Happy New Year, Dutch

I should have seen it coming…

It all started a few weeks ago when I got an e-mail telling me this year’s Christmas bonus would be ‘different’. And no, it was not because of the economic crisis. No, the company was going ‘Green’.

A vision flashed through my mind. A vision where I stormed into my CEO’s office, shouting ‘don’t worry ill make this company green.’ Picking up his laptop with this year’s profits on it and throwing it to the ground. ‘There that will save us on electricity.’ Next I would walk to his color printer that’s standing on this nice wooden table at the window. With a smile I open the window and gently push the forest destroyer 11 stories down. ‘There, we saved a few trees. As for heating this floor… well you can turn it off from now on.’ I say while closing the window and walking towards his secretary.

A few days later I was rudely awakened in my cubicle by the sound of laughter, followed by silence. As I stood up to see what was happening the ‘you have mail’ icon caught my attention. Our Christmas bonus! All our money would go to poor children in various exotic locations. By doing so we would help them make more eco-friendly products. I laughed, knowing each day those poor brats now had to work 2 hours longer for the rest of their already short life.

Looking at the time made me aware that it was already 16.43. ‘Yeah, let’s call it a day.’ I walked outside and went to my car. On our CEO’s parking spot stood this new black H3 Hummer. ‘things must be going well’

Wednesday morning. With eyes half shut the elevator takes me to my office floor. ‘Why couldn’t I get the day off. Tonight will be a long night. And even worse Friday I have to work again’

I wonder if there are some nice girls at tonight’s party. Bob told me Heather, that blond one would be there. ‘And she’s still….’ A ‘ping’ awakens me as I arrive at the 7th floor. I slowly walk towards my cubicle. First stop is the coffee machine.

Can’t start the day without some fuel. While a lot of people go to Starbucks or other restaurants to get there morning juice, I have my own personal coffee machine. No, nothing beats a nice cup of hot thick black office coffee that instantly numbs the feeling in your mouth and pulls back your gums.

‘Odd, no colleagues around.’ as I press the combination on the machine ‘444, or 666 as it should have been. Espresso, extra strong.’

I rub my eyes and see that the office is almost empty. ‘Bastards’, I knew I should have stayed home. As I wait for the machine to fill my cup, well it’s a long way from hell to earth. I stared into Frank’s cubicle. Lucky guy only has to take 10 steps for a refill. Looking at Frank sit, or more sleep behind his PC with his head covered in his arms, I see his shoulders shake a little. ‘Great, looks like his wife left him again.’ I looked around to see if there was anyone else around i could share this moment with.

Comforting Frank while listening to his amazing stories on how his wife threw him out again was always good for at least an hour of laughter followed by a series of e-mail round with handmade pictures of Frank and the reason for him sleeping in the car again.

Seeing no-one else i took my cup and decided to start my PC first.

While sitting down at my desk waiting for my PC to start I could still hear Frank sob. A strange sound, not the sound a guy makes when he did something stupid and is punishing himself. No, a sound that pierces souls. ‘Wait, was that sound only coming from him?’ Outlook pops up on screen. A personal letter from our CEO.

‘Dear mr. Dutch, Our CEO regrets he cannot be here today since he is on vacation in Aspen…’

More meaningless sentences pass trying to postpone the inevitable. My mind tries to make sense of it all. Of course, we need to cut down on personel in order to keep that H3 running and keep a Green policy. And those poor childeren . They have to fly two times now in order to ship all those products. How will we ever make up to that.

I should have seen it coming.

My eyes stare at the last word. ‘Fired.’ Below, a sentence in green. ‘save our environment; only print this message if you really have to.’

I smile, lean back in my chair. ‘Happy New Year Dutch. 2009 Is going to be your year’.