Twenty-One Today
PublishedDecember 1, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

Twenty-One Today

When I was one and twenty,
And starting on my way;
And hopes were high, and plenty
Of promise in the day;
The boss was keen to tell us
The future’s with the young,
So come along, you fellers,
And climb another rung!

To gain a reputation
And mix it with the rest,
With prospects of a station
Up there among the best;
Work was the beginning,
Facing to the sun,
With everything for winning
When I was twenty-one!

Now, my big lament is
That things are not to be,
For current ones-and-twenties,
The way they were for me;
How might I have faced it,
To sense I didn’t matter,
Just another crude statistic
In the unemployment data?

Continue Reading »
The Advertising Agency
Published CategoryBertie in Business

The Advertising Agency

Let us, if you’d be so kind,
Praise the triumph of the mind
Over existential matter,
Which Advertising Agents scatter
About the fringes of the green
Pastures of the Business Scene.

By which, as client fortunes roll,
Inexorably down the hole,
They winkle, from the waiting hearses,
Ever mounting media purses,
For one more advertising burst,
Before the ashes are dispersed.

No words wax eloquent enough
To match the brilliance of their bluff;
Nor adequately to explain
How businessmen of average brain,
Enter Advertising Houses,
And leave without their shirts and trousers.

Continue Reading »
The Ages of Man
PublishedNovember 25, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

The Ages of Man

For Shakespeare, by decree of Heaven
The Ages of a Man were Seven;
Yet Businessmen, I’ve come to see,
Are limited at most to Three.

What Chairman you have known, in truth,
Went ‘mewling, puking’ in his youth?
Did Rupert Murdoch ever trail
To school ‘unwilling like a snail’ ?
What kind of regular Wall Street guy
Writes sonnets to his mistress’ eye?
Which banker, as implies the Bard,
Was ever ‘bearded like the pard’?

No! Business Man, we may deduce,
Leaps pin-striped from the head of Zeus,
Impatient for the business cycle
Before he’s slipped the umbilical !

Continue Reading »
Invisible Earnings
PublishedNovember 24, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

Invisible Earnings

No human heart, they say, can yearn
For what the eye does not discern;
Except, that is, down in the City,
Where the Invisibles Committee
Is stirred to hidden depths of yearning
By what we cannot see we’re earning.

And floating, as their name befits,
Unseen, above our deficits,
They conjure from the upper air,
Just like the man who wasn’t there,
Mysterious surpluses of trade
From products which were never made.

So, when the visibles are slipping,
Or sterling dangerously dipping
Into its periodic voids,
They calmly levitate from Lloyd’s,
Or unseen royalties and fees,
The means to raise us from our knees.

Continue Reading »
Oh ! What A Lovely War !
PublishedNovember 23, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

Oh ! What A Lovely War !

I doodled on my memo-pad,
As is my kind of Freudian fad,
For coping with the over-heating
Which permeates our weekly meeting.

The dialogue was waxing warm,
And running pretty true to form,
Undeviating from the text
Which guarantees what happens next.

There’d been the weekly testament
On how the budget’s over-spent,
Along with our accountant’s terse
Forecast of its getting worse.

Marketing had then propounded,
Its rhetoric of hope unbounded,
Tinged with but the single doubt –
That Sales must get their digits out.

Continue Reading »
The Business Consultant
PublishedNovember 15, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

The Business Consultant

Of all the businesses, by far,
Consultancy’s the most bizarre!
For, to the penetrating eye,
There’s no apparent reason why,
With no more assets than a pen,
These hordes of women and of men
Can sell to clients more than twice
The same ridiculous advice;
Or find, in such a rich profusion,
Problems to fit their own solution!

The strategy that they pursue –
To give advice instead of do –
Keeps their fingers on the pulses
Without recourse to stomach ulcers;
And brings them monetary gain,
Without a modicum of pain.

Continue Reading »
The Cult of Leadership
PublishedJuly 28, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

The Cult of Leadership

The Cult of Leadership

Since first from earth’s primeval slough
Societies emerged somehow
And, retrogressing now and then,
Produced the dominance of Men,
It has been commonly agreed
There must be people who can lead.

The prince, the father or the priest
Met some criteria, at least,
For making in the infant state
Their leadership legitimate,
Though often, too, the biggest stick
Determined who might make the pick.

And then to leadership’s chagrin
Democracy came creeping in,
With radical ideas which said
The followers should choose instead;
Or, at least, should have a voice
To influence their masters’ choice.

Continue Reading »
The Underside of Enterprise
PublishedJune 10, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

The Underside of Enterprise

You know the game where eight or nine
People whisper down the line,
And ‘reinforcements to advance’
Is ‘twenty-four cents for the dance’;
By the time the misbegotten
Message trickles to the bottom?
That’s roughly how it grabs the guys
Underneath the enterprise.

And peering up the Tower of Babel,
From somewhere in the corporate navel,
Is apt to give the ones below
Communications vertigo;
As papers flutter down in legions
From pent-house to the nether regions
Producing, for the common herds,
A corporate flatulence of words.

Continue Reading »
The Annual General Meeting
PublishedMay 7, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

The Annual General Meeting

The Chairman’s great phlegmatic calm
Spreads its reassuring balm,
Like oil upon our troubled waters,
Throughout the corporate headquarters;
And soothes away our worried frowns,
Across the business ups and downs,
With words of fatherly good cheer,
For fifty-one weeks of the year.

But, sometime in the fifty-second,
On past experience, we’ve reckoned,
Even he will fall, instead,
Victim to some inner dread;
And brood upon the now impending
Prospect of the fiscal ending
And his ritualistic beating
At the Annual General Meeting.

Continue Reading »
The Economists
PublishedMarch 30, 2012 CategoryBertie in Business

The Economists

Economists, like those at law,
Are masters of the ‘either-or’;
They speak, in dark and Delphic prose,
Of putative scenarios,
But will not be specific on
The future till it’s been and gone;
And even then they can’t agree
On how it was, or came to be.

They flatter our directors’ brains
With supper-talk of Marx or Keynes,
But leave them feeling what’s so wrong
With just plain muddling – along. *

Thus Economics re-implants
The art of flying by your pants.

Continue Reading »