The Haught guide to change managers
Every single word I write on these pages and in the pages of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald is true. If my stories and accounts sound far-fetched, it is because I have lived a rich, kaleidoscopic life, replete with encounters that stretch the outer membrane of believability to near-breaking point and acquaintances living astride the boundary dividing Real Life and Cartoons.
But the margin dwellers – the loaf bowlers, the fishpond sippers, the scatalogically obsessed – always seem to die on their run in the Sublime Idiocy Stakes, passed in the last 200 metres by fast-finishing members of the nominal mainstream.
(Corporate) truth, it seems, is stranger than (what looks like, but isn’t) fiction:
What the eff?
I was working at a blimp manufacturer in the late 1960s when my boss called me into his office and said, “Jonathan, blimps aren’t the future.”
I said, “What the eff are you talking about, Jurgen? ‘Blimps are the effing future’ is the company’s effing motto, for eff’s sake.”
He told me to settle down and handed me a pfeffernusse biscuit and a newspaper. “No, this is the future,” he said. On the front page was a picture of a Concorde taking off. “It’s faster than sound.”
I was dubious, but the pfeffernusse had really mellowed me out. “So, what are you going to do?” I asked, sliding off my chair.
“I’m getting into eight-track cartridge manufacture. Supersonic travel and eight-tracks are the future,” he said. “And rotary phones.”
“Does this mean I’m fired?” I asked.
“No. I’m bringing in something called a change manager. Apparently he’ll help us all make the shift from dirigibles to audio devices,” he said.
The next day, a man burst into the hangar during lunch and said, “OK folks — end of the day, change comes down to four simple words: storming, forming, norming and perf-“
“GET OUT!” Jurgen screamed, before the change manager could finish. “Get out, you unctuous effing con man! You silver-tongued effing reprobate! You pestilent effing drivel merchant!” He literally kicked Buck in the buttocks to send him on his way (which I thought happened only in cartoons).
Jurgen was red-faced when he returned to the workbench. I offered him a pfeffernusse. “I take it you don’t think change management is the future,” I said.
We laughed for a long time.
This column first appeared in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
You can read Benign to Five every Saturday morning in the MyCareer section.
The Grape Men quote of the day:
Grape Man 1: “Eh! EH! You drunk already?”
Grape Man 2: “What? What fuck you talking abouts? I only just walk in.”
Grape Man 1: “You stagger in here all like a big… fat… thing.”
Grape Man 2: “…I don’t know what that mean. You want you coffee or not?”
Grape Man 1: “I take my coffee, but I watch you. I watch you like snake watch… “
Grape Man 2: “…what?”
Grape Man 1: “I gunna say… mouse.”
Grape Man 3: “Good choice. Mouse is good choice for that metaphor.”
Grape Man 2: “You going to get out of ute or am I need to pass coffee up to you, you majesty?”
Grape Man 1: “You pass up coffee, you bloody drunk!”
Grape Man 3: “You watch him! You watch him like snakes!”