Gill stood before his underlings, scratched his beard, then bellowed, “All right everybody, we have a tight deadline to make, so I want you all working like dogs!”
It was the twenty-second day Gill had made this pronouncement, and Pia, growing tired of the constant threats, stood up. She grabbed her computer’s screen and set it on the floor. She put the keyboard on the floor. She put the mouse on the floor. Then she got down on all fours and started working.
Gill watched her, stunned into silence as this whole rigmarole went on. When she finally started on her work, he said, “Pia, what are you doing?”
“Exactly what you said boss,” Pia replied. She reached her leg up, tilted her head, and scratched her ear with her toe before continuing, “Working like a dog.”
“What? That’s not – ” Gill said before Chantal stood up and started moving her computer down as well. Evelyn followed suit, then Dani and Melba and Rebekah.
“What are you all doing?” Gill shouted.
“Working like dogs, as you’ve told us too for more than four weeks, boss,” Pia said.
“No, I meant work hard! Not like actual dogs!”
“Sorry boss, we can only work so hard for so long. I think it’s nap time.” Pia curled up in front of her monitor and closed her eyes. The rest of her co-workers followed suit.
“No! We have a tight deadline!”
“Yes, they always seem to be tight deadlines. I think you’re just working us too hard, boss.”
“Keep this up and you’re all fired!”
Pia finally opened her eyes and looked at him. “Ah, you’re going to fire all your overworked employees? Bring in and train a whole new team? You’ll never get that done before the deadline passes, boss. Or is it not so tight as you say? Maybe we can ease off a little, have a, you know, a break once in awhile? Even just for lunch? Because we haven’t had one of those since I don’t know when. You just keep us working to exhaustion, eight hours straight. I don’t even think it’s legal. Should I talk to corporate? I think I will.” Pia stood and started walking to the single phone in the far corner of the office.
“No, you don’t need to do that!” Gill shouted. “Take a break. Take two! As many as you need!”
Pia kept walking. She sat down and dialed the number for corporate headquarters’ HR department. Gill ran up beside her and started shouting as she explained the problems they were having.
When the HR manager came to investigate what was happening, and saw the workers with their monitors on the floor while Gill sat in a corner crying, she wrote a quick memo and hurried back to the head office. The employees all received a lightly-worded reprimand, while Gill was promoted to keep him from doing more damage.