Posted by: seasonaire | September 19, 2013

How to Run a Race

Considering the clusterfuck I was facing when I walked into the office, the actual event did not turn out quite as horrendous as I originally expected. There is something rather prophetic about this particular event, a large scale bike race, as one had been the cause of my last disagreement resulting in unemployment – I would have been fired, had I not already been coming to the end of my probationary period.

As mentioned in the previous post (now in temporary limbo until I get paid), on this particular job, I somehow managed to get myself fired and reinstated several times on my first day. Hardly auspicious, but, for want of a less cheesy analogy, I possess a rather Marmite-like quality. I like to think it has something to do with my very-keen-but-often-quite-late bullshit radar (i.e. I am basically smarter than them), but more likely it is because I can be a sarky little bitch who does not suffer fools gladly. Believe me, many of the people I seem to come across in the promo and events industries are fools of the highest calibre.

In any case, the race in question needed to be staffed, staff needed to be distributed and then collected from the furthest reaches of Surrey, in London terms, Zones 1-46 were to be covered by a rag-tag bunch of about 120 unemployed Londoners in polyethene ponchos. Selection for this task was largely not my problem, but logistics was. The original idea, so laughably expensive it is worth mentioning, was to use taxis to drop aforementioned rag-tag bunch off and then to collect them at the end of the day. Effective – yes, cost effective -no. The nominal transport budget being about 300 quid, I calculated that approximately 12 stewards could be delivered using this method (but not retrieved), leaving maybe 110 still in the office in central London, and 12 soggy stewards stranded in the Surrey countryside.

For some reason it seemed difficult to get approval for method number two, rent a couple of minibuses for steward delivery and collection. I would have thought that the guy in charge of the event would have had some budgetary control, but micromanagement prevailed, with the owner of the company having to consider and approve every financial transaction personally, despite never being in the office. I would like to think that if I owned a company, I would have hired staff trustworthy and with-it enough that I felt comfortable to let them control their own budgets, but maybe fuckwits are cheaper, who knows?

Unbelievably, on the day of the event, somehow at least 100 stewards managed to turn up at our office before 7am on a Sunday – a miracle of near-Biblical proportions in my estimation. This meant I had plenty of people to deliver, and got to spend an hour or so on each delivery not being able to answer the endless questions on exactly how and when people would get paid, all the while lamenting that I was being paid not much more than the most dribbling of the idiots I was ditching in the countryside, and considerably less than the so-called Team Leaders. On the subject of which, during the recruitment process, we had somehow managed to confuse enthusiasm for competence, and had landed ourselves with some of the most spectacularly clueless Team Leaders the world has ever seen. I am deeply ashamed of this fact, but unfortunately, with the pressure on, and the original crew dropping like flies, we had to appoint someone, and appoint them fast. I never said my HR skills were impeccable.

So, we were off, the race against the bikes had begun. Getting this lot into position would be a doddle after the mission to get them to the office….




  1. […] is, that these people are really good at what they do. Most people outside of the fold seem to think we are all just a bunch of stoners in a field. I am not going to deny, that most people working in an industry specifically geared to showing […]

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