I work in a primary school in Belgrade. A close friend of mine works for an American firm. I told her I went to Timisoara with the school. She asked me:
“Something like team building?”
“Well, we call it – the syndical organization paid for the bus.”
And it was indeed like a school excursion. The colleagues in the back boozing. Someone asked what time it was. “9:05 – the second class is starting.” The whole bus burst into laughter.
I tell her about the Day of School celebration, she tells me about a celebration in her firm.
My friend’s firm organized a celebration in a conceptual space, all in glass, on the brink of a forest, with an amazing view all around.
She told me that the music was so good, all the things that we love. They played Arctic Monkeys, Bon Jovi, The Cure… The lot. The general manager gave a speech and then winked at the musicians: “Common People”. Everybody danced.
The previous Day of School celebration, solemn and elegant, was held at a nearby hotel’s banquet hall.
We had a keyboard and a scantily clad female singer. The director asked for the song Mirjana by a Serbian folk singer Tozovac, in honor of the Serbian mother tongue teacher’s retirement.
My friend tells me that at one point four girls with string instruments emerged to the stage and played Italian and Spanish songs, the inevitable Oliver Dragojevic, so one could feel as if Stjepan Hauser himself was there and as if one was going to fall in love at that very moment. “Kosta and Maja hooked up at that party. They are such a sweet couple”, she reminded me.
The images from the hotel all came back to me. A heavy dose of Serbian folk music, and then a surprise: the bands Riblja Corba and Galija, for the rockers in the audience. A young female English teacher is dancing, the PE teacher is trying to flirt with her, clumsily attempting to charm her, the biology teacher is giving them the side eye and making disapproving noises…
We start laughing at these two extremes. An atmosphere of a European contemporary movie, compared to an atmosphere of a Romanian one from 1983. Her firm is very successful, and our educational system is… I won’t even go there.
The taste is important, sometimes crucial, it is built, cultivated, enhanced and very visible.
Think about your taste. What is the image of your firm?