“First, do no harm”

If you ever had the impression that your financial affairs are being dealt with by some suave woman in designer heels and a nicely tailored suit – or just a shaven-headed Mondeo Man who is only happy when rattling off “stats” or inventing reasons to bill you for some pointless “service” – then on the Isle of Man you are sadly wrong. These are so exceptional to the rule that prime examples would be shot and stuffed.

It is very possible that your account is being overseen by a semi-literate teen, employed mainly in the misguided belief that if they can update their Facebook status every 10 minutes (while simultaneously banging on about last night’s drunken episode to workmates) then they are just what the paperless office needs. They are so not, by the way.

It is far more likely to be a wall-eyed, menopausal farmer’s wife in a hideous cardigan with a permanent sniffle. A younger variant on this is married to a nominally self-employed (i.e. jobless) labourer, and carries the burden of providing for the entire family in between tidying round at home after the resident couch potato, writing notes to teachers to excuse their illiterate kids from classes and going to a gym.

Both opt for chunky 4x4s (the younger in standard white, black or silver drug dealer trim, the older in sun-bleached pastel shades into which mud and rust are equally intermingled) and have a pathological distrust for any book other than a self-help manual or primer for obligatory and rudimentary business studies.

While the Isle of Man is the last bastion of troglodytes who would rather live off their partners or parents than do a soft office job, some are too weak to go the whole hog.

So we also find the male office worker who chunters on endlessly about DIY rather than be seen as soft by his unemployable mates (odd, though, that such wasters always lack the self-respect to refuse free drinks from working people). Like the more aggressive female of the species, his other obsession is going to the gym to keep up a fake tan and muscle tissue, usually supplemented by steroids and copious caffeine drinks.

Given the above, people may ask why I work in the finance sector when it is so obvious I have no interest.

Well, as I have made clear previously, that would be because there is no other work. Anyway, it pays well, and finance sector employers do have firm policies against discrimination or bullying that are scrupulously upheld.

Because, oddly, all the local prejudices I and others who are “different” encounter are from those who make employment decisions in the public sector. This is even odder when you think that we pay government employees to end such nonsense.

Funniest of all is the cartoon stereotype right-on lefties have of offshore finance routinely setting up bogus companies and pretending to run them, all the while having our strings pulled by shadowy figures. All that is missing is the hook-nosed cartoon character and any open mention of an international Zionist conspiracy.

Oops, let the cat out of the bag, did I?

Though we do have one client in one notorious country who insists on his staff proofing any document before the directors sign off.

I should explain that this isn’t to dictate to the directors, who retain full and proper control. It is simply because of the rampant control-freakery in that country – a notorious sharia law toilet with a barking mad royal family. A few people there have to be seen to give orders and be divinely right, everyone else has to be seen to obey them and to be imperfect.

The real irony is that below the bureaucratic class we deal with who carry out the business instructions is a massive peasant class, utterly afraid and not even aware that their lords and masters maintain foreign companies carrying out haram activity that would get the peasants executed, and banking the proceeds in a Swiss account.

As the money is good, and nothing illegal or immoral by Western standards is required, for years we have put up with puzzling instructions to dot an “i” here or cross a “t” there, or replace the clear language and phrasing demanded by every other client with abstruse Victorian legalese.

At first, as with getting copy past a magazine sub-editor, I regarded it as a challenge to get my draft through untouched. It never happens, and as my drafts get ever more precise, the requests to modify them get ever more bizarre. It has become an office joke that “Mr X returned another document because it was clear and correct. Please insert more waffle at paragraph 1 and spelling errors at paragraph 2”.

Finally I twigged.

In this nightmare backwater, controlled by psychopathic loons, every lowly employee either justifies their existence or gets canned. Some poor sod has to find a mistake in each document, and has to record it. If not, he is out of a job and his family are in the street.

I now deal with it by leaving small typos in each proof for these wretches to find, though the funny thing is that they often miss them and want a minor change elsewhere. It also annoys the semi-literate amongst our own management that I, the office intellectual, keep making basic spelling errors.

Whatever. If nobody got executed or lost their home because of something I did at work today my conscience is clear.

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