Norwich Union is a company that specialises in sucking the very will to live out of all that have the misfortune to come into contact with its testicle like business.
Founded in the bowels of Hell (otherwise known as Norwich), the Union quickly developed an uncanny ability to frustrate those it worked with, employed, glanced at, existed nearby, or even lived in a world where the Union was in being. Its power is unbelievable: merely applying for a job can eradicate one's desire to progress or further oneself. Created by the Spawn of Satan, the Norwich Union is responsible for most of the world's ills, including:
Working for "The Union" - The Circles of Hell
The First Circle of the Union
The workplace in Norwich has been described by Dante, in his tourist's guide "Inferno". However, this outdated book neglects to point out the absolute desolation of the soul that is the most fundamentally awful aspect of the Union. The fresh faced new employee of the Union, will find himself thrust into a world where the language is tantalisingly close to his own, but at the same time, so mindbogglingly misconstrued into incorrect meanings, that his mind will struggle daily with trying to comprehend those around him. This is the first mistake: the language used in the Union is a veneer to cover the redundancy of expression, meaning, and thought. Words made up and others misused incorrectly the most are:
- Value and Innovation
- Talent Move
The first circle helps to make the victim unsure of what he is to do. Furthermore, he never fully grasps any meaning from what is told to him. He is therefore unable to grasp a firm footing when talking to any person who is superior to him, thus ostracising him from any type of support group. If this carries on for many years, the individual will eventually come to believe that he can never be properly understood.
The Second Circle of the Union
In the Union, the superiors of any victim will baffle and bewilder him - not through any direct opposition, but from the unfathomable reasons for their station in the hierarchy of the Union. Most companies promote for skill and/or intelligence, others for their hardworking attitude: not so with the Union. The criteria for promotion in the Union are as follows:
- a labrador's attitude to work
- complete oblivion to the facts (apart, that is, from statistics connected with work)
- a hatred of those with two or more braincells
- hatred of those with happiness derived from humour
- the ability to smile despite knowing deep down that what you are doing is (a)wrong, (b)a waste of time and most importantly (c) a waste of money
These people will often take with them equally despicable individuals, creating an 'old morons' network at lower-middle management. Thus ensuring a complete no-intelligence buffer exists between those at the bottom who know what htey are doing and those at the top who should probably know whats going on.
This lack of intelligence is often replaced with meaningless and misleading spreadsheets based on arbitary and unthoughtout metrics designed entirely to remove value from the day to day work these metrics are used to meansure.
The Third And Final of The Seven Circles
Norwich Union is not the overall progenitor of evil - indeed, hidden behind the murky facade of the Union lies the great sinner "Aviva". This is apparently the parent company. But the truth is that its real parent is Satan.
The Fourth and Even More Final of The Seven Circles
The fourth level of Hell was recently offshored by Norwich Union in order to fit in with a modern business practices. Contrary to many a dissenters’ belief, it is not simply “just about money” – in fact that aspect was barely covered in the in-depth preliminary meeting for project JFDI. The primary concerns were:
- A reduction in costs
- A lowering in wage-based overheads
- A decrease of spending
- A smaller expense base
Those who declare it’s just about money should now be fully satisfied at how wrong they were. If anyone still thinks that offshoring their own job is a bad idea then they must simply be a Luddite (3rd paragraph)
The description of what terrors the fourth level of Norwich Union hell used to offer is now irrelevant. Since the offshoring, no-one internally or externally bothers to contact them any more as it’s just too much hard work to get anywhere. Also, should anyone have this misfortune of having to use them, the results are invariably late, don’t work, and are nothing like what was asked for in the first place.
However, as none of these minor issues were measurable objectives for the offshoring, the upper hell management are hailing this as a resounding success, waving their pointy tridents in the air for a job well done, and are eying up the fifth circle of hell for phase II.
