Yes, Martin who’s done rather well for himself in that foreign car dealership, who was in our year at school, suggested I come in, discuss my problems at work, with you. Said you are the top man in the field – this business of human relationships – I do think that a man in my position needs to be informed about what to do, how people should be handled – to avoid these occasional flare ups that we seem to be having at work.

Was only last week the CEO called me in – said we have a problem with staff morale – two resignations within a week, and one threatening harassment.

I said that I perfectly understood the issues facing staff – these days it seems they don’t want to work – just take the wage, go home. That harassment case – pure and simple laziness – not to mention insolence. Told me that he’d done enough, to do the rest myself, I told him to stay on at work until he’d got that report sorted out so that I could present it at the meeting next morning . He said it was his night for football training – he wouldn’t miss it – I said his job was on the line – if he didn’t get that report done there and then.

I’ve done my best to explain to staff exactly the work they have to do – research facts, set out all the reference material, I’ve gone to endless trouble – I can’t be expected to keep on top of the game unless I am kept fully informed.

That young upstart Miles,  just before he resigned, said that he might as well tell me how everyone felt, as he was leaving anyway, didn’t need a reference from me – picking their brains he said, getting the credit – I ask you.

You ask a few questions here and there, to make sure they’ve got a handle on what they are doing – no respect for authority, for my position. You do realize that I am now department head – it makes me so very angry. None of them want to work.

So how do I deal with my anger, the same way as always I guess – go out back and do a line – I’ve always got coke on hand.

Addiction, not at all – I call coke my lifeline. It could be so easy to get brought down by the pettiness of people – coke keeps me focused, directed.

Tell me old man, do you use it, if not, I do suggest that you try it, give it a go – gets the creative juices flowing, gets the old brain ticking over.

It’s great at parties too – adds that extra something to any encounter – I’ve had to fight them off in droves, since the wife left home. Now there was a situation where maybe you could have helped me out, suggested how I could have talked my wife out of being so foolish as to leave our marriage.

Such a trivial thing. She let off steam one night – was all upset and complaining – I could understand that she thought the kids were being difficult, but why turn on me, and say that it was all my fault.

You are never here, you should be home more – the next time she paused for breath, I got in quick. You’re boring me I said, for Pete’s sake shut your mouth. I think that the kids are doing fine – doing well at school and sport – what more could you ask for.

She started to protest again, I said I’ve heard enough, sounds like you could do with a holiday, why not go stay a while with your mother.

I’ve got used to the idea it’s final. If she doesn’t want to come back – there’s plenty more fish in the sea.

So, back to work, what to do – people can be so trying – Marlene did a cartoon – it was a picture of a lighthouse on a rock with lights beaming out to sea. She’d written my name on it – left it on her desk where I suppose she knew I’d see it.

Gave me quite a startle – churned up something inside me – it felt like the lighthouse was an empty, lonely place . I ripped it from the pad and hurled it into a bin.

So, how are we going, you’ve got some good ideas?

Yes, I do so agree that the workplace is not what it used to be, people have got no commitment, quite right that I should feel so angry – but yes, I see your point – it’s up to me to take control – don’t let these idiot people get under my skin – try and humor them.

Yes, I’ll try this tactic of praising them, acknowledging their input.  I’ ll try asking them for their opinion instead of telling them what to do. Sounds like good advice.