What I need in my office is something akin to a Bat Phone – something that flashes red when danger is impending. Better yet, a Hartley Signal, beamed on to the clouds outside the workplace.
If I did have such a device, I could be ready for occasions when Him Upstairs decides to unleash a diabolical attack on Yours Truly. But as I don’t, I remain unprepared for such meetings as the one I had this morning with the MD (that’s managing director, not weapon of mass destruction, by the way – although there are parallels).
“Riddle me this, Hartley,” says he. “Why on my recent business trip to inspect our holdings in the Maldives, should I have had the indignity of travelling cattle class?”
I had to explain that things were still tight and we had had to downgrade on all travel. “On the plus side,” I said, “we are selling it to the staff as a voluntary measure intended to bring the executives closer to the rest of employees.”
“Do you realise, Boy Wonder, that I looked like a pauper in front of the other golfers…errr…executives?” he said. “It makes us look bad, and that means less investment and less money for everyone.”
I was a bit perplexed by this warped logic – but if you can persuade a person that you must travel like a king to save the company money, then I suppose you deserve to be in charge.
If you could help with this dastardly paradox, please drop me a line on the Bat E-mail.