Monday, December 14, 2015

Microstory 211: Sign Here and Here

After years of searching, I have finally found a fulltime permanent position at a company with benefits and opportunity for growth. If I had been forced to take just one more dead-end temp job, I would have needed to use three pages for my résumé. I go in on my first day and am fully prepared to start working immediately, but my new supervisor informs me that there is just too much onboarding to do. I start by signing the usual suspects; tax forms, standard policies, emergency contacts, and payroll. I watch a few DVDs for safety, sexual harassment, and basic training. Finally, my supervisor hands me an extremely large binder with a whopping thirty-one places to sign and initial. It’s coupled with one last video that I will have to watch in tandem with the binder sections. But first, I’m required to sign a general nondisclosure agreement that really doesn’t tell me what I’m agreeing to. I ask her exactly what this is all for, but she just tells me that she can say nothing until I make that first signature, and watch the video. I do what she asks of me, knowing that my bank account can’t handle too many questions. The video is strange. Unlike the others, it’s not fun, or campy, or familiar. It’s serious and dark. The man on the screen speaks of the organization’s unique efficiency program, and it really does sound different than other companies that I’ve worked for. In fact, some of the claims he makes don’t sound so much as physically possible.
Towards the end of the video, he says that following my final signature, I’ll be taken to see the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Tiberius Vasilyev. Upon shaking his hand, I will supposedly feel an increase in productivity, coherence, and intelligence. I won’t need to sleep as much, I’ll be more more motivated to eat healthier, I will be expected to live longer, and I’ll even be a better driver. This isn’t just a bunch of fanciful mumbo jumbo, according to the man; it is 100% true, and I would understand in a few minutes. At the end of the video, my supervisor escorts me across the building without a word. As we walk down the hallway, other obviously new employees, just as confused as I am, file in from other rooms. One by one, the CEO shakes our hands. And I swear, they begin to glow, like a pregnant woman. They seem instantly at peace and energized. When he gets to me, something goes wrong. My skin doesn’t begin to glow, and my hand actually hurts a little from his grip. He pulls away and tries again, but nothing. “This one’s broken,” Vasilyev admits. “Sorry, kid,” he says to me with a frown. “It happens one in several thousand. Some people just don’t take. The handshake creates a sense of loyalty, but if it doesn’t work, it makes you just as motivated as one of my minions, but it also turns you into one of my worst enemies.” He nods once to my supervisor as she’s ferrying me out of the room, “dispose of his body on sublevel C.”

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