Archive for July, 2015

Changes

Posted: July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hello Fans. I hope you are enjoying The Man. My book not an actual man. I have for you today chapter 5. Please let me know what you think.


Chapter 5

Fred watched Al lean back and take a pull from his vaporizer and thought about how Al seemed to have everything planned out and was executing his plan like a chess grand master. He would never admit it but Fred thought Al was a pretty cool dude. “I have another meeting in like 10 minutes. So let’s assume that, Jason is accepting this position and get all the other paper work ready for Friday. I will send you and him, a meeting invitation. Cool?” Fred nodded his head yes, took his cue and left the office. Al took one last pull from his vaporizer before putting it back into the case and shoving that case in the desks top drawer. The next meeting was a teleconference with the Midwest Security board. Every teleconference system had its own nuances and took some time to master. Al was just awarded a board seat this year and didn’t want to be late for any conferences. Being late would make him look bad and he didn’t need to look bad in his first five years.  If he played his cards right, this board position would finance his retirement and really finance it, as in no life style changes when he and Brenda move to some really nice condo on the beach in an ocean town somewhere in Florida. He will play golf every day, join the Lions and Shriners, she can drink with her girlfriends and shop at the end of the day as long as the two were together he would die happy. Beep Beep. He hit the wrong button again this is why he did his best to dial in before the meetings started. He navigated back one screen to the main menu found the address book and what looked like the right entry and tapped the screen. The television filled with an image of old white men sitting or in the act of sitting around a massive mahogany table. Al’s hair was not gray yet. He was however losing it. It was thinning in certain spots very soon he was going to have to decide to shave it  or get the surgery. The surgery really scared him. They cut your head! He knew the fear was not logical. The procedure was done every day and it seemed safe but his fear was not grounded in logic it was, like most fear, illogical and unwarranted but, it was the reason he had not done the surgery yet and vanity kept him from shaving his head. He was 54 now. He was certain that in 6 years fear and or vanity would have far less sway on him and he would be sporting a full head of hair or be a Mr. Clean look alike. “Alright I am calling this board meeting to order. Are we recording?”  Everrett Baron was 72 years old but still sharp. He had an I Phone full of his favorite music. His contact list had numbers for his wife ,  grand kids,  the President of the United States and he contacted all of them. Everrett embraced living in the 21st century. The learning curve for using technology in his business was, like all other learning curves Everrett had faced in business conquered by him quickly. When he was 20 the nation was suffering through the worst depression in its history. World War 2 was expensive and no one had a job. This did not stop Everrett. He took his meager income and advantage of the down trodden economy and bought a small restaurant in Nebraska, shortly after he owned a restaurant, bar and hotel. That was when he incorporated, created Midwest Security and began buying and selling business interests. He was now a billionaire. Everyone in that room had respect for this man who at 70 was sharper than most men half his age. The IT tech nodded his head and then left the board room. All the meetings were recorded and three locations were teleconferenced in, however the meetings were always confidential. No one but the board members’ were allowed access to the meetings. These meetings had the ability to and often did make or break economies small and large. Midwest security controlled a large portion of the world’s capital and physical resources through their security. The decision to close a mine in an African country could make major economic and cultural changes all over the world. The curved flat screen television set mounted to the wall in the board room displayed three remote users images to the right of a power point slide that had a bulleted agenda for the board meeting. Towards the bottom of the agenda list was an entry representing Al’s part of the meeting. The entry read; Smart Nation report (sustainability and profitability). Al was prepared and ready to impress his colleagues. He knew these meetings were half work and half show. Impress these guys and big things happen for you…

While Al was working on impressing the masters of industry and commerce, Jason sat at his desk and held a blank stare at his computer screen for more than 5 minutes. His mind was so unfocused. Normally he would have checked his e-mail by now, at the very least, but he had stared into a blank monitor for five minutes now. In less than 24 hours he had lost a wife and been offered a life changing position. He was 90 percent sure that he was going to take the job, he hoped he would not regret it. He was going to google the average salary for CIO as well as the average longevity of a CIO position when he does he will find that,  the average salary for a CIO in the United states, is somewhere around 150, 000 dollars a year. He will also see that, the average career for a CIO in one corporation lasts for about four years. He would see that four years and cringe but he would still accept this offer. By this time next week, Jason would be newly single an executive in his corporation and making over six figures a year. Jason smiled at this realization and decided that tonight he would do his best to celebrate. Jason hit the space bar and logged into his work PC, still smiling at the prospects of tonight’s fun.

