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Our PCC have decreed that all paid staff, which includes myself as DOM, should be formally appraised each year by one of the churchwardens. After nearly 30 years in various church organist posts I've not come across this before and fail to see the validity of the church warden as an appraiser. (So at the cost of really being out of favour I'm taking the line that if its not in my contract I don't have to do it.) I regularly meet with the vicar, which gives us both the opportunity to discuss how things are going and anything we're not happy with, so I don't see the need or purpose of this beyond pointless red tape.

 

Does anyone else out there in the parishes have any similar appraisal requirements?

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Our PCC have decreed that all paid staff, which includes myself as DOM, should be formally appraised each year by one of the churchwardens. After nearly 30 years in various church organist posts I've not come across this before and fail to see the validity of the church warden as an appraiser. (So at the cost of really being out of favour I'm taking the line that if its not in my contract I don't have to do it.) I regularly meet with the vicar, which gives us both the opportunity to discuss how things are going and anything we're not happy with, so I don't see the need or purpose of this beyond pointless red tape.

 

Does anyone else out there in the parishes have any similar appraisal requirements?

 

This seems a most insidious and totally unprofessional suggestion on behalf of the PCC unless the person doing the appraising has had the necessary training to do such things. ( As a magistrate in the UK I know that there is much training involved so that the appraiser is knowledgeable and that the appraisee knows what is to be appraised. Then of course, follows knowledgeable discussion. With a Church warden who has been elected? I hardly think so.)

Before such things take place the PCC should of course provide a list of Competences that they expect a person to reach when being appraised. The forms need to be printed. They also of course must set aside quite a considerable sum of money to send you on training programmes/courses - such as my own for instance in Paris this summer "Bienvenue nfortin" or to Haarlem!! When all the proper professional things are put forward, I dare say they will suddenly back-track. If you are being appraised they must put into place a most excellent programme for you, for which they must pay. Mention expenditure and they will run more than a mile.

 

Best wishes, (and courage)

Nigel

 

 

The more I think about this more the more angry I am becoming. The Vicar is the only person who has the power to hire and fire. He is the person you should talk to about such underhand methods from the PCC. N

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Our PCC have decreed that all paid staff, which includes myself as DOM, should be formally appraised each year by one of the churchwardens. After nearly 30 years in various church organist posts I've not come across this before and fail to see the validity of the church warden as an appraiser. (So at the cost of really being out of favour I'm taking the line that if its not in my contract I don't have to do it.) I regularly meet with the vicar, which gives us both the opportunity to discuss how things are going and anything we're not happy with, so I don't see the need or purpose of this beyond pointless red tape.

 

Does anyone else out there in the parishes have any similar appraisal requirements?

 

If it's any consolation, it is also the churchwardens' responsibility to appraise the sermons and ensure that an acceptable standard is kept up. I am sure that somewhere on the Web all the official responsibilities for church officers are set out. I expect Barry will know where.

 

There well might be other paid staff that do need yearly appraisal so it is appraisal for all and the Churchwardens, who are responisble for the well being of their church, are obviously doing their duty. What's the problem? If you are doing a good job, that is all that matters. If you take on the PCC decision, that might well be aimed at someone else, I suggest that you do so at your own peril. PCCs' do not always take happily to the sort of attitude that you are taking - I've had dealings enough with them!

 

FF

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Our PCC have decreed that all paid staff, which includes myself as DOM, should be formally appraised each year by one of the churchwardens. After nearly 30 years in various church organist posts I've not come across this before and fail to see the validity of the church warden as an appraiser. (So at the cost of really being out of favour I'm taking the line that if its not in my contract I don't have to do it.) I regularly meet with the vicar, which gives us both the opportunity to discuss how things are going and anything we're not happy with, so I don't see the need or purpose of this beyond pointless red tape.

 

Does anyone else out there in the parishes have any similar appraisal requirements?

 

They know what you are doing week in, week out by the standard of the choir and organ playing etc. so I can not quite see how the 'once a year' bit figures anyway. As Nigel A states, Performance Management is part of an ongoing and two way process not just a stick to beat with. I am visited at least once a year by my line manager here at school (it's part of my contract etc.) - we then meet and discuss, I have my chance to feed back and the whole thing ends with a choice of nice courses to go on etc. In the same way I visit members of my department.

