robbieflow

A new direction .. and new boundaries

1990's

AN accident under the English drizzle in central London changed yet again the direction of my life. An existence, which was going through too many alterations, so many it happens, that I had run out of fingers on which to count them on. I was wandering through a crisis, that adjustment of direction everybody spoke about for the second time.

I had not learnt my lesson on the first occasion, when from the life as a seasonal barman on the Mediterranean coast and skiman in the Alpine resorts, I was thrown into the fashion trade, an industry designed for its viscous life style. You had to be part of the team, a member of the club, integrated into the delicate network held together by chain e-mails and bi-annual trade shows. I had gone off the boil after living seven years on the road; my body had had enough of the faceless hotels, their starch clean sheets, the same “Euro breakfast”, the good mornings of the staff, all a constant reminder that you were not at home but on the highway again.

Over the years the industry had changed from the exciting times of development; sprouting catch words which have found their own place in our society, to a machine where money was the be all and end all. The accountant’s had arrived, the fun had ended. The retail end had changed; the small customer orientated surf shops found in each village a product of the past, eaten up by the multi national machine, the supermarkets of our global times.

The original owners had seen enough. Life must have needed new boundaries; they made the logical move, sold up and left. Leaving with them, a void, a car with its spark plugs mixed up, the company continued to run, but she would not accelerate the command arrived but not in the right order. We were left to hold together the miss firing machine, not sure of the plugs correct order. The company with its new out look to the sportswear market, did not mix with the old skhool, the story happens all over the world, the managers from the old set up leave and a new breed takes over. With the added confusion and their own new goals, the pressure is placed on the staff, giving everybody a problem that they would rather live without. The new manager has the problem of keeping his own head afloat, while the team adjusts to the new rules in a fragmented manner.

I had that overpowering feeling that it was time too move again, the company had been changed by the never-ending internal wars, which were splitting its soul; it was time to look for new openings.

It was the easy way out, the door had been opened and all that I had to do was to take the step. The next day I moved away into another world, away from the office, where in the mornings, I had spent my time shifting paper as the new managers placed their own soldiers in the line. The drifting afternoons would follow the same tune, the old team being left for dead in the field, the years of information lost with the signing of the redundancy check. The end result of seven years building a product came to an end. I walked out of the office confused with what I had been manipulated into doing by the higher powers seated in an unseen bureau half way across the world. What would be the next development in life, only time will tell, but one thing was sure I would not be getting a new company car.