Monday 23 January 2012

Appraise THIS!

Appraisal week is underway; most of the team members have had theirs and came out looking less pleased! I too have had mine and luckily for my line manager I happened to “meet expectations” nothing more, nothing less! Fucking jobs worths!

Other people have not been so lucky including those who have had two maternity leaves in one financial year (gestation of a monkey) and moonlight as a part-time grass.

For those of you not from the investment banking/Finance industry; the game goes something like this;
They work you hard all year (they block your blog, they give you a phone then record your conversations, they talk to you about objectives, motivation and assessments – none of my favourite words), then close to the end of the year they announce results, point some fingers, fire a few people and announce further bad news and budget cuts like no Christmas party and bonus pool to be reduced by 30%.
When appraisal time comes, they score you based on the last time you came in at 8.05 instead of 8.00 and on the last time you didn’t pay attention on a certain meeting, or where you could have made more efforts and have been more pro-active! So they mark you down to “below expectations”, which of course will be reflected on your already diminished bonus and you can forget about the pay rise.

Below expectations?? How about you kiss my ass?

Outrage and resignation reign, Patrick wants to change profession, he reckons opening a funeral parlour will be a sound investment, people will never fail to die he said, Marie vouched to become a call girl, “at least I’ll get laid” she said, Laurence dreams of owning his own catering business, to poison bankers he laughs but I know it’s because he loves to decorate cupcakes, of course I (wa a3oudou bellahi min kalimat I) just want to fly with the fairies and sing lalalalalaaaaaa denial!

Most people work for their monthly salaries, weekly wages, some work for tips, some for a commission, some for fame, we work for the yearly bonus.
When the situation gets to you’re lucky to even get one this year , then it’s time to rethink your career, unless you can swim upstream like a salmon.

Dz-chick….a very strong swimmer, I’ll have you know!

Wednesday 18 January 2012

What I wouldn't do for London!

This morning on the train journey to work, standing in between two armpits, dandruffed shoulders and someone who forgot to brush his teeth,  I stood breathing cautiously suppressing my gag reflex and waiting for the train to move after what seemed like an endless stop between stations, caused by some signal failure, fatality or severe weather conditions or whatever bullshit they feed us on a daily basis (I lost interest), my mind wondered from my interminable book which failed to grip my attention four weeks in, I thought about the upcoming summer Olympics and how many more armpits I could be under and uncontrollably mouthed under my breath “ well that’s gonna be something” causing some nervous shifting amongst passengers and some dandruff to snow on me – GAG!

The Capital has been gearing up for the most awaited (and dreaded) event of the year, undergoing a very costly makeover ever since the bid was won in 2005, major works were undertaken on Olympic and non-Olympic infrastructure such as the London underground, travel links, bridges, sewage, cycle highway (God bless Boris and his love for biking) etc... amounting to a colossal figure estimated at over £9.3 billion (in 2007) which kept going up every quarter, arguably, we cannot blame poor forecasting, budgeting, or bad management, in view of the Market situation and inflation in the building industry, with steel and cement prices going up etc…
And this is as far I would go to argue the London Olympics side.

London will be heaving this summer, millions of people are expected to flood the capital, driving Londoners away, most employers have issued new Olympic related policies, allowing holidays during the fortnight or working from home as a solution.

People with a business mind and flare for opportunity are busy finding ways to generate income and making the most of this long-awaited opportunity, whilst others like me are thinking of ways to escape the London underground and its sweaty armpits.  It is disappointing to see how an avid Olympic supporter like myself and many others are put off and are planning their escapes, leaving our athletes with less supporters, especially Algerian athletes who I hope will spot a couple of DZ flags flying about the stadiums IF anyone can get tickets or indeed be bothered to queue up to get into the arena.
Of course we are fed the Olympic legacy bullshit; Olympics leave a major sports legacy for the community etc..., let me tell you about the legacy we’ll be left with; Debts, Debts and white elephants, ladies and gentlemen.
I can’t exactly say “there’s always next year” can I? We may never get to host the games again and let’s face it Algeria is not the best candidate out there to host the event, so for a HUGE Olympics buff like myself, I am going to grin and bare it, because I love London and having the Olympics at my doorstep makes me proud to be a Londoner.
But here’s a thought: Anyone knows where the Olympic flame is and if still burning? And If yes, who’s paying for the fuel?

