Ross O’Car­roll- Kelly

‘ What’s it go­ing to do for morale when they see the Ross­meis­ter us­ing the uri­nal next to them in the staff toi­let?’

The Irish Times Magazine - - INSIDE -

Iwalk into the of­fice to dis­cover that all of my most trea­sured pos­ses­sions have been stuffed into a cord­board box, which is sit­ting on my desk. We’re talk­ing my ‘ That’s Le­in­ster­tain­ment’ travel mug. We’re talk­ing my 13 let­ters of cen­sure from the Prop­erty Ser­vices Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity. We’re talk­ing my signed pho­to­graph of Richie McCaw (“To Ross,” it says. “You could have been one of the all- time greats,” words which still bring a tear to my eye, even though I told him specif­i­cally what to write). It’s all been packed up, ready for me to ship out. It re­minds me of the time that Sor­cha threw me out of the gaff. Well, the times.

Lau­ren is sit­ting be­hind what used to be my desk? It’s go­ing to take a lot of get­ting used to, I have to ad­mit. I pick up the box and she looks at me over the top of her glasses. “What’s with all the sigh­ing?” she goes. I’m there, “I wasn’t aware I was sigh­ing?” “You were sigh­ing, like a teenager, up­set at be­ing asked to-.”

“It’s just that it’s a ma­jor come- down for me, Lau­ren. You know, one day I’m the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ire­land’s sev­enth lorgest es­tate agent, the next I’m just some ran­domer at the wa­ter cooler. Could we not just move a sec­ond desk in here?” “Why would I want-?” “Yeah, no, a sec­ond desk would def­i­nitely fit. We could ac­tu­ally share the of­fice.” “We’re not shar­ing the of­fice, Ross. You’ve been-.” “De­moted, I know. What­ever. But I could be the, like, Joint Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor – just un­til I get used to the idea of not be­ing the boss any­more.”

“Ross, I’ve al­ready shown you where your new desk is and I would ap­pre­ci­ate it if-.”

“Have you thought about how this is go­ing to af­fect the rest of the staff, by the way?” “Af­fect them? What do you mean by-?” “What I mean is that a lot of the goys in here wor­ship the ground I ba­si­cally walk on. What’s it go­ing to do for their morale when they see the Ross­meis­ter us­ing the uri­nal next to them in the staff toi­let?”

“I ac­cept that it’s go­ing to re­quire a pe­riod of ad­just­ment for-?”

“Well, I’m not go­ing to put them through it, just to let you know. I’m go­ing to use the jacks in In­som­nia.”

I pick up my box of stuff and that’s when Lau­ren ends up say­ing the most ran­dom thing to me? She goes, “Do you think you’re go­ing to have a prob­lem tak­ing or­ders from-?” “From you?” I go. “I def­i­nitely hope not.” “It’s just that, since you walked into this of­fice, you’ve barely let me fin­ish a-.”

“A sen­tence. I ac­tu­ally knew you were go­ing to say that.”

And that’s when she sud­denly loses it. She ac­tu­ally roars at me. She’s like, “How about you let me say what I want to say with­out in­ter­rup­tion?”

Through the win­dow, I can see the rest of the goys star­ing in the di­rec­tion of the of­fice. I’m, like, a hero to them. I re­ally feel for them.

Lau­ren goes, “Put that box on the floor. I want to say some­thing to you.” So I put the box down – on a chair, not the floor. She’s like, “When I took over as Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor-.”

“And I’m fully ac­cept­ing that,” I go. “Sorry, con­tinue on talk­ing.”

“When I took over as Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Hook, Lyon and Sinker, the first thing I did was ask to see your per­son­nel file. Be­cause I wanted to find out how many al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual dis­crim­i­na­tion and ha­rass­ment there were against you.”

She reaches down and lifts two hu­mungous ac­cor­dion files onto the desk. My blood turns cold.

“Don’t look so wor­ried,” she goes. “These are the per­son­nel files for the en­tire com­pany. Do you know what I found in your file, Ross?”

“Should I not have a so­lic­i­tor present for this?”

“Noth­ing. No com­plaints of un­wanted ad­vances, com­pli­ments or touch­ing. No com­plaints about dirty jokes or com­ments. No com­plaints about dis­crim­i­na­tion based on gen­der.”

“Yeah, no, I’m giv­ing my­self a lit­tle pat on the back here.”

“Then I won­dered had some­one re­moved the con­tents your file?” “Give a dog a bad name.” “So I rang Dave – from Hu­man Re­sources. Why are you smil­ing?”

Look, I know Hu­man Re­sources is ac­cepted as an ac­tual thing now, but to me it’s like home­opa­thy or di­nosaurs. I still strug­gle to be­lieve it’s real. I’m like, “No rea­son, Lau­ren. Go on with your talk­ing.” She goes, “Dave didn’t have a bad word to say about you, apart from hav­ing to ex­plain his job role to you two or three times a week.” “He used to be Pay­roll, Lau­ren, then he did a course.” “He said you’ve ac­tu­ally called out in­ci­dences of sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the of­fice and dealt with them in a way that he de­scribed as ‘ text­book’.” “Not all heroes wear capes, Lau­ren.” “But I’m still con­cerned that, like many men, you might be guilty of un­con­scious misog­yny.” “Un­con­scious misog­yny? Okay, that makes it sound like it’s not my fault.” “It’s not your fault.” “Well, thank fock for that. Are we done here?” “You had what I would de­scribe as a rugby ed­u­ca­tion.” “Okay, you say a rugby ed­u­ca­tion like it’s a bad thing. Can I re­mind you that your husband was on the same schools cup- win­ning team as me?” “I’m well aware of that. And, like you, Chris­tian dis­plays many of the toxic al­pha qual­i­ties that come from be­ing ed­u­cated in a sin­gle- sex en­vi­ron­ment. Ross, I want you to go on a course-.” “A course of what? I’m not tak­ing tablets, Lau­ren.” “It’s a Gen­der At­ti­tude Re­con­di­tion­ing course that I think could re­ally-.” “Help me? You were go­ing to say help me.” “- ben­e­fit you. If any­thing, it might teach you that women de­serve to have their voices heard ev­ery bit as much as-.” “Men. Yeah, no, I al­ready nearly be­lieve that.” “Ross, this isn’t go­ing to work un­less you face up to the fact that you have prob­lems tak­ing or­ders from-.” “From women? I have no prob­lem tak­ing or­ders from women, Lau­ren.” “Good. Be­cause I’ve booked you a place on the course. It starts at eight o’clock on Mon­day-.” “Evening.” “- morn­ing .”


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