Saturday, January 01, 2000

Bulldog and Turdkey

Once upon a time in a land far far away, there was a new Manager called Bulldog. She was excited and thrilled to finally be given her own separate entity to set up, develop and be able to choose her own staff to join her in the adventure.

The lucky staff she selected were duly thrilled to be the chosen ones and profusely thanked her for her kindness on many an occasion. They believed in her ideals for the workplace and in striving to make work and life better for the workers usually forgotten or ignored. Hearts and minds were ignited with a shared passion to research well, develop new ways of addressing issues and making a real difference.

Bulldog's staff all worked hard, laughed lots together in shared spirit and cameraderie at lunchtimes and did their best to support their fearless leader in her efforts to build up a profile for the new, ground-breaking workplace.

As the months rolled on, Bulldog's head was gradually turned towards..... the media.......the mirror.......the money......... While her salary rose to obscene heights, she told her workers: "You deserve a payrise too. I'll see what I can year." They were disappointed, but waited, trusting that she would make it happen earlier than that - after all, she did it for her own salary, didn't she?

The lure of the media grew stronger and stronger for Bulldog, becoming an irresistable siren song of attention, having captive audiences hang on her every word and more fawning new workers keen to crawl into her new kingdom. She'd announce at meetings, "Oh people, you must STOP committing me to travel and talk at events - I need to do some real work here, with you!" They all nodded, a slight quiver of confusion starting to worm its way into their adoring minds. 'Hmmmm. But we don't commit you to speak at everything from a men's prostate awareness conference to a gab-fest in China. You're the one who says yes......"

But they shoved it deep into their sub-conscious and tried to ignore the endless travel, lack of availability to provide help with their work problems and comments like, "Oh yes, I did share a house for a week on Kangaroo island with my girlfriends for a week, but I was writing, so I'm not going to submit a leave form." Oh.

One day, Bulldog's little helper, Chocopoo, was given a chance to write a book based on Bulldog and staff's research. Chocopoo wasn't an academic, but merely a paid chimpanzee hired to sit at a keyboard and summarise the high falutin' texts into stuff that normal folk could - and would want to - read. Bulldog beamed at Chocopoo, feeling very benevolent. Wasn't she a fantastically supportive manager, allowing a pleb to do something so special?

Everyone else thought so too. "So Chocopoo, tell us about your book. It sounds like a wonderful idea - it's fantastic that Bulldog's participating in such a project so that - for once - university study extends beyond the hallowed ivy walls!" Bulldog's beady little eyes narrowed. This wasn't what she expected - people were meant to be approaching her with praise and accolades. After all, she was the generous boss, wasn't she?

Chocopoo was full of excitement (and chocolate). Bulldog barked at her, "Now calm down, Choc. You've still got a day job here and it's one that consumes every hour, minute and second of your time. In the interests of your ~ pause ~ health and wellbeing, ~ heh heh heh ~ I forbid you to do any research or writing at work." Chocopoo automatically nodded in agreement, only realising when she got home that night that it would mean working long hours in the evenings.

"But Chocopoo," said her husband, Studleypuff, "You took on the job with Bulldog so that you could work regular hours and not do any overtime. I don't want you getting exhausted."
"Fair enough," Choc replied. "I guess I can print stuff out, bring it home, place it in piles according to subject matter so that when I get the three months off my day job to write the book from home, I'll be able to get into it then."

Sadly, Bulldog had other ideas. "I thought we had a high trust relationship," she growled down at Choco, picking up an article from the printer. "By 'no research at work' I mean no printing either."
"But but," stammered Choco. "I find these articles for the researchers - how hard is it for me to press '2 copies' instead of '1' on the print command key?"
"NO. You are to do all of your printing and ~ her muzzle curled up in disgust ~ research outside of your work."

Chocopoo kept telling herself that once she was home researching, printing, reading, drafting and writing the book and away from Bulldog, things would be OK. She'd show Bulldog that she was worthy of the challenge and Bulldog would be nice to her again.

Three months went past and the book was finished. Chocopoo was tired, but triumphant. The publishers liked her work, and told her so. She gave the first three chapters (already edited by the publisher) to Bulldog to read. "It's very readable" was the tersely emailed response.

When Choco arrived back at work, she met Turdkey, Bulldog's new second-in-command.

Turdkey was humourless, rail thin and yet rather thick in the mental-capacity sense of the word. She had a tendency to wear heavy metallic earrings on her already-drooping ear lobes which Choco found hard to tear her eyes away from - at least it meant that she didn't have to look at Turdkey's stained brown teeth or wonder just where she could still find shops that continued to sell shoulder padded power suits.

Turdkey was asked by Bulldog to ensure that Chocopoo didn't get above herself, and to remind her that Bulldog no longer wanted to be associated with the book. "She's too busy with academic things," Turdkey hissed.

Sadly, as with Nazi storm troopers, Australian Idol judges and right-wing bloggers, Turdkey was relishing her perceived level of power rather a bit too much. Chocopoo was not allowed to use the web at lunchtimes, had several other work duties removed without explanation and was told that she would not be allowed to take up a promotion because "Your skills are valued and needed here. Mwaaa hahaha haaaa!" Oh god, she was showing those twiggy brown teeth again...!

Bulldog was impressed with Turdkey's work methods and the way she was integrating herself into the workplace. She was like an Igor to her Dr Frankenstein: lumbering, bullying and mindless. No wait - maybe that was Bulldog - never mind.....

