I have to admit. I’m new around here. When Branch 19 lost the efficiency competition and got brought under Branch 7′s roof, a lot of us had to adapt to a new culture. I mean stuff’s different. New boss, new rules, new everything. And I don’t want to rock the boat.
So that’s why when I came on and started working for Ned in Finance I had to get the skinny on how expenses were dealt with. What do we approve, what do we reject, and what do we file under “Miscellaneous — Other — Other”? So I do my best for a few weeks until a real head-scratcher comes across my desk. And of course it’s from Ken (the Efficiency Expert), so I want to be sensitive to how I handle it.
I go in and ask Ned about it. It’s for diesel fuel at the lake marina. Ned takes one look at it and says, “Ah. Tom’s boat. File it under Marketing — Executive Expenses — ‘Hopes and Dreams’ Initiative.” So I stare at him for a few seconds and he must have picked up on my disquiet. He picks up on my unasked question. ”You see, Tom grew up watching Warner Brothers cartoons. You remember Elmer Fudd? What did he always brag about?”
“Oh yeah, he always said, ‘I am Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht.’”
“Exactly. Well, apparently that’s what Tom envisions for real wealth. It’s what he aspires to. So he’s got himself a yacht and he’s working on the mansion. And yes, we pay for his gas.”
“A yacht? Really?”
He shook his head. ”The term yacht is generous. It’s a 37-foot cabin cruiser.”
“Okay, but why would we pay for his gas?”
“Well you see, Tom takes off early on Friday and we all get more work done that afternoon than when he’s around giving us useless minutiae to hunt down. And he comes back on Monday morning in a better mode than he left, so he typically leaves us alone until well after lunch. So it’s like the entire office getting an extra day of work every time he takes his boat out. A few dozen gallons of diesel are a small price to pay for that kind of productivity increase.”
I marvelled at the genius of it. This is why I went into finance! I admired my new boss with new-found respect. But as I turned to leave and file the reimbursement, a single question lingered.
“One last thing. I never heard anything about this initiative that we’re filing Tom’s expenses under – ’Hopes and Dreams’.”
Ned shot me a sly glance. ”Neither has Tom. And let’s keep it that way.”
Apparently I still have a lot to learn.Last 5 posts by Ralph