Get A Life  

When she finally finished giving them their anally detailed list of work orders for
the day and left the room, those left behind were genuinely glad, yet rolled their
eyes and shook their boggled heads just the same. They wondered how anyone
arrived at this sorry point in her life, so miserable that all the unhappiness that
thickly clouded her presence and soured the air took another whole 5 minutes to
follow her out the door.

When will she get a life?" one man wondered aloud to the rest of those with him.

"Hopefully, soon...
really soon," another replied as he threw down the pile of
paperwork she returned to him for such minor revisions that only someone with
too much idle time on her hands would have thought to make. A third, the sole
female in the group, chimed in with, "Oh, it could not happen soon enough!"

"Yes, it would be nice if she got a life instead of trying to suck all the life from all
of us,"the fourth summarized before collapsing back into his chair and sighing a
deep sigh of sheer disgust.

They all had hit the nail square on the head and were so painfully accurate in their
assessments of the woman's personality deficits. She was their 52-year-old boss for
as long as they were unfortunate enough to call the telecommunications company
their employer. The simple and undeniable truth was that they were all growing
more cynical just by being in her contagiously miserable presence.

Then there were her multiple daily e mails to them and the rest of the sales
department staff which were always confusing and unclear. Staff believed she
intended the e mails to be so vague and open for misinterpretation so later she
could be sure that nobody did exactly what was expected. To an outsider this
would have seemed so unlikely, but to anyone who knew her, and to the even
fewer who overheard her admit so, the confusion was deliberate to provide her
later with cheaply convenient grounds for disciplinary action.  

"Didn't she just say that she did not say
this?" asked the female worker who
pointed to a hard copy of the last e mail she received prior to the unit meeting.
The e mail clearly stated one new policy for client acquisition that contradicted
something that the boss said aloud to them minutes earlier.

"Yeah, then when you asked her for clarification on the glaringly obvious
contradiction, she
snaps on you!" the quiet one in the group threw up his hands
and exclaimed to the female worker. The sole female sales rep was ever so sorry
that she resigned from her lower paying job across town to join this low morale

"And you better stop posting her e mails on that office joke website, too!" the
most tenured in the group warned the newbie in the department. The most
tenured's words of advice were met with group laughter.

"Why? How would
she ever find out?"asked the rookie, laughing because some of
her last department e mails won him $100 for the top weekly entry awards two
weeks in a row.

"You are just jealous because I won the money and you didn't think of posting
them first," he said.

"It is rumored that she sold her soul to the devil five years ago," the quiet one in
the group theorized to make them all continue to laugh. "Only the devil
reconsidered and canceled the deal just to piss off God even more!"

The group broke out into louder, heartier laughter that stopped only when the
boss unexpectedly returned to yell at them, for not returning immediately to their
offices to work.

"What is wrong with you people? Can't you understand that the meeting was
adjourned 5 minutes ago? Why are you still sitting here complaining about your
jobs?"she asked them.

"We weren't complaining about our jobs," the most tenured spoke up and said.
"We're complaining because you nit pick at our work that is already great by
national company standards, just to create more busy work that we do not have
time to do."

His co-workers were in shock that the most tenured just said what he said. So was
the boss who did not know what to say as her face turned several shades of angry
red. Everyone else started to file out to return to their desks.

"I'll see you in my office later. In the meantime, bring a list of all work you have
that is not turned in yet to me," she said.

Back at his desk, the most tenured compiled his short list. He was up to date with
his work, unlike most of the department. While he worked on his list, the quiet
one approached to express empathy for his situation and to thank him for
speaking up for the rest of them.

"Maybe we were better off when she was smoking dope and grinding her crotch
against desks," the quiet one said. The newbie and the sole female overheard and
did not believe what he said.

"Surely, you jest!" the newbie exclaimed. The female asked the quiet one not to
talk about crotches grinding against desks in her presence.

"OK., I won't again, but it's true. She did things like that here and worse," he

"You're serious?" she asked him and was surprised when he and the most tenured
shook their heads yes in agreement.

"And nobody did anything about it?" she asked again in disbelief.

