Fun this week - now AJ's Big Boss is making decisions.
Monday: AJ called us together for the morning meeting and said he'd decided over the weekend to implement a "trust and co-operation" policy to follow on from last week's failed "information exchange" policy. He's not sure yet exactly what will be involved so he'll explain later, but he's obviously sulking over the disappearance of the list sheets last Friday. He said something about trusting him and co-operating with him, but Donna, who's still mad at him for going through our desks and waste bins, said trust is a two-way street and I for one didn't appreciate you checking my desk drawers. He said maybe I over-reacted slightly by searching your desks while you were still sitting at them, but I thought maybe one of you had taken them by accident and hadn't realized so I was helping you look.
He still thinks one of us is responsible, but there's absolutely no proof it was us that took them down and hid them in various places, ending up putting them in a cistern in the ladies' washroom. There's no proof they were fished out and taken away in a plastic bag, and given to one of my neighbors to burn on his regular weekend garden trash fire either.
After he'd gone LeeAnn said it has to be the Cleaner who was writing those ideas down, they appeared there at night and who else would be about? Donna said no, it couldn't be - if AJ had gone for some of them it would have meant us doing the Cleaner's work, and they'd be out of a job. James said no, they do the shopfloor so they wouldn't. We're all beginning to believe it was the Cleaner.
Tuesday: Amy forgot she wasn't going into AJ's office by herself any more and got ambushed by the Killer Plant again. It took Donna about ten minutes to calm her down, and she said maybe we should tell AJ how dangerous it is. James said why hasn't it attacked AJ, that's what I'd like to know.
Donna said she'd looked it up in her plant books, but couldn't work out whether it was a strangling fig or a vine. I said it's both, and maybe it needs to be put down, and Fiona said you can't do that if it's only acting naturally. I said it's OK if you know it's there and what it's capable of, but it could attack an unsuspecting person, like a salesman who just goes into see AJ. LeeAnn said oh if it's only a salesman that's alright, and Mike said that's not funny.
LeeAnn said how would you put it down, and James said you go up to it and say "you're a very bad plant" until it wilts. Donna said all you have to do is stop feeding it and it'll die off. I said I don't think it is fed, is it?
Donna doesn't feed it. None of the rest of us feed it. It's unlikely AJ does. It's still growing though.
Wednesday: AJ came around to all of us in turn to give out a questionnaire he'd written up as the first stage of the "trust and co-operation" policy, and wanted us all to fill it in and give it back to him. One question was how much do we all trust him - there were boxes for "completely", "mostly", and "other". LeeAnn said does "other" mean "not at all"? I said probably, but he knows nobody will tick it - not when you have to put your name on it.
He came around about an hour later to collect them up, but nobody had filled theirs in. We all told him everyone was too busy, so he said OK how about this afternoon. James said why do we have to fill out a questionnaire, why can't we just tell you? but AJ said I want your honest opinion, and I'll understand if you think you've got a problem as that shows I'm not reaching you. I said if we all fill it in will you use it as part of our yearly assessments? and he laughed and said no, of course not - trust me.
We all waited until he'd gone back to his office and then went through it together, all ticking the "we believe in you" boxes.
There was a comments section at the bottom, but we all left it blank as nobody could come up with anything we all agreed on except "a tree died for this?"
Thursday: AJ called an emergency meeting today as he had something he needed to tell us straight away. He meant to tell us before the Christmas break but didn't get around to it, and he has to tell us now because someone at Head Office wants to know if he's told us yet.
One of the small parts we supply (the one that's nearly eleven percent of our on-site turnover but totally insignificant as far as Head Office are concerned) is the third biggest brand name in the market, and Head Office Marketing started a big campaign last year to increase our market share. None of us were involved in the campaign (of course) and until now we've all just been told oh it's going really well. Now AJ's been told the campaign hasn't done quite as well as it was expected to, but at least we're still the third biggest. Unfortunately though they've spent the whole two-year budget for it already, so there's no money left to carry on with the campaign they'd planned out even if it had been as successful as they said it was going to be. AJ's Big Boss has decided we can't start another campaign for the same item, so we're going to rebrand it instead.
He told AJ he's told Marketing to work on a new brand name, and, once they've come up with it, he'll go to the Board to okay the rebranding and get a budget for a new marketing campaign for the new name. AJ doesn't think his Big Boss wants us to ship the items out with our old name on as it would be too confusing. So, if a customer rings up wanting our item, we're to tell them it's discontinued and there'll be another item replacing it soon. We may also have to stop shipments of the items we've got packed ready to go out until we can get them relabelled with the new name - he has to check with his Big Boss on that.
I think he realized we all weren't too happy with this, but he said OK, I'll close the meeting now and got back in his office before any of us had calmed down enough to tell him what we all thought. Donna said we can't, there's customers waiting now, and I said there's three booked to go out today - what do I tell the carriers? Fiona said tell them Head Office are interfering again, but Donna said no, we can't do that - that's what we told them to explain why we couldn't ship them before Christmas.
Andy said please, everybody - wait a minute and I'll go in to ask him what we should do, and LeeAnn said go get him, tiger. I said go ask him to put it in writing that we all can't ship them.
Andy was in there for about three minutes while we all waited outside and tried to calm down, and when he came out he said it's alright, he's said carry on shipping until it's official. Donna said have you got it in writing, and Andy said no. I said OK then, until I get told in writing not to ship, I'll keep on shipping. Donna said what'll I tell the customers, so James said just tell them it's possible the item might be changing.
Friday: Just before he left to go to the afternoon meeting at Head Office, AJ told us all he had great news - the membership of the project group to decide the new brand name for our item is nearly decided on, so we should hear something soon.
After he'd gone, James said I wonder how long that'll be? I said you're getting the feel for this cynicism thing, and he said I used to be so nice until I came here. I said we're all as bad, but he said no it's just me and you, and maybe LeeAnn. I said I may be younger than you but I have a lot to teach you - watch and learn. I went over to Donna and Amy and said James here was wondering how long before they have a new brand name, so I'm just going to start a book on how many days it'll be - are you interested? They both said oh yes, and called LeeAnn, Mike and Fiona over to join in.