Last week I was invited to call into the office for a meeting with The Big Boss.
Now in days gone by such an "invitation" could only mean one thing. Bad news.
Those were the days when people known as the "powers that be" inhabited forbidding buildings in rat-race cities and made decisions affecting the weight of the little brown envelope you got each week - or whether in fact you got a pay packet at all.
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Occasionally one was driven to voice disquiet about such decisions - usually with your mates at the pub. Sure you could have a little chat with the boss down the line from The Big Boss but you certainly knew it could be dangerous if you unloaded both barrels in anger.
This was because it could result in the boss presenting you with an award known as the DCM - Don't Come Monday.
Nowadays it's all a bit different. In our company at least.
Modern management practices are a lot more inclusive, with an emphasis on communication and openness. So utterly unlike the old days was it that when I met The Big Boss this week I had to stop myself calling him "mate". To be honest I don't think he would have minded.
Anyway. So I've been called in to the office (I usually work from home) for the arrival of the great man and his entourage.
Now before you get all carried away thinking I'm some hugely important columnist who is to have a one on one with the great man (and definitely worth more than his $37.50 plus a voucher for a Big Mac each week) I should point out ALL the staff were invited to meet The Big Boss for a chat and a bit of morning tea.
Naturally I fancied some caviar, scallops, that nice creamy cheese from France and a bit of expensive plonk (and we were out of Gingernuts at home) so I combed my hair (over), put on my wedding/funeral shoes and trundled along.
And I wasn't the only one who had decided on a bit of a tidy up for the occasion.
The maintenance department in our office had obviously been busy too judging by the polished glare emanating from the life-size statue of our editor posing as a Roman philosopher (Editorius perhaps? boom, boom) in the foyer. If you've been in to settle your account you'll know the statue I mean. Its next to the marble fountain with the leaping gold dolphins.
So anyway I get into the meeting room just as The Big Boss arrives. I'd half expected him to be carried in on a throne by his executive team to the sound of 200 blaring trumpets but he seemed happy to walk in under his own steam just as someone's cellphone went off with an odd text message delivered sound.
"Good morning everyone," he said, in a very normal, un-God-like voice.
For the next few hours we were treated to an open, frank assessment of where we are at, where we are going and just about anything else you wanted to ask. Nothing was out of bounds.
Eventually, after I had eaten enough caviar and cheese, I thought I'd take the opportunity for a chat. I can't remember the question I asked. All I know is he answered it honestly and directly and as he did so I saw his shadow on the office wall turn into a unicorn and fly away.
Later as I told Mrs P of the visit, the new and improved method of upper management communication I found impressive and how I had been able to have a chat with The Big Boss, she asked if I had behaved myself and been polite and courteous in my questioning.
I assured her I was sure I had.
"I doubt I'll be getting the DCM any time soon," I said confidently until a thought came to mind.
He might not have read this column yet.
■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to firstname.lastname@example.org .