And Now ... Here's More of it

My career at the Castorian National Broadcasting Corporation (CNBC) was short, but illustrious.  Or maybe that should be “illustrative.”

On my second day as research assistant for the noon hour radio show at the corporation’s flagship centre, I was summoned to the office of the venerable, but gruff Harry O. Doyle, General Manager of Trans-Castorian Communications and Official Procedures.

“You wanted to see me, Sir ?” I asked surprised that an executive of Doyle’s rank and continuing classification level would even know who I was.

“Yes, Mr. Swallow, it is time for your annual performance-review,” the burley, flush-faced manager barked while pulling a bottle from a brown paper bag on his desk. “Pull up a chair and have a drink.”

“But, Mr. O., I have only worked for the corporation for one day,” I said as I grasped my glass with a shaky hand. “I’m not sure there is much to review.”

“Yes, it’s just your fortune to be hired at this point in the performance-review cycle,” O. Boyle explained. “In any case my colleagues tell me that they’ve seen enough – they say you’re an exceptionally creative, hard-working and dedicated employee - so we’d like to fire you.”

“Fire me ? -  but ... but I just started,” I said, dropping my jaw and my glass in unison. “Please, sir, I aspire to have a young family, and I burned my bridges at my last job in order to start here on the prescribed date.”

“Don’t get all twisted, Swallow, and let me finish,” he said pouring a replacement drink. “We want to fire you so we can rehire you under a private contract for four times what you get as a salary.”

“What ...??”

“The Minister wants us to fire more people using his new system of fluxuating performance objectives, daily evaluations, written assessments, hourly recording of progress toward objectives, and other intensities aimed at weeding out bureaucracy and inefficiency,” O. Boyle said, referring periodically to a prepared statement and a copy of a government news release.

Recognizing what he said as being somewhat unfair, I regained my composure and became emboldened enough to challenge this decision.

“I’m not sure about this,” I said. “I think I’m going to get a lawyer and talk to my union.”

“Now, hear me out,” O.Doyle said patting the air with his hand as a signal to calm down. “Since we don’t have any cause to fire you, involving the union and lawyers will just mess things up.”

Over the next ten minutes, the great broadcasting administrator detailed the process that would see me duly fired, guided in creating my own private broadcast consulting company, and then granted an exclusive contract to provide junior research assistant services to a to-be-specified daily radio program. 

He was very complimentary and repeatedly said that the corporation could not afford to have bright young talent like me within its increasingly bureaucratic, performance-measuring, objective-rejigging, report-writing walls and had to move them out to the creative liberty of contracting back to government.

“Yes, I guess you have a point,” I conceded. “In the 24 hours since I joined the corporation, my job description has been changed three times, my work has been audited four, and an independent evaluation was conducted of me by a committee of consultants who were expert in not having the toxic understandings of government experience.”

“You forgot about the two corporate restructuring initiatives and the change in hosts part way through yesterday’s show,” O. Doyle interjected.

“All right, I will do the getting fired thing,” I said. “But how can I be sure this contract will come through after I do it.”

O. Doyle smiled thinly and looked to the side.

“Don’t worry Swallow, just trust the system.”