JournalismPakistan.com October 11, 2013
Every office has one. I think they are mandatory. Belong to the same secret club. That of the human telegraphs. Where are these people spawned? It is a mystery how each one is manufactured exactly the same way.
Whatever happens they know it first. Who is in, who is out, who is going for the London conference, who is in for the high jump, what the bonus is going to be, whether the new pay scales are being activated, what happens to the vacancy caused by Joe's resignation, this lot has the inside track on all these developments and it isn't guesswork because they are always right. That's the fascinating part.
The walking in house encyc is unpleasant but integral to office lore. To the rest of us it has always been a mystery where he gets his information flow from but the unerring aim makes him not only very wanted but also very dangerous because as much as he can spread rumor he can also create it. And with his reputation for being accurate it doesn't take long for fiction and fact to blur. Often his rumor has a cause and effect on the top levels of management and results in decisions.
It is one of the requirements of being the office newsman that such a person is usually inept and unattractive as a person. He survives more by his wits and probably displays great glee and malice at other people's misfortunes. Since he is not very good at his work (if he ever does any) he has to replace it with fawning servility to the bosses and an unction which is revolting.
What I have never figured out is how these types of people manage to get their info. Sure, they network, they have insatiable curiosity and they are largely shameless in their roles as office politicians but I have to admit, it is also a knack. If you and I started spending the whole day at work ferreting for information we'd come up with nothing. No one would tell us anything or we'd end up with all the wrong information.
But this tribe will walk in and you know by their macabre grins that they are bursting to spread the news, the worse it is the bigger their smile. They sink more hearts than torpedoes do battleships.
So, you think you are on the shortlist for Regional Manager, well, the list was finalized Wednesday and you are not on it.
Five people are going to London for the conference and guess who is the surprise omission?
The board has dropped the new branch proposal, it is dead in the water.
Bonuses in October, but only 8.33 percent.
Your promotion has been held up.
Guess who is taking over Marketing?
Surprise audit on Monday, they are gunning for Sales.
You know this guy, don't you...like we all do.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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