Journal

Robert Brown Number 1 Success III.

Part III. Work will set you free

And so, the sales madness began. Or perhaps, the lack of madness began. Employees of the Small Accounts Division made their bonus’ based on the size of the phone bills of the accounts they got. But since you have to wait for the bills to come in, they offered large starting bonus’ to get employees through the first couple of months. But I knew I was only going to be there for two more months. Being the smartest man working for the Sprint Corporation, I came to the logical conclusion that there just wasn’t any profit in making new sales. And seriously, everyone hates telemarketers. People are fucking mean. Every beaten down secretary and soul crushed administrative assistant relished the chance to finally tell someone to go fuck themselves on the phone. I was just passing through, a tourist looking for a fast paycheck and no headaches.

So I mastered the art of wasting time. It wasn’t that hard to do. There was a half hour meeting at the beginning of the day, a half hour meeting at the end, an hour after lunch. Two hours dedicated to maintaining accounts in the morning, an hour in the afternoon. That only left me with three hours to get hung up on and fake calls. I would photocopy chapters of Bukowski novels and shuffle them in with my paper work so I could read without being obvious, I would disconnect my brain and flip through folders or endlessly scroll through billing records while in a blank meditative state. Eventually I just openly fucked off, drawing cartoons of my team members or making paper airplanes that didn’t fly.
“I’ve given everyone new names. You are no longer Jo Jo Jackson. You are now “the Captain” because you have pirates in your pants” I said to the old black dude in the cubical next to me as I pinned a scribbled sign to his grey wall over his name tag.
“What the fuck?” he said laughing and shaking his head. “You know, eventually they’re going to expect you to do some work around here.”
“Don’t question my genius” I laughed.

For a full month June didn’t question my genius at all. After all, I was practically super human in her book, a superior to everyone around me, including her. The fact that my name on the board had a zero next to it was not of consequence because it was only a matter of time before I overwhelmed the center with my greatness. By the end of my second month she was starting to get a little nervous and started calling me into her office for pep-talks.

“Robert, I know you are super success, but I worry about your slow progress.”
“I made this for you June” I said changing the subject. “It’s an origami of a storm cloud.” I placed a crumpled, balled up sheet of paper on her desk.”
“Uh, I am honored” she said looking nervous. “It is a magnificent origami. I cherish your gift.” she said, delicately placing the paper wad on her book shelf. “But your progress…”
“Don’t worry June. I’ve got like, 6 accounts almost in the bag. Huge accounts. You know you can’t rush these guys. I’m working them slow so that I don’t chase them away.”
“I apologize for questioning your strategy Robert. I know you are going to be great winner.”

But there were no big accounts and I started hiding, literally. Because the managers made so much noise with their whistles and noise makers, the sales reps had developed a technique to get some quiet while talking to their clients. Sitting under the desks. I however, just laid under there and read. Then I started a new project. I laid on my back and made a collage mural on the bottom underside of my desk, cutting out photos and text from the Sprint Corporate newsletter. I defaced photos of Sprint executives and placed slogans next to them. Slogans like “Work will set you free” and “Down with Capitalist Stooges” spliced together with tape like a ransom note. A Shrine to Robert number 1 left behind for the next beaten down sales rep to find after I split for the east coast.

By the end of the third month June was very worried about her star recruit. It was clear she had failed to motivate me and unlock the genius that my test score showed. Sprint bussed the whole office to the mountains for a day of team building and barbecue. The day was spent at a camp ground and June latched on to me, forcing me to stand on picnic benches and recite positive self affirmations. She was convinced that my self esteem was the issue. I just needed the confidence to utilize my super human IQ.
“You are a winner!”
“I am a winner!”
“You are the greatest sales rep at Sprint!”
“I am the greatest sales rep at Sprint!
“You are the greatest sales rep in the world!”
“I am the greatest sales rep in the world!”

I put in my notice the next day. June was almost in tears. “No, no, you won’t give up. I will not let you quit Robert, you are number 1.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I had planned to move to Philly long before I started the job. I told her Christianne’s mother had just been diagnosed with colon cancer and we had to move there to care for her. “I understand Robert, you are a good man” she said. She picked up the wadded up piece of paper she had on display on her bookshelf. I will always keep your unusual origami and think fondly of the great Robert Brown, super success.

(originally written circa 2006-2008)
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