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.

Picture 4


 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!”


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