holidays and sick leave became a serious issue.

Mr A, tasked with managing Mr B, grew more and more exasperated and increasingly concerned about the state of Mr B's personal life. He tried engaging Mr B in conversation to discover what was going on but was repeatedly told that everything 'was okay.'

Now Mr A had worked for Company A for several years and knew the other people who worked in the building quite well. One man in particular - whom shall be known as Mr C - worked for one of the other IT firms in the building (let's push the boat out and call it Company C eh?). During one of their regular lunches at a local restaurant, Mr A confided in Mr C that he had a problem with an employee and described Mr B's odd behaviour.

Mr C joking replied that 'it must be catching' as he had a similar employee himself. Mr A found this odd and enquired further.

After lunch, Mr A accompanied Mr C back to Company C to discuss future business between the two Companies. While sitting in the conference room thrashing out ideas, Mr A saw Mr B walking past the window. Seeing Mr A's confused expression, Mr C turned to see what he was looking at.

"Ah yes. That's the chap I was talking about at lunch."

The penny dropped.

Mr A and Mr C confronted Mr B who broke down immediately. They finally found out the truth.

Which was:

Mr B had turned up for interviews with Company A and Company C on the same day. He'd liked both places and had been unable to make up his mind which he preferred. At some point he made the very conscious decision to 'try both out and see which he liked better.'

He did this by working 15 hour days, in the same building, moving from floor to floor in the guise of 'breaks'. He kept this up for a month.

And he still hadn't made his mind up when he was finally caught out....

I give it a Red Squirrel


out of ten for the idea, but a lowly one and a half for execution.

And yes, it is a true story.


At 13 July 2008 at 11:13, Blogger Glamourpuss said...

And I thought I was indecisive...


At 13 July 2008 at 16:23, Blogger Red Squirrel said...

And now you're not so sure?

Badum, and indeed, Tish.


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