Redundancy Olympics

Written By: anonymous - Oct• 29•12

Now that she has competition, Melinda really goes for gold in her quest to for redundancy: no typing is left intelligible; no filing complete; no message decipherable. She is Olympic Champion of shirking; skiving and malingering. I find myself oddly impressed by her efforts. It takes a Herculean degree of determination to be even more useless than she already is. In fact, I am almost tempted to congratulate her on her efforts (although I don’t; as she doesn’t need to know that I am whole-heartedly backing her campaign; at least not yet. Not that she is makes much of a secret of her campaign, aside from a few, half-hearted, attempts to speak quietly, or in code, it seems to be the main topic of conversation in the typing pool).

“What are you gonna do with the redundancy if you get it?” Danielle hisses to Lynnette.

“A new kitchen,” she tells her. “And a Caribbean cruise.”

“Are you mental?” she scoffs, “You might get a new cooker and fortnight in Benidorm, if you’re lucky.”

Lynnette frowns. “Do you think so?”

Danielle nods. “If they were planning to make it that good we’d all be queuing up to take it.”

This perturbs Lynnette; she takes a bite of her doughnut and wonders aloud if it is too late to pull out?

Danielle shrugs. “Ask em.”

“I might.” She takes another bite in contemplation. “I really fancied Barbados…..”

“What about you?” Danielle turns to her Melinda (who is staring absently at an expense form). “What are you gonna do with your winnings? Open a donkey sanctuary? Buy a yacht? Get your arse lifted to match your boobs?”

I half expect this to start another secretarial slanging match (or worse, a fight) but, to my surprise, Melinda barely reacts; she simply raises an eyebrow and smiles enigmatically. “I have ideas……”

“Oh yeah?” Danielle challenges.


They stare at one another for a moment. Melinda smiles again.

“Well, I suppose there’s a first time for everything!” Danielle laughs.


Melinda’s behaviour is so strange and out of character that I decide to summon her into my office for a chat.

“Is everything all right?” I say, with casual concern.

“Fine,” she nods.

“Oh?” I say, “I see; only you seem to be a little distracted at the moment.”

“No, I’m not,” she shakes her head. “I’m just fed up with working next to those losers out there. I’m trying to rise above them; that’s all.”

“Very admirable,” I agree. “But your work has been a bit hit and miss this week.”

“Has it?” She seems pleased to hear this.

“Yes. So, I just thought that I should check that everything is ok. I know secretarial manoeuvres can be unsettling.”

I shoot her a knowing look; now is her chance to confide in me; to tell me her redundancy plans. But she just shrugs and says she, “would welcome a change of scenery, if it meant escaping those two nasty old witches.”

“Well, be careful what you wish for,” I advise.

“Ok,” she nods, “Can I take an early lunch?”


I let her go and call Veronica.

“Hello, you have reached Veronica’s phone. Veronica is not here at the moment, but do please leave a message for her and she will endeavour to call you back as soon as she is physically able to do so!”

I leave a message (in similarly gushing tones) and a few moments later I’m rewarded with a return call from the lady herself.

“Helen my dear! Lovely to hear from you. I hope everything is well?”

Why do I always feel like a Sunday school pupil when she addresses me?

“I was just wondering what was happening about Melinda.” I tell her.


“My secretary.”

“Oh yes!” she laughs. “Sorry! I’ve been really busy interviewing trainee applicants this morning.” No wonder we never get any decent candidates.

“What’s happening with the redundancy programme?” I persist.

“Oh, that!” Yes that. “Caroline doesn’t want any fee earner to feel concerned about the re-co-ordination of support assistance; your needs will be fully catered for….”

This has an air of rehearsal about it, which irritates me.

“I’m not remotely concerned about the ‘re-co-ordination of support assistance’,” I snap. ”I just want to know if she is leaving or not.”

“Oh! I don’t know. I’ll have to ask Caroline.”

She calls back twenty minutes later to tell me that the decision is being made next week; so difficult a choice it is it requires ‘a top level meeting of Department Heads’ (ie The Boss and Caroline, eating biscuits and pretending to agonise over the options of three averagely useless and one spectacularly useless secretaries.)  Can’t wait to see what they decide.



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