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The Boss, Wally, Dilbert and Alice sit at a conference table. The Boss says, "In order to reduce expenses, only the employees in essential jobs may have business cards." Wally, Dilbert and Alice think, "I'd better order some business cards to find out if I'm 'essential.'" The Boss says to his secretary, "Carol, order some new business cards for me." Carol replies, "Ooh. No can do. But you can borrow some of mine."
The Boss stands behind Alice's desk and says, "I'm sending you to a training course that runs at night so you won't miss any work." The Boss continues, "It might seem like an immoral abuse of my power, but I like to call it 'a mutual investment in your career.'" Alice clenches her teeth and thinks, "Must . . . Control . . . Fist . . . Of . . . Death . . ." The Boss says, "And they have vending machines if you get hungry!"
The strip is titled, "Dogbert presents the life cycle of a business idea." The caption says, "The brain creates an idea." Asok, Wally, Alice and the Boss sit at a conference table. Asok dreams about a woman. The caption says, "The mouth - operating independently of the brain - creates words." Asok says, "Let's form proactive synergy restructuring teams." The caption says, "The words are written on large paper." Dilbert writes, "Let's form synergy," on an easel pad. He thinks, "Idiot." The caption says, "The large paper is delivered to a bitter secretary." Dilbert hands Carol the paper and says, "Please?" Carol growls. The caption says, "The secretary types it." Carol types, "Let's . . . form . . . protein . . . symphony reactionary . . . teens." She thinks, "Close enough." The caption says, "The typed notes are delivered to the staff." Someone hands Wally a copy of the notes. He points to the wastebasket and says, "Drop it in the 'to do basket.'" The caption says, "Repeat." Asok sits at his desk dreaming about a woman.
Alice sits across from the Boss's desk. The Boss says, "Alice, your performance is good, but you must learn to deal with ambiguity." Alice asks, "Did I just get blamed for your indecisive leadership?" The Boss replies, "I'm not indecisive; I'm flexible." Alice says, "That would explain how your head got where it is."
Carol hands Dilbert a piece of paper and says, "Here's the new org chart. I had to rearrange the layout to make it fit." Dilbert asks, "Why is my box lower than Alice's and Wally's?" Carol replies, "It means nothing . . . Nothing at all." Dilbert asks, "Okay, who told you that every year I fish your Secretaries' Day card out of your trash and save it for next time?" Carol asks, "What?"
Dilbert stands behind Wally's desk and says, "The new org chart has my name lower than yours, but it doesn't mean anything." Dilbert shows Wally the chart and says, "See? It wouldn't all fit across the page. It's just a graphical layout thing, that's all." Alice holds out her coffee mug and says, "Hey, Dil-boy, put a head on this and fetch my mail." Wally asks Dilbert, "Are you asking me to be your mentor?"
Asok stands behind Dilbert's desk and says, "I notice that the new org chart has your box lower than before." Dilbert replies, "It means nothing." Asok says, "Perhaps. But your box seems smallish. And your reporting line brushes against my box." Dilbert replies, "It means nothing." Asok says, "No, I'm sure this means I'm your new boss." Dilbert thinks, "I wonder if I killed someone in a previous life."
Dilbert shouts at Asok, "I don't care what it 'looks' like on the org chart! You're an intern, not my boss!" The Boss pats Asok on the back and says, "I just saw the new org chart. Congratulations on your promotion, Asok!" Asok and the Boss walk away from Dilbert's desk. Asok says, "Let's go make some strategies and pretend it's work!" The Boss whispers, "Not so loud. The L-U-S-E-R might hear." Dilbert bangs his head on the desk.
Dilbert enters the Boss's office. He says, "Here's my project plan as you requested." Dilbert explains, "Our team is already working day and night on other projects." Dilbert continues, "I assumed we'd give up eating, sleeping and bathing to fit this in." Dilbert continues, "By the second week we'll be starving, delirious and stinking." Dilbert continues, "We'll be like wild, unpredictable animals." Dilbert continues, "Specifically, we'd be like wild chipmunks. None of us are very aggressive." Dilbert points to the proposal and says, "This clip art represents us in week three as a pile of dead chipmunks." Wally asks Dilbert, "Now he wants it in two weeks?" Dilbert says, "Never mix sarcasm with good clip-art."
The Boss says, "Alice, I need this ASAP." Alice asks, "ASAP? Does that stand for A Stupid-Acting Person, i.e., someone who ignores tasks until the deadline?" The Boss walks away thinking, "That was embarrassing. I hope the other things I say don't mean anything."