Nathan advises on executive coaches, project names and when not to take the p*ss
Q. I am a senior partner, and have recently been told by my HRD that I should have a coach. (She’s from a Big Four accountancy firm, where apparently these ideas have traction.) Should I give it a try, or a wide berth?
It’s lonely at the top. I should know. After my Sherpa bought it at Base Camp Four, I had only my wits, my brand new microbial hemp-lined ergonomic climbing shoes and the thought of a frosty can of Scabber of Camden Lock’s micro-brewed Rusty Ale to make it to the top of that frickin’ massive climbing wall. If I’d have fallen, I’d have been swinging around on the safety cable for nearly ten minutes while Tristram got back from the newsagent. Why he had to pick that moment to bail out for a can of Rubicon Lychee, I have no idea, anything could have happened. So yeah, I get your pain, man. Honestly, I think it depends on the coach. Some coaches are like therapists, just keep asking you questions so you do the learning yourself, like playing table tennis with a brick wall. I think that’s bollocks. If I’m paying you £500 an hour for the privilege give me some answers already! So sure, get a coach but make sure you get one which makes the game worth the candle.
Q. The projects in my firm are being given increasingly stupid names. (Last month, I was on ‘Project Benny’ and ‘Project Chihuahua.’) How can I bring the names back into the realms of good sense?
Good sense? What are you, the grammar fairy? Screw that. Giving projects fun names will be the only fun part of the project so revel in it. Rather, get yourself appointed to the naming committee and see how far you can stretch it, especially if your names flirt with good taste, then shag it in the disabled toilet while you broadcast the results on YouTube. I’m thinking ‘Project Cleveland Steamer’, ‘Project Alabama Hot Pocket’ or ‘Project Tijuana Crime Scene’. Or just ‘Katie Hopkins’.
Q. My partner has a lisp. She takes the mickey out of herself, so I’m guessing it’s OK for me to take the mickey out of her too?
It’s one of the conventions of modern life that the downtrodden of any kind are allowed to take the p*ss out of themselves, but when any privileged white hetero male – which I presume you are given that you are asking such an irrepressibly unreconstructed, and, frankly, dickish, question – tries to do the same, it’s oppression. Hence LA’s rappers have successfully reclaimed a word previously only used by men in white hoods, and frequenters of some of Soho’s colourful bars have repossessed a word formerly favoured by the boys in blue when they were beating the crap out of the aforementioned light-loafered gentlefolk. As you will be fully aware, when stand-up comedians and super-bad denizens of EC1 such as myself use the ‘N’ word and the ‘Q’ word, we are of course being fully ironic, a benefit you yourself will never be able to access, so keep schtum and privately revel in the fact that while your stripe rule and will rule the world, the minority groups of which you are so carelessly disdainful have nothing and will never have anything. NG