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Posted: August 13th, 2004, by Chris S

I nearly sent this email earlier to my boss. I still may.


In view of the number of layabout student types across the Company, I would like to take this opportunity to remind all Finance staff of the ‘Acting like a student’ policy. I have attached a copy of the policy below and would request that you all familiarise yourselves with the specific detail, and I would draw your attention to some key areas:

1. Dress

All temporary workers should be aware that the business expects you to spend all available monies (and also a large percentage of “non available” monies; for example any loans or overdrafts that are in place or could be put in place) on suitable business attire.

You should all be aware that monitoring of dress takes place and dressing in a suit with a tie and posh little cufflinks avoids any doubt and misunderstanding. Please note as well that hairstyle is considered a part of “dress”. “Dreadlocks” are not acceptable and though we cannot suspend a member of temporary staff for having them we will make snidey comments and generally behave with a level of prejudice that if it were racial would see us at an industrial tribunal until said member of temporary staff reverts to something less “studenty”. Beards and the subtle beginning of a beard are also seen as being representative of a lack of drive, direction and work ethic within temporary employees.

Please note these rules do not apply to permanent members of staff whose only dress regulation is that their parts are covered up in the working day and any sacks that are worn are of hessian rather than paper for environmental reasons. This is because their commitment to the company is under no suspicion whereas the temporary worker is always being shifty, not doing work, smoking and stealing Tipp Ex from the stationary cupboard.

2. Use of e-mail and internet

The same principles apply. Personal e-mails are permitted before and after your working day and during lunch breaks. In addition to others contained in the policy, sending or forwarding any non-business e-mails that you create during work time either internally or externally is specifically prohibited. The terms “personal”and “non-business” are kept deliberately vague so as to be allowed to be used if we ever give you a permanent contract and then decide to fire you for fun and can’t find any other grounds to do so.

Temporary workers are not allowed to access the internet at all. Again, these rules do not apply to permanent members of staff who can send jokey little quips to their hearts content and even check out what certain aeroplane dashboards look like online instead of doing anything resembling work.

3. Timekeeping

It has been brought to the managements attention that a few members of staff are abusing the length of the working day by shifting it anything up to 12 minutes in one direction. This was acceptable but now is no longer so. We understand that temporary employees signed a contract allowing them a certain degree of flexibility in their start and finish times within a window of an hour between 8am and 9am.

We are ignoring this.

We feel that this freedom has led to an increase in a “student type attitude”. We define this as a general feeling of being quite relaxed about coming to a job you utterly detest. This is not acceptable. In every aspect this job must and will grind you down.

Again, permanent members of staff can wing in when they feel like it, take an extended lunch to buy shoes in town or leave early to watch the football at whim.

It has been asked whether (COMPANY NAME WITHHELD) expects its temporary members of staff to behave like permanent members of staff with no incentive, less pay and no job security. The answer to this is “yes”.

4. Chatting at work and generally having a laugh (includes phones)

Temporary employees are not allowed to use the telephones for personal calls. We understand the very nature of being a temp is that you have other conflicting demands on your time and that in some cases you will be looking for work outside of the company and so communication via telephone, mobile phone and email is of paramount importance.

We are ignoring this.

This extends to chatting while at work. We do allow the temporary member of staff to engage in conversation but only with full time members of staff and only about football.

We feel chatting or generally holding on to any sliver of personality you may have come into the job with is wholly unacceptable. At (COMPANY NAME WITHHELD) you will only discuss (COMPANY NAME WITHHELD) as though you have any job prospects and security which, may we remind you, you do not.

5. Kicking stones around near the smoking shed

Just don’t. We haven’t worked out what’s bad about it yet but we saw 2 of you smiling out there and smiling is what students do. So forget it.

6. Having ideas that may benefit the company (“Creative thinking”)

This is a complex issue. While we like to cultivate the feeling that your views are valued and that you could have an influence on the way things work we don’t actually want you to do this.

You are a temporary worker, or a “student” as we prefer to call you and therefore you are unintelligent (this means you are not clever). Because you still allow your brain to be open to stimuli outside of the company you are weak and therefore your ideas are null and void.

Permanent members of staff are more intelligent because they know more about (COMPANY NAME WITHHELD) . They know less about everything else but because (COMPANY NAME WITHHELD) is the world, there is nothing else. Therefore you are more knowledgable about nothing.

Please bear in mind because of the nature of the temporary worker we can terminate a contract with no notice and no reason. We see no conflict in this situation and us asking you to act like permanent employees.

NB. The term “student” can be applied to anyone, even those out of full time education for 6 years and over

Chris S

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.


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