Strangely, I have always found myself in positions where I mediate between two parties. Let me just say that it is not always an exciting experience.
When I was younger, I was the middleman between my parents, bearing the brunt of the anger on behalf of the receiving party. I was also the middleman between my sister and her boyfriend, transporting sweet and bitter messages for the lovers when needed, and now that I’m all grown up, I get paid to be the middleman. Officially, it’s called being a Client Service Manager.
To use a village scenario to describe my job, the clients can be likened to “gods” of the land, the “dibia” is myself (ordained to talk to the gods and also act as the eyes of the gods) and the “villagers” are my team members, who exist to do the will of the gods, but would never want to talk to the gods directly.
If the villagers do not deliver what the gods’ expect, the gods summon the dibia and unleash their anger on him. The gods then give new, and sometimes ridiculous, instructions to the villagers. The dibia takes “the divine message” back to the villagers and the villagers in return vent on the dibia, who happens to be the bearer of bad news.
That’s the summary of my job.
There was a particular day I had a “divine meeting” with the client – the gods. The client wanted us to do the undoable with his brand. He wanted us to smash old records and break new grounds, putting no limitation whatsoever on our creativity. This was totally strange to me; the gods are never this free with their instructions. So I asked further, “O wise one, are you sure this is what you want? I think we need to draw a limit to what can be done.”
“No! Don’t put yourself in a box! Be free, speak the language of the customers,” he responded.
I got back to the village and summoned the villagers, “Be free! Be creative! Jump into trendy conversations! Be yuppie! Be you!” I exclaimed, “These are the words of the gods”.
There was a moment of silence.
“Are you sure?” they asked, and I assured them that this was the will of the gods.
From then onward, the villagers went all out. They crossed the seven forbidden oceans, broke all ancestral customs and introduced the white man’s technics to their work. They were truly free, indeed.
The gods noticed these things and realized that they were not, in reality, ready for the changes. And so, they called for an emergency meeting with the dibia.
“Stop! No more! Delete! You misunderstood,” they screamed.
Guess who had to break the news to the excited villagers.