Towards the end of my three years with United Biscuits there was a proposal to move many of the staff from Ashby to Maidenhead. This would have involved moving from an area of relatively cheap housing to an area of very expensive housing so unsurprisingly many staff were less than thrilled at the prospect. Adding to the problems that this proposal would have created was the fact that many of the staff had partners who were also working in the Ashby area and a fair percentage also had children in the local schools. The financial and social implications of the proposal were enormous and in many cases any such move would have been quite impossible.
The explanation for this crazy suggestion was almost unbelievable. It seems that the newly appointed head of the Technical and Research Department lived – yes you have guessed it – near Maidenhead. It seems that because he didn’t want to up-route his family dozens of other families were going to be expected to face exactly what their new boss wasn’t prepared to do himself. Talk about selfish!
Predictably all sorts of other reasons were given for the move. The advantage and convenience for staff being located nearer to Heathrow Airport being one of more fatuous. Unfortunately I left before the issue was resolved so I don’t know if the wholesale movement of technical staff ever happened.
About a week before I left I was called into a meeting with my boss’s boss. He droned on for ages about some project that would have involved being based away from Ashby for months at a time. I sat there wondering why he was telling me all the details about the sacrifice that the chosen victim would be expected to make for the sake of the firm. Then he announced that following “numerous meetings” and “extensive consultation with my line manager” I was going to be expected to take on the role. His face when I told him that I was leaving the firm at the end of the following week was priceless.
Clearly the meetings with my line manager had never happened but why such a senior person chose to lie to me remains an unanswered mystery.