I am a patient man. I always try to do what is asked of me with good grace, no matter how unreasonable the request may be. I am - I must add - also fairly philosophical about life's little setbacks, and tend to think that if it doesn't kill me or make me pregnant then it can't be so bad.
However, of late, I have been asked to carry out a task which is positively byzantine in its capacity to inflict suffering on the human psyche. What makes it so insufferably horrendous is that it WILL NOT GO AWAY. Usually, when shit happens, which it does with alarming frequency, a resolution (or not) is found, there is an element of navel-gazing, and we move on. But not in this case. Like an incarnation of Nosferatu, the damned thing will not lie down and take it like an, er, man.
I will essay a precis - if you will forgive my Frenchness - of the current situation.
I (along with many of my colleagues) have been asked to provide verification that every single employee on my estate (and I certainly do NOT mean to imply by that that I am landed gentry - in case you were wondering) is allowed to work in this sceptered isle. It has taught me that all immigrants have to jump through some hoops if they want to get on the books, and certain immigrants have to whistle dixie whilst balancing a kipper on the end of their nose and executing a perfect triple salko into the bargain. All so that they can be granted the privilege of pushing a mop around an office.
Like many things over the past few months, the project has been handled with a startling level of ineptitude. Nobody told us what was going on until we were already overdue for providing the information, and I have received requests for the same information - about the same people - on several occasions. The guy who runs the cleaning team has - to my certain knowledge - sent said information in some cases 5 or 6 times!
Needless to say, it goes down awfully well with the employees when they are told that their personal details - including copies of passports, bank details, NI numbers, etc., have simply vanished. It doesn't seem to make a difference if the documents are sent by snail mail or emailed, the next day I am guaranteed to receive a spreadsheet which tells me that they have not been received.
But what can you do? We are told that the Board are paying close attention to this particular fiasco, shit scared as they are of carrying the can for something. It is utterly soul destroying.