Saturday, November 26, 2005


I have a friend at a rival company from mine. The peekaboo about what I do for a living is because certain other rival companies have taken great offence at blogging, to the extent that they have fired people for mentioning their firms in print. Or in pixel, I suppose. I don’t think that any of the dozen or so people who know of this blog’s existence belong to law firms, and not only have I not identified the company I work for but I haven’t said anything nasty about it. I probably can’t, it’s a good job and the pay's good and the people gave me baby clothes and a cake last week etc...but let’s be careful nonetheless. So…

…after all that, my friend works at a rival company that does the same thing as mine, and is in fact a few steps away in downtown Toronto. We met at a job-finding course post-9/11 (when job-finding required a course, determination, luck, connections, some voodoo would have been useful) with similar tech-writing backgrounds.

He’s Eastern European with a Belgian influence, let’s nod to Kafka and call him K. Dedicated mathematician, no fear of numbers and a great respect for same. I am about as numerically intimidated as you can get but have great respect for anyone who takes the time to work theory into practice, so we get along like a house on fire.

I’m trying to have lunch with K. this week, as the week before. I tend to get taken into meetings at the last minute or have to visit one of this company’s offices a few blocks north, so lunch tends to get delayed at the last minute. More times than not, I’ll meet him and we’ll go to the cafeteria of his company, where the food is cheap and good. Surprisingly good. Since all human activity can be rooted to some kind of craving for indulgence, I was considering applying for a job on those terms alone in hopes I might find a like-minded soul.

“Why do you want to work here?”

“Well, I can do the same stuff for your company as well as the one I’m working for right now. I just have to change the company name. I mean, both firms do essentially the same thing, they just feature different colours and have a different jingle for the TV ads.”

“Yes, but we’re heavily invested in overseas…”

“So is my company. Just a different sea. Get out your numbers, I’ll get out ours, we’ll see that we’re more or less the same entity. Really what I’m here for is the food.”


“I met my buddy K. a few weeks ago for lunch, and the boeuf bourgenion in the cafeteria was amazing. I could taste the wine in it. Beef melted in your mouth. And all for 6 bucks! Can’t get a burger for that downtown.”

“So you want to work here for the food.”

“Well, a raise would be nice.”

“Ah. You want to leave your present position with our rival, get a raise in pay, and have lunch. What else can you bring to our firm?”

“An appetite, primarily.”

“Sir, I think your grasp of what we do is…wait…that boeuf…was there a hint of Dijon?”

“The fresh parsley was nice too.”

“Makes the meal, it does. Sir, I think I like the cut of your jib. And I’ve got a little secret for you...your firm, our firm, the firm across the street with the ostentatious gold trim, we’re all mutton dressed up as lamb. Me, I came in hoping to make a dent in the world of business. But between the paperwork and the harsh lighting, I decided that I’d just stay for the food. Have you tried the tabouli?”

“They make tabouli? Not yet. The next time I meet K., I’ll…”

“No time like the present. What segment does K. work in? I’ll book him a day off and we’ll get the first service for lunch. Now, we’re not licensed, but if we sneak upstairs into the main boardroom, I’ve got a pipe of Medoc hidden behind the annual report for 2002…”

Unlikely, granted. Especially the Medoc.


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