Blog Week 100: I witness but don't say.

Sunday 21 October 20.45

So after last week's IT difficulties I am a bit behind with my blogging. I was going to tell you one interesting story, but that'll have to wait for a quieter time as other interesting stuff is going on...

Monday 22 October 22.54

Have you ever been caught in the crossfire of vicious, mean words in a meeting? Words fired at someone else in a venomous tone, aiming to hurt. I was last Friday (lucky old me).

The meeting was to discuss the upcoming office cuts - ahem - reorganisation. Some support staff - me, Pierre, Old Timer - were present at the start: I had to explain some analysis and figures; Pierre and Old Timer were there to give some advice. When we had done our bit we would - in Old Timer's words - tug our forelocks and leave. Then the partners' discussion/decision-making would begin. At least that was the theory.

Different partners have different fiefdoms (IT, Marketing, Admin etc) and are surprisingly protective of their "territory" (budgets and people). Just how protective became evident on Friday. The meeting was proceeding as expected when something quite trivial was said and then it suddenly all kicked-off between Bill and Neanderthal. A small comment - made via a misinterpreted tone of voice - swiftly caught fire into a ferocious argument. First their voices rose and they were talking over each other. By a stroke of ill-fortune I was sitting between them. I quickly realised it was my presence that was physically separating them. Initially I was a bit shocked, but when the swearing started I didn't know where to look. I was stranded in no-man's land, wanting to disappear under the table and reemerge when the dust had settled.

Everyone else watched aghast. When Pierre and Old Timer got up to leave, I saw my chance and quickly followed them out of the door. As soon as it was closed they looked at each other in a knowing way. "This is worse than we thought" whispered Old Timer. Pierre then looked at me and put his finger to his lips. I nodded. I walked back to my office feeling battered - and I was only a by-stander.

Tuesday 23 October 20.06

A while ago I had the impression Mockney was growing up. But he is reverting to type. This morning he lurched up to my desk. "I heard it all went Pete Tong at Friday's meeting! God this is radio rental. So what's the score?". He was absent yesterday and clearly could not be bothered with any subtle questioning.

I look back baffled. No one speaks like this. He must take classes somewhere in Brussels on how to mangle English.

Upon request he translated his words into understandable English (basically what happened at Friday's meeting). Of course I was immediately on guard. Talking to him would be like talking to the tabloid press: if they don't get anything interesting then they'll make it up anyway. And being named as the source would not help me in anyway. I explained I could not say anything but suggested he speak to Old Timer.

As he bounded off like a dog chasing a ball I realised being an eye-witness at "that" meeting gives me some minor, transient celebrity status around the office. Not celebrity in an Hola! magazine sort of way, more like the local oddball who has been kidnapped by aliens in the National Enquirer.

 

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