A week preoccupied by work. I never signed up to be a salesman but I seem to spend more and more time trying to drum up business. I'm resigned to doing it now as a necessary evil that comes with the responsibility of keeping the company going. Funnily enough I find the bullshit of presenting fairly easy - and I can even manage the negotiation bit. It's just the networking and faking an interest in the clients that defeats me.
Then at the end of a particularly depressing and crappy week this came along:
We had been approached by a couple of semi-plausible characters who claimed mysteriously to be acting for a business that was interested in talking to us. A bit like one of those letters that says 'you will discover something to your advantage'.
When we finally met up it turns out that they were acting for an Indian organisation that wanted to buy our company so that they could 'strip out cost' - that's a euphemism for getting rid of the workforce - and then outsource the jobs to India. The company could then be used as a 'vehicle' for attracting business from UK clients who might feel uneasy about dealing directly with an Indian company.
They were genuinely taken aback when we told them to fuck off.
They could not comprehend that there were turkeys who were not over the moon about Christmas. Or that a business might have some concern for their workers. Or for the fate of the industry as a whole.
Their parting shot was that they were sure some of our competitors would be happy to take them up on their offer. They might be right - we are fortunate to have a blue chip client base who don't just buy simply on price, and we are not dependent on heavy borrowing. For a small to medium size business that puts us in a fairly rare and privileged position. If we can maintain that we might just survive this recession.
There used to be a saying that the personal was political and vice-versa. I thought that was just an excuse for substituting navel contemplation for activism. But now I get it. And it fucking hurts. More than the still unreal news of banks going busts or stock markets crashing.