A merger of unequals

Jess sat in her office looking out at her team, wondering what they were all thinking as she swiped through an “integration plan” someone had paid a couple of million for. It all looked so simple on the screen. This was just putting the nuts and bolts together though. People was always another matter.

It’s not that her team had any particular loyalty to their brand, to the company, to Bleecker Insurance, it’s just that Bleecker had always attracted a certain type of individual and that was not the type of individual who was attracted to Dreadnought Reinsurance – the company they were walking down the merger isle with. Jess’ team was young and focussed on how to drag the (re)insurance industry into the 21st century, even if kicking and screaming. Dreadnought was a survivor of an era of companies with similar names – Titanic, Endeavour, Fortress – all long since put down. Dreadnought still transacted a significant amount of business using paper. In a world where cash was disappearing and you could reliably video chat through WhatsApp with your customer on the other side of the world, Dreadnought kept all policy documents in paper, often hand delivered and stored in a warehouse somewhere in England or Scotland.

These same warehouses had often suffered catastrophic flooding or fires at times when it paid to have no documentation. It just happened. Wrongdoing was impossible to prove with armies of lawyers at the ready to defend the cause.

This was the type of place that was supposed to merge with Bleecker. It made economic sense on paper, but Jess wasn’t clear how the dinosaurs of Dreadnought who still went drinking at lunchtime would mesh with her team who, though they weren’t shy of a drink, spent most of their free time at work talking about how they might improve a piece of tech or increase presence on social media.

She was only on page four of the executive summary (which was twenty pages long) when Tim walked into her office, sheepishly and clearly on a fact finding mission he had no interest in completing.

“Hi Jess.”

“Tim. What can I do for you?”

“Is that the integration plan? I drew the Oliver straw and had to come and ask. I’m hoping to be treated better than Oliver if that’s ok…”

Jess couldn’t help but laugh out loud, “Don’t worry. Also, I’m only on page four, so I don’t have anything to tell you, even if I could. Which you know I can’t.”

Tim knew he had to squeeze something out and that the best way was just to linger around and wait.

Jess looked up finally, “all I can say is that we’re going to have to bring a few guys into our team. There might also be some system they want us to integrate. I’m almost certain we’ll have to change branding and all that.”

“I heard that John and Lydia are jumping ship.”

“What!? Who told you that?”

“Lydia’s chief of staff. You know how we’re friendly.”

“Reliable?”

“Course! It’s no done deal, but you know how against this they were. There’s a newish startup that will probably take them. They need experience. Not the bullshit they’re merging with mind you.”

Jess continued flipping through the pack as Tim stood there checking his phone. She landed on the new org chart of her department. She beckoned Tim to look over her shoulder at this piece of information. It was a large nail in the coffin of her career Bleecker – well it was probably more accurate to call it Dreadnought now, Bleecker didn’t seem to exist based on what Jess was reading.

“The fuckers are making you a co-head but it doesn’t look like there’s anybody under you.”

“Look, they want us to use there fucking paper system to back up our cloud policies. Have they lost there minds? What fucking cretin consultant drafted this thing?”

“One paid by Dreadnought to tell them what they want to hear.”

“I’ve had enough of this,” Jess chucked the paper report on the floor, “time to hand in the notice.”

Tim did a little fist pump and then walked out in front of Jess. There’s no way they could stay.

The Death of a Particular Jonathan Walker

From a story I started back in 2011 called “Hank Patrick is Dead, Long Live Hank Patrick” – more on that here.

We all choose our own poisons, our own methods of numbing those aspects of our lives that we are unhappy with so that the rest of ourselves can continue to function in some semblance of an ordinary way.  It helps to know what it is that you are trying to drown out, but sometimes it doesn’t matter.  Marcus was unsure of what aspect of his perfectly acceptable life he was using whiskey to silence, but it was there.  

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Digging up some old writing

Hank Patrick is Dead, Long Live Hank PatrickA story that I started writing back in 2011. The idea sprang out of the love of the phrase, “The King is dead, long live the King,” and all the wonderful underlying meaning in it. Paired with my disinclination toward monarchy, but still with an interest in the idea of a lineage of some sort, I wrote this story about an immortal man who is really different men. Think “The Phantom” meets, well, I’m not sure what exactly.

I never finished it, but wanted to share – I’ll spread out the few chapters I do have. If people find it interesting, I’ll try and revisit and finish it!