You’ve Got That, RIght?—Clark Humphrey

No, I am getting to the point here. You wanted to know what happened, right? Well, that’s what I’m telling you.

You see it all came down to this admin person. No, not Kimmy. She was in sales, like I told you. She was the one who was always so perky and bubbly, even on a miserable day, right? Always spouting off these motivational slogans and telling us to visualize success? She was the one who got caught using the company email accounts to send off spam messages. She was already out of the company before all this happened.

No, it was the admin person, like I said.

No, it wasn’t Gerry either. He was one of the previous admin people. You know how I said Mr. Richardson was always this old school guy, believed in everybody calling him “Mr. Richardson” while he called us by our first names? Yeah, well his old school bit extended to running the office. He figured “admin” was just another long word for “secretary,” and therefore he didn’t have to pay them much. So he always got a lot of young people, people who didn’t have a lot of background. Incompetent, yeah that’s the word.

Gerry was one of those. He was before all this happened too. He was the one who spent more time playing online games on his computer than doing any of the work. Then when he got fired, he gave us all this big angry speech about how capitalism and people like us were killing the planet and all that. As if freight forwarding was this big evil thing right up with war and famine.

No no it wasn’t that girl either. That’s Irina you’re thinking about. She was the admin person after Gerry. Yeah, the one who complaining about how her kid was driving her crazy, stealing stuff and smoking all those drugs. Yeah, you remember. For all the time, we all thought she was talking about a son! I know! Weird, right?

So she didn’t last either. Then there was Joe-with-an-e, who quit to go off to Mexico with his boyfriend. Then there was Jo-without-an-e; she just stopped showing up one day and nobody knew why. About two months later Orrie the mailroom guy spotted her working at a strip club.

So finally, FINALLY, we convinced Mr. Richardson to retitle the admin job as “office information manager” and to hire someone who knew what they were doing and to pay them enough so that they’d stay. It took a long time to find somebody because Mr. Richardson still didn’t want to “pay a secretary like dot-coms pay a programmer;” that was the way he put it.

But after weeks and weeks and weeks, and ads on Craigslist and on the job-board sites and even in the print newspaper, who walks in the door but the perfect person for the job! I mean if this were some movie, there’d have been anthems playing when she strutted her stuff into the office for the first time. If you just saw a picture of her you’d say she wasn’t all that much to look at. But she had this feeling about her. Complete, total confidence. And she really did know what she was doing. As it turned out, she knew it better than any of us did. Certainly more than me, that’s for sure.

The first week, she stayed in after hours. She made this complete review of all the systems in the office. I mean EVERYTHING. She said she was so dismayed that so much of our paperwork was still, you know, on paper. Mr. Richardson had only brought in computers when suppliers and clients started to demand it. Our machines were still these XP relics.

So she pouted and put her foot down and she finally got the OK to buy a couple of Linux machines.

And she got the OK to put everything onto this “cloud based” database. All modern, she said. A universal file format; nothing will ever become obsolete, she said. All the successful companies are doing it, she said.

So we got that.

And for a while it was great. She ran all these “metrics,” she called them. Statistics out the wazoo. She showed where and how the company could save on fuel costs, keep the trucks going more hours with less downtime, schedule the drivers and the routes more efficiently, even schedule preventive maintenance on all the trucks so they wouldn’t end up stalled in traffic. She was making or saving more money for the company than she made in pay.

But then the discrepancies started to show up. Just little things at first. Like Mr. Richardson would sign in from his laptop at home late at night and just get a message on the screen saying “this data is not available right now;” but it would be all there when he got to the office in the morning.

Then a payment to the fleet fuel company got declined by the bank. Even though the database said we had more than enough in that account.

There were little incidents like that for months. But you look like you don’t want to hear about all of them.

So it turned out she was “skimming.” That’s what they called it. She’d set the database up to automatically move money out of the company into her personal account at night, send it back to the company account in the morning, but keep the interest for her. If we’d been a bigger company she could’ve gotten away with a lot more money than she did. But if we’d been a bigger company, this one employee probably wouldn’t have had that much control over how everything ran.

No, like I told you before, we can’t sue her. She says she’s got this “back door lock and key” to the whole database. Or something like that. She says if we do anything to threaten her, she can lock everything up. Makes you wish we still did it all on paper; am I right or am I right?

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About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on November 23, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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