We had some important people visiting yesterday. Very important people. Big cheeses. Top knobs. Fancy pants. Head honchos. These visits from higher ups happen every now and then. And when they do, they follow three distinct stages:
Stage 1: The Big Clean
Before we’re even told anybody’s coming we’re told to clean. We’ve got cleaners, but they aren’t great, so we’re taken away from the vital work of sorting rhomboids and told to smarten the workplace up a bit. Brooms, squeegees and cloths are handed out. We don’t mind. It makes a change to do another form of pointless soul destroying work. And as with our normal jobs, we do it quite poorly. Smears on the desks. Little piles of grime dotted everywhere. Bins emptied into already overfull bins, making perilously unsafe Mr Whippy’s of garbage.
“It looks worse than before we started!” our Team Manager will say with an edge of desperation in his voice.
Stage 2: The Big Brief
After the Big Clean we’re given the Big Brief. Our Team Manager troops us down to the Meeting Room. We’re told who the visitors are and how important they are in the Blue Sun corporate structure. We’re told what to say in the event one of them talks to us.
“Keep it simple,” our manager will say, with an edge of pleading in his voice. “Answer any questions they may have, but don’t feel like you have to elaborate. And remember: smile while they’re here.”
They even have photos culled from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help us recognise them. You know, just in case a complete stranger stumbles in, asks us a question, and we accidentally give them a non-elaborate over-smiley answer.
Stage 3: The Big Day
Then it happens. They arrive, looking only vaguely like their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pictures. Not that we can really tell, since we only see them from a distance. They’re hurried in and hurried out. If one of them breaks free, a manager zones in on them and steers them away from the unwashed masses (and quite a few of us don’t wash). And then they’re gone. Out of our lives forever, unless we choose to look them up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. “It’s over!” our Team Manager will say with an edge of relief in his voice,
And that’s what happened yesterday. The visitation from the bigwigs lasted exactly six minutes. And I’m a company man to the marrow, so for that six minutes I wore a medium smile on my face. Or, as I like to think of it, my stroke-look.