Lorenzo Pirisino

Walking on Eggs

Posted on 2006/07/11 11:20:24 (July 2006).

[11th July 2006]

During the middle ages, kings and queens used to be entertained not so much by the World Cup, but by jesters and jugglers. They used to tell poetry, play practical jokes and perform acts of dexterity, like walking blindfolded on a table full of eggs, trying to avoid them and reach the other side.

Yesterday I discussed with my boss about the prospect of setting up my own business with this Japanese client, and he told me that I have to be careful on how I move in Prato because it is a small world and if some company starts to say something wrong about you then it's going to be hard to work there, even if I become a potential client.

Bottom line, I write a mail to the Japanese company, explaining that I really need a reply from them, or even a letter saying that they are going to offer me the job, details to be finalized later.
In this way I can tell the Prato company that I am not going, and they can look for someone else in July and beginning of September.
If I tell them at the beginning of September it's going to be a tragedy for them, and surely my image will take quite a blow...

In doing this I have tried my hardest not to write "strong" concepts, trying to use the easiest english that I could put together, asking for opinions rather than telling what I want to do...

Well, the result is quite disappointing.

My agent calls me in the morning saying that he read the mail and he thought that it was really BAD, as if I don't want to go anymore, also his wife thought the same thing... So I decided to call the person that I usually speak to in this new company, and I explained my points, he said that he understood and that they were going to try to get acceptance to write this famous letter within two or three days...

Let's say that in the end I did get what I wanted, though the offer will be finalized in August (and it might change a little from what we discussed), I will be sure that something IS coming... At that point I can tell the Prato people hoping that it will not be too much of a tragedy for them...

I am feeling like walking blindfolded on the table that I was talking about before. There are several scenarios that might unfold for me, ranging from loosing all the jobs to getting the deal that I want with these Japanese company. I must move carefully, today I touched one of the eggs with the foot, even though I thought I took all the precautions possible.

Even though it's five years that I work with Japanese people, even though I have studied the language and everything, I still make mistakes by the look of it, there is still so much to learn...

I really need an holiday...

Comment 1

Yeap, it's always a problem of comprehension. The *other* does not necessarily understand the way you do. His backrgound, his culture lead him to see things from a different angle than yours. And, as you rightly pointed out, it has to be seriously considered when negociating. Something which most Americans (sorry Travis!) don't seem to understand, hence the failure of their foreign policies...!

Posted by Sheri at 2006/07/11 24:22:03.

Comment 2

Sheri: International Relatioonships is a class that I took in Japan and Reading. It was one of the most interesting and tought us about these points, at least tought us to consider these differences. Interestingly enough, the people in the exaples are ALWAYS americans! In any case it is hard to comply 100%, I thought that I was good because of all the experience and so on, but it is clear that I am not... :(

Posted by Lox at 2006/07/11 24:53:01.

Comment 3

From my point of view Lox, you know a *lot* about different cultures. This is a seriously good asset for the Japanese company, so they should recognise this and make allowances.

Any company working on the international stage should have the same perspective - i.e understanding "foreign" habits and viewpoints. Not to do so is very arrogant of them.

Though I can imagine how difficult it is for you just now... not knowing how this new company (Mi...?) is going to react...

Even if it all goes pear-shaped, I *don't* think you would be unemployed for long... :)

Posted by Nigel at 2006/07/11 14:02:48.

Comment 4

Nigel: Well there is much to learn still.. As far as this thing is concerned I will try not to make it go pear shaped, even though I will have to take some risks.

If they write a letter where they promise to make me an offer later that doesn't give me any assurances of any kind, still better than nothing.

Let's see how it goes, "nothing ventured nothing gained" so I guess that I'll have to make this step.

Posted by Lox at 2006/07/11 16:14:45.

Comment 5

I don't understand a simple point. Suppose that the japanese company does not exist, and there is no proposal or agreement with them: when would be your first day of work with the Prato Company? In what terms are you with them? Shouldn't have you already started? What does the Prato Company really know about your availability?

Posted by Lank at 2006/07/12 07:25:52.

Comment 6

Lank: I have had a definite reply from my ACTUAL company on when I can leave. It will be the end of August, as I have a lot of holidays to take, so technically I will start not earlier than the 1st of November. Of course I am totally free in August so I'll be moving sooner to Florence. As for what the new company knows... well... NOTHING. It's not an easy situation as the Japanese are sure 100% to land me a contract, but on the other side I don't know the exact terms (though we discussed them in Japan so I hope they won't change) and when this will happen... I am worrying more about the Prato company and the problems that they will have if I don't go to be honest, I should be more "BAD" and just care about myself... But that's it's soooo not me... :(

Posted by Lox at 2006/07/12 08:18:36.

Comment 7

May I be "bossy" here for a moment? (:))

Yes, you are right - you should worry about yourself and paying your bills and Marta first!!! :))))) However, as you are a decent fellow you are caring about the Prato company and that is good.

So, let's be brutally frank!! I can tell you are worrying about the Prato company - and the Japanese company really "haven't" given you anything to work with. Nothing concrete except "promises". Believe me, you cannot pay a mortgage on promises!! (I have tried!!)

So... my gut instinct says go with the Prato company... unless the Japanese company are willing to give you all you want - in writing, mind you - and now!

Hope that helps! (As a fellow Maisoneer, it goes without saying I'll back whatever you decide!!)

Posted by Nigel at 2006/07/14 19:30:29.

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