The best thing about having one of your contemporaries as a boss is… Nope, there are no good things whatsoever about having one of your contemporaries as a boss.
Tyrant Tamara, as I’ve amusingly christened her, is behaving like the deranged power-crazed maniac I always suspected she was – insisting on people being in the office for 9.30am, scheduling regular 1-to-1 meetings, and expecting twice-weekly updates on the progress of our portfolio companies. Honestly, it’s bureaucracy gone mad.
“Honestly, it’s bureaucracy gone mad,” I told my now ex-boss when we met for an illicit drink the other night.
I say illicit because he’s strictly persona non grata at Big Shop these days – not just because he left, but because they worked out that he’d been the one leaving the anonymous rude messages about the Shop in communal work areas. Rumour has it that our MP John T. Leviathan was so angry when he found out that he knocked a senior VP out cold with one of those fibreglass awards tombstones (I haven’t been able to confirm whether it was one of Private Equity Multinational’s, though since I note that you people inexplicably passed us over AGAIN for this year’s awards, I’m guessing probably not). He then stormed off to his office, apparently muttering something about how much easier life must have been for the Romans when decimation was an option.
But while I have the utmost respect for the Great JTL, one thing you’ll no doubt have come to realise about me is that I very much dance to my own tune. In fact, I don’t just dance, I also play the tune. And conduct the band. And sell tickets on the door. So when my long-time mentor called and asked if he could buy me a drink, he barely had to bully and guilt-trip me into it at all.
To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him, in light of the recent revelations. As a general rule, anyone who openly disparages our Great British (American) Institution is forever dead to me.
Then again, my other general rule is that there are few moral qualms that can’t be soothed with a liberal application of Hefty Paycheque, which I figured might well be on offer. So on a nondescript Wednesday night, after only 25 minutes of changing direction, doubling back on myself and looking into shop windows to make sure I wasn’t being followed, I ducked into the prearranged wine bar. I then had to spend 5 minutes explaining why I was 15 minutes late, since for some reason he seemed unconvinced by my argument that I was trying to shake off any potential tail. (“A tail? Who do you think you are, James Bond? Wait, don’t answer that.”)
Anyway, after he came back with the drinks, it didn’t take long before the conversation turned to Tamara. According to him, she’d promised faithfully to join their little breakaway gang – but only so she could use it as leverage with Big Shop to get a better job and more money.
“Total cow,” he concluded, his voice shaking slightly with the remorseless burning fury of a buyout guy scorned.
“Absolutely,” I agreed, trying to keep the admiration out of my voice, while silently kicking myself for not doing the same (they weren’t to know I didn’t have another offer). “TOTAL cow. She couldn’t be more of a cow if she… erm… chewed the cud. And had four stomachs. And was being milked, even as we speak.”
“Erm, right. Just FYI Nicky, cows don’t technically have… Wait, never mind. Let stick to Tamara.”
“No, Tamar – oh I see, sorry… Nicholas,” he corrected himself, with a slightly odd emphasis on the final syllable. “So as I was saying, about Tamara. You’re absolutely right about her. And it’s only going to get worse. So I was wondering: perhaps you might be able to do me a teeny, tiny favour…”