I am Samurai

Sue is my boss Fred’s assistant. She calls me this morning. “Hey Scylla, we’re rolling out the new comp plan to the salesforce this afternoon, and the preliminary feedback is it’s none to popular. Fred would really like it if you could come down at 2:00 for the meeting, you know… to present it and answer questions… make sure it all goes smoothly.”

This is not the opportunity or the placement of great confidence in my abilities that it may seem. At this point in my management career my primary virtue is my expendability. It is my role to be thrown under the bus. Fred didn’t even call me himself.

“Sure Sue. No problem. I’ll be there.” Shill, lackey, toady, hatchet man, designated patsey, corporate scumbag. That’s me.

So it seems. In reality I am Samurai.

Kenshugi sips tea, while regarding his koi pond as the horseman approaches. “Kenshugi-San!” he exclaims bowing profusely as his fleck stained animal breathes heavily. “The villagers are revolting! They gather at Toku castle and demand the head of Lord Nobunaga. The harvest has been light and the taxes heavy and I fear the time for talk is done. Will you come?”

Kenshugi finishes his tea and stands.

I load my laptop into my briefcase. There is no time to create a powerpoint. I will have to work directly off Excel, live. I try not to think about this as I drive to the meeting. Instead I mentally craft my presentation.

Kenshugi’s swords are always sharp, for he is Samurai and he is ready for battle or death at all times. He mounts his charger and gallops for Toku him mind calm.

Fred is effusive, and his guilt shows. He knows what he’s doing to me, and he knows I know. Fred was with me at the training for the new plan. He knows it as well as I. He tells me he’ll just introduce me and let me take the ball from there, and thanks a lot for helping out. How are the kids?

“It’s no problem. Everybody’s great”

He’s disturbed by my nonchalance. He’s been subtle, and now he thinks I don’t understand that I’m being thrown to the wolves. “They don’t seem to like it,” he says as if to clue me in.

“I know. I get it. It’s not a problem,” I say this in a way that is easily mistaken for confidence. Fred decides to take it this way. The fact of the matter is that I am calm with fatalism. I may succeed or fail today. Fred wants me to do it because the chances of failure are high and he doesn’t want to lose the credibility. I don’t have any credibility.

The meeting starts Fred immediately puts himself on the side of his salesforce. “Scylla’s here to roll out the new comp plan to us. I know we all have a lot of questions and concerns about it. I’ve asked Scylla because he’s really been spearheading the effort behind this. Scylla?”

The old plan was five pages. The new one is sixty-five. It is a monster of complexity and obfuscation the forming of which I had absolutely no hand in. The fact of the matter, when you boil it down is that it’s not bad. The top end will get a slight raise paid for by the lower performers. I begin my presentation with a brief overview of the old plan, and follow that up with a compare and contrast of the features and benefits of the new plan. My examples show the effects on an unrealistically extreme case for a high end producer.

This is a mistake. I know this. I do it on purpose. On the ride up, I had an idea. A plan.

Nobunaga cowers in his bedchamber as the gate opens and Kenshugi, alone, strolls out onto the causeway to face the angry villagers. Nobunaga’s cowardice does not bother Kenshugi for he is Samurai and his is the way of death. The gate swings just past a 45 degree angle before it is brought short by a chain, a chain just placed there by Kenshugi.

The villagers stare at the single man facing them all head on, and they seem to lean forward en masse. There is no way this foolish man, Samurai or not can take them all at once.

Kenshugi’s right foot and shoulder are in line with the door, and he stands blocking the entrance into the castle. The simple ruse would surely fail against a fellow Samurai but Kenshugi is betting that the overconfidence of the mob will be their downfall. It only seems that he faces them head-on. The chained partially opened door protects Kenshugi’s right flank, funneling attacker to his right side. Kenshugi crosses his arms over his swords and speaks:

“I am Kenshugi, Samurai, and I stand between you and Toku castle. I speak not for Lord Nobunaga, but for the Shogun himself! The rains did not come, but the Shogun requires his tribute of Nobunaga nonetheless. By my swords he will have it!”

As I’m making my presentation, a young salesman, John Cocktosten, is practically slavering as he leans forward in his chair waiting to his ask his question. I decide to interrupt myself before he does it. “Yes, John it looks like you have a question?”

John blanches, but only for a split second. I’ve gotten to him before he’s fully ready. What he was going to ask is still just an idea, not fully formed in his mind. He decides to think on his feet.

“I ummm… was wondering how this all might, you know, apply in a more realistic scenario… If ummm, you know what I mean?”

I give him confused. “What sort of scenario?”

“AAAIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!” Screams the young warrior as he charges Kenshugi.

Kenshugi waits, arms crossed.

Halfway across the distance the young warrior seems to notice the door for the first time, he veers to Kenshugi’s left, as he must…

Kenshugi waits, arms crossed.

"Well… " John states, “that seems most excellent for a very high-end producer… but what about somebody who is…” Here he pauses, sensing something… “Somebody who is ummmm…”

“…Much less successful?” I finish for him.

The whole meeting room chuckles.

Kenshugi’s hand drops to his hilt. He draws in one smooth motion across his body, the blade intercepting the belly of the young warrior who, still veering and off balance never completes the mighty swing he had directed at Kenshugi.

He drops his sword, hunched over, trying to hold in the viscera which spill in long looping coils from his gut.

Gracefully, Kenshugi follows through his sword arm, pivoting on his feet until he comes completely around. Kenshugi’s arm falls and with it, mercifully the head of the young warrior.

“…As you can see, the whole program is really geared to rewarding success, as it should be in a merit based environment. Some of you may have to defer gratitude to reap the rewards, but I’m confident that such efforts align with everybody’s best interests.”

I smile. “Are their any other questions?”

Kenshugi whips his blade once through the air, cleaning it of blood before sheathing it. Broken by this display of ferocity the crowd of villagers disperses to their work.

I am Samurai.

A triumph—and so cleverly attained!!

Awesome post, Scylla!

But to hell with the samurai shtik – how are your ninja skills? Because that insipid waste of space that is your boss, Fred, sounds like he deserves a shuriken in the throat… like this one.

Nice, nice post.

It seems as if Scylla’s misfortunes are our gain. First groundhogs try to assassinate him, then a band of [del]villagers [/del]coworkers attack him and we get some awesome posts.

Maybe the groundhogs were hired by his coworkers. :eek:

Golf Clap

Damn, you can really write! Very well done!

I bow to a Master

That was VERY entertaining and enjoyable. I loved the interwoven narrative.
And it makes me want to be a Samurai of my own someday.

Well done!

Handled and written much better than I would have.

Congratulations on both your writing skills and your management skills, both appear excellent.

They certainly are.


[Sonic Guy]
What is that, like five times as much?
[/Sonic Guy]

You know, I would totally read all 65 pages of that plan if it were to be written and narrated by Scylla.

A very astute view of what goes on in the corporate world. The only thing missing is the chess match of what time meetings are planned during the day.

Nicely done!

Bravo Sir, Bravo! And done with the true spirit of a samurai. Gave me chills, it did.

So, what you’re saying is, when the quote for the forktruck power steering sending unit comes across the fax and I have to take it to my GM for approval, I should take a katana with me just in case?

I’m cool with that.

Great OP.

</Little Boy at the end of The Incredibles>That was totally wicked!</LBEI>

::Stands up clapping furiously:: Bravo!

Excellent post. Now I’m daydreaming about samurai…

Be careful, Scylla. You don’t want to end up being forced into Junshi if your boss goes down.