Screen test is a total failure
Someone in finance had a stompy last week over the bank's rocketing travel bill and decided to shell out for video conferencing. So instead of jetting to Japan I arrived in the goldfish bowl meeting room to witness my boss ogling the IT boy whose firm backside was bobbing around as he tried to coax his new toy to work.
I felt incredibly old and somewhat anxious over this drastic measure to minimise employment costs – IT Boy looked like a schoolkid. Feeling queasy, as my boss panted like a bitch on heat flirting with IT Child-Worker, I went for a coffee.
My colleagues, AKA the Boys' Club, were huddled round the drinks machine. "Oh, it's only you," the compliance manager grunted, as he inspected the pickings from his nose. The others, pretending not to have seen me – this being their warning flag that "boys' talk" is in progress – were lamenting the end to their jollies to far-flung places where servicing their "nieces" in hotel rooms was top of the meetings agenda.
Back to the goldfish bowl, where IT Child-Slave had finally made a connection with the Tokyo office and was backing out of the room with a hunted look.
The video conference duly kicked off with us huddled around the camera and our Japanese colleagues all nicely lined up. They'd sensibly organised themselves into three neat rows: two in the front sitting on chairs, two in the second row on bar stools, and two standing up at the back.
After lots of head bowing from the Japanese and shouts of "hello" from us Europeans – with an Aussie thrown in for diversity purposes – the meeting got under way with chit-chat about the weather.
There was an awkward moment when one of the Japanese men asked if any of us had met the Spice Girls. Pretending that we hadn't heard him, we swiftly moved on.
Just as Japanese IT Man was about to launch into a detailed briefing we encountered a technical glitch and were treated to a frighteningly close encounter of Aussie Man's sweaty bald head plastered across the screen. Aussie Man, in his excitement, had hauled himself into the camera line.
Once the barrage of slap-head jibes had died down, we tried to press on with the meeting, only this time it was Compliance Man who ruined things by asking, "Is it true that geishas have deformed feet?"
As the stunned silence spanned the globe, the video link gave up and we were left staring open-mouthed at Compliance Man, who responded with, "What a shame. I was about to ask who was who, as they all looked the same"
Friday 5th October, 2007 posted by City Girl
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