By Lou DiVirgilio
Chris Martin was driving home from his work place earlier than usual. Usually he would leave his work about 4:30 pm, but this day he had left at 12, noon. It was Christmas Eve, however that fact had little to do with Chris’s early departure.
Chris had arrived at his job on time, at 8:00am. Out of the ten years he worked for the company, he was late only twice. Once when his wife Elizabeth gave birth to their son Danial, and another when a record snow storm dumped 27 inches of the light and fluffy. To say he was a responsible and dedicated employee, would be an understatement, for he was that and much more.
There was a mood of excitement vibrating in the office. Everyone seemed to be anticipating the festivities of Christmas Eve, and anxious to have at it. The din of excited voices was a background for the spirited activity going on: people were laughing and talking with great animation, exchanging gifts, eating cookies and candy, drinking eggnog and hot apple-cider, singing Christmas Carols, and some of the men were stealth fully maneuvering the attractive women under the mistletoe to steal a kiss.
Chris too, was caught up in the festive excitement and anticipation of the morning. After work he was to meet his wife and his children, Daniel and Lisa, at his in-laws house. Of all the delightful experiences of the Christmas Season, Chris enjoyed this get-together most. Every Christmas Eve for the past fifteen years, Elizabeth’s parents would graciously host a wonderful dinner, followed by the playing of Christmas Carols on the piano with the accompaniment of the guest’s voices, and then the opening of gifts.
Chris was standing at the work station of his friend Joe, talking with several other office workers. He asked Joe, “Have you seen Stan.” Stan was Chris’s best friend at the office and his immediate supervisor. Joe answer, “No! I haven’t seen him this morning. He’s missing all the fun. Maybe he got caught by one of the big wigs, and had to do some butt kissing.” Chris looked at his watch, 11:00am. He needed several hours to put the finishing touches on a project that was dead-lined for today. As he walked to his desk, Chris wondered why Stan wasn’t in the office. It wasn’t like Stan to miss out on all the fun.
Chris sat at his desk and turned on the computer. On the screen was a pulsating message, “you got mail:” he pulled up the message. It was a memo from Walter Becker, the Vice President of Human Resources, to all the employees of the Department of Engineering Support. It said, “Due to a decision made by the Board of Directors, and in keeping with company policy of “expense leanness,” the Dept. of Engineering Support has been terminated, as of Jan. 1, 2000. All employees of said department must vacate their work stations by close of the work day on Dec. 31. 1999. All holiday pay and any vacation pay will be paid in full. Please check with payroll for further questions or details.
This is strictly a business decision, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the overall performance of the Dept. or any of its workers. The Dept. has performed excellently over the years.
Human Resources is open to you if you need help in finding new employment or to foreword references.”
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