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 boy who would

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

Books had captivated Marcus since he was a young boy, though his fascination was not so much with reading them as it was with collecting them.  This is not to say that he didn’t enjoy the fantastical worlds that were conjured up between some covers or that he didn’t respect the tomes that held the compiled knowledge wrought by centuries of study, because he most certainly did.  However, it was the act of collecting varying types and organizing them that he loved most.  

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Thanks for waiting 25 years

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

When he woke Marcus was most assuredly still drunk, but his mindset more closely resembled a sober man; he was focused and engaged.  He performed a normal ritual of forcing himself to throw up and then showering and brushing his teeth to remove the first layer of foul smell that was emanating from his body.  It was a good ritual that besides the obvious symbolism of washing away the sins of the prior evening’s activities also provided a mental boost.  He planned to spend one more night at the hotel, though tonight he would be completely sober in an attempt to shock himself back into his usual life.

He didn’t bother reflecting on the events of the previous night because he didn’t remember them all too well and besides the whole point of this exercise was to forget everything.  It was blissful for him to loose almost two entire days worth of memories and feelings into the ether of alcohol and it was the main reason he continued with this activity.  He suspected deep down that his wife might know what he was up to when he said he was leaving on a business trip over a weekend every second month, but she had never said anything.  

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Chicken Dinner

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

Marcus managed to pull himself out of the bathtub and then he leaned on the bathroom counter and stared at himself in the mirror.  He concluded that he was staring at a shitty human being, but that he shouldn’t give himself such a hard time.  It was time for him to continue the night before the liquor hit him so hard that he passed out, which he estimated would only take another hour or so.  Therefore it was imperative that he kicked off phase three – blackjack.

Gambling is an exhilarating experience that is borne out of the slim chances of winning big from mediocre stakes.  Marcus thought that it was the second best concept that man had ever invented.  It turned a horrible aspect of life, that is the procurment of currency, into an enjoyable experience.  He hadn’t quite decided what the first best idea that man had ever dreamt up was, but he knew gambling wasn’t it so he ranked it second while he discovered the first.  

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