Today I’ll be attending a meeting with one of our sister companies to see if we have some opportunities for working together on projects. Isn’t corporate America grand? Most of us work for places owned by parent companies we barely know. These parents tend to belong to the authoritarian school of raising children, you know, that type of child-rearing you learned in Psych.101 was the worst kind (as you immediately began analyzing your own and your, at the time, significant other’s parents’ child-rearing techniques), the kind that encourages the development of all sorts of neuroses. These authoritarian parents are off in The Netherlands or Germany or some such place most of the time, but they occasionally come to visit and always expect you to be on your best behavior when they do – well-scrubbed and shiny and most certainly busy as a bee, not playing volleyball at the beach or hanging out smoking with friends in a parking lot.
As parents are wont to do, they’ve created siblings for you, siblings you’ve had no say in deciding whether or not you want, siblings with whom you have nothing in common. They call you up from overseas and tell you to play nicely with your siblings. Since you’re scared to death not to do as you’re told (and you know whose side the nanny is on, always so willing to report misbehavior), you creep into your sister’s bedroom one morning, suggesting that after breakfast the two of you get together and find something to do. She doesn’t want to (she’s the rebellious one in the family, constantly getting everyone into trouble while getting away with murder herself). She kicks and screams and says “no,” but finally you convince her your parents are going to sell her to some child slave factory in India if she doesn’t, and she sulkily agrees to join you, but not till she’s had a morning playing volleyball at the beach with her friends.
It’s 3:00 in the afternoon. Where the hell is Sister? Your parents are going to be calling the nanny at 5:00, as they do every evening before they go to bed to check in. Nanny is going to inform them that you haven’t spent one minute together since breakfast. Finally, at 3:45, she comes waltzing through the door and tells you she’s home now and can play with you. However, she doesn’t want to play anything you suggest. She’s the outdoorsy type who wants you to hit tennis balls against the garage door with her. You like to stay inside and play Monopoly. Eventually, you reach a compromise. You’ll play jacks outside in the driveway. Things are going fairly well until 4:55, when Sister decides you’re cheating. She didn’t see you pick up all those “onesies” separately. When you tell her you did, she starts screaming, hits you, and throws the ball out into the yard. You get up to go find it, and she’s chasing after you, telling you how much she hates you, just as your parents call. You’ve been grounded till school starts again, because when the nanny looked out the window, it was you she caught clocking your sister.
That night, at dinner, she tells you, “They love me best, you know. I’m the one who’s going to go places and do things. You can never do anything right. I hear it’s you they’re going to sell to the child slave factory in India.” You sneak out after dinner to hang out smoking in the parking lot with your friends.
Oh Emily, work sounds like it's going swimmingly. Poor you. By the way, how could it be that we have the same older sister?
Ugh, just, yuck. Love the comparison, though. Hope yesterday went better than expected?
Actually, it wasn't too bad. The two sisters played quite nicely and politley with each other (no kicking or hitting), and the parents ought to be very proud.
Oh boy, this hits a spot. My husband's firm has been bought by a parent company in America, and they were presented with a sibling in Amsterdam. Ever since there has been a bitter, undercover war of one-upmanship between Amsterdam and the UK, and on more than one occasion I've been moved to comment that they are like little boys fighing over toys. I see you have a theory all ready to go, Emily! Ever thought of writing one of those management books about the way family relationships riddle the workplace???
Litlove, I'd never thought of a management book, but it's worth a thought. What do I do most of the time, but, of course laugh when I recognize how like boys (and girls) we all behave when it comes to different companies all under the same corporate umbrella? I'll be the first to raise my hand in guilt.
Oh, this is perfect. I lived for 3.5 years with the bratty siblings, the tattling nanny, the absentee parents in the Netherlands, and rebellious co-workers with whom I'd have to share 4 hour rants while commutting to the 'main' office 2x month. I was about to chuck it all when I was offered nice parting gifts to take my toys and leave. I had the biggest smile on my face as I drove out of that parking lot for the last time!
Cam, lucky you. You didn't have to run away. They kicked you out of the house.
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