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The Lowest Common Denominator or Home-Sweet-Home

MegaCorp, Cambridge Division. Brad Madeupname III, product of a leading East Coast Business School, swept confidently down the corridors of power. The young blade was eager with anticipation, ready for his first board meeting since becoming a director. His rockets were fuelled and ready to fly. En route, he exchanged knowing nods of recognition with the select few. With an assured hand he pushed open the heavy door to the inner sanctum and crossed the threshold. However, the Board Room was not as he had expected.

The House of the Gods was in turmoil. Sweating bodies were fighting for seats, scuffling and jostling, elbows prodding. Up-roar prevailed. At the bottom end of the conference table the Head of R&D, with knuckles white and straining jaw, was whining, “But this is where I sat yesterday” to those that approached too close. In contrast, VP (Ops), a former West Point man, had clearly sand-bagged himself a position at dawn and was now holding the commanding heights against all comers.

On the far left, the HR director was stooping to pick up a Teddy bear, thrown like so many others from a pram that had been parked where it didn’t want to be.

On the far right, Company Standards sought to assert themselves. A plaque was ‘accidentally’ broken over someone’s head, bringing to an end the physical debate over the merits of ‘enforced prior absence as a basis for seating precedence.’

To one side of this, an unrecognised faced was explaining, “Oh, no. I’m not actually in this meeting, but I used to work with your Strategy guy, so I’m saving his seat.”

In the middle of the room Sales was haggling to close an offer on one of the three seats ‘reserved’ for his super-best buddies with his new even better super-bestest buddy. Meanwhile, the Business Ethics Visionary was going nowhere fast. Despite the athletic feats she performed to get in front of people, she claimed not to see them as she barged them deftly aside. At the centre of the maelstrom was the VP (Finance). He bullied his way across the room and with a disregard that had won him fame on the trading floor at Salomon, proceeded to throw away the name card and papers of his seat’s previous incumbent. “I can see
you’re here and I don’t care. I’m sitting here.”

Madeupname picked his way across the slippery slope to the last remaining seat, the one at the front normally occupied by the CEO’s assistant. Inwardly he smiled. “Home,” he thought and pushed her aside.

“Sorry, sweetie, but it’s a dog-eat-dog world here.”
NOTE: Any resemblance to the behaviour of persons in the EC, future world leaders or not, is deliberate, intended and entirely their own fault.

September 15, 2003
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