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The Deal of a Lifetime?

Posted: July 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hello fan.Have you sort of enjoyed the first three chapters? If so let me know in the comments. If not let me know in the comments. What’s that you say? You don’t know what is going one well, then stop reading this post and go to this one. Read that post and the next one and the next then read this one. For those that have been following let me know. Tell me which people you like which ones you hate what do you want to know more about. I promise I will read all comments. I like to read. Please enjoy chapter 4 titled, “The Deal of a Lifetime?”



Chapter 4

“Jason, have a seat. You know Fred and I have seen you in the hallways and at some staff meetings. However, I don’t believe we have ever been introduced face to face. I am Al Lancomb, I am the COO of Smart Nation and I have been the acting CIO.” As soon as Jason took his seat and Al finished Rattling off his spiel, he had to stand again to meet Al’s open, out stretched hand with his and shake. Great Jason thought not only is this dude letting me go he is also going to make me stand then sit and stand again. At that moment Jason thought about those ground hog video games at the fun time pizza places his parents would take him to as a child. He would hover over the game table with the soft and hard mallet waiting to smack the groundhogs as they came up. Hoping that, he could beat the high score, posted a little above eye level over the table, in bold orange numbers. Then he could get the jackpot tickets and redeem them at the prize counter for a prize like, a whoopee cushion or hand buzzer.  Life was simple for 12 year old Jason, He didn’t have a mortgage, ca payments, student loans and soon spousal support to worry about. With all this hanging over his head, 37 year old Jason, felt like he was a cartoon character, with a grand piano suspended from a rope hanging over his head.   A comically tensile fraying rope, being sawed at by a funny and ominous looking red imp, Jason was sure that as soon as this “meeting” was over the rope would be cut and he would be this flat pancake like character who, would exit stage left. In the cartoon, funny music would play, the crowd would laugh and another short would feature Jason in some other hilarious misadventure no worse for the ware, however here in the real world Jason would be worse for the ware. Maybe he would move in with friends or family. His credit would be shot, he would call some head hunters maybe and see if he could start a new job, but it was late in his career and the IT field was becoming saturated.  Jason took a deep breath and a seat. He could not process all this right now. He forced the cartoons from his consciousness and did his best to focus on what was happening right now in this moment. That is all there really is anyways.  Jason took his breath and focused drawing inspiration from Thich Nhat Hanh “Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” Jason was not a Buddhist, if he really gave it thought he would classify his religious affiliation as an Agonistic Baptist. Religion was one more point of contention between him and Melissa. She was raised Catholic he Baptist. They were married in a Catholic church, she went to Mass Jason did not. She would badger him often and he would go at Christmas and Easter but that was it.  “So, there have been a lot of changes since Smart Nation became a subsidiary of MidWest. Me sitting here is one of those changes.” Al sat down as he spoke and smiled as he spoke of himself as a change. The fact that Jason waited to sit until he sat was not lost on Al. He did a good job choosing the next CIO he was sure of it now. Al had a blank check after the insurance company was bought. The old man loved Al, because he got results. He was usually never questioned, when it came to his changes to bring a company to sustainability and profitability, He was not questioned here at Smart Nation, until he let the directors and management know that he was making Jason Franks the comp0anies CIO. The CIO position was not a really “big” one in most companies however for the last five years Smart Nation was moving to a business model, that really put IT and the legal department at the top of the food chain. Insurance was sold, claims processed and it was all done online now here at Smart Nation. This shift made the CIO position a coveted one and the decision to make Jason the CIO a contentious one. The only director who really supported his decision was Fred. This support and lack of support was not lost on Al. He joked about having a memory like an elephant but, he really did. He never forgot where he came from and who helped him get there. Just recently he was remembering who stood in his way. These people who stood in his way, usually stood in the way of progress and helped make companies this big lugubrious non profitable hell for employees. Al usually found ways to root out employees who did not embrace change.

Jason waited to sit down after standing. He waited till AL sat, Jason had never been in an executives office and really wasn’t sure what the proper etiquette was for this type of meeting. Al was talking about change. Change was something that happened it could be good or bad, Jason was positive this change was going to be bad for him. IT was supposedly important to Smart Nation, for the last five years but, Jason may not equal IT. Jason wondered if they found a younger IT guy that new more and would work for less. Last year Jason was able to squeeze 80 grand from Smart Nation. He knew it was too much money. He reminded himself to breath again, listen, be in the moment and let what happens happen.

