from the book i-Land – A double Irish and a Dutch
Another day in the office
Avoka had received an e-mail from a previous colleague and they arranged for the weekend to meet in Cork. She was looking forward to meeting Harry, as it was always great fun; he was the kind of guy, who was seen, as the cool guy. When he appeared somewhere it didn’t take long, and he was surrounded, by beautiful girls.
But now Avoka had three more days to go. The training did not get much better. Mario now had Carver’s full backup and the questions, answer games, the quizzes and explanations got worse together with an always incomplete course material. Avoka could not imagine how to learn the things she really needed to know for doing this job. The only way was to study all the customer sources on the Internet, which she had to do after the normal working hours. Everything was clearly described on the customer sites; the only thing was in many cases the info wasn’t congruent with what was taught in class. How could this be? So far Avoka had not heard from the guy who had recruited her, so she decided to write to the HR person as meanwhile, the two played their silly school boy game on her. The last issue had been that she had asked for the presentations on paper and Mario had agreed to hand it out. This was already more than a week, ago.
Avoka had sent an email that she had asked several times for the printouts but still had not received them yet. No response. In the afternoon, she asked Carver, who was sitting opposite her desk, about the printouts. Mario had turned around towards Carver. “I will give them to her later!” followed by a wink with his eyes. Avoka knew exactly what this meant. He never really intended to give the printouts and neither he would.
In the afternoon, shortly before she wants to leave, a chat window pops up on her screen. Sina, the Indian team manager, starts asking, how things are going and announces she wants to discuss the issue with Avoka tomorrow, asking when Avoka was best available. Both agree for two o’clock on the next day.
Friday morning Carver announces, “Today is team lunch!”
For the next two hours, everyone is busy talking about the lunch menu, times ordering the food and so on. One o’clock has been finally set. Some went for Italian food; others chose a Chinese dish. At 1.30 pm the Chinese food is announced to be delayed for probably another hour while the pizza and pasta had already arrived. Avoka explains to Carver that she has the phone call with Sina scheduled to talk about those issues they had.
He replies, “Ah, she contacted you, but team lunch is more important. I will let her know.”
At three o’ clock the Chinese food finally arrives and they all sit in the Cafeteria having lunch together. Meanwhile, another team from the SEO team is finishing one of their trainings and every successful member entering the cafeteria is cheered and celebrated from the team with a loud “Wow, you made it!”
A decent conversation starts. Carver asks while eating his cold pizza and spaghetti, “And was the Chinese worth the wait?”
The Spanish guys replying in a chorus, “Yes. This is very delicious.”
The Spanish girl says, “Of, course it was worth the wait and it’s great sitting here all together as a team; it’s a very good idea.”
Everyone agrees. Avoka thought she had had much better Chinese experiences than that but anyway thinks team spirit and agrees. Now Carver takes over the conversation with his upcoming trip to India. Mario and his companion support Carver’s monologue with silly comments.
Luckily the lunch is over. Avoka is back on her desk and Sina’s chat photo pops up asking, “How was team lunch?”
Avoka replies, “Great.”
Sina says, “Yes, I thought that was a good idea for the team. I’ll contact you next week and we talk.”
Avoka was surprised in a positive way how this team manager seemed to have a real interest and show concern.
Again, Avoka asks for the printouts so she can prepare for her tests over the weekend. Carver is already sitting on his desk sorting the presentation papers. Very busily he is sorting the papers which somehow look kind of messy. Thirty minutes later Avoka is asking, “Can I give you a hand? Maybe this will be quicker when we help?”
Carver replies “Yes, you can sort this.”
It turns out that the presentation they already had were double and the ones missing had not been printed. Carver puts in, “Oh, that doesn’t matter. That’s for the new hire.”
Avoka had already captured phrases like this before that they are planning additional people for the German team. At 5:30 pm Avoka is saying, “Okay, I’ll take this one here for the weekend; it will do.”
Carver uses Mario’s favorite phrase, “Yes, this is a mess! I’ll sort it out and you will get the presentations next week.”
Everyone agrees and Avoka is amazed how someone could spend two hours getting the printouts anything but in such a mess.
Meeting old colleagues
Avoka is just looking forward to the weekend. At seven o’clock finally, she is sitting on the bus to Cork. Harry picks her up at the bus station around eleven o’clock. They quickly bring her luggage to the hotel and then go on to a party given by the team manager, Harry’s boss.
Avoka is excited how these guys are going on, meeting those old colleagues from her previous job down here in Cork. Some had already left, but she remembers well the team leader and a girl from Canada. But also, those three who took every chance to bully her.
