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:

 

A—–,

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.’

Regards,
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.

Strange goodbyes

I’m getting ready to leave for another work trip. Coworker S must remain behind to hold down the fort on his own.

Sarah McLachlan’s “I will remember you” is playing in the background.

Sarah: I will remember you
Me: Don’t Cry. I’ll be back soon.
Sarah: Will you remember me?
Coworker: Oh god. I hope so.
Me: It’s just going to be a couple weeks.
Coworker: The more you say this, the less convinced I am.
Me: Everything is going to be alright.
Coworker: [sarcastically] Oh, that makes me feel a whole lot better.

Sarah: Weep not for the memories…

Liberal interpretations

Me: It’s all falling apart.
Coworker: What is?
Me: This whole situation. The angry customers. It’s all going to pot.
Coworker: What do we do?
Me: I have a plan; divide and conquer. We’ll divy up the work. You do your thing and I’ll do mine. We’ll meet each other on the other side.
Coworker: Ok.
Me: You take Customer A. They have 140 dispensers. I need you to fix them. All of them. You have until Friday.
Coworker: [laughing nervously] Uh…are you serious?
Me: [ignoring the question] I will take Customers B and C. They have 10,000 dispensers. I have to have an answer for them by tomorrow. So that’s it. That’s the plan. Let’s do it. I’ll see you on Friday.
Coworker: Wait. I have a question.
Me: Yes?
Coworker: Are we allowed to help each other?
Me: [Stares blankly]
Coworker: In other words, can you help me out with this?
Me: What do you think?
Coworker: You have no choice.
Me: [exhales deeply] This must be my penance.

Thinly veiled

Me: [Whistling the tune of “Every breath you take” by the Police]
Coworker: I don’t like that song anymore.
Me: You still remember that?
Coworker: Yes.

Flashback to over a year ago. It is only a few weeks after the coworker started working/training under me. I am driving him home in my car. The song comes on the radio.

Coworker: Oh. I like this song.
Me: Yeah? Sting?
Coworker: Yes. It’s a good song.
Me: [singing]

♪ Every breath you take ♫
♪ and every move you make ♫
♪ Every bond you break ♫
♪ Every step you take, ♫

I’ll be watching you

Coworker: [Nervous laughter]

Me: [more menacingly]
♪ Every single day ♫
♪ and every word you say ♫
♪ Every game you play ♫
♪ Every night you stay, I’ll be watching you ♫

Coworker: Oh god.
Me: Wait, here comes the good part.

[with gusto]
♪ Oh can’t you see you belong to me? ♫
♪ How my poor heart aches with every step you take ♫

Coworker: [laughter, followed by silence]

Me: [continuing singing]
♪ Every move you make and every vow you break ♫
♪ Every smile you fake ♫
♪ Every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you ♫

Coworker: I don’t think I like this song anymore.
Both: [laughter]
Me: Yeah, this is a pretty ridiculous song out of context. I guess it’s pretty bad even in context.

Back to the present
The whistling has stopped. Both are working in silence for a few minutes.

Me: S?
Coworker: Yes Alban.
Me: You belong to me.
Coworker: I know.

High hopes

Me: Come with me.
Coworker: Where are we going?
Me: We’re going outside to have a fistfight.
Coworker: A what?
Me: A duel. To the death. Using only our fists.
Coworker: Oh my.
Me: Are you ready to kill me? Are you ready to take my life?
Coworker: Um.. I don’t think so.
Me: Well get ready. This does not end until someone dies.
Coworker: Why are we fighting?
Me: The winner will get all of this.
Coworker: All of what?
Me: This. My job. All of it. It’ll be a big promotion for you.
Coworker: So I can die slowly?
Me: Yes.
Coworker: Forget the duel. Just kill me now.