Thursday, June 22, 2006

Naming Conventions

Have you ever wondered what executives do behind closed doors? We might think they are just higher versions of ourselves. Do they discuss what happened on last night’s episode of LOST? Do they play Boggle? Do the take turns verbally abusing a fellow employee behind their backs to keep their talons fresh?

I’m not sure how it goes at all other companies, but I’m proud to say that Imagine creates names. Seriously, they love to spend their time naming things.

We, argh, they moved to their headquarters in January 2005. Self described as a profitable company that had a bright future ahead of it. (Hey, who knew they’d be laying off 20 people June 1st of that year?) Prior to moving, they had been short on meeting space, so the new digs would have over 20 conference and meeting areas built to solve that problem. The president’s number one concern, what do we call them? Hey, let’s have a contest!

So three months of submissions and we have a winner. We’re going to name all the rooms after influential and motivational leaders. The Martin Luther King conference room. The (Mary Jane McLeod) Bethune meeting room. The Helen Keller interview room, which ironically had no windows.

Two rooms were distinctively different. The Shush room was created primarily for quiet proofing or reading since it had a door you close and lock. Ironically, it was used more for new mothers to pump breast milk or hung-over workers to sleep off a rough night. There was also the Imaginarium; a brainstorming room where new and creative ideas (like naming things) could be accomplished.

Six months to the day that we moved into these rooms, the guy who named them all was given his walking papers in the mass lay-off. Even Helen Keller couldn’t have seen that one coming.

Imagine also spent three months renaming its vacation leave. Seriously! They found that a few folks wouldn’t utilize their five weeks of vacation by the end of the year. That was a huge issue, so they determined, after many focus groups and meeting, the reason it occurred was that workers felt they could only use their leave for vacation. (Could people actually be that stupid?)

So the President created another contest. Name the Leave! There were five choices for us workers to vote on. The winner: EMI leave… which stands for Enjoying Myself Immensely. That should solve the silly problem of people only taking those days for vacation. At my staff meeting, I asked, “Is it just me or does it sound like people need to be physically gratifying themselves on those days?” I received only glares in return.

I thought my days of hearing stupid names had ended, but it seems another issue had confronted the President. The moral of workers was failing. Huh, could it be because there was no clear-cut strategy on what direction the company should go in? Nope. Could it be because middle management was turning over faster than pancakes on a hot griddle? No way! Perhaps it was that bonuses got reduced to under $1000 while it was rumored that Exec bonuses were close to $25K. Not a chance.

It seems that people were completely devastated being referred to ‘employees’ or ‘workers.’

Fear no more employees, workers, people of Imagine. From this point forth (not hence, you moron), you shall be known as…Imaginaries. As the President said in his email to the staff er Imaginaries:

"The word "visionaries" itself is so powerful. Consider that visionaries are:

  • Forward thinking
  • Optimistic
  • Idealistic
  • Dreamers
  • Action oriented
  • Creative
  • Driven
  • Value-based

All those characteristics aptly describe those that work here as well as those that we would like to work for us in the future. They also are the characteristics we teach in so many of our programs.

As Imaginaries, we are all walking down a path where we do well by doing good throughout the world. I'm thrilled that we now have a collective name that reflects our great work."

So rest now, my dear pets, that the world is safer. Relax knowing that in some part of the world, people are feeling better about their jobs because they are given purpose by a made up word. Take heart that critical issues like this are being addressed by only the best in management.

And by the way… “we do well by doing good?” Who writes this shit?


Blogger Dutch said...

That is HILARIOUS. YOu should go tell your boss that you'd like to introduce him to his newest imaginary on staff, Harvey the 6-Foot tall rabbit, and that his paycheck can be written out to Steve.

1:36 PM  

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