“Change is a good thing. All the changes made here have been in an effort to create a sustainable way to generate profit.” Jason nodded his head as Al spoke, Al realized Jason had no idea why he was here. Could Jason be assuming that the change Al was leading up to was going to be his dismissal? “Let me be clear right up front, you’re not being fired here.” Al could have sworn he heard a sigh from Jason but he wasn’t absolutely certain he did.  Al moved his computer monitor into a position, so that all three men in the room could see it. He hit a button and his screen filled with the email that Jason sent to his colleagues earlier on in the year. “I was impressed with your work here. The way you took apart this software, worked together with network, security and development teams, came up with a strategy and implemented. This is great work. This email here made me do some digging into your work and work ethic. You have the ability to do the work and see the big picture. This is exactly what I have been looking for in the new CIO of Smart nation.” Al nodded at Fred. Fred handed Jason the tablet with the compensation package, that outlined the position he was offering Jason.

Jason wasn’t getting fired, that is exactly what Al said. The anxiety inside him was replaced with confusion. If he wasn’t fired why was he in this office with HR? Was someone else getting fired? Were they doing some kind of investigation? God, he hoped not, he didn’t want to be part of the reason his colleagues were fired. No, that wasn’t it either. Jasons confusion was replaced with a little bit of anger when he saw the email on the computer screen. He knew that he signed an agreement which did nto guarantee privacy on the company’s network or devices but, they had copies of all emails? Holy cow! Talk about big brother. He was so upset he almost missed the offer of CIO. He heard Al say he was in need of a CIO or something then he looked at the tablet  Fred was handing him. They were offering him a job!  He looked over the paperwork his eyes stopped at salary. He would get 147,000 dollars a year, a bonus of 12,000 and with profits sharing and estimated 4,000. In one year he would most likely earn 165 000 a year. There were other perks too. The anxiety, anger, confusion were all swirling it was surreal. There was no way this was happening he almost felt dizzy. “Wow I had no idea that this meeting was about this.” Jason looked first at Fred, who was doing his best to hide a Cheshire cat style smile then at the dead pan stare of Al. “This is a serious offer?” Al fielded the question un-phased. “Serious as a heart attack! I would of course transition you into the position. That may take anywhere between 3 months to a year depending on how much of a shine you take to the role. But.. this is a real offer. I need someone here to lead and manage this department. I cannot be COO and CIO. You can do this. I know that. The question is, do you want to?” Jason wondered if Al expected an answer today. He didn’t know so he asked the question. “When do you want my answer?” Al loved it! He was direct to the point. He really hoped this guy would take the job. “I will need your answer before noon on Friday. Go home and discuss it with the family if you need to.” Jason smiled a little that was one good thing about a broken marriage and no kids; there would be no need to discuss anything with anyone. He was already 90 percent sure he was taking this job but He needed to look over the package.   “Ok” Jason looked at Al then back down at the tablet. “Alright, I have a feeling you will make the right call, which by the way is saying yes.” All stood stuck his hand out to shake Jasons. As they shook hands Al shoot Jason a knowing wink and Jason answered back “See you again Friday, at noon.”

Jason shook Freds hand and left. Fred stared at Al and said “He didn’t say yes…” “He will say yes. He just needs to think this through. I like it. He is a thinker. This is going to be interesting.” Fred shook his head as he spoke “If you say so. I think it is more confusing than interesting, myself. When I was offered director level I jumped on it.” “Yeah this is going to work out just right” As he finished his statement Al leaned back in his chair and started vaping. Fred thought about letting him know vaping like smoking was permitted on campus but thought twice and kept his mouth shut.

