Category Archives: Writing

Employee wants = business gain

Employee wants = business gain

Mark sat slumped in the uncomfortable auditorium room chair trying to keep his eyes open while his manager, Ray, was intently taking notes. “Employee wants = business gain,” Ray whispered as he jotted it down.

“Anyone understand what this means?” the presenter asked. The audience stared back blankly. “Remember our list of employee wants? Who can give me a recap?” A young, balding college student raised his hand and spoke, “We’re supposed to document what our employees want,” the presenter nodded and continued, “this is where we use that information. As business do we really care what our employees want?” the presenter put his hand to his ear, “I can’t hear you,” he yelled after a soft “no” was heard in the audience. “Do we really care what employees want?” “No!” yelled the audience.

“Exactly! We don’t care! What we do care about is how we can use that information to increase productivity, profitability, and get ourselves that promotion. And how can we do that?” The balding college student stood up again, gleaming at the recognition, “by using it as leverage, to, to, to…” he shuddered, “get what the business needs.” “Yes!” Exclaimed the presenter.

“For example, Mary is a single mother, you know she’s stressed but she’s compliant. She has accumulated 1.5 weeks of vacation time and wants to take a long weekend to take her kids to see their grandparents. Do we let her go?” Silence from the audience, “No. No we don’t let her go, not without getting something in return to make you look like a gracious and productive manager, any ideas?”

The audience shouted ideas out:

“Ask for overtime?”

“Work through lunch”

“Take on extra projects”

“All good ideas, you just have to make sure you know the labour laws. You can’t specifically ask her to work through a legal break period, but you can force them into working through a break by giving them extra projects. Plus breaking a labour law gives the employee power, and we don’t want that. You see, employees are the female in the employment relationship. A good manager keeps them off balance and instils fear of being rejected. Giving them power is the opposite of productive and profitable.

“But isn’t it a good thing to empower employees and encourage them to make their own decisions?” a confused woman in the back row asked.

“Yes and no,” the presenter answered. “It is good when it makes you look good and increases profits, AKA your bonus.” He smiled. “Making the employee work extra hard for a vacation she’s already accrued is a double win for the company. Employees will become accustomed to working harder for their vacations. Can anyone think of a third level of productivity that can be achieved?”

A mix of blank faces and contemplative smiles emitted from the audience. “The third productivity gain from this psychological game is that once employees learn that they need to improve productivity to go on vacation, they’ll naturally work hard before requesting the time off. Once they request the time off (or whatever else it is they want) you can ask for even more productivity (or whatever it is that would benefit your numbers) before the delivery date of their request.”

Mark’s manager turned to him with a smile and whispered, “This is such a great idea, how much do you think we could improve our numbers with this strategy?”

Mark clicked his pen and wrote shortly on his steno pad, and crumpled the paper. After grabbing his brief case, he stood, turned around and said, “Catch,” and tossed the ball of paper onto his manager’s lap. Confused his manager un-crumpled the paper and read “I QUIT” written in the centre of the page. By the time he looked up, Mark was slowly walking out of the auditorium doors.

 

Happiness Tax

Happiness Tax

Brendan sat in his seat fidgeting with excitement as the reverend briskly began writing on the white board. “This course, my dear students, is designed to help you ease into adulthood,” said the reverend as he wrote “Introduction to Adulthood, Life 101 taught by Reverend Bertram” on the white board. “You’ve passed your exam, had your little summer break and now it is time to get to work. His assistant was busy passing out packets to each student.

“For the next 15 minutes, you are all instructed to read your packet to fully understand your job assignments; I will be available after that time to answer any questions you may have.”

Brendan eagerly opened the yellow envelope and read his job title, “Happiness tax collector.” His heart sank. His job was to be the person taxing people based on how much fun and enjoyment they received in life.

Cinderella in Finance

Cinderella in Finance

An adapted Cinderella story that is about finding ones success in life rather than true love. It is about a young woman facing obstacles to getting her ideas known to save a dying company. Her personal life is filled with loving people who all struggle financially. Her parents are depressed over lost retirement money. Her sister did college only after being laid off and is heavily in debt over the whole situation. Her being a major family source of income drives her to continue working for evil bosses and co-workers until one day there is an opportunity to get her ideas heard by the CEO. She succeeds, saves the company, and they all live happily ever after.

 

It’s about finally getting that lucky break to get the training and guidance needed to show the world what you can do.

 

There once was a CFO who hired a new Finance Manager.

“Everyone,” The CEO smiled happily I’d like you all to meet, Estelle.

This Finance Manager turned out to be pleasant to his face, BUT ill-natured behind his back. She soon gained the respect of two Senor Accountants who were just as unpleasant and together they slowly made everyone in the department miserable. The CFO had a financial analyst of his own, but once he retired leaving his position vacant. She soon become under the direction of the Finance Manager and Senior Accountants. They made her do all the messy and time-consuming work, and she was nicknamed Bea for beaver, because she was always getting in their way in an attempt to get her work done.

