The end of plan B

Me: I’m going to give you a choice. You can either go on vacation this weekend or you can follow through with plan B. I want you to give this some thought. Let me know your answer because I’ll have to get plane tickets tonight if you’re flying out tomorrow.
Coworker: Ok. I’ll think about it.

15 minutes later, I get this in my email:



As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult for me to make a choice between Plan B and [Vacation Plans]. You are well aware that Plan B is ‘so very close to my heart’ but then when I think about it further, I realize that you ought to lose a lot to gain some. Therefore, after a lot of brain racking, with extreme sadness, I opt for [Vacation Plans]. I choose the difficult option of ‘living my remaining days’ rather than the far easier and convenient option of ‘dying a most satisying death.’

Coworker S

Well done, Coworker S. Well done. Go and live out your remaining days as you so choose. I applaud your well thought response.  I no longer hold you accountable to plan B.

An honest appraisal

After coming back from a meeting

Me [Frustrated]: It’s getting closer.
Coworker: Oh no.
Me: Yes. It’s going to happen.
Coworker: Plan B?
Me: No. Not that.
Coworker: We’re going to duel to the death?
Me: No. Worse.
Coworker: Oh no. Oh God no.
Me: Say it.
Coworker: I’m going to have to take over your position.
Me: Can you think of anything worse?
Coworker: There is nothing worse than that.
Me: You’re going to have to man up. You’re going to have to grow another set of balls. Maybe four or five of them.
Coworker [trembling, whispering]: I don’t think that’s going to be enough.

A different kind of strategery

Me: Ok. We’re in crisis mode. We’re skipping completely over plan B and going straight to plan C.

Coworker: What’s plan C?
Me: I’m flying out to Wisconsin to try to calm down the customer, fix all their problems, and make magic happen.
Coworker: Can you really do all of that?
Me: No. Probably not. So we’re going to have to keep plan B open as an option. Do you remember plan B?
Coworker: Yes.
Me: Are you ready to do plan B?
Coworker: I think so.
Me[forcefully]: That’s not good enough! I need to know you can do this. Can you commit to plan B? Are you ready to do this?
Coworker: Yes. Yes I can.

Flashback to several weeks ago
Me: You take Customer A. They have 140 dispensers. I need you to fix them. All of them. You have until Friday.
[Some dialogue]
Coworker: But what if I fail? What do I do if I can’t fix them all?
Me: We go to plan B.
Coworker: What’s plan B?
Me: You fly to Wisconsin and you apologize profusely to the customer for not being able to fix his stuff.
Coworker: What do I do if that isn’t enough?
Me: You set yourself on fire.

Flash back to the present
Me: Remember, the whole purpose of plan B is to get the customer to feel so bad for you that he isn’t mad at us anymore. So you have to make sure he sees you when you set yourself on fire.
Coworker: Ok. I got it.