California is the 8th largest ranking economy in the world and is about roughly the same size as Australia. I noticed its Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently warned about the likelihood of having to issue warrants (IOU’s) to temporarily satisfy amounts due to contractors for landscaping, carpet cleaning, construction and food services as cash reserves dwindle.
IOU’s were once popular measures to tide you over some difficult times but it then involved trifling amounts generally borrowed out of the Petty Cash tin. It reminds me of a time in the early eighties when I attended a conference is the south of England on behalf of my employer. Having a young family and lacking in financial resources I was delighted to be able to substitute one Business class air fare (because of the long journey) entitlement at no additional cost for 2 economy fares which enabled us to travel and enjoy a holiday afterwards. We found a suitable minder for our young children and left her with some initial money on the basis the balances would be settled when we returned.
But there must have been a misunderstanding since our minder tried valiantly to mange on that initial amount until such time it was realized the children were either going to starve to death or emergency funds would have to be sought; in this case a well orchested raid was made on the contents of the Petty Cash Tin at work. The children were all very relieved when we returned and I hurriedly made good the IOU in case my reputation, already tarnished as a ' skin flint’, become too firmly established.
The trip itself was one of the more memorable and as it turned out we did have a blissful holiday. I was rather busy beforehand and my preparation for the conference itself left a lot to be desired. Bear in mind at that time in the early eighties presentations were rather limited and even basics like power point presentations were unknown. So I was only armed with a hastily procured large map of Australia with few coloured pins for locations and butcher paper on which to scribble a few forlorn facts to my large audience. My concern was heightened to near panic when I was asked by the Communication Manager what technical assistance I needed. Some of the other presentations from other countries were stunning and I soon felt rather foolish. There was nothing left but to grin and bear it.
Fortunately I had heard a half decent joke about Aussies getting lost in a hotel the night before which provided an ideal opener and to my immense relief was greeted with hoots of laughter. I didn’t think many people would be so interested on the business side after that (I had been tipped off a few from the UK were interested in emigrating) and so I abandoned my previous presentation material and confined most of the session to vague discussions about Aussies, Ausssieland, business and all about the country in general combined with some questions and answers.
Nobody seemed to notice the presentation wasn’t about what it was supposed to be.
The rest of the stay was wonderful, scuttling around the south of England in a little Fiat I had borrowed from one of the UK divisions on the off touristy season whilst soaking up some of the best scenerary imaginable in a very pleasant autumn season.