Greg’s prompt this week: write about loyalty.
You wanna know about loyalty, Greg mate? Lemme tell you about bloody loyalty.
Several years ago my wife - who was at the time still my fiancé - was looking for a job. She works in the travel industry, and round these parts back then there was one big player and a host of smaller ones. The big player was TravelCorp*, and one of the smaller players was Nigel’s Travel.*
TravelCorp was a multinational working out of a shiny big tower, smack in the middle of the city. Nigel’s Travel was owned by a bloke called Nigel, and had offices in a smaller building on the city fringe. My fiancé was offered a job by both companies. TravelCorp’s was the more lucrative, but my fiancé chose to work for Nigel’s Travel. Nigel was a good guy, see, and Nigel’s Travel wasn’t a company, it was a family.
I first met Nigel at the office Christmas party. He backslapped at all the tables. He gave a funny, slightly boozy speech about how Nigel’s Travel wasn’t a company, it was a family, and he led everybody in a conga line whether they wanted to or not. At the end of the party, we all left in our Toyotas and Nigel climbed into his Jaguar.
Nigel, as far as I was concerned, was a bit of a dick.
The next year was a tough one for the travel industry. At Nigel’s Travel, pay rises were few and bonuses were non-existent. Never mind. Nigel’s Travel was a family and everyone pulled together to make things work. That Christmas Nigel gave a slightly boozy speech thanking everyone for their loyalty, and reminding them that Nigel’s Travel wasn’t a company, it was a family, and that next year would be better. Then he got everybody to do the Macarena, whether they wanted to or not. At the end of the party we all left in our Toyotas and Nigel climbed into his Mercedes.
The year after that was as tough as the one before. My fiancé and everybody else worked long and hard building up the business. Nigel spent a lot of time overseas, building up his tan. That Christmas Nigel arrived late to the party, gave a more-than-slightly boozy speech about how Nigel’s family was his business... no, that’s not right, Nigel’s Travel was... something or other, and left before anybody asked him to do the chicken dance. His tyres chirped as he peeled past the parked Toyotas in his Ferrari.
The next week, everybody was informed he’d sold Nigel’s Travel to TravelCorp, bought an olive plantation on Waiheke Island, and become a gentleman farmer.
What is the moral of this story? I’m not quite sure. The best I can take from it is; if you work for somebody who treats you like family, make sure they’re not the sort of person who sells off their kids.
* names changed to protect the guilty.