I was traveling to New England to lecture at the University on Friday. I always fly the earliest flight which sits me next to all the white shirts, suits with briefcases. On this particular day the plane was full, elbows to asses as they say. It was a three seater jamming next to Mr. Blue Armani (MBA). He was perfectly pressed, including quaffed hair with manicured movie star whiten teeth. He was sporting a Bose bluetooth ear bud so it was impossible to tell whether he was talking to himself or responding to internal hallucinations. In either event he was constantly talking and annoying everyone around him except me. I was ear hustling the entire conversation. Keep in mind, this was not difficult because I was sitting right next to MBA and he had a big mouth.
A classic winter day in Wisconsin was complete with snow and subzero temperatures. We had all rushed to make it on the plane challenged as usual by exposing more about my body by passing through the TSA. In the normal hurry up and wait protocol, we sat on the plane grounded for hour. By this point of the morning, I had forgotten what was wrong with this plane, delayed, iced up, broken radio or canceled flight, this plane was on the road to nowhere. So there I sat next to big mouth MBA.
Grounded, he continued to make calls using his hands free Bose ear bud. He was successfully irritating me. There was nothing confidential about this conversation. I sat with my nose in my Kindle pretending being engrossed in my book but actually experienced every word. I kept asking myself why MBA did not give a hoot about the rows 9, 10 and 11’s ability to hear his conversation. It was clear he did not care. The caller he was speaking with was Ready Rachel (RR). The tone of his voice and the words he spoke was cutting the conversation like a knife. I was flushed and anxious for RR as he tore into her. I could not hear RR’s response, but this is how the conversation went.
MBA said, “RR we are in the same spot were 2 weeks ago!” Are you sure the numbers you have projected in this forecast are amounts you are able to make?” It is my job to coach you and do everything I can to support these sales.
RR said, “I could not hear her response but I could feel the defensiveness over the cellular air waves.”
MBA responds, “We” need to make sure “we” are going to make these numbers. You have only brought in about 85% of the stated goal and you only have 10 days until the close of the quarter.
RR justification and rationalization is so thick, it is oozing from MBA bluetooth device.
MBA suddenly doesn’t like RR response and the conversation makes a 180.
“It is your deal, these are your numbers so this is all on you at this point. You say you have this but the fact is you are not good enough. You are incompetent and it is clear to me you can’t do this job. I am looking at the spread sheet and your projections are not even close to your forecast. I know you are working 65-80 hours a week but it is not good enough. I am not behind you on this one.”
Now I am thinking to myself 85% seems like damn good success right? I am not sure what RR is selling to make this goal, but it was worth some $6M and some change. Is she suppose to be a fortune teller? Did he expect that she was a wizard and able to exactly predict the future?
Why was Mr Blue Armani being so damn mean to Ready Rachel? Was she crying on the other line? Was she about to get fired or was this MBA’s strategy to force RR to make more money for the company? I kept thinking during this entire ear hustled conversation that MBA could have cared less about RR. Her home base was in Arizona but she was an employee in a big national firm on the east coast. He worked in a high-rise New York office wearing his perfectly pressed suit worrying about one thing, how her sales was going to affect his commission. He only new Rachel by her voice and her identification badge picture that appeared in every email. This was not a genuine relationship. There was no loyalty, no appreciation that Rachel was working a relentless amount hours each week and that she had achieved 85% or $5.1M this past quarter.
Projections, forecasting, profit and margin have become the new black in business today. The Occupy Movement overcometh this conversation. The social and economic inequality made me bleed as I ear hustled this conversation. If we are the 99% then need to take control of our democracy again. We have been overcome by corporatecracy, permitting our public policy to be purchased.
All I could think was Mr. Blue Armani attitude screaming, “What have you done for me lately?” If you do not do anything that helps me personally then you are useless me could have been printed on his white shirt sleeve.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bone of Contention.”