EDitorial ± 23-Jan-2012

Monday Redunday

Mondays: bit rubbish, aren't they? Bob Geldof plain didn't like 'em. Dave Edmunds, when asked, expressed a preference for the weekend. New Order took to 12 inch to voice their antipathy. Both (a) The Mamas and (b) The Papas felt that you "can't trust that day". If there was a Favourite Day Of The Week category on olde style Family Fortunes, the answer "Monday" would surely elicit that notorious raspberry noise.

BIM -- Big Important Meeting -- at 10:30am today, all of us gathered around a speaker phone. Blah blah debts blah blah restructure blah blah job losses. What was that last bit again? Redundancies across the board, everyone affected to be notified today. Crikey. Nobody wants to catch the eye of anyone else in the room. All this before the first cafetiere of the day.

Those of us who've been with The Company for a few years are somewhat battle-hardened, having been through this selfsame experience more than once. Worst of these was the first time in 2008 when, unannounced, Big Boss Man turned up from that London in his fancy vintage car. Now he's a good guy, but it quickly became obvious that something was afoot. He installed himself next door, scene of this morning's BIM, and called the deskphone of my colleague sitting opposite. Come and have a chat, he said. Cue the walk of death for the unfortunate individual. When the shellshocked party emerged, another nearby phone rang, and so the morning progressed, all of us twitching like the keenest of birdwatchers. After that, those of us lucky enough to still be in gainful employment would joke about hearing Bill's Bentley (name and make changed to protect his identity).

Or there was the highly motivating day in late 2009 when another BIM was called with the news that further posts were to go: no classic car downstairs this time, but we were warned to look out for an email from HR. That crafty ploy from inhuman resources transferred our Pavlovian fear from the phone to the Outlook "bing". Did the fortunate few receive a quick note to say "don't worry, you're safe"? Nope.

Same story today: the news will come by email. Most of us, being 21st century hi-tech workers, get a fair few of these, so nerves were jangling. Nobody could say when the dreaded electronic dismissal might arrive. By lunch? Possibly. By 2pm? Maybe. By 4:30pm? Yes, half-four it is, convenient for those who get in early and are packing up by that time. May propose to those upstairs that the next round of Russian roulette be in the form of the game Killer Wink: if the boss looks your way, you're out. Or, like picking the chorister to do Once In Royal St David's City, that everyone in the room close their eyes, and you better hope that your shoulder isn't tapped by management.

Sympathies to the Monday Four who got some unwelcome news today. Austerity, posterity.