Vive la difference!

I’ve written before about my frustration with presentations and meetings in French companies (or at least, French oil companies). I’m rather pleased to say that my experience in my new outfit has been rather different.

That’s not to say everything got off to a great start: halfway through my third day I was hauled into a small meeting room by my boss and the HR lady who both had serious looks on their faces. I won’t go into details, but I was rather relieved to find 1) I’d done nothing wrong and 2) it had nothing to do with my blog. But other than perhaps the first six months in Lagos, when I had a superb French boss, this is possibly the first job I’ve had in a long time where I’m not treated like someone who’s arrived fresh from the field of a fuckwit farm. The method of distributing work seems to run along the lines of, “You see that job there? Get on with it.” Whereas I’m more used to being told what bullet points to add to a slide and how to make what I’ve written sound more stupid.

Now it might not just be the switch from France to England that explains this; after all, my new boss is French. It is probably as much down to my moving from an oil company – which has the efficiency of a Soviet toaster factory but the income of a warehouse of oligarchs – to a firm on the cutting edge of technology with demanding customers. Whatever the reason, when we have meetings the chairman cuts in if people start drifting off topic or the discussion goes on too long, and five minutes before the end everyone is told to wrap it up because the meeting will end on time. If there’s something on a screen, it’s a handful of slides. Often it’s just half a page.

It’s nice not to feel completely useless for a change. Alas, such utilisation leaves me with little time to blog. This must be what psychologists mean when they say people are conflicted.


10 thoughts on “Vive la difference!

  1. Glad you’re enjoying your new challenges Tim.

    Rare to see you swearing on your blog these days, but I can’t see any adverts for Chinese brides today so perhaps you’ve given up the monetisation?

  2. Good point about the lack of ads — I keep waiting for the pop-up, but nothing happens.

    It is great that you are finding your new place of employment to be stimulating. Interesting that you mention the chairman (not the PC chairperson) demanding that meetings finish on time. Peter Drucker’s only short book, “The Effective Executive”, about his experiences in converting factories to war production in WWII, is largely focused on time management. Still worth a read!

    Personal observation — most organizations consist of sandbanks of competence in a sea of mediocrity. When one finds oneself on one of those sandbanks of competence, it is time to produce, learn, enjoy. And never forget that sandbanks get washed away, while new ones get thrown up out of that sea of mediocrity.

  3. The sole purpose of a bureaucracy is to make it as close to impossible as possible to get anything done. Isaac Newton’s first law of motion and all that. Why be difficult when by taking a tiny little bit of extra trouble you can be downright impossible. Remove the bureaucracy and hey presto.

  4. I guess he’s got rid of the ads because the extra time completing tax returns, microauditing for why he wasn’t VAT registered etc, wasn’t worth the $86 annual income.

  5. Oh come Tim – you can’t be all coy and keep us hanging like that. What did you do and why did you get called in?

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