The Efficiency Objective: Part 1

November 27, 2006

I write this from a fortified coat room on the sixth floor. I pray that this missive makes it out as deteriorating network conditions, and casualties amongst the LAN group, make Internet access spotty at best. For all their willful cruelty, it was a failure of imagination that brought about our ruin. Let me back up a little, flashback styles:

(Let’s say a couple days ago)

The second I stepped into the building I knew the bastards were up to something. There was a quality to their cringing and slinking that was a little too self satisfied, like a cat licking shit off it’s whiskers. When I got to my cube the shittiest whiskered cat of them all, Carl from marketing, was perched on my desk.

“The director wants to see you AJ. Something about a new sales/efficiency initiative we’re enacting.”

My blood thickened and ran backwards. The last “Efficiency initiative” had cost us twenty men, and led to the surrender of all our parking spaces to the Elk’s Lodge across the street. I was so rattled I left for the Directors office without electrifying my cubicle, and Carl there on.


———————————————————————-

The director’s smug, over-tanned, clay face seemed to float above his gleaming dress shit. A pair of sleek suited Sichuan gentlemen of uncertain purpose hovered behind his desk like malevolent honey badgers. The smaller one was unknown to me, but the larger was none other than the nefarious Chairman Zhang!

The director twitched, then began. “Have a seat A.J.. I’ll get right to the point; efficiency is down, management salaries have escalated out of control, and our profit margin is sinking.” I didn’t like where this was heading.

He continued, “In order to generate new revenue streams we have decided to whore you out to Chinese businessmen on your unpaid lunch hour. This will give us a strategic marketing advantage, which will benefit our employees, as they feel our pleasure as their own.” Seeing reproval clear on my face he added, “This shouldn’t come as a shock, we emailed everyone about it months ago.”

“I don’t read email,” I replied, coldly. “It’s poisons the soul.”

—————————————————————————-

Chairman Zhang wet his lips with a lasciviousness that seeped through his trademark inscrutability. “We have many special projects uniquely suited to your talents Mr. Valliant… many projects indeed.”

“Keep it in your pants, Wang.” I spat with contempt.

“Zhang!” he shrieked. “My name is Zhang! Your western fondness for the easy joke betrays your lazy spirit.”

He had me there. Still, I didn’t spent 6 years getting a meaningless Psych BA just so I could get bullied by the Red Army. “You can’t believe that the staff will stand for this?”

The director had the decency to look away before he spoke. “The job market being as poor as it is. You’d be surprised what people will tolerate.”

My hand twitched towards an inside pocket. “True, but it’s a surprisingly bullish getting-stabbed-in-the-face market, if you know the right broker.”

Zhang piped up, “Quite predictable, Mr. Valliant, your ways have changed little since out first meeting aboard a Bangkok tramp steamer. Tell me, Mr. Valliant, how is Pawtucket?”

I locked a hateful gaze onto him. “I’ll kill you, Zhang.”

The director cleared his throat. “Uh, lets get back to matter at hand. While I understand your objections, and duly note your threats, the policy will be put into place regardless of either. If this troubles you too deeply you’re welcome to tender your resignation.”

—————————————————————————

I returned my gaze to the director. “You’ll never replace me. I fought the mightiest Kings of Europe. I tamed the Sasquatch [1]. I exceeded service levels three months in a row.”

First sadness, then fear, played out on the director’s face, followed by resolve. “Measures have been taken to fill those needs, A.J.” Bouncing with malendours eagerness, Zhang snapped his fingers at his aide, who began prying at one of several large, previously unmentioned, wooden crates in the room. The container was packed thick with man-sized, vacuum-sealed, bags; each containing an unusually sturdy transient.

“Hobos?” I queried. “You’re replacing me with hobos?”

“Military grade hobos,” cackled Zhang triumphantly. “Marvelous groveling, hustling, shameless, genetically retrofitted hobos; with none of your precious self esteem, and ten times your endurance.” Zhang licked the shipping dew off the airtight plastic barrier, pawing obscenely at his stay-fresh vagrant workforce.

I pounded my fist onto the director’s desk. “This is madness!” I declared.

A fevered look I’d seen many times before lit the director’s face. “Is it… madness. Or, is it genius!”

I gave him a flat look, then replied in numb, disappointed, tone. “No, it’s clearly madness. I don’t really think that’s a debatable point.”

The directors shrugged admissivly. “You can clean out your desk. Your services are no longer needed.” Zhang’s triumphant laugh shook the room with maniacal force.

————————————————–

[1] The Sasquatch is still mostly feral, and I was only peripherally involved in his capture, but in situations like these it behoves one to pad their resume.

To be continued

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4 Responses to “The Efficiency Objective: Part 1”

  1. NotMike Says:

    Footnote! Foooootnooooote!! [1]!!!!!


  2. Duely noted (Both footwise and the general kind)

  3. NotMike Says:

    Ah, sweet limited-scope resolution…

  4. Mike Says:

    Military grade hobos are the bane of the working man. Damn thme all!


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