Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Pent Umbrage of the Tempy, Part III

Your employee of the last thirteen years has recently been acting strangely.

Your employee had never before acted strangely. Prior to this, your employee’s behavior and demeanor had been entirely predictable and, come to think of it, “abnormally” unstrange.

Performance had been lackluster, but lackluster on this side of satisfactory, and after so many years, the consistency of the lackluster had shaded into a kind of dependability, reliability, and loyalty. Normally unstrange, not abnormally unstrange, or abnormally strange, or abnormally strange.

You could predict your employee’s behavior, even if your employee’s behavior broke normality. Your employee’s abnormal behavior had always been entirely normal. That predictable abnormality had been one of the many things which made this employee one of the very best employees of THE FIRM.

More than satisfactory. Not a problem. At worst, your employee had engaged in a bit of mumbled grousing, nothing serious. Mumbled grousing is not strange. It is not abnormal. It is perfect. Perfect—there’s no better word for the actions and practices which point out error. Especially the errors of the Other—the one who is nowhere, and nothing.

No one cared to listen, anyway. Whatever this mild complaining added up to, it was more than compensated by your employee’s willingness to accept your lighthearted ribbing, your good-natured bullying, the giving of which you had come to regard as one of the perquisites of your difficult management position, a salve for your own lingering dissatisfaction.

The change was sudden, surprising. It was also disconcerting, disturbing. The newly found energy and enthusiasm, while leading to much better than the typical lackluster performance and production, also disrupted the smooth flow of work so well established at the place of business. While it was true your employee was working later in the day, sometimes into the evening, your employee had taken longer lunch breaks, and repeatedly arrived tardy in the morning—something which had not happened previously. Your employee’s initiative is unwelcome—providing initiative is your job.

Oh, great. After the burst of energy and enthusiasm, your employee announces resignation from the firm. “There’s more to life than this,” your employee says. “I’ve realized I am worth more, capable of more,” your employee crazily adds.

You are concerned your employee’s acts will lead to the agitation of your other dependable employees. Your employee's untypical enthusiasm exuded charisma. What would happen if everyone started to think they were better than they really were? Wouldn’t that be the “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” situation your boss had castigated you with when you’d last asked for a promotion five years ago?

Your employee has left you with a feeling of anger,a muted rage. Didn’t your employee know how good your employee had it? Ah well, if your employee hadn’t, soon your employee will. Without good recommendations, your employee’s last thirteen years of employment experience will mean nothing. As for yourself, you'll be a little more diligent with the lighthearted ribbing and bullying from now on. Maybe if the digs had been deeper, there wouldn't have been this flare up.


Blogger Christoffer said...

Dear Employee,

I think it is great you finally decided to do something (else) with your life. In fact, I was just informed this morning by the executive manager, that the company will actively persue a zero-growth strategy. This strategy is our way of ensuring that your time will become increasingly available to you and the people you care about.

Thank you again for working with us all these years, and good luck!

The Management

4:16 AM  

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