Tuesday, March 27, 2007

[just] a word which has no place at work

On the way to work

How are you at saying: "No?" I'm terrible at it and here's the story:

I have a lot of sympathy for John Prescott. Not possessing any particular talent one way or the other, he's the Minister for being a Minister and my level of usefulness is about the same at the DTI over here, Ian McCartney sometimes the target of my interest, sometimes not. It's fair to ask what the heck Higham actually does for his few shekels.

Regular readers will smile, given my last few, largely ignored posts on the bankers, that I also moonlight as a bank spokesman. It's true. I'm the voice [in English] of the 5th largest bank, although in recorded form they usually modify the noise emanating from my lips. I used to work for Mercedes. That's all the revelations for now.

The point of this post is that even though it's not necessary to have every hour of one's day paid for, still … seven of those hours, actually face to face, need to be earners. That's why I've come to greatly dislike the word 'just'…

… Like in the situation of a man I don't know from Adam who comes up to me with a sheaf of documents and asks me to 'just' have a 'quick look' through these. I usually say I'd be delighted to and then I just flick through them, see there's two and a half hours work in there and hand them back.

"No, no," he says, "Could you 'just' check them, see if they're all right. It won't take you long." That last bit always elicits a smile, telling me how long the work will take.

This necessitates a move to Stage 2. "Would you like me to look at them 'quickly' or do you need them done 'properly'? They constitute a bid, don't they?"

Naturally he sees he's up against it here and tries again. "No, no, just a page or two."

"I counted seven and a half, excluding the graphs."

"Well could you …?"

"Not a problem." I quote my going rate.

"No, no, 'just' a look."

"Yes, I've 'just' had a look," I smile as innocently as I can manage. "Would you like me to take the job on?"

He sums me up, scowls and hastens away.

I dislike the word 'just'.

Regulars are another matter and with them you have to give 110% and then some, 'just' to stay ahead of the pack.

So how do you say the word: "No?"

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