Archive for January, 2008

Rogue Trader’s Performance Review

January 28th, 2008

Alleged rogue trader, Jerome Kerviel, is being investigated for fraud by police in France after supposedly losing €5 billion of Bank Societé Generale’s (his employer) money. It is important to note that no charges have been brought against him yet. Still, I wonder what his final performance appraisal might look like.

State your understanding of your main duties and responsibilities.
Eviscerate my employer, help plunge the world into recession.

Has the past year been good/bad/satisfactory or otherwise for you, and why?
2007 was full of learning opportunities and I am confident that I will take those exeriences forward and make myself a stronger, more effective employee.

What do you like and dislike about working for this organisation?
I like spending lots of money. Dislike having to do all that accounting stuff.

What elements of your job do you find most difficult?
Keeping track.

What elements of your job interest you the most, and least?
Spending money. Keeping account of it.

What do you consider to be your most important aims and tasks in the next year?
I would say my main aim for the next year is to keep my back to the wall in the shower block.

What action could be taken to improve your performance in your current position by you, and your boss?
Any action at all would be an improvement. Perhaps triggering an earthquake in downtown Paris?

What kind of work or job would you like to be doing in one/two/five years time?
I hope to work my way up to the post room or the library. Just as long as I’m not slopping out the latrines or the shower block.

What sort of training/experiences would benefit you in the next year? Not just job-skills – also your natural strengths and personal passions you’d like to develop – you and your work can benefit from these.
Any legal training at all would be useful. Running and hand-to-hand combat also spring to mind.

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Safe Sex in Barajas

January 15th, 2008

I was in Barajas Airport in Madrid yesterday when I had an urgent need for a pain-killer. I went to one of the shops and quickly scanned the shelves to see if they have pharmacy products. My eye fell on paper tissues and condoms, so I assumed they would have aspirin or something similar.

The shop assistant told me that you can’t buy pain-killers at Barajas Airport.

But you can buy condoms.

Clearly they think their passengers are more likely to get the horn than a headache.

My favourite time of the day

January 12th, 2008

My favourite time of the day is those few moments in the dark between my head hitting the pillow and falling asleep.

Because I have enough to eat (too much, in fact), clothes to wear and a roof over my head, those few moments are moments of security. Whatever trials the day has brought have passed and whatever tribulations tomorrow may bring have not yet come. For those few moments, I am my own man. Nothing is expected of me. There is nothing I am supposed to do but fall asleep.

In those few moments of comfort, in the darkness, it would make no difference if I were a billionaire or streetsweeper. In the darkness I would be able to see neither my wealth nor my lack of it. It would make no difference whether I had servants or cars or herds of race horses for I would not be able to see them nor touch them.

In those few moments, I no longer have to dance to avoid the clumsy feet of overly ambitious people, or often, simply insecure people. Those are equalising moments. Moments when the highness or lowness of my job title matter not. There is just my pillow, my covers, and me.

In those few moments, I am totally alone with myself, without the clamour of other people demanding attention. Those are the moments when I can think what I choose to think, not what other people want me to focus on.

In those few moments, there is no difference between the me I am now and the me I was forty years ago. My thoughts can be as trivial and as inconsequential and as fanciful as they were when I was a small child.

In those few moments, I am me.

Musing #25

January 11th, 2008

If there’s one thing I learned from the Batman, it’s that untreated schizophrenia can benefit society.

New polar bear test for Germany

January 10th, 2008

New polar bear test for Germany

I managed to get hold of a copy of the test (I had it translated from German)…


Please answer “Yes” or “No” to each question.

1. Are you white?

2. Is your hair transparent?

3. Is seal meat yummy?

4. Do you hang around villages in the summer, rummaging through the rubbish?

5. Are you fucking freezing?

If you answered “Yes” to questions 1 to 4 only, then you are a polar bear. If you gave any other combination of answers, please see one of the zoo’s counsellors.

A successful candidate sends a message to those who failed.  This candidate was subsequently found to have cheated.