6TH OF OCTOBER 2009
A purposeless meeting is the one I'm going to face, or at least what I'm expecting of it. Meetings and committee are the best subject for financial humorist, even in the Anglo-Saxon world. Quite a lot of jokes were coined during the Honecker's rule. XXI century Italy is not so far, radios praise as the greatest conquest the fight of the workers to obtain Labor Union boards in each of the business unit of the local industry. An outstanding advancement at the very same time when the U.S. landed their men on the moon and even the Soviets boasted of less bureaucratic achievements. Being the workers promoted to the rank of accountants, and holding the accountants the core decisions of the ICT industry, that's a mix of a Workers' Party summoning and a dull party of the bank clerks professional association what I'm going to face. I could enjoy the performance, since my part will be a walk on and the feasible options has already been selected somewhere else. Perhaps by another committee.
I enter the hall of the building. The meeting is held by the customer, whose so called manager could encounter some difficulties to obtain the permission to exit the structure during working time. As if they were themselves prisoners of their own system. Actually, the customer is a state company, as many of the main customer of the Italian ICT companies. I won't quote their names, since it would only help some bored lawyer to bring me to the bar a make a meager business with the few bucks they could extort me. Everybody knows that, but few realize that most professional are more likely public employee without an official recognition. They nevertheless inconsciously behave as if they were. They prefer long term contracts to brief one, they avoid risks as much as possible. New technologies and decisions that could endanger the status quo are therefore forbidden, according to a not written professional ethic.
I prefer to avoid the elevator. There are so many, a lot of people waiting outside. Old functionaries in suit, younger in jeans. Some young in suit with a younger fellow in jeans and t-shirt. The last couple should certainly be a sub-contractor and the marketer who, thanks to his acquaintance with the human resource manager, or the provisioning office, enjoys the privilege to decide whom to hire and at which condition. Skills are not so essential, speaking the same dialect or supporting the same football team much more. I hate football, I don't speak dialect, I'm a snob and I've got to fight harder. The elevator would take too long to get the hall. I'm late, but they don't care. I prefer to take some exercise and walk up the stairs.
I enter the room. They are waiting around the table. Some other consultants are focused on their works. Most of them are staring at Facebook, without a precise thought, others are chatting with mates and colleagues. They are quite caustic about other fellows who are not enjoining the same conversation. They'll meet the deadline, since their Gantt charts has been set according their standard production level. And their standard production level includes the time wasted with useless social activities. There's no privacy at all about the content of the meeting. They have just got to decide on which part of the project I'm going to be involved and at what price for the customer. The project manager is indeed a marketer, quite expert, enough to maintain a good relationship with his counterpart and obtain 50.000 Euros out of a product that, if designed and developed by a team of Britons or Americans, could cost a quarter of the price. It's like to produce pieces of forniture with the methodologies of a XIX century artisan. Moreover not so talented. It would require twice the time and the price. That's what they are buying, what we're selling and what I'm producing.
I've already been briefed. I won't have to intervene. Everything has already been decided. Alas the customer wants me to share my opinion. The project manager is skillful enough to summon a new argument, as a magic creature from a medieval book of spells. I won't have got to express my opinion. According to the company policy, I'm safe. I don't care. I'm looking for a way to escape, certainly I've got to look abroad.