 

If it started up where I play I would retreat to the congregation I think!

 

AJJ

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Guest Lee Blick
Our PCC have decreed that all paid staff, which includes myself as DOM, should be formally appraised each year by one of the churchwardens. After nearly 30 years in various church organist posts I've not come across this before and fail to see the validity of the church warden as an appraiser. (So at the cost of really being out of favour I'm taking the line that if its not in my contract I don't have to do it.) I regularly meet with the vicar, which gives us both the opportunity to discuss how things are going and anything we're not happy with, so I don't see the need or purpose of this beyond pointless red tape.

 

Does anyone else out there in the parishes have any similar appraisal requirements?

 

I think this is a good idea. But it should only happen if the cleaners and the flower ladies are appraised on their tea-making performance, and the church cat appraised on how much Co-Kat it eats and churchwardens should be appraised each year by the vicar's children on the number of custard pies flanged on them after the Easter morning service.

 

I mean, what a load of old rollocks. I would walk out subject to such Stalinist tactics. I know, why don't we top it off by getting the ArseCO to send the thought police round to check if we are playing with our knees together at all times at the organ and the implementation of knee braces if we are not. :P

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I have never heard of this happening elsewhere.

 

My usual experience of churchwardens on power trips (which this sounds like) is that they are usually "out to get somone", and should be shot on sight. If I were you, I'd try to find out exactly why they think it's a good idea (PCC minutes would be a good place to start), and find who they're targetting and why. Of course, I could be completely wrong, and you just have a management consultant on the PCC :P

 

You might also want to have a chat with the area Archdeacon about the churchwardens getting ideas above their station.

 

An appraisal can be either a positive or negative thing, though. Any half decent appraisal will concentrate on the things that you do well and developing you in areas that you and "your manager" deem you need improvement in.

 

It's presumably the case that the churchwardens don't have any expertise by which to judge your professonal abilities?

 

Do they have any management experience?

 

If the answer to both is NO, then you really can't be appraised by them.

 

I would also hazard a guess that you are employed neither by the churchwardens, nor the vicar.

 

Most organist appointments are made by the PCC - the vicar might make the selection, but the PCC has to approve it, rather like Parliament and the Queen passing Acts .. ;)

 

Any appraisal, if you're going to have one, should be performed by the vicar and a representative from the PCC (presumably the churchwardens are the appointed representatives in this case).

 

 

 

 

The Vicar is the only person who has the power to hire and fire. He is the person you should talk to about such underhand methods from the PCC. N

 

Most organist contracts are with the PCC - therefore the PCC has the power to hire and fire.

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What a very sad situation, and one which would be easier to accept if church communications generally were up to the industrial par that they're clearly trying to implement with this.

 

By this I mean that there tend to be large numbers of committees who meet in secret, and in my experience neither seek the advice nor heed the pleas of experts in their employ when deliberating matters directly connected with how those people do their jobs.

 

When all aspects of the job - pay, conditions, communications, resources, the lot - match up to the standards of business and industry, then it will be fine to have as many appraisals as you like.

 

Until then, the least you can surely hope for is that time and gifts willingly offered will be received with grace, thanks, and polite guidance when needed, and in that I'm very lucky indeed. Is there any one among us who is in a church or cathedral post for the money, rather than the love of the job?

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Our PCC have decreed that all paid staff, which includes myself as DOM, should be formally appraised each year by one of the churchwardens. After nearly 30 years in various church organist posts I've not come across this before and fail to see the validity of the church warden as an appraiser. (So at the cost of really being out of favour I'm taking the line that if its not in my contract I don't have to do it.) I regularly meet with the vicar, which gives us both the opportunity to discuss how things are going and anything we're not happy with, so I don't see the need or purpose of this beyond pointless red tape.

 

Does anyone else out there in the parishes have any similar appraisal requirements?

