since everyone was using it to chat and ‘screen-suck’ office hours anyways, in an attempt at avant garde management that peter drucker would probably approve of, i have turned skype on its head and made its use mandatory in office. it is fast proving an excellent productivity tool. i can talk from the #2 down to the receptionist in a jiffy. meetings turn out to be more to the point. contact with provincial offices hundreds of kilometers and hours of drive away happen in real time. attendance is suddenly virtual. and the taglines serve the additional purpose of a barometer of the staff’s psychology today (too many grumbling taglines would call for a staff meeting with an inspirational talk as to why we are still at this, someone announcing they are waiting for good news could potentially mean s/he has just been interviewed for another job and a replacement should be in the works, romantic heartbreak taglines are outlawed.)
anyhow, here is an exchange on skype this morning with my executive assistant today (background: i was working very late last night from home and so woke up late this morning. and as usual in such occasions, first thing out of bed i checked the attendance and blasted a few tasks in between showering and getting dressed. a good part of my planning for work happens in those bouts of insomnia between 3-5 am and i have a handy notepad to jot these down as they come.)
- assistant: ok i will pass that on… by the way where are you now?
- me (because i am paranoid about such things): mercury. why?
- assistant: just wanted to know so that i could send you a vehicle?
- me: ok, tell ustaad atiq (my driver) to pack plenty of fuel. he will need it getting here.
- assistant (writes and scratches. pauses in concern and confusion. eventually writes:) ok. i will tell him that. is that the net cafe close to your home?
- me: no. it’s the closest planet to the sun. and i am on the exposed side of it.
- assistant: ok, in that case i will tell atiq to try a gravity assist slingshot maneuver in the vicinity of mars. should get him right down to your area.
- me (suddenly jumping up, no more amused by my own cleverness, the joke is on me): ok thanks. i’ll be waiting then.
- assistant (it’s her turn now to beat the metaphor to a mushy pulp beyond the layman’s recognition): ok. btw, re the 10.30 meeting today… the venue has been changed now to sigma orionis..in the constellation orion.
(darn. probably means i am up for a ride to the farthest point in the city now.)
moral of the story: be careful who you try your jokes on. turns out she did her undergrad minor in astronomy.