Bad Week Part 3: A Visit from Corporate

Those of us who work in the corporate world, or for the government for that matter, understand with no further explanation why this is a headache. 

So on Wednesday and Thursday, I had a visit from the Vice President of Human Resources, whom we will call “Bob”.  Having just learned the afternoon before of the death of HP, I was seriously not in the mood for being upbeat and on my best behavior. 

“Bob” is a kindly, avuncular, white-haired gentleman in his 70’s, with the heart of a cobra.  Having worked for this company for 10 years, I’ve been privy to all the times he has cut the legs out from under people in high places.  He has a singular ability to sniff out which way the wind is blowing, and position himself on the “right” side of things.  Never mind that yesterday he was your biggest supporter.  He’s manageable, but it takes effort. 

So on Wednesday, I took him with me to a luncheon meeting of a business organization I belong to, in fact I’m on the Board (for now), and another member of the Board did a short presentation explaining why our organization is opposed to Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution.  I was the only member of the Board who voted during the Board meeting NOT to support that position (the other person who is for the Amendment wisely did not attend that meeting).  And I argued heavily FOR Amendment 4.  But I accepted the decision of the Board and have not done anything to undermine it (democracy, you know).

So imagine my consternation when the Vice President of the organization, following the presentation, said, “Phyllis, why don’t you tell the members why you disagree?”  Well, crap.  You could have asked me this any time.  Like last month.  Why must you ask me now, with “Bob” sitting beside me?  That was one of those moments where you have to make a split-second decision.  Would it be better for me to make some quick generic statement?  Or should I say what I really thought?  Those of you who know me will think that I decided to take the plunge, and you would be right.  But I didn’t do it lightly.  In fact, I was practically sick afterwards, fearing how it played with “Bob”. 

It probably helped that on the way to the elevator, another member of the Board said, I want you to know that I’m voting for Amendment 4.  It’s just as you said.  The people who are against it have no facts, it’s all speculation and scare tactics.  Wow, I said.  I got a convert.  She said:  you converted me the first time you talked about it, in the Board meeting. 

I can barely remember what I said.  But the next day, at lunch, on the way to the airport, “Bob” said, for an impromptu argument, you did well.  You did better than the guy on the other side of the argument.  He also said, I’m impressed with the organization you’ve built.  You have a great team, and the atmosphere is a hundred times better than when I was here last year. 

Uh huh.  I allowed myself to hope for a bit that I’ve escaped harm.  But I’ve learned to always wait for the official written report of the visit.  It’s amazing how somewhere between here and the Corporate office, “good” transforms into “marginal”.   Perhaps there is something about the air quality on the plane?

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