Let’s start with the mere fact that he exists. It is not a product of my own wild imagination. Well, he was just that, when I wrote the very popular “The wife of Cologny”. But then he actually confirmed his existence as a species, through a quite rough comment under the post on facebook. See the proof below.
This time I am more nervous than ever. Somebody who really knows what I am talking about, a self-acclaimed representative of that species, somebody who’s more than happy to tear my post apart, is just waiting for me at the corner to do just that. To judge my facts, my research skills, my ability to draw pencil portraits. To serve justice to the tribe and its honorable members. Will I manage to get a good grade? Will I do a good job describing those who walk among us, but do not carry a label? Let’s see…
…is actually easy to spot. From the way he talks. The corporate nobody uses plenty of acronyms. For everything. Definitely in the office, but also in real life. In verbal communications, not only in texting. Acronyms are just so efficient. He orders an OJ, he hates BS, he shares FYI all the time, he explains with IE or EG or AKA. Again all this when talking live. Efficiency and discipline are hugely important to him. This is why all the counting. “Let me tell you why I disagree. No 1. Blah blah, No 2. Blah blah blah, No 3…”. Overall the corporate nobody applies in his own private life all the great things he learnt in the company. From how to tackle a problem, how to manage relationships, how to address tough situations, all the way to… flirting. Oh dear, the corporate flirting approach: it starts with a vision, it has a clear goal, and is executed with an even clearer strategy… (here you can picture me yawning till I fall off my chair).
…is obsessed with his career. The most important notion in his life. His mantra is “bigger, longer and uncut”. As high as possible, all the way to retirement, without any breaks. OK maybe one break for a charity sabbatical. He feels he has to give back, experience the developing world and see if he can survive with a backpack and 10USD per day. But this is just an exotic idea and it will remain as such for most of the corporate nobodies. There is no mercy in the corporate world.
…is after his boss’ job, who’s a good guy, but his ideas are not fresh anymore and not much better than our corporate nobody’s ideas. The corporate nobody could easily do the job of his boss and it is actually a matter of time to get it. He just has to smile more (and bend deeper) to him or even better to the bosses of his boss. It is called positive energy and can-do attitude. If you just called him a yes-man or a sucker-upper, you are just mean and jealous. The corporate system does not tolerate such unhealthy behaviors… By the way, last year his boss was a woman. For sure she was in love with him or at least fantasizing about him. This exact thought made him more understanding to her meltdowns “that time” of the month.
…is fit. Very fit. Actually just fit (he could be fitter, but the occasional junk food takes its toll on his body). Apart from that minor deviation, the corporate nobody overall invests in his physical strength and appearance. The very disciplined ones hit the gym very early in the morning and control the number of coffees they have everyday. We call these people Finance and Accounting department. The rest go to Holmes Place most likely, just after work, around 8pm, always with the thought that it is such a downer that the gyms close around 9-10pm in this city. And this is 2-3 times a week. Even if they carry the gym bag to the office everyday. It is not just the wishful thinking that they might make it to the gym, but also the gym bag is a sexy accessory to carry around. It completes their style and their image. The gymbag and the fitbit or the equivalent Garmin step counter. You see the gymbag, you see the fitbit and you immediately think of rock hard abs and big strong legs under the white or light blue Hugo Boss shirt and these grey Zara pants. On top of the gym, there is jogging. Outside. Because Geneva is beautiful. Because the fitbit has to count some steps after all. Because he participates in a work contest and the team with most steps will be mentioned on top of the list in the final email. Great incentive, right? Anyway. On top of the gym and the jogging, there is soccer for the southern europeans and basketball for the northern ones (sorry it is height thing). Once a week, with the mates. Pure fun. He plans to learn golf too, because this is the official corporate sport. It is known to have enhanced careers across the globe. He has also tried ballroom dancing, but this was a dark period of his life when he thought he might meet ladies there, plus it would be useful for the wedding party at some point. Definitely a bad idea followed by an even worse execution.
…is social. Offline as much as he can, but definitely online. Never twitter (who has time for that, too fast for him), but other sites and apps. His online behavior is quite predictable: Check-ins at Business Lounges when traveling… on Business (company’s paying) and at expensive hotels with a loyalty card to gather free nights for his summer vacation. Plus some status updates with the occasional proof of how much fun his life is and not just work, work, work: a “wild” shot with the mates on Saturday night. But social media are a lot more than this. They are an effective way to connect with the right people. I am not referring to Badoo, Tinder, Lovoo and the likes. I am a lady NOT to mention the hundreds of you I have seen on there. The right people are the other Expats. Glocals, internations, anglo-info, you name it. He is part of them. However nobody knows his secret: he is NOT an expat. He is on a local contract, dreaming to be on an expat assignment somewhere abroad with his Swiss salary… Keep dreaming, dude!
