JournalismPakistan.com March 24, 2014
Every time I call this recently anointed tycoon he is in a meeting. Of course, his secretary is horrified that mere mortals would like to talk to his grace and express deep shock when they say, it is an important meeting, he cannot be disturbed. That is tough to beat for redundancy. I mean as the CEO if he was in unimportant meetings, we’d have to chuck him out. I share this pearl of wisdom with the executive assistant over the phone and it turns glacial as the silence stretches like a kid pulling chewing gum.
Can you tell him I am on the line.
He cannot be disturbed.
Yes, but he asked me to call.
I am sorry, the orders are clear, if you leave your name and number…
Lady, I have left my name, number, my club bill, my seat allocation on the flight out, my medical report, my iris scan, my fingerprints, my passport copy…
There is no lilt of light and frothy laughter. Frost is the chilly texture that comes to mind.
Five calls later he is still in a meeting.
That is a pretty long meeting, I say trying to strike up a convivial convo.
This is his third meeting she says with suitable awe, like her boss had climbed Everest without oxygen or gone down to see the Titanic.
Is it an important one, I say, which I think is pretty droll and sort of happily humorous but I get no response.
They are all, all important ones, she says going all Mark Anthony on me. But seriously, this whole meeting thing is now a copout for not working. If you are in meetings all the time when do you actually get something done. We have made such a fetish of this ‘ooooh, can’t be disturbed’ sentiment that half the day the boss is kept away from people who could teach him a thing or two. I think the kitchen cabinet in any company controls the boss by encouraging meetings. And if you call them strategy meetings it makes the boss feel good and he can hide behind agendas and clauses and appendices and the minutes of the last meeting and that way since he does no work, people will not discover what a twit he is.
(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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