Ed Hunter: POETS Day

There are times in life when luck taps you on the shoulder. You just feel lucky. You can’t say why. It’s just there. Lingering in the background.

Today I’d like to tell you about one such time.

It started on a Friday.

Specifically?

Friday 31st March 2017. Last day of the quarter.

A day the Boss had earmarked as ‘BD Day’. Any die hard Ed Hunter fans will remember me writing about BD Day previously.

Coming off the back of a record quarter one, spirits were notably high in the office. So, as you can imagine, the suggestion of ‘a day hitting the phones, going back to basics’ got a great reception. The same kind of reception you get when the new Grad Researcher accidentally BDs the top billers best client. And messes it up.

Despite apparently being backed by a sea of winces around the office, no one had the minerals to second my veto and it was full steam ahead.

Here’s what happened…

08:02 – Walk into the office, expecting a room of hungover pessimists. I’m greeted by the opposite.

Well, they are hungover, but no one’s anywhere near as miserable as I expect. Have we got a new office dog? Has someone had the balls to tell our Sales Director that coffee breath and ‘a 40-a-day habit’ coupled with ‘personal space invasion’ is tantamount to aggravated battery?

08:10 – I sit down as Chris looks over. His eyes are about to pop out his head. Before I can ask why he looks like Wylie Coyote ogling a lupine love interest the new Researcher on my team runs up to me.

I say ‘up’. He runs at me.

“He’s not in. He’s ill. We’re off the hook!”

I want to softly remind my young padawan of his place in the business, but he’s worked hard recently so I refrain. Plus, there’s something quite heart warming about the ferocity of his excitement due to his boss’s illness. The man who’s given him his first shot at recruitment.

The only thing I can liken his giddiness to is when a hapless supply teacher takes over a high school class.

Normally 70% blind, huge oval glasses that makes them look like an owl, their best hearing days, also well behind them. Someone would dive out the ground floor window for no reason. An unwilling victim would be locked in a cupboard. A full scale riot would erupt in one corner over a pencil sharpener. All without one solitary hoot from the stand-in ‘Teach’.

That sorta thing.

08:27 – The news about our Dear Leader’s untimely and unfortunate demise has reached the Office Manager and an email’s sent round. The content of which does NOT have the desired effect.

“The Gaffer’s not in. He’s ill but is on emails if needed. We’re doing BD Day on Monday, today’s business as usual please.”

Pretty standard, other than the word gaffer, which I’ve not seen since it was written on my boss’s hard hat during my summer labouring days. Oh and there’s one word which really stands out.

“Please”

I’ve seen this please before. It’s the kind of please that insinuates the ‘gaffer’ knows full well what’s about to happen. And it isn’t business as usual.

My Researcher’s face is now beetroot coloured and I’m surprised there’s not a puddle under his seat. He’s on the phone to the other Researcher pretending he’s working. He obviously thinks I can’t hear or haven’t realised there’s an internal phone system. Except his squeaky voice is now so high the new office dog would be able to translate for me.

09:16 – The office is split right down the middle. One side (perm) has decided it’s business as usual.

The other side (contract, with a splattering of perm that hit target this month) has decided business is NOT on the agenda. Phil’s erected cricket stumps at one end of the office and Chris, opening batsman, is laying out the boundary as he taps his bat (branded umbrella) on the ground expectantly looking for the first ball.

Any time now he’ll drop his story about county trials, aged 12. Where his standard gets better and age gets higher on each recount.

Four runs is anywhere past the coffee machine and round to the museum of 90’s suit jackets hanging in the corner.

Six runs is anything head height and any time you hit a ‘Permie’ on the head. Apart from Steph. Steph’s too senior, so hit her and you’re out. Probably out of the business depending on who’s at the crease.

09:21 – Andy theatrically marks his run up next to the coffee machine and comes hurtling in.

Diamond Duck for Chris and everyone realises he was on trial at the county court, not the cricket ground, aged 12.

The foam stress ball knocks the disconnected phone receiver off the fire extinguisher and cheers go up round the boundary. The most loud of which draws hushes from the perm team, 50% of whom have now downed tools.

Today’s going to be a good day.

10:34 – The remaining do-gooders on perm have now joined the mutiny. All but one.

Steph, who blanked last month is fighting the temptation to slack off. The fact the sales board is a metre from her head probably isn’t helping her inner turmoil.

I go over to make a joke but she’s having NONE of it and gives me the ‘I’m busy index finger’ accompanied by her ‘DO NOT TEST ME’ face.

Pick your moments Ed.

11:12 – Something strange happens. The phone rings.

That’s not the strange part in fairness. It’s a client that no one’s worked with before. In fact no one in the office has even heard of these guys.

I’ve only picked up the call because it’s got to 9 rings and everyone else is arguing about Steve’s LBW.

11:14 – After I unsuccessfully fail to pass on the call I sit down to do my first bit of work for the day.

It’s a ‘HOT’ job that needs CVs by the end of the day. But… it’s perm.

Choices. Do I pass it on to the correct Consultant? OR….

Do I try get my overly excited Resourcer to stop p*ssing himself and do some work?

Before I can make my decision I’m in to bat.

“Chris, Kevin Peterson’s on the blower wondering if he can tempt you back into the Warwickshire fold. Right, where’s the boundary?”

12:30 – “That’s lunch.”

Steph’s absolutely had it. She’s sent over some ‘dead certs’, and rattled through the textbook of ‘annoyed at work’ postures. Arms folded? Check. Head in hands? Check. Fingers into a gun shape, to the side of the head. Check.

Steph: “Liquid lunch anyone?”

Me: “Thought you’d never ask”

14:00 – The ‘Friday Fix’ flies round the office to signal the end of the working week, but I notice everyone’s gone quiet.

Is everyone doing work now? Have they realised the errors of their ways? Is this what being a grown up feels like? Doing the right thing when no one’s watching?

Oh no… it’s eerily quiet because everyone’s doing an online quiz to see what type of biscuit they are.

14:51 – An email comes in from ‘the gaffer’

“How’s today been?”

14:58 – A lot of replies run through my mind. Do I tell him about my 53 not out?

Should I mention the fact I’m a chocolate hobnob? I am pretty pleased about it.

I wimp out.

“It’s been close to mayhem, but we got some work done too. What with the record quarter I think everyone needed a bit of a release.”

I close my eyes as I click send as if that’s somehow going to lighten the blow.

15:30 – The reply’s in. It’s well timed too. He 100% read my reply as soon as it came in, but waited. It’s not this man’s first rodeo and what I know about managing Recruiters, this guy’s already forgotten.

Gaffer: “All good, get everyone down to the pub.”

Me: “You bloody legend. By the way I’m 53 not out.”

I email round: “Beer stops play, let’s get to the pub. Word from the top.”

15:35 – The ‘downing of tools’ takes literally seconds. Primarily because the only tool visible is my Researcher. Who, by the way, is up to his eyeballs in more important business. This time finding out which ‘Lord of the Rings’ character he is.

He’s going to love Monday morning, but for now it’s time to get Legolas.

15:45 – Everyone’s in the pub toasting another tortuous day at the office. All apart from Steph who’s quietly updating her CV.

She won’t need it, she’ll do a deal next week, but I order her a bottle of rose and take it up as a peacemaker.

It’s nice to be nice.

(Plus her head was the reason I was top batsman)