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?


Thriftcriminal said...

Make it ++unworry. 'Cause, let's face it, what can you do? I have a selection of shares that I am resolutely refusing to check. They should weather the storm and I've probably taken a pantsing on them, but getting het up about that will achieve sod all, other than being detrimental to my health.

On the working hours thing, 3 words: Time In Lieu (that Loo, not leee-ooo for the yanks :-) ), loyalty works BOTH ways and fair is fair.

Anonymous said...

Baino you were right to down tools and go live your own life.

A big floral tribute when you die is no comfort to anyone!

laughingwolf said...

"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."

...obviously WAY past time go to MACINTOSH!!!

[from the time apple went intel, most windbloze programs will work on apple machines, so many corporations are switching]

as for time off... take all you can, cuz you've more than earned it!

skoal! [as in skol, not sko-al!]

look foward to another friday fuckwit, though ;) lol

Unknown said...

Well, I am quite old fashioned so I prefer the paper and folder administration system.

Anonymous said...

Good for you taking some time off and bugger the lot of them. And as Thrifty says, how about some TOIL? The senior manager perspective never seems to change, does it? They can swan around doing whatever they fancy while the lower orders sweat to keep everything running smoothly. And most of the time they don't even notice the sweating. Ah well, come the revolution, comrade....

Miladysa said...

My father used to say something about a good workhorse always getting worked the most!

I remember learning about the Wall Street Crash at school and heard from my father what growing up in the 1920s and 30s was like.

'They' seem to have learned nothing in all those years :[

Megan said...

I like that. Unworry. I'm using it!

Insanity at our office this week. Rates are out, rates are suspended, rates are down, rates are up, rates are suspended. Thank goodness our owner is a down-to-earth guy who believes in keeping his business running instead of buying fancy cars!

Good for you for going walkabout (however briefly)!

Thriftcriminal said...

BTW the precursor to the depression was .... rampant consumerism. The aftermath was the New Deal. Perhaps we should take some hope from that?

Ces Adorio said...

Do you speak with an English accent or Australian accent? Either way, I would like this piece being read aloud.

Baino said...

Thrifty, you're young enough to leave the shares alone. They'll bounce over time. Macquarie stocks took a pounding for no real reason, just on the back of the US panic. Don't worry , I'll make sure young Jaime gets some time in the Loo. I'm not sure what brought on this general unreasonableness. Panic is contagious!

Grannymar, I'm normally a put in whateve it takes girl but their lack of flexibility really annoyed me so I removed myself from the scene!

Wuffa, I would if I could. I think the change would kill this lot Then this virus was caused by an Adviser opening an email attachment for North West airlines flight confirmations . . stupid woman . .I've already warned them about that one. Silly thing is, she thought it was about her QANTAS flight to Perth this morning! (um hello, do you know what airline you're flying with?) Talk about a blonde moment.

Oh and I'm catching the bus into the city today so there will be fuckwits!

Ropi! You serious! Well I dont think you have much to worry about, our office has files full of the stuff! We're far from paperless!

Haha . . come the revolution? Poor administrators, we're paid crap, don't get any recognition but are needed in a pinch. Still, I know who will hurt most when the market bottoms out and it won't be penniless moi!

Miladysa, it's the panic that does it. One company falls and all are tarred with the same brush. There are other banks in the US that will probably go under. You wait, in a month it will be called a 'correction' not a crash!

Actually Megan I thought about you today. Do you work for a bank or a broker? I feel for all those employees packing their boxes and walking out the door, which reserve bank is going to bale them out?

Thrifty, if that's the case, then the time is right! We have one client who likes to try to 'time' the market. He's done quite well over the past 20 years but now wants to pull out all his money and shove it under the mattress. He's forgotten the profits he's enjoyed over the past.

. .well good question Ces. You'll have to ask Thrify or Grannymar that one but I've been told I speak with an English/Australian accent. My mother was a stickler for good grammer and enunciation so I'm sort of posh Australian. I've been here since I was 11 but still have a tinge of the old dart. Then few of us actually say 'stone the crows cobber!'

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) said...

Unless you're unfortunate to have all your eggs on one basket like Lehmans you're quite safe and just have to weather the storm. It's cyclical and will bounce back in 3-5 years time. Seen it, been it, waiting patiently.

Kath Lockett said...

Ah yes, after twenty years of working in offices, being a lackey, grad trainee, manager, project officer and downshifter, I've had it as well.

People with salaries triple mine going out for lunch meetings, saying, as they leave, "I'll be in town for a few other things, so I won't be back," or my recent ex-boss, who went with her four best friends to Kangaroo Island in a luxury rented beach house for week and came back and said to me, "I'm not going to fill out a leave form because I did some writing work while I was there."

You were so right to finish up and go home at your normal time. It takes a fair set of balls to do it though, so tonight I hope there's NO JOBS for you to do and you CAN sip your chardi and put your feet up. If not, I'll do it on your behalf.

Baino said...

Quickie, you're what we call a 'mature investor' and understand the risks. If all those greedy panic merchants out there had the same attitude it wouldn't have happened in the first place!

Kath actually, I took today off and had lunch with some old colleagues. My ex bos who ALWAYS asks if I want to come back to work for him. I would if he didn't work in the City. Chardy poured, ice to cool it on this lovely spring day and a belly full of paella, I'm hard pressed to find a Friday fuckwit! (have a chardy anyway!)

Miladysa said...

Ces asks a really interesting question.

Every time I read your blog it's just like listening to a local here. I would say that every turn of phrase and expression you use is typically British.

"Then few of us actually say 'stone the crows cobber!'"

*shock* *horror*

I'll share a secret with you, I seldom say "Ee By Gum!" ;-D

Anonymous said...

And for that matter nobody in Ireland ever says "Top o' the mornin' to ye" (well, they might say it in Irish, I wouldn't know!)

laughingwolf said...

why is that twit still on payroll if she can't decide what airline she's on?