Thursday, September 18, 2008
Today, work was dominated by arranging a Traineeship for a staff member, woes with software, a major virus infection that threatened all our data and IT troubleshooting that left me pretty exhausted. None of these things was noticed or commented on by the principals who went about their daily business - organised their golf trips, waxed lyrical about their new sound systems and tripped across the road to work in the coffee shop. The price I pay to keep an office running seamlessly but let's face it . . it's not rocket science and it's my job to have an office that functions so that they can get on with the business at hand.
However the current banking crisis, barely spoken about until 4pm, eventually had the partners in a spin. I don't understand it much other than prolonged availability of easy credit and the mortgage crisis has led to a fall in liquidity, a number of serious, particularly US bankruptcies, which have the world in a spin and now the world's banks are in meltdown and being buoyed (not booo-eed) by enormous injections of funds ($450 billion at last count) by the major reserve banks across the globe. Punters are pulling out as share prices drop and investing in gold. It seems little has been learned from the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
But today I was angered by two of the partners who naturally, were concerned by client responses and yes, a few clients did ring in asking if they should take their money out of term deposits but there were no more than half a dozen who had contemplated popping their cash in the biscuit tin under the bed or jumping out of a multi-storey window, one of the causes of the meltdown in the first place - shareholders selling due to the fear factor. By and large, our clients were calm and their fears allayed with some informed conversations about the safety of their funds, with their Financial Adviser.
There was absolutely no need to expect one of our staff members, a young single mother, to stay late after picking up her 8 year old son from after school care to send a bulk email merge to 84 clients who could so easily have been called during the day in a pro-active manner and their media fed fears about Macquarie Bank going bust, quelled.
I did something today that I have never done in a crisis . . I bailed. I have things to do after work and having worked 9 hours straight was ready to get on with my other chores. Yes chores . .I didn't leave on time to pour a chardy and put my fucking feet up! (although that will certainly be the impression I gave). In fact as with every afternoon lately, I didn't get home until 7pm, cooked dinner, fed the dog, put out the bins yada yada . . . I feel sorry for Jaime who was left carrying the can . . . she should have just said 'no'. It was totally unfair to think that an email sent at 6pm tonight (with any luck since our outgoing spam filter was preventing half our emails from reaching their destination) would have any more or less impact than one sent at 8am tomorrow morning. Even more unfair to expect a single mother, with her child at heel to stay late, without payment of over time, to deliver the good news that Australian regulatory systems will see the investment bank remain buoyant (not booo-eee-ant). They could have seen that by watching the 7:30 report!
Normally, as Marketing guru, I would have been asked to write something and send the email. But not today so the burden fell to Jaime. She was decidedly unimpressed, actually she was palpably pissed off but didn't argue and whilst picking up her progeny I protested on her behalf to the powers that be . .they remained resolute . . the email had to be sent tonight. No 'ifs' or 'buts'. Sorry Boss but sometimes, just sometimes your empathy gland is underactive!
I dislike he way underlings are manipulated and made to feel guilty for observing their working hours and expected to be there just to serve. I can't tell you the late hours or weekends I've worked, or traipsed up to check a false burglar alarm so that there is a seamless return to work for the rest of staff, without reward or accolade (or many times without their knowledge because I don't tell them) whilst my own boss has tripped off to the chiropractor or gone to sort a domestic dispute within the tennis committee, or taken the dog to the vet. Privilege of owning the business I guess. I will be berated for sure, but not until Monday - since I'm taking tomorrow off to do lunch while I still have money in the bank!
There's been a rather unusual piece of very nicely crafted, neat, chalk graffiti appearing on the pavement around the shopping centre . . it makes me smile and simply says "Unworry". If only investors and managers had that attitude.
Adenda 9:16am Friday 19 September: Ooops, just found out that she volunteered! Foot in mouth disease strikes yet again but the email failed last night. . so it'll have to be sent this morning anyway . . .now do you believe in karma?