Saturday, October 13, 2007

Running On Empty

Is this the most boring email ever to grace an inbox?


In a situation where:

* we have been to the RailCorp panels of professional services providers (P07001 - P07005) to secure a Type 1 professional services resource but have been unsuccessful, and

* we now propose to go to the State Procurement 881 panel,

do we need to prepare a separate submission for approval to invite a tender from the 881 panel or will it be sufficient to go straight to the 881 panel explain and explain this in the submission for approval to award the contract?


I don't know who Peter is, but he sounds like a lot of fun. Yes, never a dull moment with the P-Meister. He is Krazy. Yes, Krazy with a "K".

Every now and again, despite his wife's advice, he wears his navy tie, not with his navy suit, but with his cornflower blue suit. What a rebel. And sometimes on his way to work, he plays his INXS CD out of sequence - just to mix it up. Man, someone stop that guy - he's out of control.

This place continues to amuse me. The last thing I want to do is come across as snide or unjustifiably vindictive, but I there's something amiss here. I could be afflicted by a terrible naivety, but I just don't know if what these people do has any point to it. Well, it has a point in that it buys them a cornflower blue suit, and pays the Foxtel bill, but I mean what does it actually do?

Most of these people are contractors, hired management consultants who sit in silence, all day, updating documents, chuntering in a subdued yet overly-businesslike fashion down mobile phones which, incidentally, double as PCs, cameras and TV remote controls.

Listening in on their conversations and talking to them about their tasks, it almost seems as if they are trying to build some kind of castle from thin air, vaguely waving their arms about as they direct where the invisible bricks should go. And to the casual observer, the result is a still an empty plot of land. I'm reminded of a famous Goon Show sketch where, whilst in the desert, Eccles, Neddy and Bloodnok encounter a house which they find to be mirage, only to see Eccles fall out of the sky, remarking "I went upstairs".

Was that a useful analogy? Probably not. But, in short then, I am saying that any minute now I expect people to start falling from the sky, realising their job doesn't consist of anything tangible; nothing they can hold, see or touch. Today's charts relay and condense the results of the last set of charts, which were in fact a forecast of what was to be in today's charts, anyway. This spreadsheet is a spreadsheet about other spreadsheets, all of which referenced this spreadsheet. "Maybe we should touch base and have a discussion about what needs to be discussed next time we discuss how previous discussions have gone"; "We're currently undertaking a Stage 2 feasibility study to discover whether the Project Management Team can effectively forecast for Contingency Budgeting, so we can go straight ahead with implementing a Solutions Matrix to address the issues raised in the Test Summary Report. I think you'll agree, that's pretty exciting. Also my wife's left me and I feel so alone....".

The whole thing is so circuitous, so self-referencing, so tautological that you wonder if any work has any influence on anything in the real world. Like a self-contained, Mobius-strip-shaped little universe or a snake eating its own tail, until it feeds itself into nothing.

Yes, I worked in the advertising industry, which is not exactly the most laudable of professions, but the end result was for all to witness; on TV, on the radio, in a magazine, on the internet. And I'm not knocking them . They have kids to feed and Audi's to fuel, but I remain fascinated by the fact that what they do is so artificial, so invisible, so ethereal that no one has ever noticed their output doesn't actually consist of anything.

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