Many companies have a policy of awarding gifts to em-ployees who pass certain milestones.
The milestones they have in mind are simple ones, namely years of service. For example, 10 years might get you a choice of a rod and reel, a garment bag, a mantle clock or a crystal thingamajig.
Twenty years might net you a fancy wrist watch, 40 years a gold-plated pacemaker. Not that anyone works at the same place for 40 years anymore. Ten is unusual enough.
But what if the milestones that triggered gifts were actual events rather than the mere marching of the days? What if, on encountering the company president in the bathroom for the first time, he acknowledges your presence with the merest hint of a nod that might be mistaken for a twitch in someone less august? How do you respond?
1. By telling a joke about a three-legged dog that walks into a bar?
2. By saying, “Hello, your Excellency. We meet at last!” and kissing his ring?
3. By smiling discreetly and waiting till he leaves the room before collapsing in a faint?
The correct answer (3) earns you your first gift, a coffee mug emblazoned with the company’s mission statement. Something along the lines of: “To be the best frammis manufacturer east of the Bow River and west of Portage la Prairie.”
At your first company Christmas party, you somehow end up dancing with the chief executive officer’s wife. What do you do?
1. Suddenly clutch your knee and mutter something about an old war wound?
2. Grin constantly as if you are insane?
3. Say, “I don’t know much about Christmas parties, but for me this one will be over when this dance has ended.”
Answering (3) will get you a nice pen and make you a shoo-in for a crystal thingamajig in a decade or so.
Or it would, if your company wasn’t being absorbed by a bigger one, making your job redundant.
Michael Gillgannon is the former news editor of The Western Producer and managing editor of Western People. Contact: [email protected]