Sunday, 1 June 2014


Being of an artistic bent (stop it), I've been useful over the years
to various people.  "Gordon, my boss/manager/teacher/pastor has
put me in charge of organising the advertising/posters/illustrations/
publicity for our upcoming jumble sale/Christmas party/school reunion/
rally and I thought of you.  Could you do me a banner/cartoon/diagram/
map to help raise people's awareness/interest/curiosity/attendance?"
 Then they call up another poor schmuck to talk them into doing some
other aspect of the task assigned to them, while they sit back and
take the credit for the fruits of other people's labour.

This chain of events usually operates in descending order, with
one person being assigned the task, who then asks someone else to
arrange it all, who then asks someone else for help in some area of said
task, who then asks various other people to do the actual work.  Too many
middle-men in my opinion.  The person who initiates the process should earn
their wage  by making themselves aware of exactly who can do the job re-
quired and contact them directly.  Then all the useless people whose only
area of expertise is knowing someone else capable of doing their work
for them could be eliminated from a needlessly long process.

Someone I know who works for a design/ad agency was
once tasked with thinking up a name for an in-house magazine for
one of their customers and asked me for ideas.  I thought for all of two
minutes before coming up with one that the person was delighted with.  I
was told later that the customer was also delighted, and no doubt lots of
cash changed hands.  I never saw a penny and received nary a thanks,
yet was given the distinct impression that I should regard my invita-
tion to 'participate' as being accorded a great honour.

Local government seems to operate on this principle.  Just
think of the dosh we would save taxpayers if we could eliminate
all the pointless levels of bureaucracy whose only purpose in the over-
all scheme of things is to get other people to do the job that they can't
do themselves.  It's the old, old story, I fear - 'too many Chiefs and
not enough Indians'.  Got any examples of such instances that
you'd care to share?  The comments section awaits.


Rip Jagger said...

You make a good point. It's an ongoing debate that I have with a friend of mine who looks at dysfunctional government and wants to wash all public service away rather than smartly reform the broken bits. Good government is a boon to average folk who forget that point when its goes awry which it most certainly can and does can without proper oversight and controls.

Rip Off

Kid said...

An interesting comment, Rip, and thanks for making it.

B Smith said...

"Could you do me a banner/cartoon/diagram/
map to help raise people's awareness/interest/curiosity/attendance?"

You forgot to add "Oh, go on, it'll only take you five minutes..."

Kid said...

Spot on, B - that's often what was said to me. After the buttering-up first, of course - "Gordon, you're really good at drawing and lettering, how'd you like to do me a little favour...?"

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I currently work for government so have to be careful in story telling - However, I can tell a story about a Dept I used to work for that no longer exists - I used to dabble in art and worked for a few marketing / advertising agency in my time and my manager noted this and asked if I could help him produce materials for a high profile conference on local business- so knowing the subject I prepared a set of (20) slides, a poster and a small print booklet ( set out like a newspaper - key to the conference subject) - The conference went ahead and was a success (we got a lot of business and good press out of it) - then a few months later I saw the slides and booklet on my managers desk, having I look at them again I noticed the manager had signed the slides with his name ( I never signed them) and took my name of the booklet as designer (ok a bit pretentious of me to add it as it was only 200 copies but I was only about 20 at the time) and replaced his name (for this booklet I added cartoons , write success stories etc) - he never officially told me this and I got no money for it or credit - then a few months later he came to me to say how well the conference went and that the slides went down a storm (kiv this was 1981 conferences in UK were flip charts if that)and that he had been asked to do more for a London event (he would chair)so didn't even ask just said "get on with it same as before please" I refused (it wasn't my job description and at that time in gov you could do that - now you'd be sacked) I can still see his face, it was priceless - he eventually got someone to do these for him from a private company and it cost quite a bit at that time (he then was told to pay for it himself) I left that dept soon after (thought it best he was not a happy bunny lol)

Kid said...

