My email to the ABC (about Rat from Bananas in Pyjamas)

 

Dear ABC,

This email started its life, many years ago, as the transcribed harrumphing of a Baby Boomer (in the body of a Millennial). I intended for it to be no longer than 75 words and for it to go no further than one of the world’s great galleries of inconsequential sourpussery:

Dear Green Guide,

I wrote,

I am concerned about a character on what must be the world’s most well-known and longest-running tropical fruit-based children’s programme. I’m referring, of course, to Bananas in Pyjamas. The character causing me this consternation is Rat. His behaviour seems often to stretch beyond roguishly slippery and moves into a territory I can only describe as odiously conniving. To give just a few examples…

Here is where I stopped because I found that the examples I was about to give were flimsy. They were scavenged from tattered memories I’d acquired by passing the TV and stopping for a minute or two to satiate my morbid curiosity. What I needed to do this subject justice was a carefully collated and shortlisted catalogue of incidents. 

So, over the next few months, I made a habit of sitting down with a pen and paper and watching Bananas in Pyjamas whenever my children were. And often when they weren’t.

The Haught guide to mystery shoppers

Many mystery shoppers wear hoods

Is mystery shopping a handy tool for monitoring and improving a company’s customer service or an insidious program aimed at scaring workers into decorous behaviour?

Have you ever been mystery shopped? That’s when someone interacts with you in your place of work either over the phone or in person, pretending to be a customer or potential client. They’re usually acting on behalf of your employer, in most cases through a specialist firm. They report back on things like your phone voice, whether you had Vegemite in the corners of your mouth, your odour and your overall manner.
Read the rest

The story of Eve: thank goodness for warm generosity in the cold world of work

I’ve been writing this blog for six and a half years. Over that time, I hope it’s become clear that it’s not actually written by an obnoxiously self-admiring fuckwit who receives hundreds of thousands of fan letters every day and truly believes the open letter is a practical and original way of shaming large corporations and effecting social change. (The clue has always been in the name. )

A fuckwit, maybe, but not that fuckwit. 

That person – that character – might have told you that he, and he alone, was responsible for his own success (no matter how small). He might have, on a particularly haughty day, asked you to believe that a person gets to where they are as part of the natural order of things.

He would be deluding himself and lying to you.

Is Mondayitis real?

Mondayitis.

Mondays. Unless you genuinely love your job, are a massive nerd or one of those evangelical Self-Motivators (“I will empower myself to start this week with AWESOME!”), Mondays can be troublesome.

But is Mondayitis an actual, serious psychophysiological illness or just a throwaway malady akin to man flu and hose buttock? To find out, I asked former GP and practising psychologist Dr Egan Patiens.… Read the rest

On being a strange generational hybrid

 

Regular readers will know, or have by now deduced, that I am in an existential crisis. I’m generationally awry.

I have the Birth Certificate, digital literacy and firm buttocks of a Generation Y, but the basic grammatical skills, suspicion of young people, latent revolutionary zeal and ever-present fear of imminent apocalypse of a Baby Boomer.

The Gen Y in me is impatient. But impatient for what the Boomer in me yearns for: a better, simpler, earlier time. Even though I’ve never experienced one.

I’m 33 and already a sort of strange quasi-reactionary, just without all the racism, desire for religious reverence or blatant misogyny. But I’m covering old ground here, so let me get to my point.… Read the rest

Regrets? Surely you have a few

NO REGRETS

Some people ask me while I’m signing autographs or they’re basking in the fresh-baked-bread warmth of my celebrity, “Jonathan, have you ever written something you wish you could take back?”

I always tell them “yes”, even though it’s patently untrue and every one of my pieces of work to date has, on any objective scale, been between an 8.5 and a 13 out of 10.

Why? Because you should never trust a person who doesn’t have any regrets.

I’m all for a bit of haught. I named my blog after it. I start most of my articles and many of my emails with it. I think a sprinkle of superciliousness is good for the soul. (It’s like nutmeg in that way.) But the philosophy of regretlessness is arrogance taken to a preposterous level, a level that not even I, with my weather balloon head and galactic ego, can empathise with.

The Haught guide to “too much information”

There’s an acronym doing the rounds on the interconnected network of digitised information at the moment. You might be familiar with it.

It’s TMI. It stands for “too much information”.

According to Urban Dictionary… actually, no I just checked and I can’t use any definitions from Urban Dictionary without risking losing the few remaining followers I have left.

TMI is generally used as a term of exasperation or disgust. It’s dispensed by a person burdened by the involuntarily role of listener. The recipient is a teller considered by the listener to have demonstrated the faultiness of an important biological filtration mechanism – the one that connects their brain to their mouth, thus:

“I just did a burp that tasted of a witch’s broth with a human foot in it. In a cauldron.”

“Oh. OK. Wow. TMI.”

The colleague who routinely discharges TMI is the most challenging of workplace obstacles.

The Haught guide to people who love drama

Drama

A little while ago a friend thought one of my articles was a pointed reference to his own behaviour.

It wasn’t.

This was just his own giant ego and tendency towards solipsism playing tricks with his very small mind. What a neurotic clown he was for making such an assumption; I would never besmirch his already grease-spattered reputation in print.

It got me thinking about how easily a misunderstanding can lead to offence and how convenient that can be for some, especially in the workplace.