The week before last we suffered two demoralising ‘awaydays’ at a swanky hotel in Hertfordshire at the hands of my mystery employer who gathered together all the professors and senior managers to hear talks from some consultants about the characteristics of academic leaders (it can all be represented in a couple of concentric circles), we learnt a song together and played an intergalactic game where I got to wear a baseball cap which I have never ever done before. We discussed ’employer engagement’: employers say ‘we need 100 more hangmen’ and we work out how to provide them as quickly as possible.
What I find uncomfortable about such events is how they blur the border between being a good employee and a good human being.
The day after tomorrow is another ‘awayday’ at what looks like an equally swanky hertfordshire hotel. Mercifully it is only 5 hours instead of two full days, and if the weather is dry I will ride my recently renamed Brunhilde the Beamer there. At the end I have my appraisal. When I told my 19 year old son that I get marked A, B or C, he couldn’t believe that these kind of indignities seem to last throughout life.
So, here are a couple of nice examples of the way my employer (and probably many others) manage to treat their workers as children.