And there they arrive, the party is going on and there is hardly anyone to meet without an alcohol level below 2 Promille, which is nothing special in this town and certainly not for a Fruit of the Loom party.
Entering Harry’s team leader’s home, walking towards the living room, the party is already going on since 8 pm. Walking through the corridor, a girl, Tabby, is running into Avoka. Tumbling against her back and then staring into Avoka’s eyes, in her drunken voice she is stumbling, “Ey, I know you.”
Avoka could never stand that girl. She is the one who started all this bullying shit during the time Avoka had worked at the Fruit of the Loom company. Whenever Avoka had given a correct answer in the training, she had commented and given some statements that made everyone laugh, always trying to put down what Avoka had said. Together with a colleague, they started every time they had to work together in a team work with the words, “Oh, no with Avoka, this is a no go.”
This had gone on so far that one guy had complained with a team leader he could not sit next to Avoka. All this had been made up by this girl and the one colleague simply because Avoka had given the correct answer at first to the trainer’s question. Now, this Tabby was staring at Avoka, so drunk she didn’t know where she knew Avoka from. Avoka replied, “Really, you know me, someone like you? Must have been one of my dark moments.”
Then she passed by. Guinness, Whiskey and drunken Fruit of the Looms with rather flat jokes–that was all that was going on in this room and it couldn’t be less exciting. Avoka called a cab. Harry was sitting on a couch covered with three girls talking to Avoka, “Hey wait, don’t leave me alone with these fruits here.”
Avoka asks, “Why? I thought you enjoy the dark fruits around you.”
Harry replied, “Not really, even the Guinness couldn’t help to light them up, making them tasty.”
Avoka replied, “Well, then get up, the cab is waiting outside.” Together they leave the party. Avoka drops Harry at his apartment, where another party hosted by his seventeen-year old daughter is going on. Finally, Avoka arrives at her hotel. They both had agreed to meet at the English Market at 10 am the next morning. Avoka was wondering how he will make it that early from his point of view. But Harry is used to hardcore partying, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
At the English Market – Brunch
Saturday morning, ten o’clock Avoka is standing at the entrance of the English Market, which is already crowded.
At the right is a bakery stand, next to it freshly made confiture, another stand presents creme tarts, this seems to be the sweet corner but so far, no Harry in sight. Avoka decides to have a little walk around; chances that Harry will make it on time seem rather impossible, so she passes by the bakery stuff and turns right, walking into a little store called “Why not”. She stops at a stand with metal plates and quotes displayed at the window front.
One shows a young girl saying “And now I pretend to listen to my fucking supervisor.” Avoka smiles thinking, Okay, perfect one for my next training session with that guy from India. A text message arrives. It’s from Harry saying, “Sorry, for the delay, Avoka, I’ll be here in about five minutes.”
Avoka replies, “Well I’m here in “Why not!” the little shop on the left.
Harry replies, “Oh, good then I’ll meet you there, “Why not!” Avoka sends a thumb up back.
The next sign reads some things are just better rich, creme, chocolate …. men. Well, not too bad; Avoka thinks, Okay, why not! Somehow the Irish folks understand making things simple, bringing it to a point.
And there he was, Harry, reading out loud another sign, “Oh, your book club reads important things, that’s sweet. My book club just drinks.”
Avoka replying, “Well, a simple hello can lead to a million things.”
Harry says, “Hello, Avoka. Yes, well, I tried to stay away from last night’s vodka, but it was just stronger than me.”
Avoka with a smile answers, “Oh, well so maybe a 40%?”
Harry gives Avoka a hug. “Yes, something like this. You’re looking great; have you had breakfast already? I could need a strong coffee.”
Avoka says, “Great idea. How about the cafe here on the gallery?”
Harry says, “Yes, let’s go there.” They walk through the crowd.
Harry comments, “Oh, you won’t believe last night, my daughter was having a party, too, at home, I had to make my way through a crowd like here with the difference the people here are moving. You can’t believe how many drunk guys were lying there like almost dead. I had to kick them out of the apartment. I can tell you.”
Avoka laughs, “Oh, wow, so you come from a party, and it’s like home is a party.”
Harry laughs. “True, but this was a bit too wild; she’s just turned 17. I told her she has to reduce this a little.”
