Friday, February 24, 2012

A Great Whatever (blog story) 11

     Some people love the kool-aid. They like the taste. They swirl it around in their mouths before they gulp it down like it’s fine wine. Others use it to brush their teeth and wash their hair. The real fanatics bath in the stuff. Your co-workers at 3B marketing have been baptized in the shit. You are thinking it was the purple flavor. That stuff is good.
     You can’t help but notice that no one here smiles. Not really. They all have a forced semi-serious grimace. It is as if a light in their brains went off advising a forced facial expression for the purpose of appearing pleased. They don’t seem unhappy. They just don’t have a lot of use for happiness.
     As Bob walks you around to meet everybody you are trying so hard to be likeable. Every handshake is accompanied with a pat on the back. You make a little small talk. “Like your hair.” “Awesome tie.” That kinda stuff. You’re smiling big and showing a lot of teeth. It’s coming across like you are the doo-fus at a cocktail party no one invited to join.
     Eventually, Bob shows you to a little desk at the end of a hall. It’s not an office. It’s not even a cubicle. There is no phone and no computer.
     “This is where you’ll be sitting, but you should never actually be sitting here and I should never come in and find you at this desk.”
     You are confused, but nod in acknowledgement anyways.
     “Your job is support for everyone you just met. When you come in drop your personal items here and then touch base with everyone here until someone finds something for you to do.”
     “What if they don’t?”
     “In that case you will wait patiently until needed, but you are not to sit in this corner and hide out waiting for someone to come for you. Remember, your job is to make yourself a valuable member of our team. You need to prove that you are useful.”
     “How about a laptop or a phone?”
     “The company will not issue you those things. It is not anticipated that you’ll need them at this time. If you feel you have to have them you can provide them for yourself. “
     A wave of insecurity begins to crest inside your mind. You feel like it is your first day and you’re already in trouble.
     “You can take the rest of the day off. I will expect you here at 8a.m. sharp tomorrow. Do not be late. Punctuality is demanded of all employees. Before you leave I need you to stop by Ms. Chase’s desk and fill out some paper work.”
     “Okay.” You feel already like this is not working out and need to make a gesture to try and rectify the situation. “I am really happy to be here. I am going to give it my best.”
     You think maybe Bob will warm up to you. He can’t be this stern and matter of fact with everyone. At least not all the time. You press your luck.
     “Everyone here seems so serious.” You observe sheepishly.
     “People around here take their jobs seriously. This is a career. It is supposed to be serious. They have their lives invested in the success of this company. If you want to succeed you’ll need to be serious as well.”
     Bob has a look of satisfaction like people often do when they think they have bestowed great wisdom on the unknowing. You already know about the kool-aid. You know that people only drink it because they are thirsty, because they need to believe in something to give meaning and structure to their lives. You look closely to see if there is a purple ring around Bob’s mouth. You wonder if he knows there are other flavors.

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