Greek dancing in the office

Much is being written at the moment about how people working from home during present times are missing out on the social interaction of working in the office.

I agree.

Its actually a while since I regularly worked in an office as I now work for an International employer headquartered in Germany, but am home based in the UK (irrespective of Covid etc.)

But back in the 1980’s (yes, I know its unbelievable I was even at work then and not at nursery school, or even just a twinkle in the eye of my parents!) I worked in an office of a small Greek Travel Company of about fifteen people above a fashion retailer in London’s trendy South Moulton Street in the West End.

London has a large Greek, mostly Greek Cypriot community and many of my colleagues were from there. It was a young and fun place to work and in fact probably some of my happiest working days were at that company as we had a great post work social life there as we really were minutes from everything in the West End.

Anyway one of my colleagues Maria was getting married and we were all invited to the wedding …but a prerequisite …we had to participate fully in the dancing at the reception of this huge event. And when I say huge, I really mean huge! So at lunchtime every day for two weeks before the wedding another colleague Georgia would teach us Greek dancing in our tiny little kitchen/staff room. Well, we learnt the basics and didn’t disgrace ourselves totally at the wedding….such fun times.

Well my career in travel and aviation has taken me back to Greece many times over the years and much as I don’t have a professional need of those skills that I learnt (I think…) , I always feel so at home when I hear the music in Tavernas and restaurants. Ευχαριστώ Georgia !

So employers and leaders, never forget the value of office life…when it can be safely provided!

Lost taxi

Athens is a wonderful city.

Home to some wonderful architecture, ruins, sights, sounds and smells; generally very friendly and welcoming people (about 3 million of them) and 14,000 taxis. Yes, more than New York city which has only 13,000!

The taxis in Athens are yellow too and again like in New York it also can be an experience! On a recent work trip to Athens I decided to go to my hotel by taxi rather than train as it was already 11pm . Jumping in a taxi at the airport I got a welcoming smile but a puzzled look by the young driver as I gave him my hotel name and the street address.

Now this was a relatively well known hotel in a smart district but it was certainly a first for him. Anyway we set off but after 2 minutes he then asked me did I have GPS. I was a little surprised he had no phone of his own or was unwilling to use it. Anyway mine was put into service and balancing it on his knee, off we went. I actually had another phone with me as well (my work phone) and for good measure also put same request into that. After a while of frequent ‘recalculated journeys’ messages it became evident the ‘phone balanced on knee technique’ was not a big success in terms of navigation or road safety. So plan B was me in the back of the car telling him when to turn left, right and on one occasion STOP! This new plan worked and we shortly pulled up outside the hotel.

He then told me the fare which was duly paid by me and I asked for my receipt. Not possible he said pointing at the printer in the car (I assumed out of order)

Ok, I said how about just one of your advert cards that you can write the fare on? (This by the way is not always a good move..I did this in Italy a while back and it was presented to me on a card advertising a lap dancing establishment! Our company accountant has never quite looked at me in the same way since)

Anyway still no joy. So I made the point of no receipt, no fare can be paid as I won’t be able to reclaim. This focussed the mind and a brief phone call to his boss…it seems he did have a phone after all!

Finally Greek ingenuity then took over…he scrambled around the not so clean taxi floor until he found a receipt for that day for a similar amount (it was a few euros less) then gave me some money back to reconcile the exact amount and then handed a slightly worn and crumpled receipt over! …what could I say.

Only in Athens!