Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Partners in crime

For one of our ongoing projects we are working together with another company since our products go hand in hand, so we have a common interest in working together. That is all fine and well and something that most people working in a corporate environment have experienced I would think. So far our cooperation has gone relatively well, but a change of management in our partner company made things a little difficult for us.

First of all, their willingness to invest money significantly decreased, but that is something we can work around, but more importantly they did a organizational reshuffle and our main speaking partner since many years got moved away, against his will, to a smaller and insignificant department to await retirement. However, since no replacement has been put in place, he has remained our speaking partner until early this week. Mr. Slick, as we can call him, is a pretty sly guy and his default work _expression is a sly grin and he has a habit of leaning towards you when he speaks, saying something and then giving a little theatrical laugh before returning to the default grin and casually leaning back.

In this meeting he brought along his replacement, let’s call him Mr. Grim. He had a completely different personality, the default work _expression seemed to be a frown and sitting straight backed without moving an inch either back or forth. It was clear that Mr. Slick had the upper hand on Mr. Grim as he was instructing him on what had gone on in the past and who was important and not, showing of the grin and the theatrical laugh on many occasions while Mr. Grim looked grim and nodded slightly with his head in response. On several occasions Mr. Slick also scolded Mr. Grim when Mr. Grim had some minor objection to our plans or some suggestion for a change to which he looked even grimmer and nodded. Seeing these two guys bouncing of each other was pretty entertaining, to the degree that I got so enthralled in observing them interact that I forgot the topic on several occasions…

I will miss Mr. Slick and his slyness which came in very useful on several occasions and as long as he was on my side I appreciated it (I wouldn’t if I had been more on the receiving end of his schemes and plots). I also remember fondly the time when we had reached a significant step in the project and he brought me and a colleague out for dinner and the restaurant was some special “member’s only” bar in which girls in bunny suits walked about smiling with no specific purpose while normally dressed waitresses were serving us food and drink. Perhaps he’ll take me there again to that secret place as a final event before he fades into corporate oblivion…?

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