Skip to main content

The Corporatorium: The Workplace of the Future (Episode 4)

Thursday

It was late in the day when it happened.  The blood-red industrial carpeting absorbed what feeble light was emitted from the overhead fluorescents; the ventilation system grudgingly released only enough oxygen to keep us conscious. The absence of light and air combined to lull everyone into a post-lunch stupor.  And then it happened.  A loud "Ping!" announced the arrival of a Memorandum of Opportunity in everyone's Inbox.

M E M O R A N D U M  O F  O P P O R T U N I T Y

From: National Practice Director
To: All Practice Employees

A Practice-wide web cast has been scheduled for this Friday at 12 noon EST.  You are all encouraged to attend.  A Lotus Notes Calendar invitation with login/dial-in information will be disseminated shortly.

Our National Practice director was an abrupt woman referred to simply as "Capital B" or more familiarly as "B." At this point in time no one could remember, or agree on, what her actual name was but as she was only seen when employees needed to be terminated, or when hosting pointless web casts during which questions were strictly forbidden and any kind of interaction discouraged, this did not present a problem.  What everyone did agree on, however, was the fact that she was "a bitch with a capital B."  TWO had once called her "a royal bitch."

"No," one of the Cerberus objected. "Not royal."

"Certainly not royal," another agreed.

"Not enough class there for royalty," the third Cerberus put in. 

"No," the first Cerberus continued, "She's just a bitch with a Capital B."  The name stuck.

Our workstations¾some people called them "cells" but they were more like stalls in a horse trailer: you could walk in with relative dignity but they were so narrow that to leave you had to back out.  Admittedly I have longer than average arms but stretching required me to stand in the hall otherwise my knuckles would crash against the walls on either side of my workstation.

With energy fueled by anxiety, heads popped up over workstation walls prairie dog fashion.  Anxious eyes scanned for wandering officers.  "What the fuck?" Nigel mouthed.

I shrugged then sank back into my chair to read the inevitable tweets that were sure to follow.

Brooklyn Sudano @Brooklyn NY
Think it's more layoffs?

Nigel Gale @MannequinMan
Of course.  What else could it be?

Prometheus Jones @Theus
Can't be more layoffs¾no one left to lay off!

Diana Prince-King @TAFKAP
It's not layoffs—those are hardly web cast worthy at this point.

Xavier Jiménez @Madame X
Guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Nigel Gale @MannequinMan
Whatever. This CAN'T BE GOOD!

We were all still reeling from the last few rounds of layoffs. In the first round, all local IT staff positions had been "eliminated" with the grand aim to "reduce redundancies within our processes," and those duties assigned to another group because "they do something with computers, too."  The resulting debacle ended with the second group also being eliminated and all computer functions being outsourced to India.

The corporation’s name was Esperanto for “oneness”¾Esperanto, by the way, was an artificial language invented in 1887 by a Polish ophthalmologist who used the pseudonym Doktoro Esperanto; tellingly Esperanto translates as "one who hopes.” The corporation’s name carried with it the tagline, "Transforming the workplace of today into the workplace of tomorrow." But, the corporation had, under the leadership of Lizzie Borden, eliminated so many jobs, laid off so many people, one was left to surmise that the workplace of tomorrow wouldn't include any actual workers.


Missed Episode 3, Gay Day in Hell? Read it here.

Read Episode 5, Ghost, Meet Devil, here.

Copyright © 2016 Larry Benjamin

D I S C L A I M E R
The characters and events described in this blog post exist only in its pages and the author's imagination.


Feel free to comment on this story below, or connect with me on Twitter & Facebook

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Fatherless Father's Day

I remember the accident as if it was yesterday.
I had been living in Washington, D.C. for three years. That particular morning, a Saturday, I was running late for work. It was a gray, wet morning at the edge of Winter. Heavy rain, like molten white gold, fell from an aluminum sky as I blazed along at 80 mph. A gray car merged onto the roadway from the right, then proceeded to move into my lane without signaling. The car was moving so slowly it looked like it was moving backwards. I pressed the brakes hard, pumping steadily with increasing pressure, my right hand tight on the gearshift ready to down shift. Realizing collision was inevitable, I glanced at the speedometer: 60. The impact sent my little car spinning towards the concrete divider separating west-bound traffic from east. The world seemed upside down. I remember thinking, I’m going to die and I never got to be friends with my father. I glanced up at the sky, oddly unafraid, and I swear I saw the hand of God reach down and stop…

A Ghost Unseen

My life: I have been a model citizen; a good son; employee of the year, year after year after year. I have lived in the shadows, a ghost, unseen. And now, as my life ebbs away, eternity like a black moon rising, I felt his hands on my body, efficient and cool. My chest was tight, and I was uncomfortable, but I didn’t mind, not really. I had endured worse, much worse. I wished I could scratch my nose. I wished I could move. “Does he not have any family—anyone we should call?” someone else was in the room with us, then. “No,” he said, his hands working. “I suspect he was gay,” he added, speaking of me as if I was already dead. “And you know,” he continued, his hands working, working, “He was of that generation that kept in the shadows.” I recognized his voice now; he was my day nurse. He was a fey young thing, gentle and outrageous, but much loved by patients and staff alike who treated him not as a curiosity to be pointed at and whispered about, perhaps even laughed at, nor as some exotic…

The Corporatorium: I Am Prometheus (Episode One)

I am Prometheus. Prometheus. Say it slowly, roll the letters around in your mouth. Prometheus. It is not my real name but it is name most fitting for me. Prometheus, the creator of mankind and its greatest benefactor, chained to a rock, his liver eaten daily by an eagle, in eternal damnation for stealing fire and gifting it to mankind. Yes, there are definite similarities between us.
I am Prometheus, and this is my story. Except it’s not my story. I wish it was, but I am not unique or special. This is the story of untold millions of hapless chaps and chicklets caught up in the grinding gears of the corporate machine.
This is a faux memoir told episodically. You will be inclined, at times, to laugh at us, and cry for us. Do not hold back either impulse. That is the point of sharing this story—to remind us that life is nothing but a series of small comedies and tragedies. What is important is what we take away from each occurrence, what we learn from each calamity and joy.
What will be…