If you’ve worked for a company for some time, you know that the true beauty of any company is in its bureaucracy. You simply cannot walk up to the locker and pick pens…no. You need to go to Hadijah because she has the pen that signs the permission slip that grants you access to the locker. After you’ve picked the pen from her, you need to go to Daniel because he keeps the permission slips. You won’t find him at his desk though since he is out for lunch. When Daniel finally comes back from his lunch break, you need to make small talk, all the while trying to judge his mood. If he is in a good mood, make a casual remark about how you’d really be closer to your lifelong goal of happiness if he were to give you a permission slip. In the event that he is feeling generous enough to support your pursuit of happiness and hands over the said slip, take it and make a mad dash for the door lest he attempts to ask you for a tip for giving you the slip.

With the slip and pen firmly in hand, make your way to Fred’s spacious office. Fred signs the permission slips. You’ll find him speaking animatedly on phone, occasionally stopping to re-position the picture from the last management forum he was at in Ghana. When he finally places the phone down, stick the permission slip under his nose and ask for his signature; tell him that you need to pick a pen from the locker. He’ll look at you from head to cheap belt then ask gruffly, “What happened to the last pen you picked?”

This is your defining moment. Everything depends on this. This decides whether you get the pen or not. You could tell him the truth; that the office bully, Abid, made you give it to him. Or you could tell him how it somehow fell out of your pocket during the last stretch of the fifteen kilometer team build run. Insist that you carried it to the run not to get the sweaty pacesetter’s number, but because it is your talisman. And you love the company so much you couldn’t go for a fifteen kilometer team build run without something branded by the company so you took the pen. He’ll ask you to take a seat and then proceed to give you a 25-minute talk on how important it is to value company property. He’ll go to great pains to explain to you just how much the company had invested in that pen all the while making stabbing gestures with his pen. If you are lucky, Fred will sign. If you aren’t, he’ll ask you to come back the next week.

Published on December 04, 2011

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