So, in an effort to make the workers feel more involved (another brainwave from the huggy-feely crew) the PFY and I are asked to browse through the CVs of prospective bosses and give our comments.
"Let's see, under hobbies, he's got philately..." the PFY reads.
"...coin collecting, and, hey, trainspotting. And he's previously worked in...a university and a...bank."
"I see. And does it mention his film career?"
"His film career?"
"Yes, he obviously starred in A Life More Ordinary."
"Mmmm?" the personnel droid mumbles.
"Nothing. Next please," I cry.
"Righto!" the PFY responds, shoving the CV into the shredder. "Next is a...guy from Leeds, whose hobbies are lard sandwich making and chicken worrying and whose musical taste runs to the Bavarian Burping Choir."
"I somehow doubt that your remarks are founded in fact," the droid comments witheringly.
"No," the PFY agrees. "It's actually lard and chip butties.
"That means he's upper-class Leeds."
"My WIFE's from Leeds!" the droid snaps nastily.
"Really," I cry, unable to stop myself, "What position did she play?
"Rugby! You know, only rugby players come from Leeds."
"I think you hit a nerve there," the PFY says after the droid storms out, slightly upset.
Quicker than you can say "fail over to the back-up", we have a replacement droid - the heavy-duty model they usually only send to tell you they'll be happy to accept your resignation.
"Right, let's have a look at these applicants then," he says. picking up the next one. "Let's see, 15 years in IT, management experience, Microsoft certification, several courses in network and systems management..."
"Sounds too technical to me," I mutter.
"How can a manager be TOO technical?!" he asks.
"If they're too technical, they end up interfering."
"I hardly think that's an excuse to..."
"...then they spend all their time repairing the balls-ups they caused, and NONE of their time preparing those full colour 3D graphs on disk usage, cost benefits etc, which Upper Management gets all gooey over. So senior management start wondering who the HELL appointed this incompetent drone in the first place."
"Hmmm. You have a point," the HR-droid says, recognising a threat to job security. "What do you suggest?"
"NEXT!" I cry, shoving the CV into the bin-based encryption device. "I'm sure there's SOMEONE with the right skills."
"OK," the PFY cries, holding up a photo. "Next is THIS gent."
"I SAY!" I blurt, unable to restrain myself. "LOOK AT THOSE SLACKS! What colour is that, do you think? Dusky pink or rampant purple?"
"Looks rampant to me," the PFY says. "A left-handed golfer...?"
"You mean gay?" the HR-droid says. "What the hell does it matter if..."
"Well, it doesn't matter to us, but you know how homophobic our CEO is."
"I can't believe..." he responds, wondering which decade he's in - but then folding - "...I suppose you're right."
"That was a bit dodgy, wasn't it?" the PFY asks later.
"Dodgy isn't the word. For a start, I coloured-in his outfit."
"And secondly, he's a mate of the CEO. I can't wait to mention that HR didn't want him because they thought he was gay."
The rest of the day progresses in a similar way, with us rejecting a stack of applicants including anyone who's attended more than one Microsoft training course (might be brainwashed), a bloke who drives a Lada (low expectations), and lastly (I'm proud of this one) a man who lives in Balham (the boredom factor).
"All set for tomorrow?" I ask the PFY at the end of the day.
"Yeah, I've managed to bash out seven CVs that look good enough to pass muster."
"Did you slip them into the 'in' tray at HR?
"Yeah, under your stack - was the self-confessed glue-sniffer one of yours?"
"Yep - I thought we'd be really positive about him so that it doesn't look like we're always vetoing people."
It's funny how, with a little effort, your outlook on your position can change.