Are you important?
Do you know anyone who is a member of the Very Important Job Collective? I am assuming that you do not belong to this group because, well, here you are leisurely reading an admittedly riveting magazine when the true aficionados of this collective are engaged in back-to-back weekend meetings that invariably involve (hushed tones) the minister.
In the VIJC hierarchy of high-powered activities nothing tops a meeting with – or, better still, a briefing to – a minister. And every time there is a meeting with a minister, members of the VIJC helpfully let everyone know, so that… well, I’m not quite sure why. I assume it’s a condition of membership.
Of course, corporates too have their pecking order and for them nothing compares with the c-suite shoulder-rub, where c stands for chief, as in chief executive officer and his or her direct reports. I have been to a number of c-suite meetings (as a visitor) and there’s always an unhurried calmness, a politeness, a reassuring quietness to these places that seems at odds with the reality of life.
It’s not that members of the Very Important Job Collective are elitist – good heavens, no – just that they are so busy, in such demand, that they simply do not have time to return your phone calls, text messages or emails. To do so would take, like, up to 20 seconds and that’s 20 seconds members of the VIJC do not have. In fact, so busy are members of the VIJC that they have to ration their time. And thus the only people they seem to have time to respond to are other VIJC members. “I’m sorry but you really aren’t important enough to warrant my attention, unless of course I initially misunderstand the significance of your role and then I’ll be all over you.” At least, that’s the way it seems to non-members.
And if a member of the VIJC should be placed in the invidious position of actually having to call you, here’s how it’s done. Members do not place the call themselves. That would mean they are dependent upon you picking up or, worse, you picking up and saying that you don’t have time. Oh, the shame, the ignominy of having to fit in with another, lesser person’s schedule! Rather, they have “their people” set up the call, whereby the intermediary calls and patches in his or her boss. That way the VIJC member isn’t left hanging because, well, if you can’t see why that’s important then you’re never going to make it into the Collective, are you?
Sometimes members of the VIJC need to deal with people further down the hierarchy in order to manage their personal lives. “I’m tied up with the minister, would you be a treasure and pick up the kids after school? And mind them until I swing by at six? Look, if the minister drags on, it might be seven. In which case, would you be able to give them some dinner – whatever you’re having is fine, just so long as it’s gluten-free vegan and doesn’t contain nuts, they’ll eat anything.” Then comes the reward: “We must catch up. Let’s do lunch. I’ll have my people set up a time. I can show you photos of our holiday to Paris. You’ll love it… oops, sorry, that’s the minister on the other line. Gotta go. Bye. You’re a treasure!”
It’s not that members of the VIJC are self-centred, it’s just that they are so busy, so successful, and so much really does depend on them doing the impossible day-in, day-out, that the least everyone else can do is to help out here and there. Besides, you have such a relaxed attitude to life that you’d probably enjoy having a busy (read: important) person in your life. Look, we really must catch up before Christmas. Bye.