SASSY TOWN FOLLIES by Felicity Appleton no. 27, July 30

Answering For The Boss

I see a lot of letters and other correspondence, and I’ve become pretty good at writing in business-speak myself (“To whom it may concern” and so on). It’s a language I speak now. At first it was difficult. “Welcome to Sparky People. How may I help you today?” took time to get used to saying, when they first allowed me to answer the phone. I love talking to people, so I loved the chance to speak to clients direct, but there was a period of adjustment and Cosi, my buddy and first boss, wanted to ease me into it.

I was keen, but she wanted me to take it slow. I was eager, but she told me that it was better if you don’t rush. I was, well, gagging to get going, to make a start, to become an official phone client interface person. And she said all of the comments you can imagine someone who talked about sex all day would say: I should treasure my first time, and take it slow, that rushing was the worst thing I could do, and that once I was ready I would be leading the client towards a bed with pink satin sheets and a mirror above it. She taught me to do the business phone call voice, explaining that this voice is nothing like the voice you ever use talking to anyone else. The voice should be seductive and a little bossy at times, strong, playful, gentle in tone but commanding in message. Cosi told me to listen to the client enjoying the conversation, and the voice, and imagine them shifting in their seats as they felt a bit of movement in the trouser area. Of course Cosi neglected to explain that someone who answers the phone for a PR company will primarily be talking to women and gay men, but that didn’t matter. She made the training fun. And I’m pretty good on the phone as a result.

As I worked my way up I was exposed (another Cosi word) to different kinds of communication. Very soon I was reading and answering emails for the big boss Jonesy and only forwarding the most important things to him. As he was too busy to be distracted with the kind of crap that clogs up the inbox of a man in his position, which is the way he put it, I acted as a kind of filter, making sure the unimportant stuff got dealt with or not, as I saw fit. Jonesy trusted me after a little while and now he trusts me completely. I even see personal emails for him and he allows me to filter these too. Margot’s got a boyfriend, by the way, although I don’t think it’s the right time to tell Jonesy that yet. All he knows is that Margot is hardly ever available to skype these days. Poor Jonesy. If only he knew he had friends at Sparky People! He has no idea. He’s loved and he doesn’t even know it.

But enough about Cheryl from accounts.

Nothing could have prepared me for an email I saw last week. It read:

The board has determined to proceed with the course of action you outlined recently in New York. Please be advised that this will involve significant rationalisation of assets and corporate structures. Certain key personnel …

And there was stuff about cost cutting and offices closing. Or that’s what it looked like.

I asked Jonesy when everyone had gone home what was going on, and he told me. He said not to tell anyone. But that a few, only a few, staff wold have to go, mostly in the “fucking useless” Auckland office. He said he was in a game and he was playing against the board, but they didn’t know that yet. He had to make it appear that he was on their side. And besides, he said, it was like that time when the iffy-looking box from Fyshwick arrived. It was full of fireworks, not porn, wasn’t it, he said. And it was.

In any case, Jonesy said to trust him. He said he’d look after me.     

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Published in: on July 30, 2013 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

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