My boss is an information-teaser. Picture the scene. I am sitting in my boss’s office, notepad in one hand, pen in the other, and a look of intensely, earnest concentration on my face. My boss is standing by the white board discussing a white paper he wants me to write about subject X.
He flirts with subject X, he expounds at great philosophical length about the importance of documenting subject X, he draws incredibly artistic and incredibly bizarre diagrams on the board about subject X.
I’m in there for at least half-an-hour – at the end of which I’m glassy-eyed and stiff-buttocked – and I thank him profusely as I back out of the door bowing and scraping.
It is only when I reach my desk a few minutes later and look down at my notepad that I realize the only thing I’ve written down on my pad in that entire time is subject X underlined three times.
Now –the first time this happened, I was 147% prepared to accept full responsibility and blame. Clearly, I was one sandwich short of a picnic and hadn’t taken in any of the information that he had so lovingly explained to me.
The second time this happened, I decided that he had a problem with explaining stuff and I had a problem with understanding stuff. I maintained this theory the third and fourth time.
However – yesterday, the fifth time it happened, I resolved not to concentrate on getting information from him – but to sit back and observe in a kind of “The Buddha meets Mumpy and falls over” kind of way. To my absolute amazement – it turned out that he was not actually providing ANY information whatsoever about Subject X+5 – he was merely telling me the type of information he thought I should be looking for.
So when I, in my sweet shining innocent naivety, asked him if he could actually give me the information, he said to me, Well – there’s no point in me giving you the actual information, I might as well write it myself in that case.
My next column will be dedicated to Information Teasers – and how to Break Them Till They Weep Like Babies.