“Come on in Calvin. What can I do for you?”
Calvin enters his boss’ office and cautiously takes a seat in the chair in front of his desk. The legs have become warped with age so it wobbles quite a bit. Calvin could swear he keeps it in there as power play. Just to catch you off guard when you need something from him. Calvin always knew his boss was a smug piece of sh-
“Thanks Mr. Conway, I promise I won’t take up much of your time.”
“Calvin, you’ve worked with me for 5 years now, you know you can call me Fred.”
“Ahhh the classic Mr. Conway-is-my-father’s-name line to relate to the hoi polloi. Nice try fat cat!” Calvin thought, trying to suppress his frustration. He knew he’d never get that raise if he told his boss off like he should. He also know that greedy jerk would probably never even consider giving Calvin a raise. Why did Calvin even bother coming in here? He’s just going to leave even more bummed out than when he came in this morning.
“Right Fred…Sorry… I was just…” Calvin tries to say it but he can’t speak. He had rehearsed what he was going to say all day but now it’s like his brain can’t send the words to his vocal chords.
“Oh! I was going to tell you! Martha and I started watching that Breaking Bad show on Netflix, I remember hearing you talk about it in the lunchroom before and it sounded so good so we thought we’d…”
Calvin can’t believe this! His boss just interrupted him to tell him about a TV show! A particularly awesome show but a TV show nonetheless! This is definitely a power-play to catch Calvin off-guard so he won’t be able to get to say his piece. The entire meeting they’ll just talk about Breaking Bad and Calvin will leave making the same crappy pay at his same crappy job! He had to do something to stop this.
“…So we were naturally bummed to watch the finale but now I hear there’s a whole spin off about the lawyer that loo-”
“YOU’RE A BAD BOSS!” Calvin can’t believe he just said that. One Breaking Bad anecdote ago he wasn’t even able to get a single thought out and now he just spilled the worst possible thought for the situation out of nowhere.
There was an unnaturally long silence after that. Well unnaturally long in general, for the specific situation it was pretty appropriate.
“…Do you really think that about me Calvin?”
A tsunami of guilt crashes over Calvin. All those thoughts of his boss being a greedy fat cat were now replaced by memory after memory of Fred actually being a nice guy.
Fred giving Calvin a $30 Arby’s gift card when he came is second for salesmen of the month.
Fred giving Calvin a $15 Subway gift card for wearing a costume at the office Halloween party.
Fred giving Calvin a $20 VISA gift card on his birthday.
Calvin realizes he wasn’t angry at Fred, he was really angry with himself. He hasn’t been happy with the way his life has been going for a while now, but that’s on Calvin. He shouldn’t have taken it all out on his boss, that was unfair to Fred.
“No, I’m sorry Fred, I didn’t mean that. You’re a good boss. I’ve just been going through some issues lately and-”
“Hey, don’t worry about it Calvin. I understand life can be stressful from time to time, but you know you can always talk to me if you need help with anything right?”
“I do, thanks Fred.” Calvin get’s up from the wobbly chair and heads for the door.
“Are you taking your lunch break soon, Calvin?”
“Yea I was probably going to go in a half hour or so.” Calvin replies, still too embarrassed to look Fred in the eyes.
“Well here, it’s on me.” With that Fred reaches into his drawer, pulls out a tiny white envelope and hands it to Calvin. Calvin opens the envelope and looks inside, it’s a $10 gift card to Chick-Fil-A. Calvin doesn’t know what to say.
“T-t-thank you, Fred!”
“No problem! You’ve earned Calvin. Enjoy!”
With that Calvin skips out of Fred’s office and goes back to his his desk, he wants to get at least one sale before he goes off to get his free lunch.
Fred smiles and turns his attention to his computer and opens up the Word document containing his manuscript titled “A Gift Card A Day Keeps Employees Away! By Dr. Fred ‘The Tiger’ Conway.”
Thanks for reading! Click here if you want to suggest a word for next week!
I had a boss once who gave out gift cards for almost any accomplishment so this was kind of based on what I imagined was going through his head when he decided to implement that strategy.
I guess I conflate “grant” and “raise” in my head because they can both be money words, so that’s why I came up with this. If that’s too far gone from the original word for your liking, you’re welcome to imagine both roles being played by Hugh Grant in the movie version.
Featured image by 401(K) 2012.