The two take the stairs to the balcony and sit at the gallery overlooking the market hall. Avoka orders a classic English breakfast. Harry goes for a French first coffee and a cigarette. But after a while, he also orders a traditional one after smelling the bacon. He talks about the Fruit of the Loom’s how it’s getting more crazy. “You know what they announced in one of their information events last week? They bought the whole street where they have the European center and started building a lake.” He laughs, “They really build their own empire there; it’s like in a Stephen King movie. This little traditional city and the hyper tech company on top of the hill where no one really knows what they really do and who really works there. Led by those three Ladies. You can be lucky that you left. That was the only right thing to do for you.”
Avoka agrees, “Yes, I know when you are not the chosen one and they start working against you, the best thing to do is to move on. But I’m already facing the same issue again where I’m now. The only difference is, we have a much more relaxed work policy in regard to a time schedule. We don’t have to log in and set ourselves on a menu like available, break or training making you feel like wearing a foot vessel. And we have a kitchen with free drinks and snacks that almost looks like Starbucks. But that’s the only good thing really.”
Harry says, “Yes, but the best comes here; they cut the health insurance. They simply switched it last month to a lower priced insurance and the coverage we get now is a joke. That’s how they compensate the costs for building their empire.”
Avoka nods, “Yeah, it’s unbelievable, there is really no balance. That’s what they say in Dublin about this company, similarly to Amazon. That’s why they are always looking for new people, and have this high fluctuation.”
Harry agrees, “Yes, that’s true, they have this inner circle and apart from that they burn the people. You will hardly see anyone moving up more than a team leader as they are on burnout after two years.”
Avoka laughs, “Yes, that’s why our team leader had boldly presented his honors with 5 years Fruit of the Loom on his desk.”
Harry bursts into laughter, “No, really? He put that on the desk?”
Avoka says, “Yes, the only thing on his desk–the clear table policy, of course.”
Harry is shaking his head, “Yes, and you were a bête noir to them. There is not one who has a real qualification for what they do. It’s unbelievable.”
He adds, “How is it going; are you looking for something else? You know I do this job just next to my new business with the electro roller and e-bikes and we are licensed now here in Ireland and in Holland of course. What we really need is someone in marketing with a good know-how. What do you think, that’s exactly your thing, isn’t it? Could you imagine working with us on this?”
Avoka drops her chin; with open mouth, she looks at Harry stuttering, “Oh, well.” Then chewing her sausages and now with a clear voice, “Wow, so you’re licensed now with the electro rollers? That’s great news! Yes, sure, if you guys need someone for marketing/PR I’m with you; that’s a great opportunity.”
Harry high-fives Avoka, “Yes, that’s cool, you working with us for the promotion campaigns, that’s exactly what we need.” They start talking in detail and finally order a bottle of champagne to cheer the new business relationship. Harry looks down from the balcony, “Oh, look, isn’t this your ex Team-leader Tino with his boss Mrs Cooper?”
A couple arm in arm are walking through the market lane and now the woman whispers in the guy’s ears, then stopping and giving him a real long and intense kiss. Harry holds his iPhone up, also taking a long shot with the comment, “Everything happens for a reason,” then adding, “That might explain his long absences and many sick days without any incidents?”
Avoka shakes her head again. “What else?! She’s almost his double age, isn’t she?”
Harry says, “Oh, come on, Avoka, don’t make her that old, but more than twenty plus I’m sure.” Avoka says, “Oh, man you don’t know who of the two has the worst taste!”
Harry, “Yes, that applies to both. Jesus! What a horror couple.”
Avoka continues, “And they really think they are in a kind of “secret” place here? Do they really think no Fruit of the Loom people will see them here? When every fourth person in this town works there?”
Harry,” Well, with that kind of stupidity you survive five years at Fruit of the Loom, wow, but this explains how he survives all those sick days, when everyone else gets kicked out after the third so-called incident for each sick note. You got to know the right Manager. But this is unbelievable, there is almost a half century between the two.
Avoka replies with a smile, “Well, that makes it my couple of the year.” They both laugh out loudly.
Harry has an appointment with the hairdresser at three o’clock and takes a cab to McCurtain street, a beautiful traditional Irish street with loads of shops, bars, coffees, all with those lovely colored store fronts. A lively street.
New plan, new man
Avoka goes for a coffee while Harry gets his hair done. She gets an SMS from Hunt, who once again, suggests to her about how much he would like to be with her at the same place now. Avoka already knows it’s just one of those Saturdays where he seems to have nothing better to do than sending SMS but never means it. She takes a picture of her coffee and some delicious chocolate biscuits and posts it over with the message, “Yes, look what you’re missing.”
to be continued…. get the full story here