It’s 1997, and I’m nervous. One of the Area Directors in my company wants to talk to me in his office. He used to be my manager, but he was promoted, so now he’s more of a big wig. It’s the end of the day, and I’m just about to go home. I’ve had one foot out the door for the last few months, and I wonder if he knows I’m trying to leave. This is the type of company where nobody wants anyone to quit. We’re all supposed to be miserable together, forever.
“It’s your company calling card. There was a big meeting today with all of the managers. All the higher-ups were there.” Picture a bleak conference room with lilly white, stodgy old men, young eager bucks, and a few dikey females.
He continues, “Your manager was singled out because your calling card was $780.” I offhandedly say, “Is that high?” He raises his voice an octave, “Are you kidding? It’s the highest in the company.” In 1997 there’s no cell phones, and a call costs 25 cents. Normally our bills are no more than $40.
My head starts spinning as he continues, “And some of the calls were made from your home. What’s going on?” When caught, run. “I don’t know. That’s weird, but I gotta go.” Moving quickly, I head for the nearest exit. “You’re going to have to explain this to your manager tomorrow.” Calling over my shoulder, “I’m so sorry I’m in such a rush.” And I run out the door. This is serious shit!
A meeting tomorrow with my manager, U.W. (a.k.a uptight white), was the worst possible news I could get. Any meeting with him would be dreaded, not just a meeting where I was caught doing something wrong. U.W. was the worst boss to have at this company. He wouldn’t take this lightly. I was thankful the Area Director had tipped me off, although it was hard to tell if he was warning me or trying to get to the bottom of things. I was lucky he was a pushover and let me run out the door, but it only bought me a night. How was I going to get myself out of this one? The calling card was supposed to be used for work calls.
The company I work at is pretty big. It’s another sales job and it’s one of those jobs that’s the grunt of the grunt jobs. You’re thrown into a territory and that’s that. Live or die. Sink or swim. You have a quota for the year, month and week and come hell or high water, you better make it.
At this company they never give us anything to help us increase sales. No expense account. No chochkie’s. No pens. No pads. No nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. They did give us one thing before the calling cards. They gave us Tootsie Rolls.
While other companies were taking clients out for elaborate dinners and lap dances my company was giving away free Tootsie Rolls. Now I’ll admit, I enjoy a good Tootsie Roll every now and again. I like chewy, sugary, chocolate that when not fresh can chip a tooth. And when they started giving us tins of Tootsie rolls to give to clients, I admit I started eating Tootsie Rolls often. And I wasn’t the only one. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t round an office corner without seeing a coworker's mouth chomping hard on a Tootsie or trying to get one out of their teeth.
And then one day at our usual “you people suck and need to sell more” meeting an announcement was made. The company was now going to not only splurge and continue to give us tins of Tootsies, but they were also going to give us calling cards. And that’s where all the trouble started.
TO BE CONTINUED...