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Thursday, 27 September 2007

Can someone please give me a sweetie?

Yesterday this announcement was made, and Richard Charkin, probably the single most inspirational force in my career, departed his role as CEO of Macmillan, where I work. To say this saddens me would be the understatement of the year. I can't remember a single meeting with him when he hasn't challenged me, motivated me and frustrated the hell out of me, usually all at the same time. Richard has this capacity to inject energy into every project he touches, to enthuse and empower people to work harder, faster and better, to push through innovation and change, to shout loudly (and generally pretty eloquently) about unfairness, sloppiness and, well, crapness of any sort. He's the most sought-after speaker at just about any event because he always has something interesting, thought-provoking and contrary to say. Despite the appearance of being wedded to his job, he clearly loves his family and has always been hugely supportive of working mums like me and the balancing act we have to manage (just as long as we continued to do our jobs well!), as evidenced by references on his blog such as this. Since he became a Grandfather, I noticed he even liked to compare pics of the kids. On the down side, he has terrible ADD, so much so that he'd probably get bored before he reached the end of this sentence and find it too much bother to read it all the way through (I say this in only the most affectionate way). Whatever his faults, to me, and to lots of others who work at Macmillan, Richard has come to evoke the spirit of the place. It just won't be the same without him.
Today, a vanishing act of equally devastating proportions affected my almost-six-year-old daughter Eden. Her beloved 'Moo Moo' went missing for several hours. By the time I returned home the search had reached epic proportions (Paul had started emptying the bins out) and the hysterics had reached fever pitch (that was just Paul; you should have heard Eden). I rashly promised Eden that I would 'definitely' find Moo-Moo; that she wasn't to worry; that I'd give her a sweetie if she stopped wailing (I already had a terrible headache). Suffice to say, I did find Moo-Moo, and to Eden it is already as if it never happened. I wish someone could offer me a sweetie and make everything better.

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