Fortunately. McScotty, I don't have to be so careful - your manager's a b*st*rd! All too common, I'm afraid. I'm just off in to Glasgow to stroll around the West End with my pal.

Colin Jones said...

I had various problems with bureaucracy in 2009 when my mother died. Her last three months were spent in a nursing home and when she died she hadn't received her final three months pension - but the DWP insisted it had been paid when it hadn't. Then they said she'd been overpaid by one week after her death and wanted me to pay the money back ! That turned out to be a mistake for which they apologised. On the other hand I was sent my mother's winter fuel allowance of £300 and so I phoned up to explain that she had died but they said they already knew that and they had to send it to me because she was entitled to it and I was her next of kin. So they sent out £300 to a woman they knew was dead and who'd been in a nursing home where she hadn't needed the winter fuel payment anyway ! And there are thousands of people in their 40s and 50s with conditions like arthritis who need the winter fuel payment but can't get it because they are not pensioners - yep, it's a crazy system.

Kid said...

Right, that's me back from Glasgow. There was some kind of festival in Gibson Street with stalls selling various things - felt sorry for them 'cos it was raining. McScotty, glad that your manager got his comeuppance. Makes you wonder how these people even get employed to start with as they seem to be completely useless at evgerything. (Apart from conning others into doing their work for them.)


I had a similar experience in the mid-'80s, Col. I was kiving down in Portsmouth and was receiving housing benefit to start with as I was just beginning my career in comics. When I told them I no longer needed benefit because I was now regularly working, they said they had to give it to me because I was entitled to it for that month. (It was about £90 or thereabouts.) I had to insist that I didn't want it and make a fuss before they gave in and cancelled the payment. Crazy, eh?

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I had a time with Virgin media when my mum passed - I contacted them a few months after I managed to sort things out and called to cancel my mums Virgin account - all they could do was try to sell me an extended package (after saying "do you have an account with us" - no "sorry to hear " etc just right down to business) very insensitive - plus they somehow managed to take over 5 months to pay back my mums overpayment of £60 (again of no interest to me its only money and not a big deal but you just know if you owed them that you'd get threatening letters to you after a week) and I had to find a shop to send the Virgin Box etc back to them (ok it would be sent back for free but in these cases your heads in the clouds without having to find these shops hidden in the back roads of some scheme) You may have guessed I do not like Virgin media at all lol - In my case I found the DWP and local council (South Lanarkshire) to be excellent (but understand others don't)and in the latter's case , the local offices staff to be exceptionally kind)- Darn I was in Town today (centre)was toying with staying on the train till Partick as well (any comics on sale) still got a nice UK "Ultimate Marvel Graphic Novel Collection" book Avengers "Birth of Ultron" fair impressed for £9,99

Kid said...

You're right, McScotty, all companies are interested in is money, and their condolences in situations like yours ring insincere and hollow. After the West End, we jumped along to the Barras, but it was deserted and closing - and it was only about 2.45 as well. I was looking for a stall that sells old comics and annuals, but could only find one with some annuals. Unfortunately, they were stacked in such a way that made seeing what was available almost impossible, so I didn't even try.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I was in the Barras last Sunday (first time in about 5 years) not what it used to be is it? - there used to be a Comic shop in the main "Marketland" area although their prices were not cheap - but that seems to have gone now - the only one I saw was the guy that's been there for years in the McIver's market section (he has annuals and some US comics none that are that old though) There are a few other places that sell books that have the odd comic but nothing special now - gone are the days of numerous comic shops and stall in the (geographical) Lanarkshire area - Plan B graphic novels has recently shut as well (although no wonder it was awful I have more stock than they did in my sock drawer)

Kid said...

It's certainly not the Barras I knew as a kid - it's kind of lost its shine. Still, my mate was well-pleased - he bought a new guitar from 'guitarguitar' up near the Tron before we hit the 'Rabs'. Don't know if you collect toys, McS, but have you been in Pippins along from where Krazy House used to be in the '70s? We were in there as well - it's got some nice collectables.

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