Prelude to a deluge

Posted: July 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hello followers. I hope you all had a great 4th of July and did your best to celebrate freedom by, getting drunk, eating to much barbeque and setting of fireworks (yes in that order too). I had a great weekend and I am now ready to drop on you chapter 3 of “The Man”. In case you didn’t know, on account of you not reading this blog everyday (and I don’t blame you, life can get busy and it is hard to squeeze in time to read blog posts like this), we are writing a book together. If you haven’t already you should start reading it. Here is chapter 1 , follow that link and read chapter one then two and finally chapter 3; only finally for now tomorrow I plan on dropping chapter 4. By the way comment here in this post, on Facebook or Twitter and I will take into consideration your posts and we will all get this book written. One fan commented that I should not leave the chapters on cliff hangers, I took this advice and considered it and decided against it. Don’t let my obstinacy stop you from commenting though. Thanks Happy Cat for the feedback I hope you enjoy chapter 3 Prelude to a deluge



 

Chapter 3

The chairs in the conference room were all black however, they did not match. Half the chairs were on casters and ,moved freely, the other half of the chairs were extremely heavy and did not move freely at all. Fred shook his head and smiled a little after he inadvertently grabbed one of the heavy chairs.   He let go right away and looked for the one feature that set the two types of chairs apart (besides their weight), the casters there it was one not to far away. Fred put his hand on the back of the chair and wheeled it into the office of the CIO. He smiled because the heavy chairs made him think of Robert Guzman. Robert was the former CIO of Smart Nation. Robert ordered the heavy chairs for the conference room. When Fred first started, he made a comment at one of his first meetings held in this conference room about the weight of the chairs. After the meeting, Linda let Fred know that Robert, told her that, he made it a point to purchase the heaviest chairs out there. Robert was afraid that some IT employees would move lighter chairs out of the conference room into their work spaces and the heavier chairs would prevent that. Robert was fired after the buyout of Smart Nations, all the executive level employees were let go after the buyout, Fred was sure that the directors would be next. Some did get fired, as a matter of fact all, but him, Linda and Ralph were fired. The new executive management did not even replace the other directors. The responsibilities were moved to the new executives.  All the executives except for the CIO came from Midwest Securities. The HR department did not even get a new executive the CIO no was the person that Fred reported to. Al was a no nonsense CIO and a pretty good manager. He didn’t sweat the small stuff like the weight of the chairs in the conference room. When Al ordered the extra chairs for the conference room he probably took all of five minutes to do it. Fred couldn’t help but think that had Robert paid more attention to the big things. Fred chastised himself for his negative thoughts, and when he really thought about it, he wasn’t quite sure if Robert would have been able to keep his job. Fred had been involved in the corporate world for 13 years now and he noticed that the folks at the top of the food chain usually did not fare well, in these corporate takeovers. Fred would love to be at the executive level as opposed to director however; he had a comfortable life at work and at home. Fred just assumes that the instability at the top of the corporate ladder would directly affect his comfort level at home, so after reaching the level of director, maybe consciously or unconsciously, he let his ambition cool and settled. Director was alright with him. The meeting would start in less than two minutes and he was the only one in ALs office. Fred sat down and took out his tablet. After swiping past his tablets lock screen he waited for the device to join the network.  Once joined Fred navigated the the network site that had the documentation for the compensation package that he and Al worked on. Fred looked up over the tablet as Al made his way past his chair to the corner of his office, where he kept a paper towel roll. Al snatched a paper towel and began to dry his hands off. Al couldn’t believe the men’s rooms were out of paper towels again. This made him so upset, how can something as simple as keeping the paper towels stocked be over looked so often.   Al shook his head as he threw away the soiled paper towel and decided to focus on the task at hand. “Here is the completed compensation package for Jason Franks.” Fred reached over Als desk and handed him the tablet, open to the documents he had just loaded on it. “Did you have legal look over this.” Both Al and Fred knew that the answer was yes but, Al had to ask. “Yes, I gave it to them as soon as I finished about a week and a half ago. They did not give it their blessing until yesterday. I thought I was going to have to go camp out on their desks to get this done.”  Al was looking over the document and half listening to Fred. The document looked good, Fred was good at his job got things done. Al liked working with Fred. “Legal, has been busy with the sale and acquisition lately but this document should have been done in less than half an hour. I will check with Dave to see if they are over worked.” Dave was the director over the legal department another good employee. Al had a feeling that if a document like this took that long to look over there maybe another big issue in legal. Al actually suspected that some more workers quit legal. There was a head hunter, came through a week ago and poach about 20 percent of their legal talent.     Maybe the head hunter was not finished yet. This could be a problem in an insurance company. As soon as this meeting was over Al would make a call and check into this. This type of thing was one more example why he needed to focus on being COO only and not both COO and CIO. In an insurance company in house counsel is so important. The thought of outsourcing the legal work at Smart Nation, made ALs stomach turn. “Ok this looks great, I think we are all set.” Al handed the tablet back to Fred and sat back down.

