Friday, 24 August 2012

How many people work here?

When I am asked the question "How many people work here?", my reply depends very much upon the audience.  For various reasons, I would say that this question is not asked nearly often enough.

Very few people immediately get the official answer of "about 500".

Generally my answer is "almost all of them", but . . .

How many people work here?
At least one man working!

. . . sometimes I might say "about half of them".

Some days I actually believe the final answer to be true.  A few are kept very busy (although not always fruitfully) and often they are the people who decline to delegate because they don't trust the people working for them, or because the spirit of empowerment is totally foreign to the ethos of the organisation.

Many, if not most, keep themselves busy in order to avoid being bored, often offering to take on new tasks but unable to do so because their boss falls into the 'very busy' category above.  

A few can be found deliberately avoiding doing anything useful.  Sometimes they get their just deserts.  Just a few years ago a man was bitten by a poisonous snake.  Strangely it was not revealed what he had been doing in an otherwise unoccupied and unused part of the site.  Sunbathing was one of the favorite explanations.

At a previous place of work the following cartoon went the rounds once every few years.

Too many managers
The working ethos!
Sadly not unknown in many medium/large organisations!

It might have been largely true which is very sad and very demotivating.

But at least it was funny.

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