Magazine article Management Today

Smoke & Mirrors

Magazine article Management Today

Smoke & Mirrors

Article excerpt

Trapped in a deathly two-day budget meeting, our spin master gets an unexpected chance to shine in front of the ravishing head of diversity.


This week, we get locked in the boardroom for the annual two-day budgeting death match. If Dignitas had a one-click depart-this-world option, I wouldn't make it past the first morning. Listening to our FD, Peter Barnsworth, present is like having dental work done by way of your back passage. For a start, the man is fat, and no financial director with a modicum of professional self-respect is obese - it's a walking advertisement for inflationary overindulgence. His face is like a grossly underprovided pizza, with tiny facial features dotted around in a great round doughy mass. And for some reason he doesn't like me.


Linton Spivey, our bewigged CEO, took me aside. For the budgeting meeting, he said he wants a comms plan from me, with measurable, credible activity in PR. Obviously, pepperoni Barnsworth has been bending his ear. He's a robot, that man, and probably puts his socks on in a measurable, credible way. You can't plan PR. You have an arse, and if it's hanging out, you cover it up. Fortunately, we have a token man in our comms team called Harold. He doesn't like being called Harry, which tells you all you need to know about him. I don't know how I acquired him, as he looks like a refugee from the IT department However, he's very useful with budgeting and work flows and things that PR is a stranger to. I got him to look back at what we did last year, attach some random figures and complex charts, and then change the date to next year. And that, friends, is how you do planning.


Day off today! Or diversity training, as human remains likes to call it. It's exactly the same every year, which isn't terribly diverse, is it? On the bright side, they do give you a copy of the Smokehouse Book, which has lovely little photos of everyone in every department, with quirky little facts, like what they're most likely to find inside their navels. I spent the day carefully going through the Book and rating everyone on whether I would sleep with them or not (women only, obviously!). It's quite a long and complex business, but somebody has to do it. …

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