Jason looked at his computer screen and killed his coffee with one last swig. He would not have enough time to get a second cup before his meeting with his new boss and Fred. He wished he would because he needed another cup something fierce but the meeting was in 3 minutes. Jason did not want to show up early or late for this meeting. Truth be told Jason did not want to go to this meeting at all. Despite Freds warning Jason knew this meeting was going to be nothing but bad news. He liked Fred, but he knew what Fred did in meetings. Fred gave people there severance packages when they were let go.  Jason took a deep breath, in that breath Fred stepped through the first five stages of grief. The grief for the loss of his job here at Smart Nation. He was too tired from his vacation and grieving for the loss of his marriage to go through Denial, anger, bargaining and depression. He took another deep breath and basked in his state of acceptance. He would leave the meeting go home and start looking for work. This was Jasons plan that dominated his thoughts as he locked his computer stood and made his way to the office. Jason was ready to make the life style changes that came when you were fired.  Jason would definitely need to make some lifestyle changes, not because of job loss though. Jason was walking into a meeting that would change his life forever.

Goodbye Linda

Posted: July 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

Ok Fans or fan. I got one comment from a fan that I will call Busy Cat.  hmm did you miss yesterdays post? If you did stop now, Go read all of yesterdays post, after reading yesterdays post you will understand why I am writing about Busy Cat and their comment. Here is a link to yesterdays post…….

Did you read it? Now you should be up to speed. So Busy Cat said.. ” I liked the chapter on your blog. Keep writing!”

Thanks Busy Cat for the feedback. Fan feel free to give more feedback on todays chapter of my new book “The Man” this is chapter 2 we will call chapter 2 “goodbye Linda”



