SASSY TOWN FOLLIES by Felicity Appleton, no.10 March 11

Advice Time

It was raining outside and Jonesy seemed upset. Not his usual mood, which is moody, which he admits when I tease him about it. He seemed fidgety and kept asking me to repeat myself. I was just running through his appointments for the day. There was nothing complicated. It was a typical Tuesday: a few meetings, a scheduled visit across town with the MD of a media analytics company, and a conference call at 4. Simple. But he kept glancing over his shoulder, and making a face as though he was in pain.

He was quiet, and Jonesy is never quiet.

Then I worked it out. It was the rain. He was looking over his shoulder, at the window, and when he looked he noticed it was raining. Jonesy’s very athletic. He gets up early every day and swims and surfs and runs. But his beach was closed due to the stormy conditions and he hates running in the rain. He was missing his exercise.

I asked if he was getting a bit toey, and he told me to mind my own business. He said he’d stopped off in New York and spent a few days with his wife Margot last week. It was a business trip at the end of his business trip to the Sparky People offices in London. I asked if it was a romantic few days, and he told me to piss off. He said Margot still wasn’t returning his calls or answering his emails, but they enjoyed their time together, and he hoped she’d pick up the phone when he called later that night. I asked if he wished he was still in New York, with Margot, in their love nest, and he told me to get out of his fucking office. But he was joking. He told me he kept wondering what she was doing. He said he thought she would probably be asleep right then.

Usually I’m good in situations like this. My advice is good advice. But I couldn’t think what to say. So I told him about my uncle Gordon. Gordon is an example of many things. He ran software and construction and mining companies, and he was a political consultant, and he worked for himself and helped his mates and was a very successful man. When the share prices are rising and everyone is making money you’ve got lots of friends. But Gordon fell out with a man who had lots of contacts, and suddenly the phone stopped ringing. He was forced to retire pretty abruptly from active business life. He’s still on boards but he’d love to be more hands on. For a long time he felt useless and powerless to do anything about it. Then he decided to write his business memoirs, A Hyena Among The Lions, and the book has been on the management best seller list ever since. Now Gordon spends a few days a week consulting. He mentors young executives and helps solve business problems.

The lesson is that he realised that he had an opportunity and took it. He didn’t just feel sorry for himself. There’s always something you can do, I told Jonesy.

This perked him up a bit. He said he’d open an office in New York and headhunt Margot and bring her back to Sparky People, or he’d launch a hostile takeover of The People Bureau (her PR company), or something like that. He told me to get out, and he winked and said he meant it that time. And he said thank you.

Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 7:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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