The Lady in Red!
From The Archives!
A.29 – The Video Song! Lady in Red!
Book Short Takes! – The Lady In Red!
“I want to see how good you are in your persuasion skills. I want you to go to see the Director we talked about, and convince him to interview the replacement candidate. After all, she is the local candidate and it is also a Management decision for these positions to be localized. And he is the member of that Management Team, and must support that decision made jointly by the Team” – says the (European) Boss to me. “This is a good challenge and test to you – let us see the results” – he continues.
“Look” – says the (European also) Director. “Do not waste my time! I have already said that I am not going to replace my Executive Secretary, especially with this candidate you are offering me as a replacement. Unless you get a better CV and replacement candidate, do not waste my time out. Now out – please” – he screams almost obscenities. I stand my grounds. I do not move. I say – “you cannot tell me to get out. I am doing my job here. There are two ways of doing this – the easy way or the hard way. The easy way by co-operating and finding common grounds we can agree forward to move forward, or I shall involve the CEO and Board in this.
“Do not threaten me” – he screams. “This is my Department, and nobody can interfere in this. So please go”. “Like I said you cannot threaten or shake me. If this is what you really feel, I want it in writing so I can present your position to a higher authority.
“Is she your relative? And that is why you are pushing her? I know you peoples, you are all related somehow”. “That is silly and ridiculous” I retort. “And what do you mean by ‘you peoples’? Can I quote you on what you have just said?” – I add in.
Seeing he has just crossed dangerous grounds and troubled waters, he relents and cools down. “At least give her a chance for an interview. She deserves that. After all she was selected in the short list” – I add in. “Okay he says, arrange for an interview next Wednesday. I then chip in – “after all you are member of the Management Team, and you must support and co-operate with a joint decision so made.
There is this ethical and professional thing called Joint Responsibility”. “No thing to rub it in” he scolds. “I have already said Yes. You should have said these things before when I was saying No’. “I said them, but you did not want to hear me” – I retort. “Okay thank you for your co-operation and assistance. I would prefer you interview her alone, and let us know what you think. If you need any help or assistance, let me know. She speaks good English, so there should be no problems in communications”.
Weeks later the replacement candidate has joined. The Director calls me into the Office and apologies. “You caught me at a bad relapse moment. I apologise. I should not have been hard on you. After all, you are just doing your job. This was not your decision, but Management and The Board. He continues outside to the Secretarial area – where the two are there, one going out and the other coming in – he teases to the coming in – “he stood his grounds and did not move. If you need to thank anyone, it should be him! “He is known not to be intimidated – everyone knows about him” – the coming in one says.
The man goes in – he never expected to hear such talk outside his office – at least for a long time to come. But the time has come in sooner than later. I apologise to the outgoing – “I am sorry. This is not my decision. I enjoyed the time with you, you are a very nice friendly lady. “Hey, do not worry your head off. I have been here quite awhile, and I enjoyed my time too. Nothing is permanent – every good thing has to come to an end one day”. As I go out I hear them ladies talking – …kind and considerate too. Wish there were many more like him.
The big boss is outside. His office as I am clapping. An ex-army man, he feigns an artificial salute. “Congratulations! If there was anybody who could do it, it had to be you. The CEO was very impressed too. This earns you more respect and esteem. I just feel dead tired. Controlling oneself ‘not to explode and say wrong things’ had just taken its toil. I need a break. Maybe a few minutes drive outside will cool me off. Maybe some sandwich too?
Far years later there is now a new boss. The outgoing Secretary has gone too. This new boss who has come in is called a ‘bulldozer’ as his nickname. He is worse than the old one. The old one was short one. They had nicknamed him Mighty Mouse. How does he fare with a Bulldozer? He is taller and more larger built too! I have also changed jobs. No more headaches and storms for me. This is an easier area, no hiccups or troubled waters. It is all to provide services to staff. And all guided and controlled by Company policies and procedures. Few grey areas. Any troubles? Throw the book at them, and hide back in the shadows.
So I say to the Secretary that had come in, forcing me to change my job with headaches in it. – “We cannot pay this to your boss. He should have claimed this from his parent company before he came here”. Few minutes later she comes in again, after trying plaintively to plead for payment, scared to go back and say NO to the new boss. Everyone who gets out from his office, either he hurries out fast or cries too inside.
He has made a reputation for himself – the Bulldozer is in. Bulldozes anything in front and on his side too. To get a NO from a more Junior Staff? Unheard off! “Ask him to come and see me and tell me in front of my face why he is not paying this claim”. No problem, I shall see him. No, the Secretary pleads – he wants you to go ands see him NOW. I do that.
As I enter he says (I have been in this Office before, only the incumbent was different!) – “I hear you are the one refusing to pay me. Tell me why?” So I tell him. He is not convinced. After all it is a big amount. I explain to him the works, and the options left to him to get this paid. The easier shorter way and the longer difficult way. He likes my stand for being firm and standing up to him, and being pragmatic and positive, and being suggestive. So we go into small talk. “I have been cautioned about you, but I must say I respect you a lot. You stand your ground. I like that in a person.
We talk about cars; he bought a same American car that I bought two months back. He is surprised how I could afford such a car with my salary, after all his was a Company paid car. We go out smiling. The Secretary outside was waiting for a big storm – only a cool light breeze came out from the door. Nine months later I am moved out in a Restructuring exercise. Bulldozer prides in showing me around to his new Team. After all I am now his pet and friend. He has turned mentor and godfather too. And he was my new boss! Turns and twists and ironies of life!
Now to the title! Most of us must have heard of the above song by Chris de Burgh, but how many of us have asked the question as to why the preference for Red? No doubt it is a very bright colour, and outshines many others – but there are many other colours too. For example what about pink? Or blue? They are equally nice colours I think! Anyway, no doubt the above song is a classic, and very romantic too. When it is being sung, you definitely sit up and talk notice! This article is dedicated to a special lady, who whatever colour of dress she wears, will outshine any other lady around her. She is currently a very sick lady, and we all wish her all the best and a very quick recovery.
Despite being sick, she has remained calm, astute and cheerful too. This article is dedicated to her. No regrets to have fought to see you in. You are a great high profile, high class lady. And I feel great and elated to have known you.
It made me so happy when you teased me as – Seyyid M, how are you? You look great! Driving that big luxury car too. It is not the car, but who is driving it. We went out together in early voluntary retirement. And me – I am still dreaming driving that car of yours! Please recover soon. Here is to your health and quick recovery.
Lady Fatma – There was a time and history – and this article is dedicated to you!!
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The Lady in Red