At the day job yesterday, I received a note requesting that I call a customer, who had not received the result of a search that they were expecting (the search had been completed on our computer system, so would have generated an automatic print-off at our central processing hub, somewhere else in the country). I called the customer, but the person who took my call said he was briefly out of the office, but would get him to call me back when he returned. I mentioned that I would be going home within 15 minutes and don't work on Wednesdays, so one of my colleagues might need to deal with it. To which this person (who didn't know me from Adam) commented "Ah, the joys of working for a Government department", to which I replied that, as a part-timer, I was paid accordingly. Without pausing for breath, he added "and a nice fat pension, to boot".
I guess it would have been futile to explain to this idiot that I worked part-time because I was trying to build a wine business and that - more often than not - I'm probably at home working late into the night, whilst he is sitting with his feet up (or out spending his expense account). Because, believe it or not, this man works for a bank. And we all know how tough the banking industry is having it, these days, after having brought the country (nay, the world) to the brink of financial meltdown through profligacy and greed. Of course, if I had expressed such an opinion to him as a retort, I would probably have been given a right royal rollocking for doing so. And anyway, I like to think that I wouldn't sink to the same level as this person, in making mileage out of such a generalised, blinkered viewpoint.
Nevertheless, this little episode left a pretty sour taste in the mouth, I can tell you. In the department I work for, we bend over backwards to offer a level of customer service which just might be unrivalled, certainly in any other Government department, and quite possibly anywhere else in the service industry. So much so that we have far too many people involved in management, or looking after the customer, or simply auditing what we do. I dare say that we probably even have auditors auditing the auditors. Which leaves far too few people to actually do the day-to-day "work". Under normal circumstances, I probably would have complained to our customer service department, having received such shabby treatment from one of our own customers, but I would have expected short shrift. Which depressed me even more, because it is bad enough working in a job I despise, for a salary which (contrary to poular opinion) is worth less each passing year, and for an organisation which (through its own profligacy and bad management) has engendered a level of demoralisation amongst its staff that I have never before witnessed.
Rant over. Back to wine. Who knows, one day I might be able to make a full-time living out of it!