September 10, 2005

My Week

This will not be a pointful post in any way. I have had no revelations or little cheering moments to tell you about. I did offer to help an old lady, who looked like she was going to collapse, on Monday morning, but she turned me down.
This week has been quite a lot busier than last week, which is good because although I enjoyed the peace of the empty office, and uninterrupted iPodding last week, I didn’t have enough work to do, and these days I feel guilty if I spend all day reading weblogs. There have been other people in the office this week, so I have had to be a little bit sociable [to the point where I suggested the collaborative ordering of pizza this lunchtime].
My usual working week includes a lot of email. In the morning there is a batch from the NJ and LA offices, which has been waiting overnight; and lots of enquiries from factories and suppliers in the Far East. The China offices close around lunchtime, but India stays open a little longer, and my clients in Europe are around for most of the day.
Every morning I do a search to see if there are any audit reports for my clients. These will have been QCd by our backoffice in India – not a replacement for any jobs in the UK or the US, but newly created roles that take some of the burden off us poor account managers. Their existence essentially means that I don’t have to check the report is correct, I just have to check that it’s all there, and that the english isn’t too wonky. If anything exciting has happened, such as the discovery of child labour, or a factory trying to bribe the auditor, I will already have been told about that on the day of the audit.
This week’s main project has been preparing for the SA8000 course I’m going on next week; this was twofold: reading a very long guidance document [174 pages, very small typeface], and unmaking and remaking my hotel arrangements, because my boss insists I take a laptop with me and check email/review reports in the evenings, therefore I have to stay somewhere with wireless internet. Well there’s not much else to do in The Hague, is there?
I’ve also been trying to keep one of my clients calm. She’s a very nervous type, and the inevitable bad reports that keep coming to her from the dark pits of Asia are frightening her into wishing she had never asked for the audits in the first place. Unfortunately some factories give more time and attention to the business of hoodwinking auditors than they would ever give to the paltry matter of paying the minimum wage or not requiring their staff to work more than 60 hours a week. In an interesting case of projection, the client blames the auditing company for the poor standards; but I’m afraid that if a factory doesn’t understand why it needs fire exits, then we really can’t offer anything positive except the suggestion that there is lots of potential for improvement.
Yesterday I had to escape early, because I could no longer stand my worried boss piling me up with spare leads for my borrowed laptop. She’s not usually so neurotic. I’m only going to Holland; I can pop back home in my lunch break if I’ve forgotten anything.