Glenda zoomed past reception, glancing back momentarily, to see if I noticed. A wisp of swirling vapour, stagnant, and only detectable to the eye, had easily penetrated the glass barrier. Glenda had found a way through the glass ceiling and succeeded where no woman had done before.
There goes the Duchess of Spice, I thought.
I did smell it once before and nearly passed out by a lethal combination of Channel No 5 and viper venom. A trademark scent that pre-warned critics, back stabbers, and second-rate office politicians to think twice before mounting any challenge. She was the perfumed assassin, ruthless, political, and unkind. Many staff considered Glenda the ultimate corporate bitch, on a mission to change the culture of the business for always. From steak sandwiches to sushi rolls, Scotch and coke to Baileys-on-ice, and the corporate box at the Melbourne Football Club swapped for life membership of the National Antiquities Museum. Oh yes, things were going to change for the better. Even a new values statement titled, Visions Translated into Action, was released as a glossy 10 page masterpiece on the new corporate speak. It goes something like this;
Space is the new paradigm
The burning platform is superseded by multiple touch points
The new piece is about areas of responsibility
Accelerated learning has become speed-dating
The ah-ha moment is the new idea.
With any ten page masterpiece there is an accompanying statement of vision;
Bringing to life the place to be, everywhere, every time.
Glenda was on a mission to the highest peak of Klink Pty Ltd; to be ordained, the king kahuna, the anointed one, el presidente. Corporate Human Resources provided the perfect smokescreen for Glenda and the platform she needed to leverage her career. She was a power woman, eloquent talker, supported by a tribe of loyal working bees. Glenda was the Queen Bee of a department providing a dominant support base, except for me, the token male. A sideways move to the new role of Manager for Corporate Decency, even I was not clear what his role meant. Perhaps it did not matter, as my position carried little substance anyway.
No one pressed me for work anymore and time was abundant. It was obvious to everyone that after 12 months at Klink, I had been parked and politically outwitted. A position description was still not completed and no one seemed to care. I was a man trapped in a women’s world, a corporate Venus that even the Greek Goddess of love, Aphrodite, would have found appealing….
…more snippets from the book will be posted regularly
- ‘Glass ceiling’ continues: Just 6% of City execs are women (standard.co.uk)