Much as I love my job, some days I wonder if I want to stay doing it for much longer. It’s such a weird company to work for – in part incredibly professional yet in other parts completely random. I was discussing this with a colleague today and she has managed to put her finger on the problem: “Sometimes you will be talking to a manager and suddenly realise that you’re in the fifth dimension”. Then she did that wavy arm thing and started singing the Do do do do music.

And it’s very true. Some decisions are so disconnected with reality that you begin to wonder if it’s *you* that’s the problem. Actually, you often are the problem because of that pesky ‘thinking logically’ thing – not all universes are the same you know! The laws of time and space may vary.

And blame culture. Oh! The blame culture. You thought that had all gone away hadn’t you? Died a slow painful death during the nineties? Here we are in the noughties and we don’t do that hardnosed corporate bullshit anymore. We are all professional and team-oriented these days. Well maybe if you don’t work for LUL that’s how it is. But trust me, blame culture didn’t die; it just went underground.

Now I don’t really do a great deal wrong. I’m actually quite a good driver and conscientious and turn up regularly and all that malarkey. But things go wrong despite this. There are defects, trains run slow and yes, I do sometimes make mistakes. In The Real WorldTM the first two of these would not be my fault and the latter would be understandable as I am a human being. With LUL….not so much. Because LUL like to marry blame culture to random acts of reality and the results are….well…I dunno really. It’s very hard to logically evaluate something if you completely fail to understand it. It’s even more difficult to fight back against it. An example? Why certainly!

Today somebody turned up late for a train. This person was not me. I was actually the driver wanting to get off the train and who was idly wondering why I was still sitting in the cab when I should have been strolling down the platform deciding what to have for tea. The fact that the train then left late was my fault. Furthermore, the fact that it suddenly developed a defect *just* as I was leaving the train was nothing whatsoever to do with the late departure of the train. And just to halt further demurrals, the thing I did to the train which I have been taught to do from Day 1 and which I’ve done ever since including on formal driving tests is apparently not permitted so that even if the late running of the train was to do with the defect (which it wasn’t, it was my fault because another driver didn’t turn up on time to relieve me) it’s still my fault because I didn’t fix it in the authorised way. No, the authorised way is not the way that’s taught but that’s not relevant here. It was my fault.

Are we all clear on this? Does it make sense to everybody? No? Good, cos that’s how I often spend my days and if you don’t understand it either then you are fully cognizant of LUL-reality.

And the whole point of this is about apportioning money. If management can apportion blame to somebody then they can order their department to pay for the late-running of the trains. So if a TM screws up then the TM’s company must pay LUL money for the estimated losses caused by the delay. If it’s a driver then the money has to come from the appropriate LUL budget. It makes sense for management I guess. To them, it’s just finessing a budget and moving numbers around. To us mortals it’s different. It’s actually very demoralising to be blamed for things that are not your fault. And although I know that nothing will happen because of it, I also know that I’m still the one being told I’m at fault for things I have no control over. So yeah, sometimes I really do wonder whether I want to stay in this job.