Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Meetings are getting longer and there are more of them. This morning we had our weekly 10.00 management team meeting that started promptly at 11.05. Frank is the reason that this meeting (and all others come to think of it) never starts on time. A start of two-hours after the scheduled kick-off is not uncommon. Why? A last phone call followed by a final email and capped with a very last email and one more email. The great thing about Frank is that he never, ever apologies for being late. He simply enters the gathering with supreme confidence causing those irritated by what, until that very moment, they believed to be the cause of the late start – namely Frank – to wonder weather they’ve really understood what is going on. Was it really a 10.00 start?

Anyway, at 11.05 we sat for the MT. At 11.06, we’re all in the kitchen fixing coffee. The coffee machine is partially broken and so no longer dispenses two cups at once. Just one cup at once which compounds irritation if you are the type prone to it. At 11.15 we’re seated once more and the door is closed. Charlotte pops her head around the door, “Coffee?”. Of course. 11.30 beckons.

Feeling smug that we’ve cobbled together a punchy little agenda by 11.40, we start with the first item – the august body known as the Rent Commission (Huurcommissie in Dutch) and another case that could have dire consequences for us and, if not dire, then at least very expensive. Frank runs through the highlights that seem to amount to an unfathomable series of lapses on our side and, frankly Frank, we deserve all we get. Me, Frank, Klaas and Marcus fall silent. So depressed are we by the prospect of sorting out this case (it resembles a pile of spaghetti dropped from a tall building onto a flock of flamingos coming into land) that we cannot think of anything – encouraging or not – to say about, well, anything. We sip brews in monastic contemplation. 12.05 – Charlotte brings more coffee. Finally, Marcus retrieves the offending deal’s dossier from the archive and takes a peek. Still a depressing tale of woe but less awful that feared and we cheer up a bit. No time for other agenda items. Meeting abandoned in favour of an early lunch.

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