Hello Mr Olden. What
seems to be the trouble?
Well, doctor, I
cant cope with work anymore. Im worn
I thought you retired
I did. Thats
the problem. I started off just doing a bit of
volunteer driving for Age Concern. Then I was
asked to help out with door to door charity
collecting. Then I got involved with arranging
events for a local charity for Africa. One
voluntary commitment led to another, and its
all just spiralled out of control.
All the volunteering
and charity work is taking up every day, seven
days a week. I cant go on.
This is an increasing
problem among the retired, Im afraid.
Its good that youve recognised it and
come for help. Many people just try to struggle
on until they collapse with exhaustion.
Can you help, doctor?
I thought you could prescribe some amphetamines.
I wouldnt need to sleep so much then and so
could fit more in.
I dont think
thats quite the right approach, Mr Olden. I
think you need a complete break. Im going
to sign you on for six weeks.
Sign me on?
Well, yes. Youre
not in paid employment, so I cant sign you
off. If youre signed on it means that
youre not well enough to do charitable or
voluntary work. You can show the certificate to
the charities. You neednt feel guilty about
it because its doctors orders.
Thank you, doctor,
thats just what I need. What do I do while
Im signed on?
Theres a local
employment centre you can attend which is
specially geared to people with your needs.
What happens there?
Well, you turn up at
9.00 am from Monday to Friday and undertake paid
employment. You neednt work particularly
hard as youll get paid the same whatever
you do, and anyway youll hate the company
and your boss so you wont feel particularly
Just like before I
Will I be able to go
in late and then skive off down the pub most
lunchtimes and not come back?
The Centre insists
upon it, although the rest of the programme will
be targeted to your specific needs.
In what way?
You can select from
options such as having an affair with a colleague,
taking a sickie or being on strike. In fact,
Ive an arrangement with the Centre that
Ill sign off patients at the drop of a hat
on virtually any spurious pretext of their choice.
Just like a real job.
If you signed me off
work at the Employment Centre, does that
mean I wouldnt be signed on
Youd be signed on and signed off at the
same time. Being signed on would allow a guilt
free break from the voluntary work. Being signed
off would allow you to avoid your employment.
I dont suppose
you could give me certificates now to both sign
me on and sign me off? Then I could just go home,
potter round in the garden and have a nice,
are your certificates.
Thank you very much,
doctor. I feel better already.
Excellent, Mr Olden.
See you in six weeks.