Secret Diary of a GM Manager – Romance is Dead

Expat Academy Secret Diary of a GM Manager – Romance is Dead  Dear Diary, 

I’m sitting at my desk as the Autumn rain drizzles at the window of my home study and I am reflecting on my Summer holiday exploits and plans for the rest of the year. Immediate plan is to; 

  1.  Lose weight  (one too many G&Ts) or buy decent pair of spanx 
  2. Buy industrial concealer for my panda eyes (see picture). I’ve got my annual performance review next week…not a good look. 
  3. Buy cool business casual outfit which screams “notice me” for annual review. I’m losing my confidence a bit working at home and I think new threads may help. 
  4. Get lucky in love again.

Number 4 on my list above is on my mind…I’m not getting any younger and quite frankly I am lonely. I shouldn’t complain as I’ve got a nice home with a decent working space. However, most days I; 

  • get up 
  • talk to the cat 
  • Shout at the kids  
  • drop kids to school 
  • avoid nosey school mums who want to know about my recent messy divorce  
  • get home 
  • put washing on 
  • clear away breakfast mess 
  • make myself a lovely coffee (highlight of my day) 
  • start working through my never ending to “to do list” from my home desk. 

 I miss the interjection of office banter and I even miss listening in to conversations going on around me. It’s amazing how much I used to pick up. Just sitting there like a sponge.  

 On reflection I used to get a lot out of working in the office: 

  1. free lovely coffee,  
  2. the opportunity to wear smart clothes when I drop the kids to school and stick one to that officious school mum who knows it all and has always got her sh*t together… and likes to give me that sympathetic look 
  3. the really nice smelling guy who works on the same floor as me and smiles when we occasionally lock eyes 
  4. time to read my book on the train journey  
  5. pret a manger sandwiches 
  6. stationary! 

 I guess I just need to find a way to make it all work. Remote working is here to stay. Everyone I speak to is continuing to work from home to some extent. In fact a recent article I read by Mercer How employee benefits mitigate talent risks | Mercer says that 62% of employees  would not join a company unless they could do remote/hybrid work. 

 I’m slightly sceptical about my immediate plan to get lucky in love again too.  Working as a Global Mobility Manager I’ve had some shocking examples of romance being dead. 

 Did I tell you about the guy who was going on assignment and put through an expense claim for his wedding? 

 Long story short is this youngish man in his early forties was offered the opportunity of an international assignment. Being the rather people focussed GM manager that I am, I of course arranged to meet with him to discuss this opportunity. During our meeting we discussed his personal situation and any concerns he may have. His number one concern was that he had been living with his girlfriend for 10 years. She had an established career, but she worked free-lance and he didn’t think she would be able to work in the proposed host location. 

 I gently probed and asked whether perhaps he might have plans to commit his heart and soul to his long-term partner and get married soon? To which he rather unromantically explained that he thought marriage was an archaic institution, a disgusting waste of money and it would be highly likely that any wedding planned on a summer Saturday would clash with a significant sporting event and he wasn’t willing to take the risk! 

Shame, I responded. If you were legally married your wife would be able to work in the host location in her field of expertise without the need for any employer to sponsor her. Hassle free really. 

 It gets worse…little under a month after our meeting I received an email with an expense claim attached for the full cost of his wedding. The little toad had proposed and then tried to argue that HR had advised him to get married so the assignment could go ahead. 

 I must remember…don’t be fooled Gina by the sparkling diamond…you never know why they popped that question…I’m better off cosying up with a hot chocolate and the remote control to myself. Perhaps with this remote working lark, I just need to find out what day that nice smelling man (who works on the same floor) goes into the office. I’ll put on my new spanx and cool business outfit and ask him out for coffee… 


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