Anyhow, despite that, I did manage to take myself off to a lovely spa here on Lake Geneva last Sunday. For Christmas, my youngest and his girlfriend had given me an entry voucher with "hammam" circuit included and when I realized it was about to expire in November I thought I had better get a move on. I had never been to this spa as it is relatively new but what a lovely time I had. The "public" part was a bit dark for my taste but after the first hour, when I got on the hammam circuit it was much lighter and less crowded. I did the jacuzzi, friction rub room, steam room and then headed off for a 50-minute massage which I decided to treat myself to. Gosh it's been ages since I had a massage and I felt so good afterwards - all soft and wobbly (well "wobblier" really). Not a pretty site in a bikini but ..... And of course, as someone who wasn't brought up in the lap of luxury, a bit of luxury treatment feels like dying and going to heaven.
|The view from the rooftop pool over Lake Geneva|
And I definitely loved the Moroccan theme inside - the exotic lamps hanging low and the beautiful metal-work tea tables. Think I might look out for something like that for my back terrace in the summer!
As I was saying, I am really busy at the moment and have worked late hours most of the past two weeks. The other night, however, I did get to watch a couple of documentaries that I thought were really interesting. The first was on the night of Halloween so I never got to watch the whole thing uninterrupted, but it did give food for thought. It was called something like "Who's spending the UK's billions", and was an investigative documentary into how much money was being paid to consultancy firms in times of austerity to have them show you how to save money!!! Madness right! The one part I did catch was in a small town in Wales where the local council spent millions on a consultancy company to show them how to cut back. At least the lady Councillor had the balls to appear on TV (before storming off in a huff when the interviewer asked her to justify this spending on consultants when people were being laid off). Another glaring example was a consultancy firm being paid UK£ 60 million (I think that was the figure - as I say running back and forth handing out Halloween candy didn't help) by the NHS (the UK National Health Service) to show them how to save money!!!! The NHS is stretched incredibly thin and deserve better considering the wonderful work they do. When the interviewer pointed out that the £60 million paid to the consultants would have kept two small hospitals functioning for a year, the interviewee squirmed and tried to waffle his way out of it.
Anyway, don't talk to me about "efficiency" consultants. Sorry but I think 99% of it is a crock of shit and they just have their noses in the trough. I mean, how many of us have been on "team building" days out, tearing through the flip charts, and come away with bugger all at the end of it. One lunatic that we had got our boss to have us set up a kind of "chat forum" between us (all 25 of us!!!) so that we could share information we needed for our work. We somehow always managed to share that information at the coffee machine or at the photocopier before - we didn't need to pay some consultant $2,000 a day to come up with that brainwave, all the more since his brainchild lasted about three weeks before we went back to meeting at the coffee machine! And if you remember I talked in a previous post about the psycho boss we had a few years ago - it seems a bit telling that the first consultant we hired after she joined us turned out to be the first referee on said psycho's job application. A case of you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours eh?
The second documentary was called "Saving Lives at Sea" and follows the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) on their call outs. While the RNLI are a charity they refuse government funding as they want to run their organization as they see fit. So all the staff are volunteers and the RNLI is self-funded. I regularly give to charity but have this daydream of winning a largish amount on the lottery and sending them £1 million, as they would be top of my list (I have a list of about five favourite charities). They do an amazing job and are remarkably non-judgmental when they end up having to save idiots from themselves out at sea.
After the "Mousehole" tragedy of the Penlee Lifeboat in December 1981, where all eight volunteer crewmen drowned, I have a very soft spot for the RNLI. Here's hoping I get the next big win on the lottery then - I don't need much but would have great pleasure giving it away!
And finally, I have just started reading a book by the late comedian Kenneth Williams called Acid Drops. "Acid drops" are what you might call put-downs or pithy little retorts, and Williams was known for them. I wasn't a great fan of his and while the book is ok I feel it is a somewhat contrived collection of snide comments, put-downs and so on. Of course I guess most people have heard of Churchill's put down of Lady Astor.
Lady Astor - "Mr. Churchill, it would seem to me that you are drunk"!
Churchill - "Madam, I may be drunk but you are ugly and tomorrow I will be sober ...."!
I agree about the consultancy. My old boss went on to do consultant work. He's great at it because he can spin and write a load of crap and it sounds like he knows what he is talking about. My current boss, when she first started would read some of his letters to our bank about our company "state of affairs" type of stuff and she's just shake her head and was like "what was he even saying?" LOL. Then our current management recently hired a consultant. oh boy, now we have to "re-brand" our company. Glad the consultant is making money....ReplyDelete
Uurgh "re-brand" - another buzz word I hate. Oddly enough, when Psycho came as the new HR boss we got re-branded and all had to be polyvalent - know everything about everything - instead of each having our own speciality. Last week (and 10 years after being "re-branded") HR moved back to the old specialized employees. Much more efficient and user-friendly}Delete
We are Sales Consultants who get paid to help people make money but I completely agree it is bonkers to pay someone money on how to save, just ask the employees and they could very quickly tell you in any organization, government or otherwise.ReplyDelete
I didn't meant to offend all consultants of course, but like you say, ask the employees, rather than pay some consulting firm ridiculous amounts of money to "guess" where you could save money (they usually get it wrong because they don't know the company like the employees do). My dad used to work at Land Rover and they had suggestion boxes. If your suggestion was implemented you got money as a bonus. I believe he got one once. I mean, seriously, you need to go straight to the horse's mouth don't you!Delete
Oh consultants. The start to the end of my last job. Apparently a 19 year record of high achieving and positive results can be wiped out with a strangers flippant view of the right organizational structure.ReplyDelete
Yep, and don't you just love the "I can't believe you guys have been working like this all this time"! We had an excellent reputation in HR for being efficient and friendly - all that went down the tubes when we were "re-branded" by Pscho's buddy consultant!Delete
Oh much god, the spa looks divine!ReplyDelete
As to consultants being engaged by governments, it often seems a case of jobs for mates! And a questionable cost efficiency. There's a very popular TV satire here in Australia, Utopia, set in a government department. It's so close to the truth, it makes everyone cringe and think the writers must have worked in government jobs.
Jobs for mates is spot on isn't it. We have employed some very good IT consultants and so on and I really have no problem with them, but these "re-branders" .... God, noses in the trough all of them. It makes you wonder why we don't "man the barricades" and put a stop to it doesn't it.Delete