Sunday, 5 June 2011

It's not in the Job Description

In 622 BC, following centuries of decline, the young King Josiah launched what has been described as the most thoroughgoing reform in Judah’s history. His actions touched every aspect of political, religious and working life.  In terms of Corporate Change programmes, it doesn’t get any bigger than this! His actions included the large scale redundancy of those employed in the nation’s pagan cults. (Only one form of outplacement available: execution.) Shrines throughout the land were closed down, and all public worship was centralised in Jerusalem.

But the catalyst for Josiah’s reform was the almost accidental discovery of a “book of the law” by Hilkiah the High Priest during the course of repairs to the Temple. Basically he was heading up a serious spring-clean operation when he stumbled across a dusty set of scrolls which made Josiah realised that the nation had gone astray from the law as given to Moses, and ultimately it spurred him into his time of reform.

OK. That’s what actually happened. But just imagine ...

You want me to do what? Tidy up the store cupboard?

I know that my Job Description says something about “any other duties as may from time to time be considered appropriate” but I didn’t think that getting down on my knees with a scrubbing brush would be part of my job. On my knees to pray, yes, but to clean the floor, no way.

And have you any idea how much these priestly garments cost me? Three shekels from D&G (David and Goliath) in Jerusalem High Street. And if you think that I’m going to get my robes dirty waving a duster around, you’ve another think coming.

Talking of dust: has anyone done a risk assessment before we get on with the job in here? There’s been quite a few cases of workmen with severe breathing problems recently, and I suspect that there’s something dodgy about the dust from those cedar wood beams. You should at least be issuing the staff with personal protective equipment.

But why are you getting us to do this sort of thing anyway? The temple to Baal in Nineveh has outsourced all its cleaning services. Apparently they’ve put a pretty demanding service level agreement in place, and managed to reduce their maintenance costs by 12% year on year. Think Big, Josiah! There’s no added value in dust removal!

And cleaning is all so ... transactional! I see myself as a strategy sort of person. This isn’t the sort of job that I expected to be doing when I spent three years in Jerusalem studying for my CIPD (Certificate in Priestly Development). My training has equipped me more as facilitator at large scale corporate events. You know, inspiring people with the Temple’s Five Year Growth Plan.  Competitive Advantage through Collective Worship. That sort of thing. 

You see, Josiah, I’ve got my media profile to think of too. I’ve been talking to a few people about publishing some of my recent work, and getting some of my writing into journals and other periodicals is the way forward. And it’s not as if my involvement in sprucing up the Temple is likely to lead to me featuring in any major publication that is read all over the world in years to come, is it?

I think that you’d better find someone else for this one.


  1. Hi Graham,

    Your posts are very inspiring. Would love to feature some in our monthly e-Mag. Please email me for details. Thanks


  2. Definitely one of the best posts I have read in that manner. HR Manager positions are usually under estimated by the big bosses and they try to get the credit for our hard work to themselves. I tried to find a workplace with a decent supervisor but never accomplished that.