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A fuse burns out

My co-worker Marcia has found a better job and given her two weeks’ notice. Our boss Darla was all smiles and congratulations announcing it, because she doesn’t know what this means.

It means everything will start going to hell in two weeks.

Nobody else knows half of what Marcia knows, about the myriad little and big things we do, and the consequences of doing any of those things wrong. Our group’s lead, Jennifer, is a nice lady but none too bright, and the only thing she’s smart about is that she goes to Marcia for answers. We all do. Even some of the smart executives turn to Marcia for answers.

Darla, I think, hasn’t been the boss long enough to know any of this. Or maybe she’d never know it, even if she’d been the boss for years. Management always thinks employees are replaceable, like fuses, and of course most of us are, but some fuses carry much more amperage than others. 

There will be cake and a card, if such extravagances are still within the company's crimped budget. And then, without Marcia to answer everyone’s questions, questions will go unanswered. Maybe unasked. We’ll all be guessing instead of knowing, and some of those guesses will be wrong, and there will be repercussions. Little things won’t run quite as smoothly in our department, and occasionally big things will blow up — expensive mistakes that Marcia’s answers would’ve prevented.

Our little and big problems will ripple and be felt in other departments, all through the building, and all through this multi-billion-dollar chain of perfume-and-sundry stores. Managers a thousand miles from here, who've never met Marcia and don't know she exists, will have more and bigger problems on their desks because she'll be gone. Her absence will be felt all the way to the company's red-ink bottom line, and all because one very smart, hard-working employee is leaving, and management has never noticed who’s keeping this place running. 

It’s not management. It’s Marcia.

Two weeks and counting.

♦ ♦ ♦

I put it off for a few days, and then put it off again until late afternoon, when there was nothing else to do, but finally I walked over to Human Resources and apologized to their boss lady, for Monday. She smiled and said not to worry about it, and even laughed about my laughing at the meeting. She seemed human for a senior executive, but of course they’re programmed that way in HR.

She wanted me to talk about my feelings toward the company, and I think she was trying to judge whether I’ll be back with a gun when I’m laid off. Relax, lady. I’ll go quietly when the gig is up. I have no feelings at all toward the company.

From Pathetic Life #4
Thursday, September 29, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

 

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