Corporate bored meeting this morning. As I came in I noticed that the director of finance was sitting next to the chief executive. This is always a bad sign.
They have revised the budget projections for next year in the light of the less than generous government settlement announced recently. It seems that further headcount reductions will be necessary. Then the good news - all directors will be eligible for early retirement.
"I brought a few application forms with me in case" began the director of HR, the rest was drowned out by the sound of chairs being kicked backwards and the grunts as we fought to get one of the forms from the limited stock available.
Mavis has some disturbing intelligence. "No chance of you getting it," she reported. "The chief executive certainly doesn't like you, but no one else would want to take over running our lot. Word is they will let go some non-entities, like the director of children's services, and give you that as well as IT."
"Of course it's nonsense, but it's what the chief executive is thinking, or so his PA says."
With the prospect of having to run the city's failing schools - which might even involve having to talk to teachers and, heaven preserve us, young persons - it has become essential that my early retirement application gets to the top of the list.
Mavis suggests that the only way to do that is to demonstrate "an even lower level of professional competence than normal".
Easier said than done. The chief executive and his cronies in HR are completely insulated from IT. The only way they judge me is how well dressed I am. I could adopt a less sharp dress style. A high price to pay, but it may be necessary.
I was for going to Oxfam, but Mavis said that was too salubrious, so we ended up in the Sally Army shop buying the most unpleasant attire available. As we left clutching our purchases, we bumped into the director of children's services coming in.
Left the Armani in the wardrobe and arrived for the corporate bored meeting dressed in a green check double-breasted suit with paint stains, filthy cotton shirt circa 1970, and a pair of blue loafers streaked with what I hoped was mud.
Unfortunately, I was not nearly as conspicuous as I had hoped. Seated to my left was our adult social care supremo dressed in pith helmet, ancient kaftan and pink sandals, and to my left, the chief accountant in a lime green loincloth.
This was first published in November 2007