Monday, 28 May 2012

That Awkward Moment.

You know how it is.

You have to go to a big European pow-wow with a boatload of important grown ups from a very important supplier to your business.

You sit patiently through several hours of market data, opportunity analysis and corporate chest-beating.

You stand up to give your presentation to several earnest business managers.

You turn around to see the first slide of your presentation projected onto the 10 foot screen behind you.

You notice at this point that your slide says in bold, easy to read letters;

Siemens - Fluid Control Strategy. Followed by your name.

You continue with your presentation in a confident and professional manner, whilst inside you are hooting with childish glee.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

In Flight Entertainment.

Ah, the efficiency of Air Berlin.

Not only do they provide Goofy cartoons on little overhead TVs to alleviate the boredom of flights, they also provide you with instructions on how to turn your paper napkin into a beautiful sculpture of a rose.

Unfortunately the instruction is printed on the napkin, so you need a good memory. Mine is crap.

To be honest I don't think the Japanese origami masters will be losing any sleep when this hits the interwebz. On the plus side the Ryvita-style biscuit with cream cheese, whilst a bit weird, was delicious.

And Goofy was passable.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Monday, 7 May 2012


It is lunchtime.

I am sitting in an impossibly comfortable chair in the conservatory, having enjoyed a rather nice espresso, scribbling this blog post. The rain is lashing down outside to such an extent that I am fully expecting a chap with a beard, a robe and a number of animals following him two by two to wander past on his way to Leicester Ark Supplies Ltd at any moment.

But I am warm and dry and in the company of the woman I love. Shortly I will get up and make bacon sandwiches and whatever the beautifully vegetarian FMA would like for lunch.

We will eat said lunch and then I may even read a book for a while.

Days like to today make me realise that I truly am a lucky, lucky son-of-a-gun and that happiness takes no effort at all.

If you're a religious person please feel free to pass on my thanks to whichever deity you follow. If they have a hand in this then they're all right by me.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

International Diplomacy

My new job has thrown up some fantastic moments over the last week.

  • My new assistant, who is fast becoming a surrogate Super, has to fill out an 'environmental audit' of our work area of a Friday afternoon. When she has finished giving business-critical factors such as 'Are all drawers clearly labelled?' and 'Are desks free from clutter?' marks out of five, she tots up the scores and colours in a little bar chart with a green crayon. She then dutifully pins the chart to our team notice area. After completing the survey last week she leant over to me and whispered in conspiratorial tones that is was 'all just a lot of shite'. She's from Glasgow.
  • A German colleague (who I have known for a long time and like hugely) giving me his insight on how to interact with management the Teutonic way; "If I find the dogshit in the corridor, I will not paint it gold and tell people it is lovely. This is why I am not the manager." Quite, Klaus*. Quite.
  • Being asked in a meeting what I felt the company could do to make its employees feel more valued. I explained that I thought the breakout area with comfortable leather sofas, free fruit, tea and coffee making facilities and a 42" LCD TV were probably enough, but if they wanted to provide a free blowjob at lunchtime** that would be lovely too.
  • Listening to an exchange between meeting organiser and colleague in the same meeting regarding the use of certificates as a motivational tool:
         Meeting organiser - "Would a certificate make you feel valued as an employee?"
         Colleague - "If by 'certificate' you mean 'cash', then yes. Otherwise, no."
  • Having a colleague that I have to deal with in China called Brenda* Oo. When she sends me an email it appears in my inbox as Oo, Brenda. I can't help but read it in a Kenneth Williams voice.
  • Meeting a colleague called Dan* Ngwanka. The Ng part of his name is silent. He's from marketing.
Next week I will be talking to people in France, Italy, Spain and possibly Australia. I apologise in advance for any international crises that I may inadvertently trigger. You should all thank your lucky stars we don't have an office in North Korea.


* - Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
** - But not from Klaus. I'm sure he'd be very efficient, but the airfares would be prohibitively expensive.