Friday, 5 February 2010

The Burn Book

Oh dear - I have to come clean about this one.

I have something in my possession that isn't very nice at all, and as someone who always tries to "do as you would be done by" I feel this is going to be a little bit of karma just waiting to come back on me. But for all I try to stop keeping it, I find it funny to read back over the years about the people who have infuriated me.

The idea for calling it "The Burn Book" came from the film "Mean Girls" - but the idea to have something like this came from my all time favourite film "The Quiet Man". And I used to call it "My Quiet Vent Book"

The large gentleman shaking John Waynes hand in the still above was the character Squire "Red" Will Danaher. And Red Will kept a book. If you did something to offend him, to annoy him, or just because he didnt like your face, your name went into the book. And if you had REALLY done something to anger him, he got his sidekick to strike a line through the name and then would yell out "Aha - death for him".

Obviously I dont wish death upon anyone - and I dont actually think Squire Danaher did either. But I found the idea of having such a book hilarious, and so started off my own version in 1988 (dear God - that's 22 years ago, where has the time gone???).

I found my "Burn Book" on Monday night when I was unpacking some boxes and I sat here reading it and laughing until I cried at some of the stupid things I had written.

Entry number one was:

"Sylvia Barlow - boss and witch. How much filing does she expect one person to do in a day? As if I am paid enough. If I get one more box of P45's dumped on my desk I'll feed them to her"

2 years later in 1990 the same person was obviously still being a big meany:

"Sylvia Barlow - I am sure the devil has taken a human form"

My reasoning at the time was rather than vent at people who upset me, and potentially causing arguements, I would vent in my book and let it all out on the pages that nobody would ever see.

I actually dont like confrontations - although I do stand up for myself and have the skill (or should that be a bad habit??) of always having an answer for everything, and delivering it with conviction (even if Im wrong, it sounds as though I am right).
And reading my Burn Book the other night made me realise (in hindsight) how very very petty some things are that make us angry, but we feel so justified about them when they are fresh.

It seems so funny that I was so upset with my old boss, that I had to put her name in my book because she was (in my mind) being incredibly unfair. Was I really so angry with her for giving me too much work to do? These days if that happens I just say "Sorry - Im snowed under at the moment so if it can wait I will do it when I've worked through the priority stuff - if not, you'll need to find someone else to sort it for you".... or I do that incredibly fashionable thing of "delegating" to one of the juniors.

Back then I would steam about something like that for hours. These days I'm far more easy going.

Although having said that, the last entry into the Burn Book was in October 2009 and is as follows:

"BT, all their employees, managing directors, anyone remotely associated with them, and their contract engineers. One phone call to India to report a fault on my line and they have cancelled my phone line and broadband. 7 phone calls later the muppet at the other end of the phone (this time in Scotland) managed to advise me that the "wrong order had been made".... I presume that means somebody either didnt understand me or pressed the wrong button. And now have been advised it will be up to 21 days before they can get the line back on again. Arrrgggggggggghhhhh!!!!!! Customer Service? Shoot them all!"

Maybe I haven't mellowed with age after all.