If the Churchwarden is going to appraise your performance in the way my ex-company did it then he/she will have to do the following AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR

 

1 Agree a detailed job description with competencies, hours etc etc

2 Agree a training plan (and budget)

3 Agree objectives for the year

4 Agree what support (time of for study etc etc) they will provide in helping you achieve this

5 Agree the dependencies that they have to deliver to make this possible and who is accountable for the delivery.

 

Then every three months or so the pair of you would need to meet and agree on progress - including how they are doing in supporting/developing you and adjust the plan. Then when you meet formally at the end of the year its just a case of noting what you both already know.

 

There's a lot of useful stuff on all this at the Investors in People website.

 

Done properly it can be of great value - but of course we spent a lot of time and money training people in how to assess and in how to be assessed (and weeding out those who couldn't assess fairly). Without this it runs the risk of being a completely unstructured, unfair, rambling retrospective 'whinge' and I'm sure your PCC wouldn't want that!!!!

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I don't suppose this was suggested by a public employee such as a civil servant was it? It does sound rather like mindless public sector bureaucracy, though I daresay such a thing could be suggested by any wannabe middle management Hitler with a penchant for micro-managing rather than getting on with the job in hand.

 

What I mean is: are these appraisals really needed or did it just strike someone as being "good idea"? In my view a formal appraisal system is only necessary where the management needs to ensure fairness in comparing different people at similar grades - hence in organisations that are sizeable enough for this to be an issue. How many paid staff are there at your church? Not many, I'll warrant. What small firm of comparable size uses a formal appraisal system like this? I've never come across one: they are usually more focused on getting the job done profitably. In short, I can't imagine any ordinary church where the people in charge are so out of touch with the "jobholders" that a formal appraisal system is necessary. If the PCC really seem one necessary, is it not a damning indictment of their own personal relations and networking?

 

In any case, what qualifications does the churchwarden have to judge the music of the church? How can (s)he know how well you - or for that matter any of the other staff - are doing your jobs? The process may end up judging not competence, but merely "what we like". The more I think about this the more amateur it seems.

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There's a lot of useful stuff on all this at the Investors in People website.
Oh, please, spare us! All IIP proves is that you have the right systems and procedures in place - and the paperwork trail to prove it. Nothing more. In smaller organisations where people are talking properly it simply is not needed.

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Oh, please, spare us! All IIP proves is that you have the right systems and procedures in place - and the paperwork trail to prove it. Nothing more. In smaller organisations where people are talking properly it simply is not needed.

Vox,

 

I was suggesting nf used it to scare the PCC/Churchwarden into realising how much work they/he/she were taking on.

 

Yes its a paper trail but it means no-one can spring a nasty surprise at the final review (which certainly used yo happen in my org and which I've seen many a time in small organisations). If nf's PCC won't sign up to doing it properly then he's got them by the short & curlies.

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Most organist contracts are with the PCC - therefore the PCC has the power to hire and fire.

"The organist is the employee of the vicar (Canon B20), though usually paid by the PCC."

 

(Quote from http://www3.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=31363 , previously discussed here. Coincidentally Canon B20 on organist-vicar relations was quoted in the Times letters page the other week, too.)

 

Personally I wouldn't object too much, but only because I'm married to one of the churchwardens. I reckon a nice meal would ensure the appraisal went like this: "Richard is clearly trying his best despite the complete inadequacy of the toaster with which we have lumbered him. A new instrument is urgently needed, and, of course, a pay rise to compensate for the current situation." :P

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This has set me off on one of my pet hates :angry: - the way church musicians are treated by church wardens and PCC's. Having experienced problems with churchwardens at my previous church appointment (a "wannabee cathedral" also in Gloucestershire!!), I have every sympathy.

 

I was appointed by the Vicar, on an agreement for services (self employed) as opposed to an "employed" contract. 14 hours per week, agreed fees being £10,500 p.a . No housing allowance or other perks. During my time there, I enjoyed a superb working relationship with the Vicar (now moved on to be a cathedral precentor). He was ever so supportive and backed me up 500% in whatever I did. I have been ever so lucky that in 22 years of being in "the job" or "ministry" as I prefer to refer to it as, that I have always had excellent working relationships with the clergy with whom I have worked.

 

Prior to my appointment there, I was informed by several church musicians who were "in the know" that there had been a long line of predecessors, most of whom hadn't stayed for terribly long, due to problems with churchwardens, and that I shouldn't touch the post with a bargepole. - This made me determined to put my foot down from square one.

