May 14, 2013

Fifty Shades of Bouris

Readers of earlier posts will know that I adore a well polished boardroom/meeting room table.

Amazingly, attending countless job interviews (at numerous boardroom tables) and associated Spanish inquisitions on the good, bad, and ugly of me -  has not thwarted this workplace fetish.  

As an unemployed hausfrau, I have a new appreciation for the time others devote to keeping up appearances, with the lavish application of Marveer and elbow grease.

But it hasn’t always been that way.

Not so long ago

Some years back, a past role (yes I was once an actual employee!) required me to participate at Heads of Department meetings, held regularly in a Marveered boardroom.

Thank goodness this was only when my sidekick/superior was off on an interstate or overseas junket (aka conference, training, buying jaunt - whatevs).

This superior was a buxom, jolly and emotionally robust woman of the old school. She knew how to: talk the walk?

The human condition

Unschooled in boardroom dynamics - when called at a moment’s notice to “fill in” and promote our department’s quarterly outcomes (and justify our existence on the payroll), I became a boardroom phobic - on steroids. As one does.

On a good day, not even a tray of chocolate infused cup-cakes, could entice me to chin-wag with those boardroom Witches of Eastwick.  And so – my few opportunities to “talk the walk” and shine among the organisation’s power brokers ended in severely underwhelming, non-events (and tears before bed-time).

Oh where were you then Mr Bouris?!

The treatment

I dreaded “Minties moments” like those.  Can you believe, that an expert (clinical?) psychologist once seriously advised me to hand out Minties in such situations?! 

In return, Dr Minty got her $180 hourly rate.  And good for her! (I was glad to be good for someone or something) ...someone has to keep the economy going.

But - what help were Minties? ... as emotional support when rubbing shoulders with seasoned organisational game-players!

For on a good day “at the office” these “colleagues” would routinely ignore me, when on their daily walkies to the mohagony top floor - they practically tripped over me  (as I sat toiling away at my ergonomical aisle desk).

Boardroom party time

So there we all were, seated at the/my last supper.

Assorted esteemed superiors, would beam - shoulder to shoulder - with the confidence that evolves from having your own office, corporate expense account, allocated in-house car-space, shiny top-of-the-range company car, and career haute couture. 

And there I sat, trembling, without even a Minty (or valium please nurse!) in my pocket. 

Ben Mendelsohn nails the high anxiety I felt, in the latest  beyondblue  offering. 

Without sound, and  seeing Ben sitting comfortably in a leather wingback chair, I can easily imagine he's discussing the merits of a good cigar, port wine and cheese.

Sound on – and I'm transported to those anxious times in seconds.

And there's Bouris

Fast track to now, and on our televisions we have a weekly boardroom scenario – served up deliciously by Mr Bouris on Celebrity Apprentice. 

Now this - low brow, high trash TV - is also ironically, quintessential therapy for an anxious, displaced boardroom-scenario-avoider.

Poetry opportunity

If I could write a Haiku about Bouris I would.  If someone else can – please forward via the 50 Shades contact page.

Meantime, many TV connoisseurs describe Celebrity Apprentice as “crap”.   However,  for someone who’s challenged these days to get her dainty foot back into a boardroom (office cubicle, “hot-desk”, bathroom, whatevs) as a paid employee - the show is pure Fantasy Island, workplace training, and a little bit of therapy, rolled into one.

Putting aside the assorted celebrities (and abundant false-eyelashes and sequins) the program reveals key insights on savvy, shifty, and sh*tty ways to “project manage” and navigate both fabulous and feral workplace dynamics.  

And all of this - from the domestic comfort of one’s unemployed disposition and cosy couch. How cheap! You don’t even have to invest in a myki card!  With Bouris as Ship Captain,  it’s a win win situation!

And there’s the Dawn

Another beacon in the program is Dawn Fraser. This amazing woman displays the innate wisdom, integrity, and chutzpah of your typical life-travelled, mature-age (take me as I am) employee, leader, role model.

No amount of trailing hair extensions, blow-dried tresses, and doublestrength eye-liner, can make her co-team player/celebrities look and perform as impressively as Dawn.

And Bouris

Then there's Captain Bouris  in the boardroom (though wouldn't we, ladies of a certain age to see him in the bedroom!) - part Greek God, part protagonist, part cashed-up office b*tch.  

One minute you think Roxy will be asked to leave, next Bouris turns and gives cutie pie Roxy the old ok (and twinkle of the eye). 

More Bex please!

We the viewers know this unexpected reprieve is Master B's clever strategy to see what untold, perfect storm damage, Roxy can bring to next week’s program.

We know that Master Bouris sees through the skinny blonde antics, and the fluttering eyelids. Will he or won’t he make that Barbie Doll cry? 

And – I missed that last episode! 

Will there be an encore screening??

There better be!

But Roxy is Roxy - beautiful, young and blonde.  Just like Mary Tyler Moore, she will survive; she's gonna make it after all.  Which reminds me of another issue - about hair colour - for another time. 

A word to the sponsor

Now Mr Bouris - if that receptionista you have there gets eaten by a demon possessed, bulimic contestant (for your information, and as a recruitment just in case) please kindly check out my CV snapshot, herein:

I'm not blonde, but I am legally brunette, and I'm - 
  1. uber unemployed (equals poor and available yesterday),
  2. legally a librarian (aka a brilliant typist)
  3. with passable Excel spreadsheet skills,
  4. passionate about service with a smile.
And ...if you want to hire me, meet me in the boardroom and then fire me (who cares at this stage) you know where to find me.


  1. Another fabulous post Carmen. You could have your own TV show, too! I must watch Celebrity Apprentice.

    1. Thankyou Claire. If Australia freezes over this weekend as a result of (not climate change) but the budget speeches, and you need a little diversion, you'll get this week's meaty episode repeated - during nanna nap time - on Sunday afternoon.

  2. Hello Carmen,
    Fabulous blog. You should write a book. It could be a best seller. It could lead to bigger and better things. I agree with Claire- about your TV show. Go girl!

  3. Thankyou so much. Glad you enjoyed the blog.

  4. Thank you so much for the wonderful book! I finished it a few days ago and cannot get it out of my head. It is pure magic. It was everything I hoped it would be and much more. ...
    the movie fifty shades

    1. So glad you liked it - but do keep following: Mutuelle Obligations: A Love Story? It's better than THAT other book - it's got recipe, and musical links.