"Oh, someone in another department complained, and there was an investigation.
She was seen by a few people also touching and holding her breasts. And she
grabbed a man's hand to lick icing from his fingers at a department gathering for
that man's going away luncheon," the most tenured said.

The newbie laughed loudly and kept repeating, "No way! Were there any e mails
about all of this?" he wondered, already counting on winning the next website

"What happened with the investigation?"the sole female asked in horror of what
she heard.

"The investigation team concluded that she and all members of management at
the time behaved inappropriately, so nothing really happened to her," the most
tenured one explained. He added that almost everyone else higher up the
corporate ladder supported her.

The quiet one looked at the female sales rep and said, "I don't want to offend you
by saying this, but had I done any one of those things here, I surely would have
been canned or demoted immediately."

"Girls on pot, gotta love them! Hags on pot, whoa!" the newbie exclaimed when
he could stop laughing long enough to talk.

"She smoked pot here at work?" the female asked.

"No, but another cheese used to bring it in for any of them who wanted it. They
smoked together after work and when out of the office at overnight seminars," the
most tenured said.

"Cheech, 3 o'clock" the newbie said to them to indicate the boss was coming their
way. The rest started to scatter but laugh at his reference to the one member of
Cheech and Chong, famous pot smoking comedians from the 1970s. From that
point on, Cheech became her code name with them.

Later that afternoon, the five of them decided to stop for a drink together away
from the office. They made a pact that they wouldn't talk about work, but within
two minutes, could talk of nothing else.

"What is the definition of the word several?" asked the most tenured.

The newbie correctly replied that it is more than two but less than many. The most
tenured told them that he was written up for having several of his monthly reports
submitted one day after deadline. He had 84 reports and two were submitted one
day late.

"Cheech pulled a list and had to see and be able to count the two entries at the
top of the list. Two of 84 is not several," he said and went on about how negative
she is with every bit of supervisory comment about his work. Then the higher ups
read her supervisory comments and believe that several reports were late and
probably that the employee's performance is going down hill.

"Meanwhile," he said, "that young guy who goes out with them drinking is three
months late with his reports and nothing is said."

"Lets teach her a lesson," said the most tenured and turned to the quiet one. The
most tenured pointed out that the quiet one was in good graces with Cheech. She
never criticized, never reprimanded or never insulted him. She never returned his
work for revisions, even though the rest saw glaringly obvious mistakes in it

"Are you having sex with Cheech?" the most tenured asked the quiet one.
"With her? You gotta be kidding!"the quiet one exclaimed. "You saw me push her
off me when she tried to give me a lap dance that time!"

When they stopped laughing and explaining to the sole female that Cheech used
to go out with them sometimes in the old days and tried to give the quiet one a lap
dance in front of everyone, the most tenured asked the quiet one to submit
verbatim reports that he gets rejected to prove that she was singling out the most
tenured unfairly. The quiet one agreed to help.  

Over the next three weeks, Cheech, true to form, approved all of the
quiet one's reports and rejected the same wording and reports from the
most tenured and insisted on revisions. The most tenured's morale  
lifted each time he got a rejection and request for revisions. He was
proving his point.

"You're sure in a good mood," Cheech said to him one day. He just
smiled in response and went around the room passing along a good
joke he heard. Everyone was smiling but Cheech.

Nobody told her the joke.

After work another night, they all met to have a drink when in walked
Cheech who asked to join them. They all looked at the most tenured
and nobody replied. The most tenured told Cheech that he didn't think
she should join them.

"Oh, sit down," said the sole female rep pulling out a chair for
Cheech, "as long as you don't try to give me a lap dance, lite up a
joint, grind your crotch against the table or touch your breasts!" She
barely got the words out and started laughing.

Cheech looked down at the table and couldn't believe they were
making fun of her. She started to say something but stopped. She
walked away and out of the bar.

"Our life will be
hell tomorrow!" happily exclaimed the newbie,
already counting on winning another office joke website contest for the
email he was sure she would write during the night and have waiting on
them in the morning.

