Friday, March 03, 2006


A few years ago, during the peak of a very busy holiday season, I bought some doughnuts as a treat for my employees. I made sure that I bought enough for everyone on all the shifts. Just a few hours into the early shift, I went to the backroom and found that almost all the doughnuts were gone. There were only three of us working at the time and there were two shifts left. I knew who the culprit was immediately and when I confronted her she was holding a doughnut about ready to bite into it, when I said "I think you've had more than your share, don't you?" she was shocked and insulted and put the doughnut back at which time I told her to finish the damn thing and that she could explain to her fellow employees why they didn't have the pleasure of a doughnut.

Now, as not to sound like a massive douche bag, this was the third week in a row that this had happened and the guilty employee couldn't fathom why I made such a "big deal" about the doughnuts, I explained that I was treating everyone who was to work that day and that it was unfair to the other employees when she devoured half a dozen doughnuts as easily as she breathed. I never bought doughnuts again and the offending employee never understood why and on occasion, I guess out of guilt, she'd bring in day old doughnuts that the other employees would enjoy, but I would never eat. This is a woman who if tempted by another's "treat" of any kind, will take the treat and leave a dollar in it's place. I could go on about this particular employee, her audacity, ignorance and self obsession, but that would induce a rash on my ass so huge that it would run the course of my body swelling my fingers to the point that I couldn't type and I would most likely choke on my swollen tongue and perish, never to blog again, so at this time I will refrain and save that rant for another day when I'm feeling particularly bitchy and down on work.

Incidents with doughnuts in the workplace are not uncommon, perhaps you have your own tale to tell, but the best that I've read by far is Max Barry's hilarious new novel Company. If you have ever worked for a large corporation, dealt with Darth Vader-like Human Resources department or have not completely understood your company's mission statement, let alone dealt with a doughnut stealing employee, you will LOVE this book! It's truthful in it's hilarity of what and how working for a corporation is like. Dilbert makes us chuckle, Company will make you laugh your ass off. There were times that I recognized myself in the main character "Jones" and times I shamefully recognized myself in other less than charming characters, but I am one who enjoys laughing at myself and my shortcomings preferably before others, I'm a fucking riot sometimes.

Without giving too much away, Company takes place in Seattle in one of the high-rises amidst other sparkling, yet nondescript, buildings littering the skyline. The employees of Zephyr Holdings could be your relatives, friends and co-workers, you feel like you know them or are them, but what's up with the receptionist that drives a car more expensive than the furnishings of the Training Sales and Information Technology departments combined. And speaking of Training Sales, what are they selling and to who? Paradigm shifts, consolidations, if there is a way to make more money a company will find it, usually at the employee's expense and to the benefit of Senior Management's bonus check. I've personally experienced all of this at one point or another; being a cog in the wheel is exhausting and at times humiliating while occasionally rewarding other times. This book has been the best book I've read this year and it's helped me through the difficult transition of closing my own store due to a "consolidation" not unlike the one in the book. This book is for all of you that use a management book with the word Omega on it as coaster or a door stop, it's good in theory, but it's far better as a household utility.