first_img Previous Article Next Article This week’s guruPortillo checks out working at AsdaGuru was interested to hear that former Conservative leadership candidateand MP for Kensington and Chelsea Michael Portillo has swapped his Westminsteroffice for a supermarket checkout. He is serving customers, tidying up and putting security tags on clothing aspart of a BBC documentary in which the MP takes on the life of a single workingparent for a week. He has swapped his multi-million pound home and moved into a small terracedhouse in the working class suburb of Seacombe, Merseyside. Portillo was said to be “revelling” in his new role behind theclothes counter at Asda. However, Guru suspects that the right-wing MP haslittle commitment to his new job and is more likely to be grooming hisman-of-the-people image before making a fresh leadership challenge. Burning issue of sick excuses Guru has been impressed with the quality of workplace excuses he has beensent, following his article on the New York city trader caught insider dealingwho claimed he was a time traveller from 200 years in the future. HR manager Jane Boyd phoned her boss to say: “Hi Linda, sorry thecareer development report isn’t on your desk today as promised, but I gavebirth yesterday so I didn’t get time to do it.” Senior HR officer Richard reminded his boss that he had been following hisspecific instructions after being ‘roasted’ for ‘failings’ on a project.”So it is the old adage of doing as I’m told,” he said. Tony Day was on the receiving end of a particularly painful-sounding excuse.He was in charge of a smelting furnace in Zambia as an undergraduate, when hereceived a letter from one of the furnace operatives stating that he couldn’tcome to work because: “My testicles have been paining me and I cannotstand on them.” Guru’s favourite was from HR adviser Maria, who received a self-certificatewhich gave the reason for absence as “I got stuck in a sunbed”.According to Maria, the lady in question claimed to have fallen asleep on asunbed and became so dehydrated that, on awakening, she was unable to move,leading to severe sunstroke. Friend of the stars thrills with frills In last week’s issue, Guru thrilled his disciples with an account of hismeeting with England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson’s charismaticright-hand man Tord Grip. This week, Guru can’t resist boasting again about his new-found life sharingthe celebrity spotlight. His most recent ‘celebrity’ friend is none other thanpop diva Ms Dynamite. OK, maybe friend might be over-egging the pudding, but they did both attendthe Commission for Racial Equality Race in the Media Awards where PersonnelToday won the specialist magazine award for its Refugees in Employment Campaign(see page 3). Guru is sure that Ms Dynamite kept staring at him during the posh do at theSavoy, although that could have been because of his frilly cerise dress shirtthat always draws admiring glances. Boss takes all on a summer holiday This week, the TUC complained that the UK is the only country in the EUwhere employers can include bank holidays as part of the statutory minimum fourweeks holiday. However, furniture company Durham Pine has gone to the opposite extreme.Owner John Marshall, is so grateful to his staff for helping the company post a£2m profit, that he is paying a reported £200,000 to take at least 119 staff –as well as their partners, children and friends – on a week-long holiday toMajorca this summer. Staff will be on full pay during the holiday and the break won’t be deductedfrom their annual holiday entitlement. Guru pointed out the obvious benefits ofsuch a holiday scheme to his MD in terms of morale, commitment andteam-building – but he wasn’t buying. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. GuruOn 22 Apr 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more