Today’s work day started, as all Tuesdays do, with our weekly office meeting. I have come to dread office meetings as of late because, as of a few months ago, the owner implemented a new task for each of us involved in our weekly meetings to partake in. The new task, as it is called, is to tell a “hero” story from the week prior. A “hero” story, as defined by our owner, is a circumstance in which the employee gives feedback on an event in which he or she goes above and beyond the call of duty for a client in order to show the client how important they are to our company. The primary focus of the “hero” story is to give examples and feedback of how we can all build and maintain positive relationships with our clients. Certainly, on the outside – or in theory – it seems like a positive goal to meet and discuss successful attempts to build better relationships with those who, essentially, provide all of us with jobs, but in reality it just seems unrealistic and forced to make it a mandatory addition to weekly meetings for each person to relate a story. For this particular meeting, most of us have no “hero” story to discuss. We have all come to a meeting in the past, completely empty-handed, and knew what the consequences were for this. We would have to sit through a long lecture of the importance of keeping our clients happy. We would also, at times, be threatened with numerous workshops on the subject. Both, of course, would put us behind in our work and would really keep us from honestly performing at our best, given the fact that these nuances would take up time we could rather be spending trying to appease our clients. Ironic, isn’t it? Anyway, at this particular meeting, we collectively decided to make sure that everyone had a story to tell, regardless of the validity and truthfulness of the story. So, before the boss entered the meeting, we had a brainstorming session to come up with a story (truthful, fake, whatever) for each person in the room. Were some of us going to lie? Yes, we were. In fact, most of us made up a story that day. Did we make it through the meeting without a lecture on being a good employee? Yes, we did. While it seems wrong to lie about a good deed, it appears to also be wrong to chastise employees for doing their jobs, but not extending themselves to a point above and beyond the call of duty every single week. Most people at this company do this already, because each employee here is a good employee. Every week, we all go above and beyond, because we are always given unrealistic goals every single day that, somehow, we manage to complete. What is already considered to be part of our job seems like a silly thing to endlessly brag about, but we still are expected to do so. Add to that the very fact that the whole process has become defunct and is now a mere joke amongst the employees, and you have one colossal waste of time. However, we all know that questioning the process will not end it, so in order to appease all parties involved, we will continue the process by either having a real story or a fake one. In essence, we are stepping beyond the implemented system and have created our own set of livable rules. I guess you can say that, in our own deluded measure, we are all “heros” to ourselves simply by doing what it takes to appease our boss.
September 4, 2007