Dear Aunty B,
Our sales manager, the office good time boy, is representing our business at the Melbourne Cup today. (Unfortunately he got the invitation, not my good self, who will be at home working out how to help him get his bonus this Christmas.)
On past occasions he has insisted on spending the rest of the week regaling the office with stories of his great day out, which are really boring and irritating. He will also, judging by past years, have to leave early tomorrow to “sleep things off” so his “mojo” can “equalise”, whatever that means.
He is 41, but he gets very easily offended like a school boy if I tell him to pipe down. Aunty B, you are not known for your tact. What would you do?
You know what? You have a bad dose of Small Poppy Syndrome. (This is of course is the opposite of Tall Poppy Syndrome of which there is very little this year mainly because no one in their right mind envies entrepreneurs at present.)
Small Poppy Syndrome afflicts business owners and is characterised by a feeling of envy and jealousy towards their employees who seemingly have no responsibilities – they have a job don’t they? And they spend the party season enthusiastically drinking your wine, eating your food and flirting with your staff – while you spend the evenings running cashflow scenarios through your head.
Small Poppy Syndrome has not been evident for the past 15 years, but is now spreading faster than a bad Asian virus on steroids.
What is making it worse is that the gloomy outlook means employees this year are expected to party like there is no tomorrow, making entrepreneurs feel even more envious.
Here is what you must do. Nothing. You must listen to his irritating stories with a big grin on your face. You must congratulate him on the leads he picked up and the people he schmoozed, complimenting him yet again on his initiative.
You must pay his expenses without complaint, look sympathetic when he has to leave early tomorrow, and make him promise to take his vitamins. Only when he has cleared the building can you lock yourself in the toilet cubicle and scream.
Your Aunty B.