Blog Week 13: Subversive thoughts?
Sunday 19 February 23.58
Last Thursday evening's PR event was interesting.
It started slowly, not many people arrived till about 8.30pm and then - as always - they all came at the same time.
I was helping out in the cloakroom and, after things had calmed down. Pierre asked if I could "circulate" around the room. I was not sure what he meant, but I saw it as an opportunity to mingle.
I noticed Spock and Shakespeare were a little removed from all the laughter and chatter and so went over and joined them.
I had never seen either of them as being particularly "counter-culture" regarding the office and office life, but I joined them in the middle of a slightly subversive conversation.
They were looking around the room and making comments about different types of attendees. It was quite funny and insightful.
But I am going to have to write more tomorrow.
Monday 20 February 20.48
Sorry about last night's blog entry; it got cut short as I have been "fighting" a really bad sore throat these past few days and I was exhausted last night.
I really did not want to go to work today. Dragged myself into the office; nothing interesting to talk about. (Anything new?!)
So I'll continue with a few of the "groups" identified by Spock and Shakespeare at last Thursday's PR event.
- The Brussels somebody-nobodies. Typically lobbyists, consultants (why are they so unpopular with the lawyers?) and similar Brussels characters. No one ever is quite sure what these people do, but they always seem to be at these types of events, nodding wisely and standing next to someone important.
- The EU officials. Again always invited to these events. Apparently they come either for a "grass is greener" insight into law firm life (to plan leaving the gilded cage) or as a reminder to thank god they escaped private practice for the work/life balance of the public sector.
- The partners. Ok not outsiders, but Spock and Shakespeare seemed to relish talking about them. In summary they were saying some partners have better social skills than others in dealing with people from outside the office. For example, Bill could be catapulted into a Seattle mosh-pit or a religious riot and you know in the end he would emerge as leader. Other partners would be trampled to death within 3 seconds of landing.
Spock and Shakespeare were actually a lot more subversive and I am not doing them justice. But I am feeling too lousy to write anymore (sorry). I'll see how I feel in the morning.
Tuesday 21 February 20.21
Alarm went off this morning and there was no way I was getting out of bed. I have felt miserable all day long.
I'll not talk anymore about feeling ill. It always bores me when I hear other people talking like that and I do not want to sound like them.
Spock and Shakespeare's comments got me thinking about the office. The way things are currently organised does not make much sense.
Pierre is office manager for 2 offices located in different parts of Brussels. Ok Brussels is not such a big place. But he seems to spend a lot of time travelling between the 2 offices each day, "fire-fighting" the latest problem. For some reason the email between the 2 offices is extra-slow (Mockney told me it is something to do with a compatibility problem with the servers) and both offices use different instant messaging systems.
Inevitably Pierre is getting exhausted. The bad thing is no one knows when it is going to change and no one seems to care.
I am sorry but I'll stop here. I am feeling exhausted with this flu/virus or whatever it is. More thoughts tomorrow.
Wednesday 22 February 17.11
Woke up feeling worse today, really sore throat so I can hardly talk. But I am forgeting, I am not going to bore you with those details ...
I'll carry on with my great insights into the office. I hope you can withstand the shock. Ok so I am being ironic - a subject Shakespeare kept discussing at the PR event (irony, not me being ironic).
The partners in this office generally seem to get on with each other well. Certainly there is none of the rivalry I saw in my last office - the one we are now merging with. How all the partners are going to get on together is unclear. The merger seems to have been imposed on them. No one is that enthusiastic about it.
There has not been much actual integration between the offices- the joint office Christmas party must have been the last event. Ok it was not that long ago, but not many people attended (given it was right before Christmas).
I get the feeling Pierre is feeling some pressure to keep the integration together. He works with the partners in both offices and so is important for keeping the office integration smoothly ticking along.
But Pierre's tense relationship with the outside consultants does not help matters. I think the consultants believe they are masterminding the whole office integration; meanwhile, Pierre and the partners think the consultants are just advising. That particular tension has yet to play itself out.
I would like to think I am offering some amazing analysis into what is happening. An observer clearly describing all that is happening around me. But I am not. I only write what I see and I do not know what it means or where it is leading.
But overall the situation does seem not great (and I am not talking about my health).