I was chatting to a bunch of drivers today. The talk was mainly about grievances they had with their company and how many issues needed to be addressed. However, after about 15 minutes a senior manager walked over, who hadn't heard any of the grumbling, and asked the drivers how everything was and if things were running smoothly. To a man they all smiled politely and said everything was fine and running well. To say I was a little surprised at that response is an understatement, and it got me thinking of how the conversation might have gone had the drivers mentioned everything they had been talking about. I was reminded of a sketch out of Monty Python's Life Of Brian, where John Cleese asks the Peoples Front of Judea "What have the Romans ever done for us", and then gets rather annoyed at all the achievements listed. If you haven't seen the sketch you can see it here.
So this is my adaptation of that sketch and how the conversation today might have gone....
"Hello, chaps, tell me honestly, how is everything - is it all running smoothly?"
"Well I don't know what my duties are next week yet."
"Ok well apart from not knowing your duties is everything running smoothly?"
"My bus had so many defects this morning I needed two defect cards."
"We're short of drivers again."
"The supervisor's blood pressure was so high I though he was having a heart attack." "Oh yes, Brutus, they never got that wound up in the old days."
"More drivers are leaving - even old Julius is leaving now."
"The rotas aren't working."
"Well of course the rotas aren't working - that goes without saying!"
"Passenger numbers are down." "Oh yes Tiberius, way down on 5 years ago."
"We never get the new buses."
"New timetables are terrible."
"Can never get on the right stand."
"Wages were wrong again this week."
"Alright but apart from not knowing your duties, defective buses, ranting supervisors, driver shortages, ineffective rotas, drivers leaving, less passengers, old buses, bad timetables, wrong bus stands and wages wrong is everything running smoothly?"
"Well I didn't have heating..."
"Oh heating - SHUT UP!!!!"