 

The church in question also had a "personnel committee" who liked to rule the roost and keep members of staff in check. Several vergers, organists, assistant organists, bookshop managers and other staff had problems and battles with this committee over the years, and the staff turnover was unbelievable. The said committee had no respect for the church staff, their professionalism or qualifications and experience. This committee regularly took it upon themselves to evaluate staff performances and issue instructions, etc. The two churchwardens were part of this committee.

 

Sadly, at this church, there was a total lack of respect for members of staff who were treated simply hired servants by the personnel committee. There was no pastoral concern whatsoever for members of staff, clergy or our families. The night before my interview there, I received a 'phone call asking "if your wife and daughter (2) would like to join us". She did - for the first part of the day (coffee) then she was put out on the street in torrential rain which lasted all day with a two year old child in a pram, 6 months pregnant with our second child and told to come back at the end of the day. (The 3 stage interview lasted from 10am to 5.30pm!!!). I was a fool and accepted the job, thinking that things couldn't get much worse!

 

It is general knowledge that there is a high divorce rate amongst organists and church musicians in cathedrals and larger parish churches. We work anti social hours for appalling pay and conditions and our family life is disrupted every weekend and at important times like Christmas, Easter, Bank holiday weekends etc.

 

I had a career change and now work in the big wide world where I have a decent salary, company car and a future. Church music is now (sadly) only a hobby but I am organist at a delightful church with three cats and the vicarage dog for a choir, but treated well, respected, supported, encouraged and appreciated by congregation, choir and church staff alike.

 

Appraisals? - Huh.

 

 

 

 

NS

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Vox,

 

I was suggesting nf used it to scare the PCC/Churchwarden into realising how much work they/he/she were taking on.

 

Yes its a paper trail but it means no-one can spring a nasty surprise at the final review (which certainly used yo happen in my org and which I've seen many a time in small organisations). If nf's PCC won't sign up to doing it properly then he's got them by the short & curlies.

Yes indeed. Sorry for blasting off - it wasn't meant personally. I'm still trying to imagine what right a PCC has to spring any surprises on a musician - or even criticise at all - when, presumably, they do not have the same expertise themselves.

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Yes indeed. Sorry for blasting off - it wasn't meant personally. I'm still trying to imagine what right a PCC has to spring any surprises on a musician - or even criticise at all - when, presumably, they do not have the same expertise themselves.

No problem, my post was ambiguous - old age creeping in.

 

I don't see that any employer has the right to spring surprises of this sort - nor to announce failure to meet some newly declared goal/objective/target at the final review (it happens!) - hence the emphasis on writing it down at the start. And then agreeing how it is to be measured and by whom (Could be great fun!!).

 

Seems to me nf might do worse than ask the PCC what benefits they expect to come from this change, how they are to achieved and how they will measure the value of the extra effort and time involved. Then move on to who would be a competent assessor (ie what skills: personal, musical etc must they have for the assessment to be of real value) and, assuming some improvements will be identified, how that is to be fitted in to the allotted hours (grin) (ie what isn't going to be done or are they going to pay more to cover this etc etc.) If he just keeps asking 'how will?' they should crack eventually and say 'we don't know' - gotcha!

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Guest Cynic

This all brings the Cheltenham mentality vividly back to my mind.

They will all consider themselves experts!

 

[Rant alert!

Those not familiar with Cheltenham, I believe it to be unique. It is peopled by high-ups from the insurance and spy industries and some of these still go to church. A typical activity for those 'passed over' at work is to join organisations (golf clubs, PCCs etc.) where they can exercise (largely spurious) authority. Cheltenham folks not so employed IMHO are easily as opinionated as the first type. In two of my Cheltenham churches (a total of 13 years) not only did the pew fodder often know better than the organist, but they also knew better than their priests. They would constantly remind one of this. And the choir........!]

 

With a bit of luck this one will go away, but in preparation I would follow some of the advice given above and add: keep a very good account of your actual hours, as opposed to the ones that are inevitable (if you see what I mean). I once did this sort of tally, and found (not terribly surprisingly) that I was subsidising the church. You should count telephone calls, petrol and travelling time too.

 

I am so sorry to hear this Neil. They don't deserve you.

