Got in late due to late running of weekend. Found a new secretary in my office. I asked her (Tanya) what had happened to Hayley, my loyal PA with whom I have an almost psychic working relationship. She said that Hayley was on maternity leave. First I'd heard of it. I thought she was getting a bit porky, but you don't like to point this out to women. They just slip down the invisible tottometer until they're bingo fodder. Generally, I'm not keen on maternity leave. Women want equal opportunities at work and then leave work. Bizarre. Next they'll be wanting childcare in the office. Mind you, someone in sales managed to father a baby in the lift, so combining family responsibility and work is possible.
I've had enough of working so I've decided to take early retirement. Obviously, I'm not going to pack in my job, I'm just not going to do any work. It will be like taking up golf except without having to mix with actuaries in Pringles. I told Tanya to clear my diary for the week. She said she didn't do diaries. That's like a nurse saying she doesn't take temperatures. She said a diary was a personal thing and was none of her business. I was about to put her right on the basic functions of a secretary when my first meeting arrived. Once you're stuck in a meeting you can't cancel the next one, so I found myself in a nightmare of back-to-back meetings with people who wanted to talk about things of paralysing banality.
Called Tanya in to make a cup of tea. She said she didn't do tea. I said coffee would be fine, but she just flounced out. Decided to use the legendary Weak charm on Tanya. Just as a bit of a warm-up I tried some mild flattery. She looked at me and told me she didn't need any of my 'sexist shit'. What kind of world is it where you can't tell a woman she's a tidy little piece without being accused of sexism? I got tough and told her to arrange a meeting with the agency pronto. She said she didn't do meetings and anyway she was going to lunch. I looked at my watch. It was precisely 11.14am. Gave Bill Peters a quick call to check that it wasn't him she was having lunch with. It wasn't, so we decided to adjourn immediately to Mr Bojangles to discuss this gross absenteeism, accompanied by a couple of bottles of the big red facilitator.
More back-to-back meetings with people I've never met talking about things I've never heard of. Asked Tanya to type up a few notes I'd made in a meeting. She said, number one, she wasn't a typist, number two, I had a perfectly good computer, and number three, why didn't I use it? Cheeky strumpet!! Have to admit I nearly started fancying her at this point. There's nothing sexier than a stroppy, feisty woman with attitude problems. Actually, most women have attitude problems pre-loaded but feistiness is an attractive add-on. The trouble with Tanya is that she is wilfully plain. Her body looks like it's got a slow puncture and she dresses as if she might at any moment be called away for some emergency folk dancing.
Got in at the crack of dawn to start cancelling next week's meetings. I simply couldn't survive another week's worth. Bumped into Sir Marcus, who insisted on having an immediate breakfast meeting. He complained that one of his team needed to be fully empowered and start taking more initiative. I suggested that Tanya go and work for him immediately as she was a top motivator and did more upward management than Chris Bonnington. I then worked flat out making tea, managing diary and having continual meetings. Finally left the office at some ungodly hour well past five. It'll be a relief to get Hayley back so I can start doing nothing properly. Mind you, once she's a mum she'll probably just be sitting around at home doing nothing.