It’s no secret around here that B hates his job. And it’s not garden-variety job hating either. Everyone has, or will have, a job that they hate at one point or another. What B goes through on a daily basis is completely different. And every time someone asks me why, I just shake my head and say, it’s so complicated that I can’t really explain it to you, you just have to trust me that it’s HORRIBLE.
The company is small, only about 20 employees. There is the oblivious, rude, passive-aggressive, narcissistic president. There is his sweet, but lame duck VP of a wife. There is B. Then there is everyone else below him. Unlike a normal company that has to work hard and improve to stay afloat, B’s company has been sucking from the teat of the Federal Grant System for years. It’s a perfectly legitimate system that allows for the government, and then in turn consumers, to have all kinds of very cool high tech inventions. In fact, most of the really cool technology that is in your house probably started in one of these grant programs. But, like most government programs, it’s huge and able to be taken advantage of.
Years ago the President set up a No Firing policy at the company and he often reiterates it. “We run this company like a family, we don’t fire people.” He also set up a policy whereby he’s a huge p*ssy and won’t talk to or confront people… except B. This sets up a really winning dynamic where the President holds B responsible for everything his employees do, but without giving him the power to force them to do better because there is no such thing as discipline or firings. More than once B’s employees have remarked to him that the company is a great place to work at… as long as you’re not B. It’s great to be the President and the Vice President because you get to set your own hours, draw a salary, get huge tax write-offs from your shady accounting system, do none of the work and rely on everyone else. And it’s great to be all of the underlings because you never have to work hard, never have any repercussions from your laziness, and never have to deal with the boss. But it sucks to be B.
So the other day he came home and did his usual venting session about that day’s particular brand of crazy and for once it was actually really funny! I mean, it was totally infuriating at the time, but in retrospect, while home with your wife and your beer, it was funny.
The company is creating a new website and had a meeting with a possible web designer so that they could get a quote. It wasn’t a meeting to set up all of the details, just an overview so he could gather enough information to give them a price. As it turns out, the President was feeling particularly childish that day and the meeting was already wildly off track. Web Design Guy asked them to show him a few websites that they liked, which immediately devolved into the Pres clicking frantically around every competitors website going “Oh, look at this scientific paper of theirs!” and “Hmmm.. look at that technology, we should do that here. B, set that up.” and on and on. It got so bad that the web designer took the laptop away from him and said “Here, why don’t I drive. Just tell me the addresses of the websites you like.”
So now they’ve looked at the other websites and they are back on the company’s website. The company’s current website looks like it was created several decades ago. Yes, I realize the internet wasn’t even around then, but seriously, that’s what it looks like. In fact, it looks exactly like a word document would look if you put some pictures of bridges at the top and text at the bottom.
Web Designer – OK, tell me what you do and don’t like about your website
President – Hmmmm… ok. Well I’ll show you one really cool thing. Wait til you see this. See this picture of the car? If I click on that, it brings me to the automobile information. See how that works? You just click on THE PICTURE. Can you do something like that?
Web Designer – Uh, yeeeeaaah… we can create links, sure. But, uh, speaking on a more global scale, what are the basic components of the website that you’d like to keep or would like to change.
President (now on the home page) – Ummm…… I feel like it has too many syllables.
Web Designer (clearly excited b/c he feels like they have finally struck upon something productive) – Oh, you mean you think the home page is too text-heavy? Yeah, that’s a common problem.
President – No, I mean our name… it has too many syllables. What can you do about that?
Web Designer (staring blankly but still desperately trying to remain professional) – You…. (Speaking very slowly) Want me to change the name of your company? (Looks at B and starts speaking to him) Uh… I guess… how tied is your branding to the name of your company.
B – (Staring deadpan at the web designer and trying not to commit a homicide) We’re not changing the name of the company.
By chance, does it remind you of this conversation from the season 4 finale of The Office?
David (boss) – What do you think we could be doing better?
Michael (in an interview with his boss for a promotion) – I’ve never been a big fan of the name Dunder Mifflin. I was thinking we could name the company something like Paper Great! Or Great Paper’s Our Passion. Ooooorrr Super Duper Paper – It’s Super Duper! I don’t know, something like that.
David (staring blankly) – OK! Thanks for coming in, Michael.