Thursday, July 29, 2010

My first class struggle

During this trip I am using a mixture of travel classes. Standard Economy on some flights, Business on others, and occasionally First Class on trains. Yesterday I sat in First Class on the train from Kings Lynn to London Kings Cross. I had the compartment all to myself to start with, but by Cambridge it was nearly full.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the comfort of First Class. Sometimes it's a great deal more comfortable than Standard or Economy Class travel. Often it makes very little difference - the seats are the same (perhaps with a little tissue to lean your head against) but the compartment is sectioned off and separated from everyone else. I suppose there's a much better chance of getting a seat (but no guarantee in Britain) when travelling First Class on a train.

What I don't like about it is (sorry I don't mean to be rude....) some of the other passengers using First Class. The truth is that I don't relate to them at all. They all sit there glued to their super-advanced mobile phone / personal data devices or tapping away on a laptop computer (like I'm doing right now !)... or worse still, they call someone and talk, and talk, and talk through the entire journey.

The talking I can put up with, but the language they use becomes increasingly annoying to me. It's basically drivel and jargon. "We engage with them on a daily basis", or "the senior leaders' group is responsible for delivering the implementation of corporate strategy", or "what we'll do going forward is..." GOING FORWARD ??? Please. Do you mean to say "in the future" ? If so, those are completely wasted words. You can hardly plan to do something in the past ! It's unnecessary.

Why do I react against this ? What exactly is it I'm reacting against ? I think (I'd better be careful what I say here) it's because I've come across rather a high percentage of poor quality managers at companies I've encountered going backwards (sorry, in the past). That makes me cynical about that type of person. I imagine such people to be on highly inflated salaries, and I wonder what contribution some of they really make.

Of course, if I was sitting in Standard Class on a train I might well be surrounded by people I find equally annoying for different reasons. Chatting away about meaningless gossip or making different grammatical errors in their speech.

Hmm.. I think my brain is showing signs of having relaxed, being away from the preoccupations of normal daily life, and is beginning to analyse things again. The way of the world, what direction I might take next, and so on. This is a familiar pattern when I'm travelling for long periods. I tend to think clearly (or at least convince myself that's what I'm doing) when I am not burdoned with everyday life !! That's kind of dangerous, while exciting at the same time.

In previous such situations I've decided to move from London to Scotland, and later.. from Scotland to New Zealand. Let me say straight away that I have every intention of returning to live in New Zealand at the end of this journey.

By the way, I apologise to any reader who is a business person. I don't mean to tar everyone with the same brush. I do wish, however, that business people and managers would use sensible language and actually get things done, rather than spending so much time churning out reports, hosting meetings, "engaging" and so on. I suppose if they didn't do these things, they might have little to actually occupy their time.

I'd better stop now.

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