Dz-Chick….Get your Union Jacks and your Sandjaks!

Sandjak  =  Old Ottoman name for Flag = used in Dz dialect to refer to the Algerian flag (anyone has a name for the DZ flag?)

Wednesday 11 January 2012


When you have two weeks holiday and you’re broke, where do you go?
To the bank of mum and dad.

My old room no longer exists; I had to sleep in the spare room!! I was woken up by someone snoring on the bed next to me, assuming it was my sister; I ignored it until come morning I found the next bed empty! When I told my mum she smiled and told me it was nothing to worry about! Spooky!

Ghosts apart, I planned to have two uneventful weeks in Algeria, just sleep, eat, relax and try not to pile on the weight.

My friend Reda and his friend Fifi (short for Malika – whaaa?) suggested we watch a movie, aired by the Chrysalide Ciné Club, entitled Normal by Merzak Allouache, it talks about the disillusion of the Algerian people, exposes corruption and bureaucracy, and it was playing at the local cinema in Ryad el Feth, happy days!

Weather was nice, sun was shining, dust flying, my black shoes look now beige, Fifi is driving, quick introductions, Fifi talks fast and non stop, she drives without really looking at the road, she incessantly touches her hair and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world, I envy her happiness, lightness and non-OCD behaviour!

The old banger (the car not the girl) looks like it belongs in the museum, yet Fifi is talking about buying an AUDI A3, she doesn’t stop, rants, cries, the equivalent of £23,000 in cash are ready for the transaction she says, we can’t get hold of the lady selling it, the girl brakes down in tears “I am so unlucky, why is my luck so shit”, she doesn’t fail to mention that she lives on her own and what she does for a living to remind me that she’s not totally vacuous…
Whatever made you think I am interested honey, I am only here for the weather.

Traffic is heavy, after what felt like an eternity of inhaling fumes, we make it to the origin of the problem, I felt privileged, how many times do you ever get to the origin of traffic congestion?
Riots break out in the neighbourhood!
Inhabitants of the popular area of Salembier are rising up against the social re-housing procedures and the shortages of social housing, the social estate of Salembier was being moved somewhere else to make room for more business centres with glass facades presumably and revenue making commercial properties, but the future-ex-tenants are the last to know, I feel sorry for them, “yes but they’re getting properties for free” Reda notes but they riot because they want a three bedroom not a two, because they have seven children and no jobs! Fifi baffled “what the hell are you doing making seven children when you don’t have a job?” but she quickly remembers her own problems “I am so unlucky” she says, “why does everything happen to me”.

Roads are barricaded with tyres and bricks, riot police stopped traffic, we’re in it, Fifi driving and still moaning about her bad luck, she can’t get the car she wants, her mattress is uncomfortable from so much dosh stashed in it, she touches her hair every other sentence, she hits a motorbike, the biker and his passenger get stuck between the old banger and another older banger (Algeria is the open air museum of automobile antiquities), he punctures her freaking tyre with his something or rather, he apologised, huh? Yeah apparently it was his fault! Whatever, I don’t care whose’ fault it is, I just want to get off the death mobile.
Traffic comes to a halt, people get off their cars and start trying to entangle the motorbike from the old banger, the motobike drivers’ leg is stuck, he’s screaming, the old banger is worried about her car, she’s screaming at him; she almost slaps his leg because it’s in the way of her life! by now five cars in each direction are empty, they’re all around us trying to shift the car with me still in it.
We manage to free the leg (big thighs), the tyre is sliced open, I am scared of Fifi and make myself scarce in the back of the old banger (not an easy job I tell you), we hobble to the nearest vulcanisator, she’s still ranting about her damn Audi A3, “I am so unlucky” she cries, of course all I cared about was not missing the movie.
“When the tyre is fixed, we’re going to get my Audi”

Movie cancelled, no one can get through to the cinema, but Reda promises we’ll watch it before I leave…
When your tyre is fixed, I want to go home please and thanks, as for the movie, frankly, Merzak Allouache eat your heart out, you might have filmed it, but I just lived it.

Dz-Chick…can’t wait to move back to Algeria!

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