Alistair seemed nice, he had a nice-looking tie, a new-looking suit and he seemed to be about 14 years old. He also looked incredibly nervous, and when he was introduced to Jack as the new “Junior Account Manager,” Jack could feel his hand shaking, and it looked like in the contest between his excessive hair gel and the sweat running down his forehead, the gel was fighting a losing battle. The guy from HR… whatshisname… finished his introduction with the inevitable question.

“Jack, could you show Alistair around?”

“Of course,” said Jack. “It would make the week worthwhile. Follow me….ummm, new guy.”

Jack led Alistair into the elevator, and then to the coffee shop in the lobby. They ordered and sat in a corner booth and Jack looked cautiously at the expectant young man, thinking he should say something supportive.

“You’re very sweaty.”

“I’m really nervous.”

“Well don’t worry,” said Jack.

Alistair waited for something more, but Jack had become distracted by the sugar packets in the middle of the table.

“Why are sugar packets long now?” asked Jack. “They used to be square and flat, and now they’re long and skinny. Nobody seems to have noticed, but it’s obvious there’s some kind of horrible communist conspiracy going on.”

“So are you going to tell me about the office?” asked Alistair.

“My goodness man, that’s exactly what I’m doing.” said Jack emphatically. “This is just the kind of philosophy you need to hear before you begin working for a company like ours, it is vital that you notice the little things – the sugar, the way the wind strikes across the lake, or the beautiful smile from a young child. Are you writing this down?”

Alistair took a notepad out of his jacket pocket. “Can you say that again?”

The coffees arrived and Jack poured one of the sugars into his latte. “See what I’m doing here? This is a metaphor for effective work.” He leaned closer to Alistair and dropped his voice to a whisper. “If you can understand this, then you understand everything about business.”

Alastair wrote something down.

Jack kept staring at him, his empty sugar packet, long and skinny waving in midair. “The sugar is gone Alistair, and like the sugar becomes liquid, so must we evolve.”

“How do you mean?”

Jack shrugged. “I don’t know, look I’m just saying words. All you need to know is, if you need a snooze, the stationary room can be locked from the inside.”

Alistair made a note.

“You’ll do fine kid, I see a lot of potential in you.”