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Stuart Mould has invited you to join his professional network

I

Stuart Mould has invited you
to join his professional network.

He is wearing
a tuxedo and the smirk

of a man unfamiliar
with the concept of rejection.

Stuart Mould has four thousand
and fifty-eight connections.

Small wonder given the way
he generates

revenue
you never knew

existed. It’s all there
in his results-driven profile.

It appears he will go
the extra mile

in his position as
Customer Solutions Architect.

I don’t know why
but I click accept.

II

Stuart Mould has endorsed you for the following skills:

Marketing ✓
Leading Teams ✓
Targeting ✓
Weaving Dreams ✓

Scuba diving ✓
Semaphore ✓
Lego building ✓
Harp (Grade Four) ✓

Chess playing ✓
Home baking ✓
Soothsaying ✓
Lovemaking ✓

That’s a lot
of endorsements to get

from someone
who I have never met.

III

Stuart Mould has written you a recommendation
that you can include on your profile page.

“Bold strides this colossus in the workplace
with footsteps firm and full of flawless grace,
noble of purpose and so fair of face,
greeting PowerPoint with such fond embrace.

O Mighty Strategist! Leader Complete!
The Pivot-fabled Slayer of Spreadsheets!
Analytical Artist! Office Athlete!
Leviathan of the Corporate Elite!”

I must admit
I hesitated.

It seemed a little
overstated.

IV

Stuart Mould has invited you to join him and his family for two weeks
in their delightful villa situated near the Rio Real Golf Course,
and just ten miles from the charming, bustling city of Marbella.

I went, of course.
I’m no fool.

It had a private
swimming pool

where I, alongside
his four thousand contacts,

swam and schmoozed,
snoozed, relaxed,

after mornings
on sun-parched links,

and the clink of ice
in noon-time drinks.

We, the Professional Network
of Stuart Mould,

his corporate army,
paraded, parasoled,

a linked in, in sync
commonwealth.

I eventually met
the man himself.

He was not as bad
as I expected.

I felt I had –
at last – connected.

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Awaydays

We have been here before;
we who slouch
at formica tables
and fish adeptly in sea-green bowls
for cellophaned sweets
to the music of fizzy water.

For

We who drowse
in powerpointed twilight,
as time slides slowly past,
we restless slumberers,
fearful of break-outs
and the tyranny of role play.

For we

We who doodle
on hotel-headed notepaper
whilst listening distractedly
to the distant hum
of the motorway
which leads to other places.

For we are

We who leave
money on the table
and grab at pendulous fruit
which hangs so low.

For we are the

We who wait
in expectation
of the fifteen minute respite
offered in the form
of plated custard creams.

For we are the awayday

We who nurse
feelings of jealousy
towards marker pens
that run out
before we can.

For we are the awayday boarders.
We are the onboarded.

And this is the way the day ends
This is the way the day ends
This is the way the day ends
Not with a bang but a flipchart.

The Clowns

Know this: those commuters
causing commotions on locomotions
with their funny fold-up bikes,
the vélo origamists of the vestibule,
are out-of-town clowns.

Their bags do not house laptops
or dossiers of documents,
but wigs and whistles, red noses,
hand-buzzers and balloons,
water-spraying carnations, outsized shoes,
giant toothbrushes, chickens.

Follow them out of the station,
post-disembarkation.
Observe the nearness of their feet
to the saddle as they straddle
their bicycles and comically pedal
through London street puddles,
and peddle their selection
of slapstick services
to city centre circuses.

The Ideation of Beauty

Come with me, Cleopatra of the cloistered night,
And together let us onboard dynamic collaborative tools
Whilst contemplating the eternal.

The footsteps of such excellent falsehoods fade
As we leverage the underlying global paradigms of emergent verticals
And mere echoes of the immortal remain.

We measure out our lives in cappuccino cups,
Evolving scalable synergies to deploy a roadmap of swim lanes,
A paean to pain and such terrible beauty.

Truth’s tragedy tattoos itself upon the face,
And the establishment of an automated lead qualification process
Forces an urgent insouciance of a life unlived.

The air turns to a sudden unseasonal winter-stillness,
Robust go-to-market strategies for content-enabled services are sought,
And the robin wakes, sings, and sleeps once more.

In the Boredroom

When bored,
Or driven berserk
By the toadish
Drudgery of work,
I like to play
Meeting room bingo
The word game
Of corporate lingo
For four players
Or more.

The more hackneyed
The saw,
The more
You score.
Anyone who dares
To be original
Move back
Three squares.

For in the kingdom of the bland
The blue-sky thinker is king.
And let’s not forget that
From the same hymn sheet
We all should sing.

Heaven forbid
That money should be left
On the table,
Although we should grab
The low-hanging fruit
If we’re able.

I like to picture them
As pendulous plums.