Robert Brown Number 1 Success II.

Part II. The greatest prize

The Sales division was a surreal environment. While it had all the trappings a stale corporate office, they also had a mandate to keep the staff motivated and in a state of “high energy.” There were balloons everywhere. Managers with bull horns and silly hats wandered through the building screaming out encouragement. Whistles and noise makers were constantly going off around the building as people made sales. A never ending stream of announcements of incentives were being called out. The team that has the best customer revenue stats for the week gets a free lunch at the steak house down the street. The team who gets the most sales for the day gets to dress down on Friday. Whoever gets the next sale wins a diskman. Monday is Hawaiian shirt day.

There was always cake.

After lunch, they held a building wide hour long meeting to announce who had the biggest accounts, the most accounts and what teams were on top. It was like a mix between a game show and an award ceremony. Hundreds of dollars in cash and prizes as well as plaques and trophies were handed out each day. But the enthusiasm was managerial policy. On close examination, the managers and team leaders were the only ones blowing the whistles, the only ones running around with balloons. The tie clad grunts were always expressionless and grim in the mist of confetti and free clock radios being thrown at them.

After my “graduation” June led me up to the cluster of cubicles that she insisted would be my new home and family. “Team, this is Robert Brown. He is number 1 who will be insuring Team Success will stay on top. Welcome him to his new family.” A few disinterested faces looked up. There was a couple of slow sarcastic claps and someone weakly blew a whistle. I waved with a big grin on my face. Not because I was happy to be a part of the team, but because towards the end of training I had gotten the low down on Team Success, June, and why Robert was number 1.

June was a company zealot. She was from a super wealthy Taiwanese family and had disavowed a life of luxury and opulence to come to America and prove here ambition and drive as a self made woman. She was the top sales woman for several years who insisted that she be assigned to the top team when she received her promotion. She had only recently taken over and renamed Steven’s Slaughter House as Team Success. Steven’s Slaughter House, named after the previous manager Steven Glendale was in trouble. Glendale had been fired after it had come to light that numbers were being fudged and many of the sales were fraudulent. Team success was still on top, but just barley. June was undaunted by the soiled rep of Team Success and saw a challenge to prove herself a winner yet again. Her first step, find a ringer. She was under the impression that I was that star.

Now I’m not sure if I’m really that good, or if the rest of the people employed by the Sprint Corporation are that bad. I know what my past IQ test scores have been and they’re very high. I don’t know what I scored that first day, but I do know that apparently I had scored higher than any employee in the entire corporation. According to their records, the Albuquerque Business Accounts Division found themselves in the possession of the smartest man in company history. Whether it was a million to one testing fluke, a grading error or I’m really a super genius, it didn’t really matter. June associated that test score to great salesmanship. I was her greatest prize. Robert Brown Number 1.

I sat down at my desk and pulled out a pen. I wrote on a piece of paper, PHILADELPHIA 53 and put a tick mark underneath. Only 52 tick marks to go.

(originally written circa 2006-2008)

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