How To Be A Good Resource By A.J. Axline
As part of my recent two-year anniversary with the company, I was recently
invited to an "informal gathering with management" to discuss my "company
history", and "my role moving forward".
First of all, readers should know that the phrase "informal gathering with
management" is a kind of corporate shorthand for "activity that is slightly
less fun than pounding your testicles flat with a wooden mallet". "Company
history" means "anything we don't like that you've done since you started
here". And, "your role moving forward" translates to "we've figured out that
you've been napping in the server room most afternoons, so we're going to
put the boots to you and you're going to dance the straw into the mud, you
dog, because Pharaoh needs bricks. So dance. Dance! DANCE YOU FILTHY LICE
It's my understanding that there's a college course you can take in
corporate shorthand. Not the kind that stenographers use, but the kind I've
detailed here. I've managed to pick up a few snatches here and there in
between naps in the server room.
So there I was, sitting in the hot seat. On the other side of the desk was
the head of Human Resources, a woman who I playfully referred to as "the
blood sucking harpy of death" when I was emceeing the corporate Christmas
party last year. Sitting next to her was the CIO's new assistant, a young,
stick insect of a man whose immaculate appearance always makes him look like
he's just risen from a freshly split open pod. He tries to be intimidating,
kind of like an Agent from The Matrix, but he comes off as a cross between
Gordon Gecko and Eddie Munster.
(For readers who are too young to know who the hell Eddie Munster is, please
feel free to disregard the above comparison and read on in peace.)
"So, Mister Axline, two years...that's an impressive tenure with the
company," Harpy said.
"You bet! I mean, that's 14 in dog-com years!" I said gleefully.
I can't help it. There are certain circuit breakers in my psyche that have
been fused open. One of them has to do with uttering inappropriate comments
during moments of great importance. If I'd been at Little Big Horn, I would
have leaned over and asked General Custer, "Hey, do you want to use some of
my scalp tonic? You know...for posterity."
Agent Munster leaned forward in his chair. "We would like to discuss your
future role with the company, Mister Axline."
"Well, I've always wanted to play Scarlett O'Hara," I offered.
"As you know," Agent Munster continued, undaunted by my japery, "we are
experiencing some difficult economic conditions at the moment."
"I'll say," I replied enthusiastically. "Why, just the other day I was at
home lying in my mink-lined hottub filled with rejuvenating royal jelly (it
does wonders for dry skin), and I thought to myself, 'My god! I don't think
I can afford to buy another Faberge Egg this month!' I was so distraught, I
actually cancelled my tickets to the endangered species deathmatch taking
place at the club that afternoon. I heard later that the panda bear won."
"And as such," Agent Munster pressed on through gritted teeth, "the company
is looking for ways to reduce its resource usage, and make the resources
that remain operate more efficiently."
"I see," I said, stroking my chin thoughtfully. "Have you considered using
solar power in the executive lounge? I understand that the pat� grinder uses
a fair amount of electricity."
"We're talking about human resources," Harpy snapped at me.
"Ahh...so you're talking about ways to maximize employee productivity while
maintaining a cap on salary expenditures," I replied.
There was a pause while they examined this statement for traps. You could
almost hear the buzz of the hive mind. "Take your time," I told them, and I
reached down so I could open the duffel bag I'd brought into the meeting
"Yes," Harpy said carefully, "that is what we want to discuss with you, as
it applies to your particular duties within the company. For example, we've
noticed that you haven't--"
"ANACONDA!" I screamed, lifting the large jungle snake out of the duffel bag
and tossing it onto the desk in front of me.
The beautiful thing about this ploy is that you don't even require a
particularly large anaconda to pull it off. In fact, too large a snake can
actually backfire, because you won't be able to pick it up and throw it onto
the desk...and that, my friends, is the piece de resistance of this gambit.
Truth be told, it doesn't even need to be an anaconda. Most business people
aren't particularly good at identifying different types of jungle snakes,
and as long as you scream "anaconda", chances are pretty good that they will
take you at your word.
Of course, this gambit won't work if you don't have something to blackmail
the people involved in it afterwards. In this case, I had webcam stills of
Agent Munster and Harpy taking part in a "corporate merger" in the supply
closet. I tell you, a small investment in personal infrastructure in the
workplace goes a long way.
The moral of the story: if you're going to be labelled as a "resource", make
sure that you're...well...resourceful.
A. J. Axline
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