Celtic Illumination, part 410, The worst company in the world.
Forgive me, but you will all have to give me a bit of leeway this morning, I’m confused. Not only is Colonialist being nice to me, but other people, Malla Duncan in Cape Town and Ian Thompson in London, are retweeting my blog on Twitter. Not only are they, ‘Retweeting,’ the blog, they are ‘Favoriting,’ it. I don’t know what that means, either of them. Today was going to be difficult enough as I have to perform the literary equivalent of a handbrake turn and take us all back to Manchester and the evilness that was Delia. I had been released from hospital; I wasn’t cured, far from it and nothing much of note happened after that. Even the following week when I returned for an evening appointment to have my scan, and after paying two pounds and ninety pence for the privilege of parking for forty minutes in the car park, discovered that I had been awarded a sixty pound parking ticket for parking in a disabled bay with an out of date parking ticket.
It’s all right, the letter arrived this morning telling me that all parking charges had been dropped, which is a shame, as I was looking forward to my day in court, I would have looked stunning, with legs like mine, framed with a black gown and wig. So; steady the Buffs, its back to Manchester, Delia and pure evilness. I had been working as Deputy Director of Operations for a large company providing services for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. The company was called North West Community Services and has to be one of the worst companies I have ever worked for. The way they treated their staff was horrendous and the way they allowed the people with learning disabilities and mental health problems to be treated was despicable. Most companies in the United Kingdom who profess to, ‘support,’ people with learning disabilities and mental health problems to live in the community are absolute rubbish at what they do. Each company is basically a cash cow raking in money for the owners or directors.
Throughout my civilian life I was constantly told that I didn’t understand business, usually when I was being fired from a company, and there were a lot of them, and if that is the case I have no shame. To know that I am not a lying, cheating, conniving, asshole, like Paul O Grady, does my heart good. In fact I would say that even the care of the elderly, in the United Kingdom, falls in to the same category. I went to work every day hoping that I would be able to help someone that day. I had no ulterior motive, no schemes or scams. I had enemies; I know that my meteoric rise through the ranks was viewed with jealous suspicion by many. Three of my own team leaders were capable of doing my job but I really do believe I had an edge on them. They were all girls, they were all uber-efficient and organised, but I do believe I was slightly ahead of them with my planning and organisational capabilities. I knew I deserved my position.
There was no rule book or guide book to tell me what to do each day. There were certain routine functions that structured my working week but mostly it was, ‘On the hoof,’ so to speak, something that I really enjoyed. It also meant that I would approach different situations in my own way. For example I had to complete an audit on a house where four people with mental health issues were being supported to live in the community. I went there for an afternoon inspection. First I would tour the house and inspect the fixtures and fittings, then I would go through the accounts and make sure everything balanced. Then I would check the vehicles and record the mileage and fuel usage and that they were being properly serviced. The team leader who had just been promoted and had taken over charge of the house was a Pakistani girl. She was really nervous with my visit as the gossip that I was ex-military was still going around inferring that I was a stickler for the rules and regulations.
All four of the young men who lived in the house were violent and it was something you sensed the moment you walked in through the front door. I began to tour the property but ended up in a scuffle, with one of the occupants, in the dining room which necessitated me disappearing as it might have been my presence that started the fellow off. The team leader and myself retreated to the office and sat ourselves down. The commotion continued outside and I knew that to attempt to inspect any more of the house would only cause trouble so I would leave it and focus on getting to know the residents, before invading their space. After all, it was their house. I began to inspect the books and discovered that the only outstanding factor was a missing twenty pounds which I had been told had been reserved by two support workers who had taken the most difficult individual out for the afternoon in case he caused trouble during my visit. I couldn’t sign the accounts books off so decided to leave them until my next visit.
I knew that the van parked outside the house was two days old and had about six miles on the clock. Not really worth me looking at it so I decided that the best thing to do was have a cup of tea with the team leader, get to know her and try and establish a decent working relationship with her. There was no point in doing half an inspection. It was the following morning when Delia came in to the office that things went a little skew whiff. I have no reason to plot, or plan, or scheme and lie so you don’t really expect those around you to do so. When you are open and honest you tend to expect everyone else to act in a similar way. I think this is what people meant when they said I didn’t understand business. Delia came in to the office like a cruise missile looking for a weapon of mass destruction. She came straight to little old me, at my desk, and without a good morning, or a hello, demanded that I follow her in to her office. Both doors to her office were left wide open so I knew that this bollocking was to be for the benefit, or the enjoyment, of everyone in the building.
Delia then let me have the full force of her venom and I promise you, in Spinal Tap terms, the volume went to twelve. Luckily with the years I had spent in the military I was quite used to complete idiots shouting at me. It was all about my inspection the previous day, the one I didn’t really carry out. I could have argued each point with her but the one pervading thought was how on earth did she find all this out? I couldn’t think of a reason why the team leader would contact Delia and complain, or report me, so Delia had to be the one who went to the team leader. A real business person would then add the knowledge of the fact that Delia had told me that I was to interview her daughter for my job and give it to her and understand that both situations were connected. I didn’t, I had been a hardworking, productive, employee, why should I worry. I waited until she had finished showering me with bile and abuse and she told me to get out of her office.
I was a bit shell shocked; the way she had behaved was most unprofessional and therefore difficult to understand how to correctly respond to. I knew I had to get out of there, but how and where to? I know that I found myself driving to Liverpool where I went to Natural Breaks. As I walked in Jan, the boss of Natural Breaks, looked at me and asked what was wrong. “I need a new job,” I said, and she handed me an application form. “I need a new deputy director of operations,” she said, with a smile, telling me that she probably knew, word for word, what had happened in Manchester. It was pure luck of the Irish. Natural Beaks were and probably still are the best company in the United Kingdom working with people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. The chief executive Jan is a wonderful leader and manager; it would be an honour to get back on to her team. Of course not everyone who works for Natural Breaks is a star and that evening as I sat at home filling out the application form I got a telephone call from Joe.
Joe had been my service manager at North West Community Services when I had been a team leader. He was quite useless, but had used his position and connections to move to Natural Breaks when the management of North West Community Services began to crumble. He told me that he now ran Natural Breaks, which I am sure would have been news for Jan and her senior management team. On top of that he had promised his mate the new job of Deputy Director of Operations; however, if his plans didn’t work out and I got the job, I would be working for him and would have to do things his way. All I wanted to do was help people with learning disabilities and mental health problems, they were my friends, but how could I protect them from uncaring staff, from people who were only interested in their own self. Not the type of person you would expect to find in a caring profession. I had worked my way up from the bottom but I was getting sick and tired of the selfish, heartless, useless people who seemed to make up the bulk of the workforce in this supposedly caring profession. There was only one thing to do. Civilians don’t really understand how military people give themselves to a flag, or a colour or a motto. When that flag, or motto, encompasses your very existence, it’s easy. Three words that sums up your outlook, attitude and determination, Fight or Die. What else is there to say?