Everyone seems cheery in the office as well, although perhaps that might be because I’m smiling (and not with my manic middle eastern dictator smile either), it’s a proper, happy smiley face. I even say good morning to the two new factory staff whose name I haven’t quite got round to remembering yet (I personally subscribe to the 3 month rule: never establish an employee’s name unless they’ve worked for 3 months, makes life a lot simpler with fewer names to remember).
All in all, I feel it’s going to be a good day. Right up to the point when I look on my desk and see it. There it is. The one thing I know is destined to potentially decimate every plan I had for the day. It sits evenly, squarely on the desk, all alone, pristine and innocent looking – the white envelope.
Why is it they always leave it at the top? Could they not hide it, so you don’t find it until lunchtime and you’ve then got half a chance of a moderate day? Not only that, it’s a white envelope from our stationary cupboard (I can tell, as we still have stock of those envelopes Tracey bought; the glue must have been specifically designed with non-bonding properties, so much that only the space program would have a use for it). Now, I know I shouldn’t open it, I know I don’t want to open it and I know that whatever happens, I’m unlikely to like the contents. There’s a 99.5% chance that this letter can only be one thing: the resignation letter.
I sit contemplating the envelope, wondering if now is the time to use some of that “power of positive thinking” Jack Black was trying to persuade me was deep in my “inner self” (so deep that Chilean miners couldn’t find it, as it turns out). I sit back and imagine that it’s the resignation letter from the engineer who refuses to go up ladders on the basis that he’s got vertigo (even though his previous job was a scaffolder).
But I know that’s unlikely. If I’m looking at the envelope then that means it’s from a staff member and the crunch question is; is it is someone I want to lose, someone I don’t mind losing, or the absolute disaster case, someone I don’t mind losing – but just not right now when I’m trying to plan a 2 week Easter break in the sun.
As I pick up the envelope and it springs open I notice with surprise that it’s from Tracey, and it’s a request to be considered for promotion. The relief overcomes me and I’m tempted to award her the promotion on the spot. However, common sense reminds me that I have more pressing things to deal with (like that Easter holiday) and I acknowledge her request by email, highlighting that whilst I appreciate her attempt to use up her stocks of the non-bonding envelopes, perhaps an email would have sufficed.
I move onto the day’s next pressing issue: February – affectionately known as the “month from hell” in our offices. Not only is it the month where the sales team can no longer blame festive holidays for the dip in sales, but the accountant is screaming at them to make sure they reach his forecast targets, which curiously seem to have been based on a 5 week sales month. Actually, now I come to think about it, all his monthly sales forecasts seem to be based around a 5 week month, perhaps this is a sign he feels he can trace his lineage to pre-Gregorian time.
Either way, the sales team spend more time in this month trying to find excuses, rather than sales, until somebody points out that some of our larger customers have been placing unexpected orders, with the result that the sales team might, just might hit their targets this financial year. With only two months and 1 week to go, the sales team glance up from their desks with a look last seen by a leopard pacing an antelope on the Serengeti plains as they realise they are within grasp of their bonus.
I make the point to Mary the sales manager that perhaps the telesales team might like to contact the customers, just to make sure they are still alive. If we wanted to really go out on a limb and establish if they had any need for our products in the immediate future, then that could be quite helpful too.
The well-rusted machine that is the sales team then thrust themselves into action with a frenzy. Customers are called and quotes are issued. The sales team is even working late at nights, again, a sure fire sign that spring (sorry, bonus season) is around the corner.
Triumphantly, Mary announces with a glint in her eye (which tells me she’s spending her bonus already) that she’s confident that we’ll make it. The glint in Mary’s eye dims as I smile and point out that’s excellent, we now need to look at what growth we’ll be adding for next year’s budget.
Well, I have to find a way to pay for that Easter break …