Wednesday, November 29, 2006
but I've only recently started listening to them. If you're into Rock music, check these guys out. Their new album, IV, is awesome, particularly the track Ten Speed of God's Blood and Burial (Ten Speed for short, which you can watch on the site) which introduced me to them when I saw it on MTV late one Friday night. Under the Media link, they also have an awesome couple of pictures you can download as wallpaper for your machine, like I have... Here's the link: --> Coheed and Cambria
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
so I told him what he thought he wanted to hear... "Who?" I hear you ask. His Royal Highness, the Master of The House, he-whose-praises-shall-be-sung-on-high-by-angels, the legend in his own lunchtime... No, people, not Max...my boss. Just over a week ago, I get stopped in a passageway in the office by my manager, saying he wants to get together for ten minutes to discuss some things. I can see there's a worried look on his face, and with due reason. We have had his boss, the department executive, going around the office for the last couple of Fridays talking to various of my colleagues, and myself, asking whether we know of any "factions" within the business unit. Factions? There's bloody great rift valleys at the moment. And the manager's oblivious to it cos he's never there for one, and two, he doesn't listen to his people anyway. Anyway, due to various reasons including a two-day conference I was at last week about Shit Towne's (Joburg) (in)ability to host its part of the 2010 World Cup (more about that perhaps, in another posting if I feel inclined - it's been 20-odd fuckin' days since my last posting, so gimme a break) and his busy schedule, we've missed the opportunity to meet and talk. So I decide to send him an official invitation. Needless to say, it's not answered by after 13h00 and we're supposed to be meeting at 14h30. I'm going to go into the office especially for the chat. A quick call to his secretary and I determine that he's on his way out of the office with one of my colleagues to have exactly the same chat as we're going to have...the plot thickens. I chuckle into the phone as, the guy he's about to have coffree with at a local restaurant, has just about vowed that if he gets you-know-who into an office alone, he'll punch shit out of him. Perhaps that's why he decided to do it in a public place... I get to the meeting place, early as usual, sit and have coffee and a chat with Max and another colleague and ten minutes from meeting time the phone goes. He's going to be "ten minutes" late...yeah, right. Would that be local time, or fuckin' Martian light years? Twenty five minutes later, he rocks up, nonchalant as if he's two days early. "Shall we find somewhere to chat?" he says. "Sure", I reply and we go sit in a corner out of earshot of everyone else around. "Do you play golf?" he asks, looking at the logo on my Polo golf shirt. I think "You know I play golf and that it's usually about once a year that I play", so I say to him "You know I play golf and that it's usually about once a year that I play", and he says with a smile "Yes, I know you play".....so why fuckin' ask, twat? Good start... He opens by saying, "I hear you have some issues that we may want to discuss and resolve. I can see you're not happy and what I'm seeing is not the Steve that I first started working with." I think "No shit, Sherlock?" and reply, "Yes, I have a few, some of which you know and some others as well, but we haven't had a chance to discuss them yet." So I start off by telling him that I hope this hasn't come about as a result of my chat with his boss, which I'd hoped would be confidential, and he looks acceptably sheepish, which speaks volumes. I remind him that my biggest issue is the volume and type of work I do for the unit, compared to my crappy salary that I'm getting for it. I also tell him that what he told me in our last chat about needing a special business case to justify an increase out of salary review cycles is bullshit. I have first-hand experience at that, as Steph also works for the company and recently got a 15% increase out of the blue when her boss found out how much she earned compared to the rest of her team. Basically, I was calling him a liar. More sheepish looks... So we talk about his lack of trust in his people and how more decision-making should be left with the people. We need a manager, not a controller, as he currently is. I talk about how he needs to listen to his people, be receptive to them coming to him with issues. He's very business-driven and rightly so, but his people management skills are sadly lacking, and I tell him so. I figured that if my conversation with his boss could have been career-limiting, fuckit, I'm already doomed. There's various other things we chat about, mostly myself talking, him listening and his face getting longer as we progress. Fuck knows what was going through his mind, but I don't think it was "When I get home, I'm going to rip the wife's knickers right off and roger her on the lounge coffee table." Somehow, I doubt it... Forty minutes into the debate (so much for ten), he looks like he's about to get up and leave. So I ask him my piece de resistance question..."You've been in the job for sometime now. Do you ever feel like you were set up to fail?" He knew what sort of state the business was in when he took over, what it might entail to bring it out of its slump, and his background as a Client Executive (glorified sales person) was not exactly the training I figured would have suited the manager's position. Anyway...it's his career, not mine. He thinks for all of about five seconds and with a confused, surprised, look on his face, says "Why would you think that?" I tell him about the above (state of the business, et al) and unconvincingly he says "No, I don't think that. Why would management do that to me?" Well, there's various reasons, I think. "Perhaps they wanted to close the unit down, prove to executive management that it's not one of the core business functions of the company, and needed an expendable scapegoat to carry out their fiendish plan?" I ask. He's clearly never thought of this before and I can see he might be discussing it later with his wife as he rogers her over the lounge coffee table. Another fifteen minutes of debate ensues and I know that he has to leave for another meeting, to discuss some issues with our Marketing people (another hopeless bunch). On the way out I reassure him that if he wants to continue our discussion at some point, that I'm always available. Maybe he'll invite me for coffee one day, just before they hand me my marching orders for insubordination. What the hell, C'est la vie...he asked what was on my mind...
Thursday, November 02, 2006
here's a sample of the type of hotel you might be staying in...rustic, original, the real African experience, located in an affluent township (not too far from oor hoose, actually)... Viewed from the unusually tree-free street walkway. Front view. Note the photo of the model, upstairs between the windows. Close up on the front door security system. Really makes you feel safe. Everybody still keen on coming out for the big event? :-)