Last week I was out and about on company business again. One of the many delights of the job that I do is that you quite often get wheeled around peoples warehouses as they proudly tell you all about their 6 Sigma this or Continuous Improvement that. My job in this particular scenario is to look interested and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES look them square in the eye and tell them that I just don't care.
This particular visit was showing all the signs of being just such an occasion. I stood and dutifully listened to their spiel about Kanban and Ishikawa and kept my thoughts to myself. I even managed to keep my face straight whilst they told me about their unassailable dominance in the narrowboat toilet market (which was, to be frank, an effort of monumental proportions).
But then we rounded a corner and they showed me their engineering department. They had lathes and milling machines (both types, no less!) and surface grinders and EDM machines and a chap in overalls and safety glasses called Dave.
I wasn't allowed in due to their health and safety rules so I stood, just on the boring side of the yellow line painted on the floor, staring in like a fat kid at the door of the cakeshop. There were slip gauges and micrometers and engineering drawings and the evocative smell of cutting fluid. It was ace.
And I bet Dave was looking out at me and thinking "it's all right for you, pal - you'll swan about here for a bit and then get ferried off to a nice airconditioned meeting room and given free coffee".
The grass is always greener on the other fellow's grave, Dave.