Writing about writing a book – Day 29

It is hard sometimes to keep the lid on what might be called justification of your position in a company where there are many naysayers, and little support from those who are supposed to be working together towards a single conclusion.

Not work against you, or to have their own agenda, not only in furthering their career on the back of your mistakes but take the credit for all your hard work.

Every company has them.

I’ve worked in a few where this has happened, but the deciding factor of whether they’re successful or not is when they have to stand on their own two feet when the source of their reputed good work suddenly is unavailable, and the shit hits the proverbial fan.

What is it called?  Art imitates life.

Benton is the proverbial leader who takes credit, but when it comes to the crunch, can’t pull the rabbit out of the hat.

I guess in writing this little piece, I was subconsciously getting back at someone from a real, but now distant, past.

Perhaps there might be a little more about one of the places I worked cropping up from time to time.

It’s not so much writing about what you know, but writing about what happened, and what you might have wanted to happen.  Invariably it never did, because these credit takers are a cunning lot, and sometimes lay the foundations for getting out from under when there is a disaster.

Unfortunately, I’ve been there too.

It’s called cutting your nose off to spite your face.

Be that as it may, I let this little vent run and see where it goes.

It was my responsibility since I’d recommended it and then won the support of management over his objections, and following that it had become a point of continual contention, a petty war neither of us was going to win.

I tried to keep the joy out of my voice.  He’d also vetoed my recommendation for a full-time network engineer as my alternative, making my job become single-point sensitive.  There was no one to replace me if anything went wrong.

“Sounds like you’re having fun.”  I had to work hard to keep the amusement out of my tone.

“Fun nothing.”  His tone was reaching that exasperation point.  “There is no one else.”

“Why did you approve my holiday if I can’t have one?” I’d stretch his patience just a little more.

“You promised me the network was stable.”

“It is, and has been for the last six months.  I’ve said so in my last six-monthly reports.  You have been reading them, haven’t you?”

Silence.  It said all I needed to know.

I had a choice sentence to deliver, but an ignominious thought popped into my head.  He could probably use this against me, and would if I gave him the opportunity.  Perhaps I should shelve my differences with him for this morning.

Aside from that, there was a shooting, and we didn’t get one of those every day.  Not that it would probably amount to very much.  During the previous week, the office grapevine had been working overtime on the rumour Richardson was having a relationship with one of the ladies in the Accounts department.  It was just the sort of scandal the data entry staff thrived on.

A shooting and a network failure.  I didn’t know which was worse.  Perhaps if it was Benton they’d shot, there might be some justice…

I decided not to argue with him.  “Give me an hour.”

“Half.  Aitchison wants to see you.”

Werner Aitchison was head of Internal Security and a man who took his job seriously.  Enough, that is, to annoy my staff, and me.  He was ex-military intelligence, so ‘they’ said, but he appeared to me like a man out of his depth in this new age of communications.  Computers had proliferated in our company over the last few years, and the technology to go with them spiralling out of control.

We dealt in billions via financial transactions processed on computers, computers which, we were told often enough, were insecure, and easily taken control of outside their environment.  Aitchison was paranoid, and rightly so, but he had a strange way of going about his business.  He and I had butted heads on many occasions, and we may have had our disagreements, but we were good friends and colleagues outside work.

Just in case Benton was accusing me, I said, as sincerely as I could, “I didn’t do it.”

“Of that, I have no doubt.  He has requested a meeting with you at 10 am.  You will be there.”

“I said I would come in to look at the problem.  I didn’t say I was staying.”

“Let me know when you get in.”  That was it.  No ifs.  No buts.  Just a simple, ‘Let me know…’

I seriously considered ignoring him, but somewhere within me, there was that odd sense of loyalty.  Not to Benton, not to the Company, but to someone else, the man who had given me the job in the first place, who had given me every opportunity.

I was doing it for him and would tell him.

When I found out who it was!

© Charles Heath 2016-2023

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