The quiet one replied that their lives were
already hell because of her
and that they worked at the
very portal to hell. Everyone laughed and
nobody wanted to go to work in the morning, unsure what would

When they got home they thought of the next day. The newbie hoped
for more stupid email to win him another cash prize. The sole female
worker hoped she could get her old job back soon across town. The
quiet one went home drunk and fell asleep thinking that he was sorry
he helped the most tenured one prove their boss was being unfair. He
wanted to retire from that job and didn't want to rock the boat.
Morning came
too soon for all of them.  

"Cheech isn't here yet. She had a flat tire, is coming in later," the
female rep told the quiet one when he came in the office in the
morning. She pointed to a locked door and said the most tenured was
inside with his lawyer talking to the company owner.

"She's not here yet, but I see that her 3 A.M. email is waiting,"said the
quiet one. He didn't have to click on and read it because the newbie
already had it printed off and walked by kissing the page of paper.

"This one has to be her best yet, recommending that we do not stay
out late drinking during the week because it affects morale," the
newbie said, offering to bet half his almost assured take with anyone
that he was holding another stupid office website joke winner in his
hands. Nobody would bet against his odds.

Shortly before 10 A.M., the most tenured and his lawyer emerged
from  the head cheese's office. The two men shook hands and the most
tenured sat at his desk. Cheech was entering the building about the
same time. She didn'y look at any of them on her way into her office
or on her way out past them ten minutes later to the company owner's

From behind the doors they could all hear the company owner tear
into her. He told her that she cannot unfairly single out one person for
doing something that other employees are not reprimanded for as well.
She left his office in tears and slammed the door going back into her
office. She did not come out the rest of the day.

That evening at the tavern, they talked about their children, their
churches, their parents, sporting events they are attending and their
lives. Henry, a former co-worker saw and joined them. He had been let
go two months ago when they thought he just up and moved. He said
that the office manager called him for two weeks afterwards to check
on him to see how he was doing. He said someone from the corporate
headquarters called him the next day as well to find out what happened.

They hung on his every word as Henry told them how he withdrew half
his retirement fund and paid a hungry lawyer to take his case of unfair
dismissal. He found out that morning that corporate headquarters
settled out of court with him for three quarters of a million dollars, so
he bought his former co-workers a drink.

The newbie, the female, the quiet one and most tenured were in shock
but so happy for him. He had a new job doing something completely
different and was happy to be leading a less stressful life. No more
sales deadlines, no more unfair treatment and no more Cheech. They
all envied him as he walked out of the tavern and smiled and waved

In the morning when they went to work, a delivery man was waiting for
someone to open up the office. He had a huge floral arrangement for
someone. They held the door for him and watched as he set it on the

"Wow, that cost a pretty penny!" the quiet one exclaimed.

"They're not for me. My husband stopped sending me flowers ten
years ago," the female sales rep said as she walked past the front desk,
smelled the flowers and glanced at the card.

"They are for Cheech!" she whispered to the quiet one and the most
tenured. They all laughed.

"Cheech 1 o'clock!" said the newbie to the rest when he spotted her
coming in the door. She walked back to the counter when the
receptionist called her name and said the flowers were for her. She
hesitantly opened the small envelope with the card and dropped it to
the floor on her way out of the building.

When they were sure she was in her car and out of sight, they walked
over to read the card on the floor.

"No way!" exclaimed the newbie who told the others they had to see it
for themselves.

"Think she will?" asked the female sales rep to the quiet one and the
most tenured.

"Nah!" they answered in unison and laughed.

The message on the card read, "Get a life, Deanna, that is my hope for
you. From, Henry"

Only Deanna didn't come back for her beautiful flowers.

She took a job with the competition where she did not act
inappropriately and did not smoke dope with another supervisor and
did not try to give lap dances to men she supervised.

She didn't yell if people immediately didn't spring from their seats in
the conference room following a meeting to run back to their desks to
work.  She treated all the employees fairly because she knew they were
going to check with one another anyway. She stopped writing e mails
to her department at 3 A.M. and the newbie at the old office stopped
winning the office joke website contests without her.

She didn't get a life as Henry urged her to do. But at the new job,
nobody knew she didn't have a life because she hid that fact so well.

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