Gobbledigook, Double Dutch and Bunkum

Sunday 18/12/2005

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Diary and Notes

I had to do a blog entry today, it was just too good an opportunity to miss. It's not because of the excellent chicken achari I made for dinner last night (though it was probably worthy of a mention) but because a friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous for his own safety, sent me an email which is a work of such unparalleled genius that I had to write a blog to copy it onto the web for all the world to see.

We shall call my friend Mr Q. He works for a large non-descript communications company (which shall also remain nameless) writing code or something or other so that we can all talk to each other in cinemas and take photos of concerts, instead of watching the film or listening to the music. It's a pretty thankless task and he does receive a bit of stick from me on regular occasions due to his job. Still, I suppose it pays the rent.

But back to the email.

The night before I received it we were chatting about people who work in Human Resources and how the people who are chosen for this job are probably the worst people in the world that could be chosen. We chatted for a while and eventually worked out exactly why HR people are as they are, the story goes as follows (we shall ssume the person is a he though it could equally have been a she):

Some years ago, somebody so incompetent that he was incapable of doing even the most menial tasks properly, managed to get a job as an HR director of a large firm (he was sleeping with the majority shareholder or something). In his new job he became in control of the hiring and firing in his department. To cover for his incompetence, he made sure that only complete idiots were recruited into the HR department, idiots with even less talent than him. Of course the incompetent underlings also wanted to hire other incompetents in order to cover up their own shoddiness and the pool of idiots in this company's HR department grew.

In order to cover for their own group incompetence, they began to develop a pseudo-language, consisting of non words which, though they sounded meaningful, were absolutely devoid of any information content whatsoever. So successful were they at this, that during management meetings no other people were willing to question the nebulous drivel they were spouting for fear of sounding stupid and the pseudobabble grew until the entire company was infected and ground to a halt and went into receivership. Disaster! The HR virus was born.

If anyone is unsure how viruses manage to spread, it works something like this: A nasty virus infects a host. It gets in the body through the nose or mouth or broken skin and begins to replicate. Its method of replication is to inject its DNA into the host's cells so that instead of producing normal cells they actually replicate the virus DNA instead and the virus grows inside the host. Sometimes the virus is too strong and actually kills the host but by this time it has already been sneezed and coughed out and infected everyone else in the vicinity.

And thus the HR virus spread. When everyone was laid off from this first company all the HR virus people got jobs in other companies and began to infect them with this gobbledispeak and gibberlanguage. Nothing ever got done, emails went back and forth talking of implementing a skills mix adjustment, optimizing outplacement potential and rectification of workforce imbalances, until eventually all these companies died too - and on the virus spread.

So below is a classic example of an end of year HR email that went to all the members of Mr Q.'s company. It is a classic, a true work of art. And if anybody can tell me what the point of it is, or the point of the people who no doubt spent months and thousands of pounds preparing it, please let me know.


Human Capital Index Survey 2005

The results for 2005 are now available showing a positive upward trend in almost all areas. There has been an increase in the Human Capital Index (HCI) of 3% from 615 to 633 (where the external benchmark is 611).

The area within the Human Capital with the greatest improvement is motivation, which has increased from 52% to 58%. This means we have now passed the external benchmark in this area (54%) which is very good. Although these are improved figures we didn't quite reach the company target of 4% increase of the Human Capital Index.

Again our strongest area remains the level of perceived competence in the company with a scoring of 82%. Overall cooperation has gone up from 58% to 61% and the level of commitment in the company is 85%, which is very good compared to benchmark.

Although it is a solid result, there are of course areas of improvement. Organizational efficiency is still below external benchmark and we have only made a slight improvement from 37% to 39%. The level of customer and market orientation is on the exact same level as last year; 51%, which means that almost half of the company does not perceive themselves as having sufficient information about the market.

Living the Values has gone up from 25% to 30%, but it is still rather low. The number of "First tier performers" (those who both believe and live up to the values) needs to increase.

Another area with relative low scores is the career advancement potential. Only 45% believe that they have good possibilities to forge a career in OmniGlobalCorp. However, the People Retention Index (PRI) has increased by 5%.

Next phase (2006)

The management team of OmniGlobalCorp has considered the survey results and will now identify focus areas and actions on a company level. All units are expected to go through their own result and make action plans accordingly.


Fantastic eh? There was more but I didn't want Mr Q getting found out by giving away too much of the original (he was a little worried about company spies, as we all are in this Orwellian nightmare that passes for life).


  • Chicken Achari
  • Mustard Seed Rice
  • Cucumber Raita
  • Mango Chutney


    Chicken Achari
    3 Chicken Breasts
    3 White Onions
    1 Red Onion
    100g Green Beans
    1 Yellow Pepper
    50g Ghee
    5 Cloves Garlic
    2cm Ginger
    1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
    1 Tbsp Garam Masala
    1 tsp Chilli Powder
    1 tsp Green Cardamon Pods
    ½ tsp Hing
    ½ tsp Fenugreek
    ½ Jar Mango Pickle (hot)
    Mustard Seed Rice
    250g Basmati Rice
    25g Ghee
    2 tsp Mustard Seeds
    1 Stick Cinnamon
    ½ tsp Black Pepper
    ½ tsp Coriander Seeds
    2 Cloves
    6 Green Cardamon pods


  • The chicken achari os basically a chicken curry flavoured with pickle. You could use lime pickle, mixed pickle but I used some hot mango pickle (not mango chutney that's completely different). Drain off the oil from the pickle before using.
  • To make the curry: Chop the white onions and fry until golden brown in the ghee. Add the chopped garlic, ginger and chillis and fry a little longer. Next add the hing, seeds from the cardamon pods and fenugreek. Fry gently so as not to brown the garlic. Put the whole lot in a liquidizer with a little water and blitz until smooth. Simmer the green beans until just turning soft then drain. Fry the chopped chicken chunks and red onion, add the pepper and beans, pour over the curry sauce you just liquidized and the tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes very gently without stirring too much (or the chicken will break up). Add the mango pickle and garam masala. Simmer for another few minutes then serve.
  • Mustard seed rice: Cook the basmati rice and rinse. Grind the spice (except mustard seeds) in a mortar and pestle. Toast all the spices in a dry pan for a minute then add the ghee. Fry in the ghee for a minute then stir fry the rice in the spicy oil.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for three people