Sunday, December 2, 2007

Important Business Meeting

Now, I know you're all wondering why I called you here... just kidding, you already know why I had to call you here, I just always wanted to say that. Now, if there are no questions - no, Wayne, there won't be bathroom breaks - let's get down to business.

Productivity is down 72% in the past month. Study figures show a continuous downward trend ever since I was transferred in to be your new boss nearly a month ago to the day. Obviously, there's some friction here, so we're going to hammer this out here and now, or else I'm going to have to find a new staff, got it?

First, let's take a look in the suggestion box.

"Who the hell do you think you are?"
"Fuck you."
"Why won't you die already?" - I'm assuming this one's from you, Reid. I get that you're the office joker, but putting arsenic in my coffee is getting pretty played out, don't you think?

These are but a few of the notes I've received in the past week alone. These are not constructive, people. Sure, some of you may doubt my capabilities in this position, but I am the boss for a reason - because I am better than all of you. I'm stronger, I'm smarter, I'm faster, and I have what it takes to move this division of Stillborn Staplers forward after that unfortunate incident that took Joe Gumbo's life. I know you all loved him, heck, even I looked up to the man, but it's time to start looking ahead. You can't go on mourning a freak stapling accident forever. I may not be Joe Gumbo, but like him, I am still better than all of you. This is why you should listen to me when I tell you what to be, what to think, and how to most efficiently eat your sandwiches in the break room. But you're looking at me the wrong way. You shouldn't resent me. You should look up to me, for all the guidance I can provide in your lives. Gentlemen, you should see me as a father. Ladies, you should see me as that cool, hot older brother your feelings for whom would be incestuous if not for that you're adopted. Trust in me, and I won't steer you wrong. And ladies, I can go all night if needed. By which I mean you should call me if you ever need anything, I'll do the best I can to make things right. And right can entail sexy. We should have that kind of workplace bond - it reduces sexual tension and brings offices together. I cannot, however, extend the same offer to the gentlemen - I'd be flattered, but I'm just not into that.

As your boss, it's my job to motivate you and get productivity back up. I'd promise some kind of profit sharing program, so you guys could earn a commission for every sale, and get a bigger raise when profits are up all around, but I spoke with someone in corporate just the other night, and he said he'd kill me himself if I made any promises relating to your income. That's old Bob Arkham, though, always foaming at the mouth over something. First his secretary gave him the clap, and now he's raving about possible layoffs. That old card.

I may not be too good at this whole motivating thing yet, but I can at least relate to you the meaningful words I've been granted in my life. My dad, for instance, always used to tell me "never do anything halfway," when I was growing up. Granted, I haven't seen him since he smashed that public mailbox and fled to Canada, but his words still hold true even now. Then there was my mentor, Cooper Burtham, who's still wanted in Wyoming for a misdemeanor involving a toaster oven. He always told me, "Ed, if you want to get anywhere in this world, you have to do it for the sake of doing it." He never did explain what "it" was, or get my name right, but he still amazes me when I visit him in the home on weekends with the incredible wisdom he has to share. And I'll never forget the important lessons of Socrates - specifically, legendary motivational speaker Bill Socrates, who wrote That Ain't a Monkey in Your Sock! and Turnip-Llama: Build a Better Future through Animal Hybrids. I bumped into him at a business convention at the Sheraton in Spokane four years ago, and five minutes before he died of a coronary in the lobby, he imparted to me, "There's nothin' sexier than the baby Jesus on a platter of cookie dough." I'm not entirely sure what this means, but I'm pretty certain it's the secret to maximizing our profit margins.

I know that the water cooler is a big issue, with all those angry, violent notes in the suggestion box that specifically mention it. But if you want full water cooler privileges back, you have to earn them. But at the rate you're all going, not only will I not be having the paper cup dispenser refilled, but I may have to have the cooler taken away entirely - the building owners are complaining about water damage to the rugs. What did I tell you about learning to catch the water in your mouth? Joan, as you'll recall, tried to cheat and used her coffee mug. And as you'll also recall, I had to fire her. She was a troublemaker, that one. Not a team player at all. If you don't shape up, you'll have to drink from one of the restroom sinks when you want water. No, I don't care that Perkins molests all the faucets. There's nothing in the company charter about that. If you have a problem, you can bring your own faucet from home.

Recently, I spoke with the nightly maintenance crew, and they aren't happy with things here either. As you can see, we're all unhappy, when we could be one big happy family. Someone's been leaving an unidentified white powder on the toilet seats in the men's restroom on friday nights. This can only mean one thing - one of you is suffering from a compulsive powdered doughnut addiction. Whoever you are, you should admit it and we'll all embrace and help you through this difficult time. I used to have an addiction too - I spent most of the '70s playing air hockey for hair gel. I just loved the way it smelled. But that was wrong, and after three years in rehab and several relapses, I finally beat my personal monster. And I know you can too. If you're not comfortable talking about it, however, at least leave a courtesy doughnut for the guy who cleans the bathrooms, would you? They're part of the Stillborn Staplers family too, after all. Just kind of like that uncle or cousin who always looked at you funny growing up and isn't invited to social occasions anymore.

You want things to get better? We need to learn to work together as a team and beat this productivity slump! Above all else, I want you to think of the customers. We're saving lives here! Sort of. So you want to treat them like kings. Then, if they were to meet us, they'd hug us and say, "Thank you, you've changed my life for the better like no one else could. You helped me hold my papers together." Who else can say that they've accomplished that? Not the paper clip people, that's for sure.

What do you mean "some people prefer paper clips?"


Josh K. Singh said...

Fortunately all truth.

Rose Pringle said...

This story was one of the most amusing things I've read in some time now.

Benjamin Fennell said...

I'm glad you enjoyed! Always glad to have another reader - as a writer, I can never, ever have enough - and it's nice to see some of my older material appreciated. I haven't done as much random silliness like this in more recent times. I should probably try to, outside of my short-story-a-month experiment I've been doing this year.