Bulldog and Turdkey enjoyed their new partnership and spent a couple of days at the evil castle of Hellfire and Recrimination working out how they could get rid of Chocopoo. It was easier than they thought: Hellfire and Recrimination (HR for short) advised that when a dictatorship is established, said dictator can do whatever the hell they want to do.

And so it was. Chocopoo was banished; Turdkey continued in her role as - well, whatever it was that she did, and Bulldog reigned supreme (and looked as though she'd eaten more of her fair share of them too).

The moral of this modern morality fable? Even the most educated and seemingly intelligent person can become an egotistical, deranged and hypocritical dictator if encouraged to do so. All that we squashed, insignificant insects can hope for is Karma and a decent union.

Power to the plebs!


River said...

Holy Cow! Does this mean you got fired? Damn them all to hell. A special level of hell where they are allowed to wear nothing but cardigans forever and ever....

franzy said...


Are you out of there?!? MillyMoo ... do I know the Bulldog?

davey said...

Termination without explanation? Are you serious?

So this the result of the Industrial Relations reforms in our country -- where militant megalomaniacs can claim plebeian scalps on an ego-dented whim.

More importantly Milly, what situation does that put your book in? Do you still retain intellectual copyright?

I realise that it probably hurts a lot right now, and that you probably loved your job for a lot of reasons, but that sounds like an extremely cloistered environment to work in Milly.

With your brains and tenacity (and obvious ability to overcome hardship!), you'll find another job in a heartbeat. And think how awesome your new employers are going to seem in comparison. You could be working for the Nazi party and still think that they 'displayed a few nervous habits but were otherwise quite jolly'.

Grimm said...

While I may not know the entire story here since this is my first time here, I do want to say that this is extremely well written and applies to many businesses in the US as well.

I am hoping this isn't a true story...

Kath Lockett said...

Hi there River, Franzy, Davey and Grimm

Yep, it's a true story. I''m not 'fired' as such, but am on 'immediate transfer' which means I'm now sitting at home, looking through the job ads and waiting for Hellfire and Recrimination (HR) to send me 'appropriate jobs' that I must give serious consideration to or be asked to leave at some stage.

What is frustrating is that Bulldog managed to get me transferred within an hour and half, yet the union tells me that if a pleb asks to be transferred away from a Bulldog-like manager, it can take twelve months.

Thankfully, the book will still be published. The contact was between Wiley and moi, so the book will be out regardless of Bulldog's bullying tactics. (I even managed to get a couple of quotes in an article hidden deep on page 2 of the Careers Section in Saturday 17/11 Advertiser).

My revenge? Trying to get a few promos about the book that Bulldog (now hopelessly addicted to getting her muzzle in the media) would normally get quoted in.

And yes Franzy, you do know the Bulldog. At least, your mother does. Speaking of which, the woman who brought you into this world is located approx 20m (or one building) away from Bulldog. When I mentioned this to Bulldog a while back (when she'd been at the uni for over a year), she said, "Oh really?" So much for getting out amongst the people....

A union 'careerist' if ever there was one. Franzy you and I also have a mate in common who may be better placed to give you her views on Bulldog and MillyMoo, let alone Turdkey....

ashleigh said...

Milly, can you please email me (me at ashleigh dot id dot au)... I may have some info that is helpful to you... again, if you work where I think you work.

eleanor bloom said...

Well now. That sucks. But - as Davey has said - you will hopefully find something better.
Although, in the towers of academia (read any Pratchett? ie. the wizards' uni in Discworld; so spot on) there is always this shit going on it seems.
I hope you have a nice variety of choices before you and find something in which you'll be much, much happier and can thumb your nose at old bitchface... er, Bulldog.

And good luck with the tome!

eleanor bloom said...

PS - Bloody awesome writing too!

Rosanna said...

Millymoo, what an awful story (I mean, it's intelligent and witty and oh-so-lovely, but it doesn't have a happy ending for you!) - that is insanity.

But as someone much wiser than myself once said; power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

All the best with your job hunting... I hope the Bulldog is muzzled for good.

ashleigh said...

The bulldog won't be muzzled, she'll go on to eat other people. That's what bulldogs do.

Meanwhile, Millymoo is on "gardening leave" and polishing her prose.

I know who is on the side of the angels, though.

River said...

I read that Saturday article and wondered if that was your book mentioned. Then I skipped to the back pages to read the positions vacant, just in case my "perfect" job was waiting for me. Hope you find your perfect job too and sooner than me, cos I've still got mine Chaos, er, Coles.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Ashleigh, Rosanna and Eleanor

I appreciate your support and good vibes being flung my way in cyberspace. if only I can stop telling myself to add Bulldog's work email to a host of unspam-sounding religious nutbag mailing lists!

ashleigh said...

Oh no dont do that. Add it. Subscribe away!

Elisabeth said...

Your face book status says you have a new job, Kath, but this post suggests you've been sacked. I'm not sure of the order of these events. I hope the face book comment is most recent. It's hard to read between the lines, but it all sounds awful. I'm glad you're inspired to desire revenge. This writing fulfills that requirement. it's brilliant, Animal Farm revived. The pigs.

Kath Lockett said...

Fear not, dear Elisabeth - Bulldog did all this to me at the end of 2007. Despite her 'efforts', the Dummies book came out in 2008 and my writing career 'took off' in that tepid way that all freelance, 'I'm not a celebrity' writing careers take off. :)