Sickness and danger

This still isn't very good. It seems almost impossible to get me to write this thing on a daily basis. I've already offered up my excuses; despite this I am rather disappointed in myself. Its almost as if writing on a weekly basis is my limit.

The easiest thing for me to talk about would be the weather were I to conform to the British stereotype. So I won't do that. However, I will use it as a jumping off point. It's been exceptionally hot of late, and whilst I'm more than happy with the long days and the amount of light (which amongst other things prevents SAD), the temperature makes me want to hide in a cave. How lucky am I then to work in an office with brand-new, kick-arse reinforced steel air conditioners. Very lucky, that's how lucky.

Except... since moving into these offices a couple of months ago I've had more colds (or respiratory disorders as I call them when I want to sound high falutin') than I have in the past couple of years. I'm sure the two facts must be related. But can I get anything done about it? Somehow I doubt I can.

Of course this a job for Health and Safety. I've been subject to the whims of this particular manifestation of Personnel (or Human Resources as they now seem to prefer being called) for decades now, as I'm sure you have. Health and Safety inspections are one of those peculiar things that seem to have become increasingly rife at exactly the same time as computers in the workplace became widespread. I don't think this is a coincidence.

In the old days I'm sure the Personnel department in most large organisations had plenty to do, maintaining filing cabinets full of information about their ever-changing staff, making sure that everyone was getting paid the right amount on time and so on and so forth.

And then the computers arrived taking over these tedious tasks and making everything quicker and easier. Whilst this must initially have come as a great relief to the overworked inhabitants of Personnel, it must also have set alarm bells ringing in some of the more paranoid minds there. These unsettled Personnellians were in the perfect position to see that the new-found automation of much of their drudgery meant that there was no need for them any more and that therefore the majority of them would shortly become extinct.

We can't have that, they said to themselves, and promptly set their minds to the creation of new exciting make-work responsibilities such as Appraisals and Project Management. The fact that employers got by without these for centuries beforehand is conveniently ignored; these brave new activities are claimed to be the best thing since sliced photocopiers, and absolutely essential for the success of a modern forward-thinking organisation (rather than the real-work-avoidance tactics that they really are).

Health and Safety is another such activity, as well as being an excuse for Human Resources to flex their muscles. You must do this! they cry, You mustn't do that! It's not healthy! It's not safe!

However, I don't mind being bullied into taking screen breaks and told I can't put that box there if it means I can call on them to fix the air-conditioning. However, it turns out I can't. Apparently if it involves spending money rather than bossing the employees around then they're are not really interested, no matter how much unhealthy danger might be present...


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