Apr 19, 2011

You're not here to make friends

You would think that people at CoolCo and CoolCoSub would be cool, right?  And I'm quite cool.  Okay, that's a lie, but I could probably qualify as cool-ish.  Strait-laced with a side of cool, if you will.

Which means, if the theory that likes attract likes is correct, that we should all be one happy family.

And yet.

The sad truth is....

I work in a place where everyone hates me.


Let's rewind for a sec.

Last summer, I was interviewed for a position which didn't yet exist.  To create a department that was brand spanking new.  To do things that had never been done before.  By anyone.  Anywhere.

So, I said, you want me to Make the Change Happen? No problemo, dear CoolCo, I'm your woman.  (No, I didn't actually say that, but you know what I mean).

And on that basis, I was hired.  An ex-litigator, NY-Bar-qualified, former BM-consultant, crazy chick.  You would have thought they would know what they were getting themselves into.  It's not like I lied about the merchandise.

But now, I'm seeing hands being thrown up in the air, angry faces all red and scrunched up, and people squeaking: "but Res, that's just not how we DO things!"

Res: "No kidding.  That's why you hired me, right?"

Angry CoolCo people: "But no, Res, you must do things the way we've always done things.  That is the CoolCo way.  That is what makes us cool."

Res: "Well, actually, it's not, but in any event I can't do things the way you've always done things because YOU'VE NEVER DONE WHAT I DO BEFORE...."

ACCP:"Ach, but Res, this is a big problem."

Speaking of problems, after all that I need to turn around and tell my direct reports that they can't take that vacation they were planning to take because I might need them around.  I was so upset about having to break the news that I had nightmares for days.  I even seriously considered letting them go off and frolic and just working non-stop myself.  My boss couldn't understand what my problem was - "you're in charge, you tell them what's what."

Yeah, sure.  But now everyone REALLY hates me.

Is it just women that care about these things?

Thank goodness I'm going home to Paris tomorrow, where everyone still loves me.  I hope.

Apr 16, 2011

Hiding in Plain Sight

Isn't it strange how well the internet allows you to hide while linked to the whole world?

I've often been asked the question, "why do you expose yourself like this?"

Expose myself? Are you kidding? The internet is my hiding place.  My safe house.  The real danger is outside - it's when you confront yourself with actual people that everything starts to break down.  Even skype is treacherous - at least here no one talks back.

Hmmm.... Maybe I've spent too much time today reading Joanne Harris' blueeyedboy

(Books are a good place to hide too.)

Coco and Camarao do Brazil

I am so tired.

That kind of tired that seeps into your bones and makes them heavy as rocks, that crawls in behind your stinging eyeballs, the kind of tired that you feel you'll never be able to shake off.

And I only recently came back from vacation.  Something's rotten in the state of Res, I tell you.

Speaking of vacation, I am way overdue a posting.  So here it is, a brief but exclusive glimpse into the glamorous Brazilian adventures of Res and Hottie:

Friday: Res bails early from CoolCo Sub and hops onto a small plane to a London with a big suitcase full of dresses.  Hottie has just returned from Houston (obviously).  The two of them are exhausted and skip the big Friday night out in London.

Saturday: Res and Hottie wait for pre-ordered cab.  And wait some more. Cab doesn't show up. Learn to never trust anyone but black cabs.  Make it to Heathrow in time for plane (and pancakes at Giraffe). Spend a long time in a flying metal tube. Land in Rio.  It's hot. Hottie has a couple caipirinhas. Res is a party pooper and goes to bed.

Sunday: Our fearless heroines decide to jump off a mountain.  Not before signing beautifully drafted liability waiver, specifying that it applies to all hang-gliding activities such as "take-off and landing (including, but not limited to, crashing)". Despite said waiver, both girls manage stunning, crash-free landings. Spend rest of day recovering on Ipanema with some coconut water and a couple camarao. Res takes first caipirinha.  And second.

Monday: Trusty host Daniel takes the girls on tour of city.  Gets them lost in Tijuca National Park.  Explains ups and downs of marriage over large skewers of meat. Then plonks them down on a bar terrace overlooking Santa Teresa for caipirinha o'clock.  Where we meet a yacht stewardess and a straight man with a T-shirt that says "Flower". Res takes a bit of a fancy to Brazilian beers. At dinner, Hottie attempts to identify menu options by making barnyard animal sounds at the waiter and Res orders a mint tea only to receive a small swamp in a bucket.

Tuesday: More beach time.  The girls even manage to squeeze in a run and purchase bikinis (size large, therefore covering half a butt-cheek; we learn that what we think of as "normal" bikini bottoms are referred to here as American bikinis, diapers or parachutes. Lovely).  Then Christ the Redeemer goes all mystical in the fog and Copacabana sparkles from the top of the Sugarloaf, before it's time to samba the night away at the fabulous Rio Scenarium.  More caipirinhas are had.

Wednesday: It rains. Res gets a sunburn (rainburn?) and turns into a bit of a camarao herself. For good cheer, Res and Hottie purchase Havaianas and try to sing for beer money. It doesn't work. Res orders fish for dinner and gets beef. Never mind. There's always more samba to save the day (until a senior citizen decides to demonstrate his trademarked pelvic thrust move and the girls run away... fast).

Thursday: Bye bye Rio, off to Paraty.  It rains. Paraty is nonetheless charming.  And serves wonderful caipirinhas.  Res gets a samba lesson from a waiter.

Friday: Sunshine in Paraty makes for idyllic beach time. Res misses her coconut water, though.  In the evening, the girls are entertained by the fabulous Yara and Richard Roberts and eat the best food of the whole trip. Res makes farofa and feels pretty pleased with herself. Hottie learns how to make caipirinhas and London cocktail nights are transformed forever.

Saturday: Last day in Brazil, spent in Sao Paulo with INSEAD alumns and friends. Much food, drink and dancing is had by all.  It rains.  That's because Brazil is sad the girls are leaving.

Sunday: Plane, more plane, an early Monday morning breakfast at Heathrow, another plane, and arrival in Zurich.  The vacation is over.  Time to prepare work trip to South Africa.

More on that in another post.