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Guest Barry Williams
I have never heard of this happening elsewhere.

 

My usual experience of churchwardens on power trips (which this sounds like) is that they are usually "out to get somone", and should be shot on sight. If I were you, I'd try to find out exactly why they think it's a good idea (PCC minutes would be a good place to start), and find who they're targetting and why. Of course, I could be completely wrong, and you just have a management consultant on the PCC :angry:

 

You might also want to have a chat with the area Archdeacon about the churchwardens getting ideas above their station.

 

An appraisal can be either a positive or negative thing, though. Any half decent appraisal will concentrate on the things that you do well and developing you in areas that you and "your manager" deem you need improvement in.

 

It's presumably the case that the churchwardens don't have any expertise by which to judge your professonal abilities?

 

Do they have any management experience?

 

If the answer to both is NO, then you really can't be appraised by them.

 

I would also hazard a guess that you are employed neither by the churchwardens, nor the vicar.

 

Most organist appointments are made by the PCC - the vicar might make the selection, but the PCC has to approve it, rather like Parliament and the Queen passing Acts .. :P

 

Any appraisal, if you're going to have one, should be performed by the vicar and a representative from the PCC (presumably the churchwardens are the appointed representatives in this case).

Most organist contracts are with the PCC - therefore the PCC has the power to hire and fire.

 

 

 

The PCC does not have the right to hire and fire, irrespective of the nature of the contract. The minister hires and fires but needs the agreement of the PCC to do so. That does not create an employment relationship between the organist and the PCC. The only circumstance where there is a direct contract between the PCC and the organist is when the organist is engaged during an interregnum. That appointment ceases the moment there is a minister in post.

 

Musicians, by whatever title, are under the sole direction of the minister. Please see Canon B20. The level of control of the music afforded by that Canon is such that it almost certainly produces a contract of master and servant, otherwise known as employment. My co-author and I are of the view that only in the rarest circumstances can Canon B20 operate so as not to produce a contract of employment between the organist and the minister.

 

The fact that the PCC pays the organist is irrelevant, for if the PCC did not pay, the minister must pay the organist and then recover the money as a proper charge on the parish.

 

If the situation ever went to an Employment Tribunal the PCC would be joined as a party, which is modern legal practice.

 

What is reported here is a suggestion that the minister can delegate his managerial function as an employer to a lay person. In my view that is not possible, though some clergy try to delegate their control to an unauthorised body sometimes known as a 'worship committee'.

 

Every employer must, by law, have a grievance procedure including, in this case, the minister. (Not the PCC which is not the employer.) It is open to the employee to take this matter up formally as a grievance.

 

It is better to sort the matter out informally. If the querist will contact me privately I may be able to offer further guidance and advice.

 

Barry Williams

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I once did this sort of tally, and found (not terribly surprisingly) that I was subsidising the church. You should count telephone calls, petrol and travelling time too.

 

Isn't that so often the case?

 

We're expected to go into schools and recruit, do funerals in the middle of day, weddings on Fridays, weekday evening services, plus run the choir, plan the music, and do the usual selection of Sunday services.

 

I would hazard a guess that many churches are still paying £1800 a year, as per Category B rates in about 1999...

 

I was widely (actually, not widely, 1 person with a loud voice) criticised in a post I had a few years ago for NOT going into the local primary school to recruit. Given that i) I have a day job, because there's no way being an organist in the average parish can provide a living, ii) the primary school in question only went up to 7, I was pretty ****** off.

 

I know churches don't have much money, and that many of us don't do it for the money, but c'mon, it's time to start at least pretending to pay properly, or realising that the day of the parish organist being a profession have been over for a long time! (Not all posts, obviously, but even, say Romsey Abbey, doesn't pay anywhere near enough to allow you to give up the day job - it would take a LOT of supplementing to get anywhere near acceptable).

 

My belief is that those with either the right experience and/or qualifications should be looking at salaries based on teachers' payscales - I don't mean pay us £30k per year or whatever, I mean look at the hours we do, work out how that relates to a teaching job, say 1/4 of a job or whatever, then pay accordingly.

 

Woosh - where are those pigs flying to?