…has a car. Regretfully (to be explained below). The northern europeans drive whatever seems like a good value-for-money in the region, ie french, german, whatever, they’ll take it. The southern europeans though go for a brand that can provide a decent show-off effect. A second hand Porsche or a convertible BMW get the job done. They work day and night for nothing? People have to know that they made it! It was worth the investment given the number of Likes they get when they post photos with their wheels…
…has a nervous breakdown every now and then. Because of the car: when the corporate nobodies and the cars have to take separate ways for the night. The parking situation in Eaux Vives is dreadful. The parking spaces are limited. Wrong. Non-existent. Most of the corporate nobody’s are “blue” victims. Right after they signed the lease for their flat, they believed in the “macaron dream”. Cheap affordable parking in the neighborhood. Yeah right… As if… Within hours they found out that the blue spots are all taken by their colleagues who park their cars there permanently. For the full week or month. Moving them rarely, one weekend per month to go to the mountains (car sharing for the rest of the weekends). The macaron is the reason that the corporate nobody pops up occasionally anti-stress natural remedies or drinks or buys stuff from the guys at rue de Berne. Have you tried to park at Eaux Vives when going to Da Paolo? Then you know what I’m talking about. Now imagine that every night after 12 hours at the office 5 times per week… Zanax anyone?
…has a girlfriend. A beautiful one. Not here. There. In Italy, France, Spain, Greece. Yes, long distance relationships are a bitch. That’s what you think. Not them. This works well for the corporate nobody. He works so many hours during the week, he wouldn’t have enough time for her here. Plus he would be tired after a long day in the office and the 45 minutes going around looking for a damn, bloody parking spot. A monthly direct deposit from his bank account to Easyjet makes everything right…
…has Investments. Very sophisticated ones and of very high value. They sum up to: stocks of his own company, plus 2 stocks of Apple and 5 of Google. I forgot to mention the 3eme pilier that the UBS guy told him to do, since it is tax deducted in his tax-at-source declaration. Yep, he does not have much cash liquidity, because cash does not have a good return nowadays. Not that there is any left from the trips and the booze anyway.
…has a Blackberry. And an iPhone. Both. The former for business and the latter for private. The corporate nobody wants to keep these two separate and this can be achieved only with two phones, and as different types as possible. Who wants to mix the photos between these two phones? Very dangerous territories. The only time that these two phones work together is when he steals internet connection from the work phone, when traveling abroad, to connect to Tinder with his private iPhone through hotspot to avoid himself roaming charges…
…likes After-work drinks. Because he… works. You kinda have to. If you attend the Oscars ceremony, won’t you go to the Vanity fair party afterwards? It’s the same thing. When they do not have to attend such gatherings for the corporate working class, then they choose trendy establishments with a good vibe. The classic Atelier and the Bottle Brothers are around the corner from their place, while Barber Shop and Riverside are centrally convenient. Needless to say that the corporate nobody lives for the Sindy parties. These dates are entered in the calendar way in advance and these are the only weekends he does not leave town. For any reason.
…goes out for dinner only because he has to. Main reason: the very human hunger, since the corporate nobody does not cook. Who has time for that when you are leading such a demanding career along an aspiring social life? Second reason: social. But in general he does not like the dining options offered by the Canton de Geneve. Overpriced and not stylish enough. London, Barcelona, Milan… now you are talking. Therefore their hard earned Swiss francs go to the neighborhood pizza places, to the trendy burger joints (see Inglewood, THF, Holy Cow) and a few cute spots in Plainpalais and Carouge. For dates, definitely Carouge.
…does alot of Traveling. Every month. Often every weekend. Either to see the girlfriend or to get outside a city that he considers somewhat “calm”. Work hard, play hard does not get to its full potential in Geneva. However given that Geneva is in the center of Europe and that tickets are pretty inexpensive if you buy them in advance and that it is cheaper to travel than breathe around here, given all these, the corporate nobody puts the boarding pass in his Passbook, gets an Uber to the airport and off to another Airbnb to explore a new city with the girlfriend or the mates. On the plane he will read the FT (the tabloid version of financial papers) or a book on his kindle. What exactly? Keep reading…
…“enjoys” Reading. Big lie, but oh well. Since he does it, let’s give him credit for that. Despite the fact he’d prefer to play candy crash and beat John who’s 11 levels ahead of him. But who’s counting and who’s competing, right? The following titles are the last 6 books that the corporate nobody read in the course of the last… 6 … years.
The 80/20 Principle: the secret to achieving more with less
Steve Jobs Biography (he knew it! he should have waited, they actually made two movies…)
Never eat alone: and other secrets to success, one relationship in time
The inside story of the collapse of Lehman Brothers
Trust No One
The 7 Habits of highly effective people
…likes Movies. The genre is along the same lines as above. Movies that can teach you valuable lessons about life. The Wolf of Wall Street, Up in the Air, the Pursue of Happyness, American Psycho and Horrible Bosses are some of his favorite ones, exactly for the reason. The actionable learnings and the daydream opportunities they offer. Of course living just across from Les Scala makes it almost mandatory to check the titles every now and then, but he still has not found the right material that would make him cheat on Pathe Cine. He is intellectual of course, but Les Scala pushes it too far…