 

The CEO was bored and feeling low about recent declines in the company’s market share, so he decided to host a huge brain storming meeting to gather ideas from employees about how to increase profitability of the company. The meeting was an anonymous panel where employees pitched ideas from behind a wall. The evil Finance Manager and senior accountants were invited, but Beaver was not allowed to go due to a reporting deadline. The evil ones, tricked her into believing that it was causal Friday so she wouldn’t be dressed for the event. After they left, the CEO’s executive assistant rushed back into the office to pick up something he forgot and noticed Beaver still working. Appalled that she was still working, she quickly pulled a suit from behind her office door and gave it to Beaver to wear to the meeting. She let Beaver be driven across the company campus in the golf cart to get to the meeting on time. Before Beaver left, the executive assistant warned her to be home before midnight to submit the filling data by the deadline.

 

Cinderella was a hit at the meeting. The CEO fell in love with her ideas and asked her name. Just then the clock struck 11:45pm, and Beaver ran away to submit her reports. She was in such a hurry; she lost one of her power flats. It was the only clue the CEO had to find the girl full of great ideas to save the company. He went to every department in the kingdom and glanced at every young woman’s collection of work shoes under their desks to see if he could find the other power flat. The evil senior accountants didn’t have the same sized power flat, but Beaver did. The CEO promoted her to Chief of Innovation and they all lived happily ever after.

 

Dreams, spells, and finding the gods

Dreams, spells, and finding the gods

Chapter 1

Mylin set out in search of the gods equipped with a book of spells she wrote down after each dream that came to her every time she fell asleep by the town river. Her decision to get up a go came after one particular dream wherein she could not understand the spell. Try and try as she might to write down the words in her mind, they came out jumbled and twisted on the page. She decided at that point that she had had enough and needed to seek more expert council than the town sage, Moreagan, who was more concerned with the town wealth than the needs of its patrons. “If these spells don’t make money,” he once told her, “then they are no good to us. We need currency to exchange for better building materials, paper, and fabric from our neighbors, not a bunch of poppycock words.” He exclaimed as he slammed his fist on the open book, creasing the binding. Mylin winced. “Why don’t you get your head out of the clouds and just settle down like a good young lady with Toreagan, he’s going to need sons to manage all those fields someday. The sooner the better!” The sage shuffled Mylin out and slammed the door. Feverently, she knocked on the door, “Mr. Sage, my book!” Suddenly the side window opened with a furry and out tossed the book out the window into the sage’s trash heap.

With two fingers, Mylin picked up her precious book of spells, shaking off a banana peel, rotting opinion slice, and rogue caterpillar clinging hungrily to the edge of the delicious pages. She glanced, embarrassed at the townsman all chuckling at her situation.

Mylin hopelessly walked back to her cabin and tossed the book on her lonesome bed in the corner and went about preparing her dinner. “How is it that my own people do not understand me? Or maybe I just don’t understand them?” Mylin sighed a heavy sigh and decided to calm herself by reciting a spell seemed fitting for the moment. “Peace may come and peace may go,” she whispered stirring her soup, “Peace may come and peace may go, echos bid me follow so, peace may come and peace may go, peace may come and peace may go, fear not the shadows of which thy not know.”

That night, unable to either fully wake or sleep, Mylin tossed and turned at the often violent images that passed through her mind screen. At dawn she was finally able to wrestle herself up and out of bed. Grogey from not having a proper nights rest, she stumbled backwards over her bedside table and landed on top her book of spells. “OUCH!” She yelled leaping up in a panic grabbing both her head (which had hit the floor) and her right hip (which fell on the book). “What could possibly have burned me?” she thought to herself as she turned wide eyed toward a glowing light illuminating her floor. Rings of light danced off the book’s cover. Mylin, carefully touched the surface with her finger. The light was hot. Puzzled she wondered how it could not catch fire, surely it was just made of leather and wood paper. She opened it carefully to find the little caterpillar had eaten a hole in the pages and built itself a cocoon safely between the covers. It’s slimy, swirly tracks marking its path danced brightly along the cover leading to the edge where it entered the safety of the pages inside.

She jumped up to the mirror to investigate the burning sensation on her back. There it was, the shape of the caterpillar’s path, burned into her skin. “If the Sage won’t help me figure this out, I must find someone who will,” she thought to herself as she set about packing her belongings.