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I'm grateful for the replies, almost all of which seem to agree that:-

  • this is a most unusual request/requirement from the PCC
  • as DOM I report directly to the vicar
  • if an appraisal is required proper objectives and success criteria should have been agreed at the start of the year (they weren't)
  • a churchwarden will not normally have the correct skills and musical background to be a fit person to appraise a DOM

I don't think there's anything too sinister about this, I don't believe anyones "Out to get me" or that I should have anything to worry about. Its just the principle of the thing. I might well go along and be told what a wonderful chap I am, but I'd just as soon not.

 

I must say that I found the description of (I believe) Cirencester to be quite enlightening. It seems that our situation has the potential to develop the same way.

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Our PCC have decreed that all paid staff, which includes myself as DOM, should be formally appraised each year by one of the churchwardens. After nearly 30 years in various church organist posts I've not come across this before and fail to see the validity of the church warden as an appraiser. (So at the cost of really being out of favour I'm taking the line that if its not in my contract I don't have to do it.) I regularly meet with the vicar, which gives us both the opportunity to discuss how things are going and anything we're not happy with, so I don't see the need or purpose of this beyond pointless red tape.

 

Does anyone else out there in the parishes have any similar appraisal requirements?

 

 

========================

 

Now here you have to be careful, because a contract can be varied or even rescinded unilaterally, so long as due notice is given. Also, that can be done verbally or in writing, so you could be on sticky ground.

 

No, a far better way of dealing with this is to enter into the spirit of political correctness, management speak and the master/servant relationship. The trick is to appear to be utterly grovelling, but at the same time, raise the stakes a little, by elevating yourself to an impossibly intellectual level. Management speak is also a distinct advantage, and can intimidate even the most pompous.

 

So perhaps the first thing is to get all your ducks in a row before the off, by responding in writing to the suggestion that you welcome the opportunity of undergoing an annual appraisal.

 

This is what you write:-

 

Dear Vicar,

 

Our Lord gave us the definitive mission statement and as we are constantly reminded each time we bring to the table the sacraments, we are but servants to our core beliefs. It is with that sense of duty that I welcome the opportunity of impacting upon the proposed appraisal, and sense a positive opportunity of being able to enter into interfacial collaboration in a pro-active way: ever mindful that we must always seek the very highest incentivisation in taking our worship to the next level, and at the same time, freely discuss any issues which may arise.

 

Naturally, at the time of my appointment, it was established that I had the requisite core competences, and I do not consider that there has since been any downgrading which may require correctivisation or which may have proved actionable. I am also firmly of the opinion that at the time of your own appointment, and that of the Churchwarden, better men could not be found.

 

Ever aware that there is no 'I' in the word 'team,' my position will always be that of the faithful servant.

 

I am not too aloof to recognise that I may be able to benefit from reiterative training, which may even bring the benefit of a little clear blue-sky thinking and an enhanced facility to think outside the box, but as in all such initiatives, there would be an inevitable cost in improving the knowledge base; the ballpark figure of which is currently unknown to me.

 

Maybe now is the time to push the envelope, move the goalposts, improve the deliverables and maximise the mission critical in a spirit of faith and charity to achieve a win win situation.

 

 

MM

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mission critical

 

Good game of buzzword bingo there, MM...

 

Is it now I mention that my job title includes the words "Mission Critical" ?

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Good game of buzzword bingo there, MM...

 

Is it now I mention that my job title includes the words "Mission Critical" ?

 

 

==============================

 

The following was a delete option:-

 

I am also firmly of the opinion that at the time of your own appointment, and that of the Churchwarden, better men could not be found.

 

 

:angry:

 

MM

 

Is it now I mention that my job title includes the words "Mission Critical" ?

 

 

=======================

 

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

 

MM

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I am also firmly of the opinion that at the time of your own appointment, and that of the Churchwarden, better men could not be found.

 

Well, given that well over a year later they still don't have a replacement...

 

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

 

If you can tell me what my job title means, then you're doing better than I am! "Mission Critical Escalation Consultant" - now there's buzzword bingo for you!

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Well, given that well over a year later they still don't have a replacement...

If you can tell me what my job title means, then you're doing better than I am! "Mission Critical Escalation Consultant" - now there's buzzword bingo for you!

Musical

Uplift

Genius

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