JournalismPakistan.com July 21, 2014
Related by a senior executive who has a career path unlike the rest of us who meander and rewritten in my scintillating(!!) style because his rendition put me to sleep but inspired the laugh.
The annual company executive meeting (with which I am mildly connected) was held and we all polished our shoes and slicked up our smiles and oiled our nods when the Chairman entered the room. He told us how we were, the A team and we preened ourselves and looked as A teamish as we could and the steward passed around Digestif biscuits and asked us if we wanted tea or coffee in a whisper and we whispered back our choice and opened our notebooks though no one ever clarified why we had to whisper. Sanctity of the occasion and all that, I guess.
The Chairman said it has been a tough year and the next year will be even tougher and we looked suitably awed and he said, you people are the ones I rely on and we shifted seamlessly into ‘reliable’ mode but, he warned, chin in hand like Rodin the thinker, come 2015 we have to hit the ground running and everyone looked wise and knowing like he had just announced the oracle and I thought, hit it from where, the train, the plane, a bus and why do we hit it running, what if we trip and the next thing you know the whole A team is a C-minus with broken ribs and limbs and stuff but I am smart enough to hold my silence.
And he went on about tightening our belts, trimming the fat and leading from the front while thinking out of the box and seizing the day not to mention grasping the nettle.
We take no prisoners, he rasped, and we carry no passengers. Wanted to interrupt and say that was a mixed metaphor but it may not have gone down very well especially since the marketing chief had just raised his hand like a sixth grade child and asked permission to speak which was graciously given and he was saying to Sir, how honored he was to serve Sir and this stirring speech by Sir was just the right medicine and how the whole lot of us would give our all for the company…
Speak for yourself mate, Fridays are mine.
And the Chairman said, yes, yes, but are we on the same page, because this is war, the enemy is at the gate.
And we all immediately looked like the dirty dozen and had this war vet expression like, okay hand me a grenade and my AK 47 and sucked in our guts. Geronimo, go get them, men. Into the valley of death rode the three hundred…look we don’t have 500.
At which point the steward came in and whispered about a second cup of tea (not in chipped mugs, in real cups) and we did the whole pssst pssst thing again and then the Chairman said, decision time, we have to think of the greater good (uh oh, that meant someone was getting on his bike) even if we have to make some hard choices (oops more than one person, this was a massacre) and only the fittest can survive (so we sucked in our guts even more and tried to look like we were all six packers) which reminds me, he added, I need to talk to HR.
The HR manager looked up and realized he was ‘it’ for the year, the Chairman choosing one whipping boy for the end of the year chastisement and we all breathed freely and were quite pleased it was him because HR is a close second to Accounts when it comes to the wooden spoon for popularity though, of course we were all poe faced and the Chairman then said, I want to explain the new paradigm, I need more synergy and I want, no, I demand accountability.
Like the three wise men we vigorously agreed to cough up all the items in no particular order and would have given him a standing ovation for his insight, his originality and his whispering steward if we hadn’t been too busy practicing how to hit the ground running.
(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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