Friday, December 22, 2017

Microstory 740: Credos, Convention Eleven: Collegiality

When the wandering child lifted his leg from the tenth canister, he looked upon the next two. They could hardly be called canisters. Sure, they had some depth, but they were long and shallow. He looked upon himself and realized he had not quite run out of body parts. He still had his back, and his stomach. “This is an unusual quest,” he said to himself. “How many other quests have you been on?” the fish woman asked him from the aether, even though the magic communication cup was not filled with water. She had a good point, though, so he continued with his task by opening the eleventh canister. He recognized the young man of this story, for his story had already been told. He was the same man from the lesson about cordiality. He had had trouble finding a job, because he did not want to engage in dull conversations with the interviewers. He ended up having to learn to fake his way through it, and succeeded. He was now part of a team, but was still struggling. All he would do is sit at his desk, with his headphones on, and complete the work that was assigned to him. He would go to the meetings he was scheduled for, and listen to the presenters with respect, but never engage with his colleagues. Then it was the time of the year when the sections heads had to make personnel decisions. Some were going to lose their jobs, and others were going to receive promotions. The awkward man’s manager pulled him into her office to have a chat. This was it, he knew he would be let go, and have to find a whole new job.
“We are not letting you go,” his manager said, much to the awkward man’s relief. “But we are also not promoting you.” It wasn’t the worst news in the world, but it also wasn’t the best. His productivity was higher than anyone else’s. By anyone’s measure, he was the best worker in the department. That promotion should be his. “It’s not that you are not productive,” his manager said, as if reading his mind. “You are a very hard worker, and you make few mistakes, but that is not all it takes to be part of the team.” “What else does it take?” the awkward man asked. “You have to actually participate in that team. You have to have conversations around the proverbial water cooler. You have to go out for drinks after hours.” The boy interrupted her, “does everything that’s required of me involve fluids?” This did not seem like a joke to the awkward man, but it did seem funny to his manager, and she laughed. “This is not so,” she said. “I’m not telling you specific things that you must do, but giving you ideas of what you can do to improve your standing in this department. People around here expect some level of collegiality. Honestly, I barely knew who you were when I read your name on my evaluations list. Your numbers speak for themselves, but it is your actions that must be doing the talking. You must show that you belong here, and that you want to be here. The work itself simply cannot be your only concern. Promotions come for people who have the potential to be leaders. A leader speaks to his colleagues, and I have not so far seen that from you.” “I understand,” the awkward man said, even though he didn’t. Calling upon the advice from his parents when he was interviewing in the first place, the awkward man began to fake his interest in what he perceived to be the pointless social aspect of the job. And though no one grew to like him, and he was never good enough to earn promotions, he did earn wage increases, and maintained his steady position until the day he retired.

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