WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's diary

WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's diary - MONDAY

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


Sir Marcus was lecturing me about the danger of falling asleep at the wheel and missing the turn-off for the future. At least, I think that's what he said, because my head was beginning to nod. Suddenly, Ken Carmichael put his head round the door to say he had the boardroom booked. Sir Marcus told him to sod off. You have to admire the way he articulates our company culture so clearly. If you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the pavement. Mind you, Ken is the sort of man who comes into the room and the lights dim. He's our research director, which means he spends money asking customers what we already know, to cover our arse when we cock things up. He's a lovely, lovely man but he should be taking money at a narrow-boat museum, not trying to have meetings in boardrooms.


Meeting rooms are booked through Sam Whetstone. I give her a regular lunching partly because she's got industry-leading charlies, but mostly because I want priority booking when I need a room and they're all booked out by HR doing Synchronised Cake Baking. Had long lunch with Bill Peters in Mr Bojangles. He pointed out that he'd never had trouble getting a meeting room for two in the smoking section. When I got back, Hayley (PA) alerted me to the fact that Ken had got onto the intranet and started a petition about lack of meeting rooms. That's the equivalent of Ken going berserk. Smallwood the FD is backing him up. Why anyone from accounts needs to meet anyone outside accounts is beyond me.


Sir Marcus can sniff mutiny in the air. He's instructed his PA to print out the entire intranet so he can see what's going on. Called me and Fulbright (sales director) in for emergency meeting in boardroom (after telling Sensitivity Training course to sod off). Sir Marcus said we were supposed to be the ideas men, what were our ideas? Fulbright immediately suggested we have meetings standing up, as this would make them a lot quicker and reduce demand for meeting rooms. Sir Marcus leant back in his big leather armchair obviously impressed. Fulbright 1, Weak 0. Not good.


Got into work latish and the corridors looked like there was some kind of fire drill going on. My team told me the morning's directive from Sir Marcus was that meetings should be done standing up. I can't believe Sir Marcus has gone with Fulbright's pathetic idea. Life is divided into what you do sitting down, standing up or lying down (except for sex, which combines all three - if you're lucky). Meetings are definitely in the sitting down category, as they're the only place you can relax safe from telephones, customers and other bloody meetings. On my way home rather earlyish I noticed Ken having an uninterrupted meeting in the boardroom and making free with the executive Hobnobs. Not good at all.


After fighting through packed corridors, I checked with Sam Whetstone and the boardroom was free all day. I almost suggested we go in there and I use her to polish the table (this is every secretary's secret fantasy) but there's probably a hidden webcam in there, knowing our IT department.

I alerted Sir Marcus that thanks to Fulbright's brilliant idea all the meeting rooms were empty and the corridors full. I suggested a better idea would be that you can only have a meeting room if your meeting is important and you can only judge if your meeting is important if you are important. This appealed to something deep in Sir Marcus - his own self-importance. I explained the new policy to Ken in the corridor and also took the opportunity to sack him for attempted insurrection. He didn't seem to have a response, so it's probably best if he goes. We don't want people who can't think on their feet.

'Weak at the Top - The Uncensored Diary of the Last Cavemanager' will be published by Prentice Hall on 20 November. Contact John Weak at john.weak@smokehouse.co.uk.

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