Chapter 2

“You are really doing this?” Linda Anderson asked the question, or fired the question at Al Lacomb right after entering his, closed office, before sitting in the chair facing him opposite his desk and after closing Als’ door. Al, had clashed with Linda since the old man made him COO. His first act as COO of Smart Nation, was firing the former CIO.  Linda was sure that, as the director immediately under the newly fired CIO, she was going to become the CIO of Smart Nation. There was this movie, which hit the theaters in 1977; the movie was remade in 2005, starring Jim Carey. The movie was named, “Fun with Dick and Jane”. In the movie the protagonists are an upwardly mobile, ambitious couple, who have the rug ripped out from under them and the resort to crime. When Linda realized, she was not going to get the promotion, the one she knew she deserved,  she felt like someone had yanked the rug right out from under her.  She did not resort to crime like Dick and Jane, but she noticed that a certain level of pretense and office etiquette was removed from her psyche. Less than a year ago Linda would have never opened the closed office door of Smart Nations CIO and walked in firing a question at the officer. Now here she was petulantly, questioning here boss.   There is a scene in the original movie in which, Jane is having a pool put in their house and Dick finds out he is fired, Dick calls home and tells his wife to cancel the installation, cancel everything. He doesn’t have the money that they were spending anymore. The pool for Dick and Jane was a metaphor for men and women spending money they don’t have. The pool was hope. Hope that Dick would move up in the corporation and get bigger pay and higher compensation. Dick was fired and his hope was dashed. Linda was told by Al that, she would not be the next CIO and her hope was dashed. In the movie Dick was fired, so Dick lost hope but with his cut from the company he was given the opportunity of, a clean slate, a new start. When Lindas hopes for upward movement in her corporation were dashed she was not given a clean slate. The one door Linda saw as open was slammed shut and she was trapped in, her director position. Maybe it was the combination of being trapped and hopeless that made Linda act like a mean spirited bitch at work. Al wasn’t really sure what it was that made Linda so brazen and rude but he didn’t like it. If Al wasn’t leaving this place in the next year and a half he would have fired Linda. Al worked for Everett Rutledge, as well as Smart Nation. Al was one of Everetts business consultants. Everett worked in Securities, to put a finer point on it Everett was the CEO of Midwest Securities. Everett made millions of dollars by buying, fixing and selling companies all over the world. As a consultant for Midwest Securities Al answered directly to Everett, Als job was to make this company profitable and sustainable.  Al knew that if Linda were made CIO this company would not be either of those things.  Linda worked best in a silo, she did not have a holistic philosophy when it came to business. It was because of her lack of this type of vision that Linda was good as a director or manager, but could never really correctly function as a CIO. Al would love to just let Linda know this right now as she stood over his desk basically yelling questions at him. He would love to tell her because he knew that it would be a blow to her oversized ego. In his first assignment, Al made the mistake of being too honest, with the employees in the company that he was “fixing”. The meetings were terrible. Men and women reacted differently, some slammed their fists on his desks and threatened to “kick his know it all ass” and others sat there and cried. Al learned that his business decisions should be open and honest in his reports to Everett but with the men and women in the business he was fixing his reports did not need to be as detailed, also with scheduled and impromptu meetings like this one he should be guarded and only give out as much information as necessary. It was not necessary to, let Linda know why she was passed over for CIO but, he had to tell her something in order to get her to leave his office. He had a meeting in less than twenty minutes.  “Sit down Linda” Al made a gesture with his left hand in the direction of the chair directly in front of Linda.   Linda sat in the open chair as she spoke. “I printed this off the website for Smart Nation. It says right there, on the HR home page, that Smart Nation makes a point to promote from within.” Al took the paper from Linda and did his best to show as little emotion as possible. “That is a Smart Nation policy, Smart Nation is now a subsidiary of Midwest Securities. This is not a policy of Midwest Securities, however I try to do this when possible. In this case it was possible and the new CIO is a current employee of Smart Nation.” Linda could do nothing to hide the look of shock on her face. She was almost overcome with emotions that she could not define. She felt; surprised, upset, betrayed, alert and a little hopeful. When she had asked HR who was being hired they wouldn’t tell her but they made it sort of clear it would not be her. Had she read their insinuations about her not getting the promotion incorrectly? Was she getting the promotion and now doing her best to make her boss see her “bad” side? The emotions and questions had   Linda spiraling. “I am meeting in the next twenty minutes to offer a current Smart Nation employee the position.” Now Linda knew that she wasn’t getting the position, she did not have a meeting with Al today. She was no longer wondering, the spinning stopped and she was furious. She wanted to demand who was getting the position, but chose not to. She realized that the decision to hire someone as the CIO was made without her direct input and that she cared more about Smart Nation than Smart Nation did about her. She decided then and there that she would not be working for Smart Nation, this time next year. She stood up and left Als’ without any words. She was determined. Linda would go back to her office, make some edits to her resume and call some recruiters. This time next year she would be a manager at a drug store chain that spread thorough Northeast Ohio, into both Pennsylvania and Indiana. “Good morning Linda.” Fred Summers side stepped as he spoke. Linda didn’t see him as she left Als’ office. “Good morning Fred.” Linda liked Fred he was a good guy. When she went through her divorce Fred helped her with getting some time off and listened. She was a little sad when she realized that she was going to miss people like Fred here at Smart Nation. She had worked here for a decade this year and made some relationships. She would of course tell everyone that they would speak outside of work but she knew this was not true. It was never true when someone said that. Despite her sadness she was determined and it did happen. Linda was hired a month after she left Als office.

“You’re early, I like it. Grab a chair from the conference room, for Jason. I am going to hit the head and we can go over his compensation package one more time before he gets in.” Fred shook his head and left for the conference room Al went to the restroom.

Here it is!!

Posted: July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

6 days ago I apologized for not keeping my promise and bringing my blog fans something new. Well I have the new thing and I am so excited about this!! I really am. Here it is. We are going to write a book together! Crazy right? Let me explain.. Every week day I will post a chapter of our book, you will read it comment and together we will have an amazing story. Is your mind blown? The book is called The Man and what follows is chapter 1

