Sunday, February 20, 2005

preen mode
You can tell when a person isn't doing anything useful at work when they start marching quickly around the corridors. Polished black shoes pick up speed as their owner leaves his desk, and by the time he has reached the crowds milling around next to the coffee machine he's stomping heavily in an effort to convince us of the urgency of his mission. In his hands there will be sheets of A4 paper, flapping in the breeze of his march down the hall, visible proof that he has Something Important To Talk About.

His pace and the number of sheets of paper he's holding are trustworthy indications of the importance their audience holds in the company hierarchy. He's not going to march down the corridor advertising his reflected importance if he's going to meet just another slave like me or you. But if he has been summoned by a manager, well just you watch him strut, shoulders thrust back square and head lifted proudly.

If you get the chance to look closely at his face when he zips past you, you can see the furrow on his brow twitching as he rehearses his subject in his head, preparing lines and getting ready to dazzle people with his knowledge. Around here there's nothing like a fine display of memorised facts for establishing your reputation as A Professional and thereby earning the credit you need to secure your promotion. Like a peacock's tail, you can bet that these guys will grab whatever opportunity a meeting gives them to fan open their entire accumulated knowledge, whether it's relevant or not. And once you get one of them started, it becomes a competition. They wouldn't want to miss out on their chance to proove their superior suitability, would they? Never mind what they were there to talk about in the first place, whatever it was the customer wanted. Actually, that was quite trivial and the problem was solved in the first minutes.

Now, half an hour later, they're still stuck in preen mode and frustrating the fuck out of the rest of us who don't give a shit. Us non-French who just want to go and sit back behind our desks, surfing the internet.

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