One Story or Two Stories?
The names are changed to protect those who might think they are innocent
The Story’s Bare Bones
A senior US consultant is recruited to augment an Asian Regional Office. His skills suit their needs like a glove suits a hand. He takes to his role as a ferret to a rabbit warren. His successes are significant. He gets fired after six months. No reason is given. His contract permits dismissal without grounds.
The Dick Magovski story
It wasn’t just the change in temperature, nor even merely the worry of increasing gun crime in schools that made Dick and Jose think about moving. More people than ever appeared lost, some demented, many drugged, increasing numbers were simply broke. Their children were now early teens. Even so, having them travel on the subway in the evening predicated an uncomfortable period waiting for the sound of the key in the door latch.
New York, they often reminded themselves, wasn’t what it used to be.
Out of the blue, came the offer of a lifetime. Dick could become a partner in the Singapore based Asian Regional Office of Fareach Advisory Group – the management consultancy with the unfortunate mnemonic. He could have an open-ended contract. He had visited Singapore and enjoyed what he saw there. On one visit he had given a talk at the National University. He had been much welcomed.
Singapore needed his work on bank digitisation and AI financial transaction.
After reeling from the cost of living in Singapore, the move went smoothly. The family adjusted to not having a rifle hanging on the back of the front door. The children settled into a multi-ethnic school. The taxis were a blessed relief from the New York Yellow Cabs and their hysterical drivers. The absence of persistent police and ambulance sirens permitted sleep.
Dick’s work provided plenty of opportunity for this mature but still ambitious executive. The Asians had a long way to catch up with the speed and drive of New Yorkers. They tiptoed around communications as if a wrong word would precipitate WWIII. They drank tea when coffee would have been a better battery charger. They lacked the NY wit and the thrust of US Super Bowl humour, and took their work old-fashioned seriously. No wonder the IPOs were shifting to the States. No wonder China eyed Singapore as ‘Rainbow’s End’.
Dick set about his task with gusto and confidence. In the space of four months he had lined up Korean and Japanese partners to augment the admittedly good but essentially nascent technology of Singapore. He had introduced, and effectively secured hefty backing for the next stage of AI banking development. He had clinched two juicy contracts with New Yorkers.
No wonder they called him Big Dick in the office.
The Fareach Asia Group story
The Korean Head of the Asian office, Kim HyeJin, eyed American politics as a sleepy rattlesnake, noisy and dangerous. Mr Trump had convinced her of incipient insanity, President Biden, of senescent seniority. She admired America’s international political strength but saw a society worming its way to civil conflict and economic Armageddon.
She came from an academic Korean family who over three generations had studied political philosophy. The family had run low on money and she learned business technology to restore the fortunes of this middle-class minor dynasty. She was not a sportswoman, preferring music and theatre to post-fieldgame drinking. She enjoyed intellectual chats.
She was wary of western technology. It was often so poorly protected. She was told that the big accounting companies had used other people’s information to sell to new clients.
Her welcome to Dick was guarded. She had had another candidate in mind, Peter Eich, someone she had met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during her time there. He was an American, a quiet one from the midwest, who took his time to answer questions and lacked the razor sharp wit of Dick. Peter and Kim had been friends but nothing more. Both were now married with teenage children. Kim thought he might suit the business well but her colleagues had voted for Dick and she naturally went along with the decision.
Dick’s ebullient entry did nothing to endear him to Kim. In fact she saw it as a subtle challenge to her authority. The Region had not grown spectacularly and the CEO of the company in Spain repeatedly urged more proactive business seeking. ‘Sales is sales’ he was fond of saying as if to remind everyone of his non-English speaking background.
As the weeks wore on Kim began to worry about Dick. His attitude was one of authority, his behaviour towards her increasingly patronising – at least as she saw it. His rapid, rather raw, successes were out of character with the consulting Asian business scene. He was confident to the point of being obnoxious and competitive when cooperation might have been a better strategy. Attempts to tone down his enthusiasm looked condescending. Kim felt intimidated.
She rang Peter, as she occasionally did to keep the friendship. He sounded gloomy about America, about Russia and about his job. His wife was very busy, working most of the time and they saw little of each other. Their daughter was soon going to Australia on a climate assignment that would keep her there for a few years. It all gave Kim an idea.
She put together a case against Dick, hearsay and supposition since his figures were good, but with her conviction that his style was unsuitable for Asia. Her HR suggested it was not tenable but admitted his contract had a ‘no-reason’ break clause which could have him out of the office in an hour. Kim gave her own story to the CEO in Spain.
Dick was sent home on leave until his contract terminated.
The End or The Future
Maybe you would like to write The End?
Or, more importantly, The Future?
What do you think happened? We would love to hear.
firstname.lastname@example.org is the place to drop your thoughts, please.
14 May 2023