Chapter 2

 

When there is nothing insightful

When there is nothing insightful

When there is nothing insightful it is all just a stark and barren rain forest.  Emotions are there, they well up and sometimes explode like oil wells or even old faithful.  Urges to make human connections are fleeting.  One moment a person’s voice or advice sounds wonderful, the next I forget I even thought of them while I watch a TV show to study more multiple choice questions.  Life has lost its color despite the blooming fresh lilies along the train track alleyways.  One week the future is dark and grim the next I feel I have all the tools I need to handle anything that comes my way.  There is no real way to set a forecast and get on with life.  The transition point is this starkness that persists like my day job.  A place where everyone does things not because they actually want to, but because the place exists and needs cleaning.

When there is nothing insightful the arts simply look like that belong there as some natural excrement of the human condition.  Just pushed aside or into the background to add characterization to the flat tones of life.

When there is nothing insightful I miss my grandmothers and grandfathers.  I wonder what they would have had to tell me about being bored and still broke in my 30s.  I miss their quirks and rules of thumb.  Their funny ways of saying things replay in my head and I just want to hug them and rebuild a relationship with them.  But they are gone so my thoughts go on to everything else in life that is out of my reach.  The lack of skill needed to finish projects, lack of caring about helping fellow humans, lack of a need to progress to another stage of adulthood that I was conditioned to believe is the natural progression, lack lack lack.  It all comes down to what I don’t have then to what else I could lose.

It is the only bubble that I’ve ever known that is changing form.  Many things still look that same but the responsibility for it is more on my shoulders therefore I interact with it more.  I never even knew it was protecting me, I just thought that was life, but the world is much bigger now.  With my new view I am able to imagine myself outside of that protective bubble, though I am not scared, I am nostalgic and sad for a better time when there weren’t so many people out to take me for a fool.

 

On Falling

On Falling

One day I fell.  Hard.  I couldn’t get back up because as I laid there in complete and total confusion and despair, I had no way of knowing which way was up.    The world hadn’t spun, it simply twisted behind its facade.  On the surface all was as it always had been: people went to work and the store, they played outside with their pets and children, they ate laughed, drank, cried, and loved.  But as I finally stood, slowly so as to hide my wobbling knees, looking around attenuating myself to this new existence, it became clear that the shock waves had damaged the foundation of things.  All around was the sound of familiar voices hitting notes I had never heard before, people moving in much more ways to ponder, and most of all eyes lingering on me more puzzled than ever.

 

Self expression

Self expression

I’m dying for self expression that sells.  I want to write in such a way that I capture people’s attention.  But I find that my personal escapades are at the mercy of my rotating emotions.  I am looking of a structure that captures them and keeps them in line to the point of draining them of their need to attack me in moments when I am indisposed to tend to them, i.e. at work.  Maybe I should just write at work, then I wouldn’t feel so compelled to pressure myself in my free time to “let it all out”.  The compulsion to write is just getting stronger so much so that I have thoughts of I majoring in it.  But college cannot be my only solution.  I need to improve my abilities in the real world, not through my ability to gain a professor’s favor.  I cannot escape back into the college fantasy land, I just need a viable outlet in the real world.  Just imagine a real world outlet, where my skills shine farther than my GPA… where I actually get paid to learn through experience as opposed to paying for knowledge and a pat on the back.  I’ve done it in finance, why not writing (I dare not call it literature)?  I must persist… and if I need suppose I must find that support in the real world free of charge.

Old Emotions

Old Emotions

I envision that in my old age, after all the major phases of life have passed, I’ll often ponder back on my old emotions.  I’ll spend time remembering how long it took me to classify and name them all and how hard it was to tame them to the point that I can appear in public without incident.  I’m sure by then they will sit in my mental tool box as neatly arranged packages, patiently waiting until I decide which ones I need to use for life’s, now commonplace, occurrences.  I imagine that by then they will know how to take their turn and so very few of them will take me by surprise.  Even if I am by chance caught off guard, I will have already developed a technique for being caught off guard and so will not cause anyone alarm. Thus all this time I now spend starring endlessly at my ceiling, pondering what the hell just happened, will eventually be spent on more practical tasks.  Though I am sure I will miss these oh so wild states of fits and passion that currently embarrass and haunt me.  I will probably yearn to encounter new pieces of myself and wish that it all wasn’t so well organized….

Robots

Robots

A friend of mine sat on a lawn chair in the pool area of our apartment building, leaning forward with his head in one hand and a cigarette in the other.  He hadn’t taken a puff of his cigarette for a few minutes so his cigarette looked more like a long ash stick than an actual cigarette.  I approached him cautiously and said, “Hey Frank, what’s up man, rough day?” startling him out of deep thought, he jumped and once he realized who I was he mumbled, “Oh, Rob, hey man, what’s up?”

“You don’t look so good, what happened?” I asked.

“Oh my girlfriend blew up last night.” He said.

“Another one?!?” I asked amazed, “Isn’t that the third one this year?”

