January 9, 2003
Assuming The Position


A major shake-up at the office this week: Scott, the popular, affable, refreshingly-low-maintenance General Manager, has suddenly turned in his resignation. He'll be leaving next month to go work for a rival dirt company across town. This has come as a huge surprise to everyone: there aren't a lot of arrivals and departures around this office (unlike The Totem Pole Company, where the lobby is outfitted with a revolving door and business cards are printed in pencil).  So everybody around here is sort of shell-shocked by the announcement.

Including me.

The first unofficial farewell party is tonight after work: drinks at a snooty local watering hole. I've politely declined -- citing the usual "family obligations" -- but I'm sure there will be plenty of other opportunities, between now and Scott's last day, for me to express my feelings about his departure. ("Can I have your ceiling fan if you're not taking it with you?") In the meantime, we're all sort of wandering around like chickens with our heads cut off today, wondering who will guide us once Scott has flown the coop. Will they hire someone new? Will they bring in someone from Corporate? Or -- the most intriguing possibility of all -- will they hire from within this office? There is a sizeable pool of managerial talent, right here. As a matter of fact,  I'm already poised to nominate the most likely candidate:

*Me.*

Seriously! I think that I would make a fabulous General Manager. No, technically, I don't have a college degree. No, I don't know anything about geoscience. (Until fifteen months ago I didn't even know that "geoscience" was a WORD.)  And no, I'm not a big fan of dirt under my fingernails: a little mud on the bike trail once in a while is fine, but otherwise I like all nine of my fingernails to be shiny clean. Nevertheless, I feel that I have many of the other job skills and character attributes necessary for running an efficient and profitable Dirt Company office. 

I'm cute. I smell good. I'm reasonably calm in a crisis (unless it's messing up my hair). I know almost all of the words to "Working In A Coal Mine." 

In fact, I'm already planning some of the new policies and procedures I might decide to implement, once I assume the position as the new General Manager. For example:

  • Effective immediately, nobody will be allowed to talk to me/make eye contact with me/expect me to do anything even remotely work-related in the mornings until I have at least sixteen ounces of caffeine powering its way through my bloodstream.

  • Effective immediately, I will be instituting an office-wide policy of "Crap-Job Equity." (Read this: *you* can change the fax toner, label the file folders and muck out the refrigerator today, and *I* will sit in your office with the door closed and read the newspaper for eight hours.)

  • Effective immediately, everybody in the office will be required to synchronize their radios. No hip-hop or New Country or Good Time Oldies allowed: from now on, KFOG-FM becomes the default Dirt Company radio station, straight up and down the hallway. (I figure that if *I* have to listen to "I Melt With You" eleven fudking times a day, everybody should have to.)

  • Effective immediately, the official Dirt Company T-shirts will no longer come in the standard ugly fluorescent orange: from now on, they'll be a nice flattering *FootNotes* Green. Plus they will come in an attractive array of sizes, styles, washability factors and décolletage levels.

  • Effective immediately, all Dirt Company social functions -- including the annual Christmas party, the semi-annual ski trip, all birthday/anniversary/hello/goodbye celebrations -- will be held in an AOL chat room. (No emoticons, balloon macros or ASCII art allowed, although pajamas are OK.)

  • Effective immediately, pantyhose and Slim Fast will now be considered expensible items.

  • Effective immediately, mandatory afternoon naptimes will be strictly enforced.

  • Effective immediately, walking away from a paper jam will be considered a dismissable offense ... along with whistling, singing, air guitars in the lobby, cell phones in the bathroom, e-mail forwards, engineer jokes, gratuitous verbing, weather chat, football chat, trout chat, calling me on your speaker phone, calling me from your dentist's office and telling me you're out "working in the field," leaving your dirty coffee cups under your desk, reheating your tuna melt in the communal microwave, misspelling my name, referring to me as "the front desk girl" or asking me to lie to the perversely cranky CEO when he calls, looking for you. ("I believe he has stepped away from the office for just a moment. Shall I sing you a few bars of 'Working in a Coal Mine' while we wait?")

I figure that some of these ideas might require a little finessing, in order to turn them into official company policy ... but overall, I see them as a way to advance productivity, foster a spirit of team play and cooperation, and usher in a new era of enhanced work-environment comfort. Especially for the new General Manager.

And if anybody disagrees with me ... they're fired.



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