Recently I joined Arse-about-Facebook and was pleasantly surprised to see that a former colleague had added photos of what had been a little project I’d managed at the start of the 21st Century: The Staff Calendar. Having newly joined the company, it proved to be an excellent way to find out the full extent of the services offered to clients, and some of the faces that implemented those services, ensuring their smooth running.
It started one day as I sat behind Big Boss’s desk. He was out and about, as was his norm, so I taken the opportunity to eat my lunch in his cool, dark office. I was searching for some scrap paper to catch the salady drips that escaped my ham salad sarnie (extra onion, extra mayo) when I realised that the page I’d scavenged wasn’t scrap at all. It contained several hand-drawn, rough sketches with interesting punny titles: ‘Reservoir Bogs’; ‘Lock Stock & Two Smoking Vaccums’; ‘Not Everything in Black & White is Read’ and ‘You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Skip’.
I wiped the crumbs and sandwich filling gloop from the page as best I could, and after I’d finished eating took it back to my own desk, where I filed it in my ‘Bring Forward’ system, so that I could ask Big Boss about it the next time he ventured in.
“Oh, it’s just some ideas I’ve had for a staff calendar,” he told me a week later. “I think it would be a fun way of marketing what we do that includes the staff.”
I agreed and twenty minutes later, we’d thought up half a dozen more ideas. Big Boss’s face, which had looked tired and pinched on arrival at the office that morning, now looked light and boyish. He instructed me to find a graphic design company that could advise us on feasibility and cost, before he set out again for an afternoon with clients and potential clients in back-to-back meetings.
Coincidentally, the graphic design company I’d selected had been the recipient of high praise at a social gathering Big Boss had attended the evening before I met with him, to give him an update on my search. I hadn’t heard of synchronicity then, but he gave me the go ahead to get the calendar made.
Over the next couple of months I worked with Big Boss and the graphic design company to refine the images, buy props and hire costumes, prep staff members to be involved and then get them to the studio for photography, hold their clothing, not peek when asked, make the teas and coffees, and then select the best images for inclusion, layout of each page and quality of the paper it would be printed on. It was a meaty project and I relished getting my teeth into it.
“We should have a party to launch the calendar,” Big Boss decreed after the first nude photo shoot, obviously buoyed up with the way it was going. “Invite the staff and clients.”
“And client secretaries,” I suggested. “They’ll be the ones that receive the calendars first and dish them out.”
He liked that idea. “Tate Modern owes us a favour or two, I’ll get us room there for the evening.” Big Boss could be quite persuasive.
And so, organising the launch party, sending invites, creating a presentation and buy thoughtful gifts to say ‘thank you’ to the staff involved was added to my list of things to do. Thoughtful Man helped me select and obtain the music that would accompany the revealing of each image in an animated Powerpoint show. I’d barely used Powerpoint before, let alone animate anything with it; it was a learning curve that held me in good stead for the rest of my career thereafter.
I didn’t compère the show – Big Boss did that; he’s an extremely accomplished public speaker. I ran the slide show and cued the music. The evening was a great success.
We had 13 months in our calendar; when you work in logistics you tend to plan just a little bit ahead… Clicky on each image to hear the accompanying Song 😉