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Saturday, January 07, 2006


So I come in to work on Tuesday after a week's vacation. I settle in, delete all the email I've received while I've been away, open a few random files when office manager Alena comes up and says, "There's a meeting in the board room in 5 minutes so they can introduce a new member of the team."

Ah, jeez. I just want to sit here quietly and drink my coffee and try and find out why the Red Sox are even thinking of trading Manny Ramirez. I don't need any impromptu meetings this morning.

But like a good doobie, I file into the dark wooded conference room with the seven or so other co-workers who had made it in that early to be introduced to Rob. Who's Rob, you ask?

I don't know but he's pretty gung ho. I love that term, "gung ho."
gung ho
adj : very enthusiastic and dedicated
It reminds me of an episode of M*A*S*H* where an old friend of Trapper's visits the compound. After being introduced to Frank Burns, the guy turns to Trapper and says, "Pretty gung ho."

That's what I said to myself about Rob. "Pretty gung ho."

Gung Ho was also the name of a pretty lame Ron Howard movie. I never saw it but I think the gist of it was that he goes to Japan to save the auto workers from some sort of oppression.

"Gist" is a good word too. It's curt but smooth.
n : the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
I do not however, care for the word "curt."
adj : rudely brief
And not because I used to work at a luggage store with a guy named Curt who once wrote on my birthday card "Better gray than nay! Happy birthday. Curt," in reference to a patch of gray hair I had. No, I just don't care for the the word.

At 9:05 on the first day of work after New Year's, our staff was meagerly represented in the board room. Many have the habit of routinely rolling in around 10 or 10:30, something our venerable CEO/President/Founder (CEO/P/F) Andrew, who for some reason was leading this meeting, stalwartly refuses to comprehend.

He also lacks a sense of humor. When I started using one of my patented and most definitely unapproved abbreviations to refer to Associated Financial Group as ASSFINGR, Andrew was unmoved. He used to walk around with an unlit cigar in his mouth, chewing the end throughout the day until by 3:00 or so, the back third would be a soaking, sloppy mess. When irritated, he would silently twirl the cigar remains in his mouth while staring unflinchingly through your very soul.

CEO/P/F Andrew never addresses our department directly. He deals with department heads but not the worker bees like me, so it was odd to see him leading this meeting. He talked for about five minutes about "proceeding strategically yet aggressively." He promoted the idea of "growing" various things and implied that Rob was here to help.

Then he turned things over to Rob who talked about "channels" and "costs per thousands" and his twenty years of experience. He, too, promoted "growing" various things. He seemed to be saying that he was here to make a difference. What I wish he had said was that he wasn't going to change my routine at all. At one point I found myself looking at him and wondering to myself, "OK. I'm looking at this person for the first time in my life. Is he going to become a major part of my day-to-day existence for the indefinite future? Is he going to change the way I feel about my job? Is he going to make my life better? Worse? Am I witnessing the very beginning of a long, involved relationship? Or is this my presence at this meeting just a formality and Rob will be just another person I share a bathroom with here on the 14th floor?"

Then he asked if each us could tell us who we are and what we do. So we did, making slight variations to the stock descriptions and humorous asides that we've used in so many past meetings."You've been here eight years, Bob? You're a lifer! Heh, heh, heh."

It's now been four days since that meeting and I'm no closer to being able to ascertain what Rob is doing here. I don't know his title, who his boss is or whose boss he is. All I do know is that he's pretty gung ho. I'm hoping he's not my new boss.



At 1/07/2006 10:53 AM, DasGort said...

Kinda sounds like office space. Damn efficiency!

At 1/07/2006 8:32 PM, Tom in L.A. said...

Yes, I'm am living Office Space every day.


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