Yeah another one and, no, fourth one this year. Remember I had two in January. That was a disaster also,” he said throwing his hands in the air and slapping them down on his thighs, “I thought that if I have two on opposite cycles of the month then I wouldn’t have to wait around for them to, you know, be in the mood.  It worked out great for the first month but I couldn’t afford the maintenance, then when I kept getting their preferences confused, like which on likes wine and which one likes beer, they both exploded…. But I didn’t even see it coming this time.  I don’t get it Rob,” he continued, “I read the manual three, even four times and followed it exactly.”

“What model did you buy?” I asked.

“The Edu…educated Showpiece 5000,” he replied with a stutter.

“Holy shit, Frank, no wonder!  Why you messing around with such an advanced model?  You got a 5000 series with an education package?” I exclaimed.

“I know, I know, but I’m just sick of the dumb ones,” he said sucking on his cigarette,  “I didn’t realize that the education packages think so much, I just thought it just makes conversation and advice better.”  He explained, head bobbing low, “I didn’t realize that I actually had to put so much effort into them.”

I hate to say it man but that’s advanced material,” I responded, “I’ve never bought higher than a 3000 series, I like to keep things simple. Actually I’m happier with the 2000 series actually, they don’t analyze my behavior so much and it is much easier to persuade them to do what I want them to do, ” I trailed off realizing that my words weren’t really helping.

“Now I have to start all over,” Frank mumbled head in hands again. “Build the whole relationship from scratch, if only they didn’t cost so much money.”

“Well, just try being single for a while then,” I replied.

“No, no, I’ve tried being single before, it messes with my mind man,” he said with wide eyes, “suddenly everything in the world has a sexual connotation.  This one time I walked into a grocery store to return something and the cashier was talking to me in plain English but I didn’t get what she meant.”

“What was she saying?” I asked

“She said something like, ‘This is past the return DATE sir, we have to GO OUT to the warehouse and speak with my manager. Most likely she will approve it because we like to keep up good RELATIONS with our customers.  COME along.’ Then she had me follow her to the back and all I could focus on was her….”

“I hear ya, you don’t have to give anymore detail…” I interrupted while tapping him on the shoulder, “but hey, lets go grab a drink, take a load off.  I’ve had girlfriends blow up on me before too, it always sucks at first but, hey, it’s a learning experience, that’s why you try different models.  You’ll get it down…”

“yeah you’re right,” he responded as he got up to head off to the local pub with me.

While walking out of the pool area we saw smoke flowing out of a second floor apartment where a couple was arguing on the balcony.

Suddenly the man on the balcony yelled, TAKE COVER!!!!” instantly we jumped under the nearest table just in time to hear a loud BOOM BOOM BOOOOOM.  As the shards of plastic and metal wires rained over us, I said, “See, you’re not alone.”

The Move from Fantasy to Reality

The Move from Fantasy to Reality

When I was a kid I would plow through fantasy books.  The nice thing about many books of that genre is that they come in whole sets.  After reading one book one day I could read another book in the series the next day.  When forced out of my book world to eat dinner, socialize, or go to school, I would wiggle in my seat in anticipation of what was about to happen next in the story. Instantly, once released from my waking life necessities, I would grab the book (which usually wasn’t far from grasp) and nestle into my pillows once again back in fantasyland.

Unfortunately, I eventually grew out of this genre.  Suddenly it didn’t take me away anymore.  All the far off lands sounded familiar.  The main character of one series strikingly resembled the chosen one from another.  Still I kept trying and kept reading to get my self back into that wonderful wash of fantasyland emotions.  In revisiting books of by gone days I could feel moments of the saturation, but sadly they were just moments.

In my searching moved around to other parts of the books store I found the fiction section and thought, “Finally!  With all these to choose from I should be quite happy to devour the contents of these shelves.”  But no, they didn’t stick.   The stories had characteristics of fantasy in that they weren’t real, but they were fantasy based on this concert jungle I already walked around in. I may as well have been watching soap operas or cheesy chick flicks. In my withdrawal state of despair I thought, “what else is left?  Reality is so boring, I don’t want to read about reality… or do I ”

It was then that I wandered into the Philosophy aisle.   Philosophy, the mother of all sciences, the root of ponderance, and driving force of figuring out what the heck is going in this life. Suddenly reality wasn’t so boring. I pondered existence, behavior, the simple things, culture, and habit.  I noticed references to it everywhere in history, advertising, phrases….it was everywhere.  The world finally had some color again.

By then I wasn’t a kid anymore.  I could not just pull out a book and read through calculus or finance classes.  I had to pay attention to the practicality of the world. Groom myself for employment opportunities and speak in simple terms to avoid being misunderstood.  After all of that, the Philosophy topics I had to leave behind were no longer interesting.  Once again, I found myself needing something to look forward to, some happy excitement to break me out of my Eeyore resting phase.  So I decided not to find it in just books… but to actually live it instead.