Invisible Stranger

Invisible Stranger

Collecting Crises on Old Compton Street and Beyond

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Little Tinker

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Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Review Of The Year
In this fed-up, run-down No-Man's Land between Ch**st**s and the New Year, when the Royal Institution Series of Lectures is the only telly worth setting the video for, I tend to go into work.

With hardly anyone in the office, I'm effectively being paid for sauntering in and doing sod-all. Anyway, if I stayed at home, I'd only end up going out every night, having such a cracking time that I'd hate myself in the cold goggle-eyed light of morning. Either that, or I'd be slashing a path, Terminator-style, through Oxford Street bargain-hunters, all of whom are incapable of walking in a straight line, and hurling the dawdlers amongst them right into the path of an oncoming 73 bus.

Having three days of no actual responsibility also means I can turn my mind to completing my annual appraisal form, a task that should have been started in October but isn't even contemplated until the last mince-pie and slurp of sherry have been consumed.

This yearly self-assessment requires me to rate my own performance at work over the past year. Lest any shy and self-effacing employee be stuck for ideas on what to say, there are handy hints on the form to guide you on your way to corporate and personal enlightenment.

The printed advice runs something like this:

"Are you our sort of employee who listens closely and intelligently to others' points of views? Or are you a self-opinionated and individualistic bastard convinced that, if everyone does it the right way (i.e. yours), then they will all save themselves truckloads of trauma, and, even better, you can be home in time for EastEnders?

"Do you have excellent inter-personal skills, standing rounds for your colleagues in the pub after work, thereby establishing a happy and effective group dynamic? Or would you prefer as a more pleasant alternative drinking a quart-full of elephant urine, being buggered senseless by a bunch of sex-starved, scab-encrusted nonagenarians, and then thrown into a pit full of angry anacondas?

"Are you comfortable with all the firm's electronic-data and telephonic systems, conversant with all current software packages, as well as being able to write Visual Basic code in your sleep? Or is your only acquaintance with IT the downloading of mucky pictures from Adult Premium-Rated sites, and a total inability to win even one game of Minesweeper?"

Well, what am I supposed to say? Tell them how fantastic and criminally underrated I really am, and everyone's going to think I'm lying or, at the very least, taking the piss, and there's no place in the company for someone that arrogant and self-obsessed anyway. And downplay my abilities just a fraction too much and that's when they are, in fact, going to believe me, and then the next thing you know it's a trip up to Mamma Boss for the P45, because who'd want to employ someone who knows how bad he is and hasn't done anything about it all year?

A happy medium is called for here, I suspect, something which I've never been particularly adept at. You know, this could turn out to be one of the biggest pieces of bullshit fiction I'll ever write. . .