The Day I Beat the System | Nick Lachmund

I started working at Fincher Kemp straight out of business school. They were the best finance company out there and I was the best business graduate looking for work. We were a perfect fit.


THE DAY I BEAT THE SYSTEM

By Nick Lachmund

For The Company Mannequin Award


 

Thursday is my least favourite day of the week. My boss, Aaron makes me process all the A29s on Thursday. I could explain what an A29 is, but I don’t want to bore you. Just know this, they are the bane of my existence and I hate them more than I can describe.

“How are those A29s coming along?” Aaron says, appearing above my partition.

He smiles like a game show host. I detest this man.

“Gettin’ there,” I reply.

“Good stuff!” he says, with a big thumbs up.

How has this become my life? I thought I’d be a Team Leader within a year, an Area Manager within three and a Partner within five. But, after six years, I find myself still at the bottom of the ladder. I’m still a plebe that has to answer to dickheads like Aaron.

I’ve thought about quitting. In fact, I’m not sure while I haven’t. Perhaps it’s our in-house cafeteria. On Tuesdays Jill, the chef, makes her Swedish meatballs and serves them with a soft, thick pasta that I like. I’d really miss Jill’s meatballs if I left.

I take a break from the A29s to check my emails. Aaron’s name pops up. Why would he email me, when we just spoke? He might be the worst manager in the history of Earth. I open the email.

‘Hi Mark,

I meant to mention this earlier but we’re going to make some changes to our level and I’ve got a job for you. I’d like to move you up to the seventh floor and make you our representative in the Continuous Improvement Program (CIP). I think this could be a great opportunity for you!

Thanks,

Az’

I read the email twice. He wants me up on seven. I begin to laugh and I see a few heads pop up from the cubicles around me. They’re all wondering why I’m laughing. I laugh because I know why people get sent to the seventh floor. It’s known as the graveyard. It’s a floor where the worst employees get sent to rot until they quit. This fuckin’ guy thinks I’m going to level seven. No fucking way!

I stand and walk to the kitchen. I can feel the eyes of my colleagues watching me. Some of them probably know about my impending move. Aaron likes to go out to drinks with them Friday nights. Maybe that’s why I’m being shunted; because I don’t go out and get pissed with the boss. I start rummaging through the communal pantry until I find what I’m after. Then I march to Aaron’s office.

“Hey Mark,” he starts.

“You can’t banish me to level seven,” I say.

“Wait, let’s talk,” he replies.

I don’t feel like talking. I empty the bottle of scotch over his desk and lap.

“What the fuck are you doing?” he screams.

I don’t reply. I spark my lighter and touch it to the corner of his desk. The flame spreads over Aaron’s desk and legs. He stands, screaming and tries to run past me. I swing the bottle and connect with the side of his head. He drops to the ground. The flames spread and begin to engulf him. He no longer moves.

A sense of relief washes over me. I’m not moving to level seven. Thank Christ for that.