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The Man
Chapter 1.
        The email program angrily blinked at Jason. There was a chat invite that he had not yet read. Jason made the mistake of logging in before getting his first cup of coffee. He had promised himself that he would not do that anymore. He made the promise right before he left on vacation with his wife Melissa. The vacation came at a great time for Jason. He was beginning to feel overwhelmed at work. He called it “an overwhelming feeling from an underwhelming job”. Jason worked as a systems admin in IT. When Jason first started working with computers it was an exciting job. He built websites for small businesses and kept them up and running. The pay was low but he really loved his work, now Jason couldn’t remember the last time he built a website. He took care of installing software, monitoring software that was already installed, modifying computer user permissions. Basic, boring stuff that could be done by trained monkeys or robots, he really was beginning to hate his job, but the pay was great! He and Melissa were able to take a trip to Hawaii and do all the stuff the rich people do. They went scuba diving, shopping, deep sea fishing and took the helicopter tour. The trip would have been a success, if it was not for the fact that it was this trip that Melissa chose to tell Jason that she wanted a divorce on. The writing was really on the wall the two of them were not separated, but they were really living separate lives. Jason worked all day and then came home to an empty house. Melissa worked third shift at the Cleveland Clinic. She was the head of nursing and could have changed her schedule but, she was a night person. Truth be told, Melissa chose the third shift schedule because, it was quiet at the hospital then and she was avoiding her marriage. She hated confrontation as head of the nursing department she had to evaluate and sometimes fire some of the nurses. When she needed to fire nurses Melissa would, write up a “Dismissal Letter” and place it in the box at the office for the Nurse who was getting the axe. There is this movie called “Major League”, the movie is a comedy about the Cleveland Indians baseball team. The team is full of misfits and the movie follows them all season starting in spring training. During spring training the General Manager let the players know they were cut by, putting a red letter in their locker. There is a scene in the movie where a player is looking through the ventilation slats in his locker for the red letter. This is what it felt like working for Melissa. Nurses who made a mistake would act a lot like the athletes in the comedy movie. Nurses would try and look through the windows in the office into their mailboxes. The angles made this glance impossible but for the same reason people look away when someone on the screen gets hurt or suffers through embarrassment, the nurses would strain their eyes and try to make the impossible glance. This was all because Melissa hated confrontations. This was the same reason Melissa waited until they were on vacation, to tell Jason she wanted a divorce and that when they got back to Cleveland from Hawaii she would move out of the house into a townhouse downtown. Truth is she knew she wanted the divorce two months ago on the day she put first and last month’s rent on the townhouse in downtown. Part of her ached because she loved Jason and always would, part of her was anxious and dreaded telling Jason she wanted a divorce, but another part of her wanted to let Jason go. He didn’t seem like he enjoyed her company anymore. Neither of them made an effort to change their schedules to see each other. The Hawaii trip felt like a guilt trip that Jason set up.
                As Jason stared at the angry software blinking at him it was then that he decided he was still processing the divorce and it’s implementations as well as the fact that Melissa just moved out! He knew it was coming but he wasn’t ready and now it was throwing off his schedule and he was contemplating not answering the chat invite until he got his cup of coffee. Coffee would take long and it would be rude to ignore the Instant message that long, so Jason clicked on the blinking icon.
Fred Summers: hey man, how was Hawaii? I hope good did you read my email yet?

                This message was why, Jason needed coffee to deal with work and work people. He had to be drugged to be here in his cell/cubicle all day fielding idiotic chit chat and arbitrary work goals. Jason wanted to respond back honestly to Fred with something like..
Jason Franks: Hawaii sucked, my wife told me she wanted a divorce and when I got home she packed a bag and hauled ass. Did I respond to your email? In the email program there is a feature that shows you if I read it Fred. I know that you are HR and not IT but learn to use tools for your damn job fool.

Fred was a good guy and he was in HR so the answer to his message looked more like this…

Jason Franks: Hawaii was great! I didn’t want to come back. No I haven’t had a chance to check my email yet. Pretty busy playing catchup. Is the subject of your email something that you can tell me in this chat?
Fred Summers: That’s great man. I felt the same way when I came back from Cabo last year. I also got slammed with work. No rest for the wicked eh? As far as the email goes I only mention it because it is an invite for a meeting and the meeting is for you, Al Lacomb and me in half an hour from now in his office.
Jason Franks: Oh wow thanks for the heads up chances are I would have missed that meeting Fred Looks great first day back from vacation missing a meeting with your boss and someone from HR. So a meeting with my bos and someone from HR should I be worried about anything FFred?
Fred Summers: Nothing to be worried about Jason. I don’t want to “tip my hat” but let me say this is a meeting that you are going to love!
        Jason opened the unread email from Fred and accepted the meeting invite. There it was half an hour from now he would meet with his boss, Al Lacomb, COO and acting CIO for Smart Nation Insurance, and Fred Summers, HR director of Smart Nation Insurance in a half hour. Jason stared at the calendar in wonder. What the hell was going on at Smart Nation and what is the deal with this meeting? As he stared into the monitor trying to process the meeting he pulled back up the instant message and Highlighted Freds last message. but let me say this is a meeting that you are going to love!