Norwich Union in the 21st Century
In a June 2006 report by the United Nations, Norwich Union was found to be the third largest contributor to global warming. The company was narrowly edged out of the top two spots by China and NASA respectively; chief executive Caligula was quick to express his disappointment with the findings.
"Third place is unacceptable, but I'm not sure what more we can do. We already leave all of our computers on overnight, we have removed 26% of the Amazon rainforest to feed our paper addiction and we needlessly fly all of managers to India every few weeks. Nevertheless, we will have to rethink our strategy and somehow find a way to become more inefficient than is currently the case and surge up the standings next year."
In a surprise step taken in early 2007 as part of an effort to jump on the Corporate Social Responsibility bandwagon, Norwich Union has undertaken a series of measures to 'go green' and 'listen to employees'. The initiative was coined 'Sustainable Innovative Designed Action'. This, however, had to be renamed after many French policyholders took offence to the acronym SIDA.
Norwich Union was thus forced to resort to type and assemble a few impressive sounding, but ultimately meaningless words, and so the Botulism Photosynthesis Initiative was thrust into the limelight. Time will judge the success of Botulism Photosynthesis, which involves revolutionary green activity such as the recycling of CDs. Some critics, including radical environmentalist David Cameron, have suggested that such measures will have little impact while Norwich Union continues to release unfathomable amounts of carbon dioxide through the burning of its policyholders' money.
One Aviva, Twice the Value
As Norwich Union's operational strategy has become progressively more evident to be nothing more than the random lurchings of a drunken incoherent giant, the Powers That Be have decided "something must be done", lest the market discover the true value of hot air.
And so is born yet another sizeable gasp of hot air, only this time with an International twist: One Aviva, Twice the Value. By cunningly tying together all the drunken rambling giants making up the Aviva Group, the overall outward effect will be one of calm paralysis. Viewed from sufficient distance, and in a bad light, this inactivity may fool the average share or policy holder into parting with yet more cash.
Although not a sustainable ruse, it is sufficient to allow the board time to move onto pastures new before the giants start fighting, or urinating on eachother. The greatest fear for the Powers That Be is a larger, more sober giant will come along and try to mate with them, so time is of the essence.
Half the Staff, Twice the Work
Due to the unquantifiable levels of respect Norwich Union has for its staff, NU thinks nothing of maintaining project JFDI despite the departure of it's Master, Luddite-Commander and all round good egg. The continued diligence of staff has enabled senior management to obfuscate, pretend, deceive, ignore or otherwise utilise one of the many oft tried and tested NU management techniques for dealing with the ongoing problems JFDI has created.
Thankfully staff's reliable professionalism during a difficult period of transformation has been amply rewarded by an CPI inflation busting pay rise, providing they don't use it to buy anything crazy like food. Money saved in this way has been sensibly redirected to NU shareholders in the form of higher dividends, presumably in an effort to further stave off the amorous advances of passing giants.
In addition to JFDI and the push for One Aviva, the Powers That Be have decided to really show staff how much it appreciates their efforts by trying to outsource a large portion of them. After all it makes perfect sense to do so in the middle of two other large-scale transformations.
Fear now stalks the offices and corridors of Norwich Union, one thing utmost in the minds of staff: what if Norwich Union doesn't let them go??.
Having denied it entirely for the last 3 to 4 years it came as no surprise to anyone that the brand name Norwich Union is to be dropped entirely. This brings the UK business in line with hte global brand under the heart warming and immediately recognisable belch of corporate blob speak: Aviva.
Not to be confused with bus companies, feminine hygiene or some other company run by spivs, the Aviva name has been chosen for many complex financial reasons but primarily because it comes ahead of AXA in the yellow pages.
Local press have expressed concern that this could mark the end of Aviva as a major Norwich employer. In a public statement Aviva indicated that the company was committed to the city of Norwich and the name change would not affect this. In more recent news Aviva has also promised not to come in your mouth.
In any case it may not matter, Norfolk could soon have a new major employer. Global Insurer, AAAXA is rumoured to be looking for a home more suited to their new name.