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The Boss says, "Alice, I'd like you to meet the newest member of my management team." The Boss continues, "Keith is highly qualified, he has a masters in business administration." Alice and Keith shake hands. Alice says, "Very impressive. They must have taught you a lot about motivating employees." Keith replies, "No, not really." Alice says, "Well . . . You probably learned how to identify and hire good people, right?" Keith replies, "That might have been optional reading." Alice asks, "Did you learn negotiation skills? Strategic thinking? Business writing?" Keith answers "No" to all three questions. Keith explains, "It was mostly finance and accounting. And economics." Alice says, "So, you're a highly qualified leader because . . . You're good at math?" Keith whispers to the Boss, "What should I do here?" The Boss replies, "In these situations I like to use swearing."
The Boss enters a row of cubicles and thinks, "The powerful leader enters Cubeville to inspire the wretched underlings." The Boss peers into Dilbert's cubicle and thinks, "He spots one of the little people in desperate need of a morale boost." The Boss thinks, "The leader carefully assesses the situation. Every solution is unique." The Boss says, "Try identifying the problem and then solving it." The Boss thinks, "The leader waits while the brilliance of his contribution sinks in." Dilbert says, "That's a much better idea than what I was doing." Dilbert continues sarcastically, "I've been sitting here all day randomly pressing keys, but you've shown me a better way!" The Boss thinks, "Suddenly the leader remembers why he rarely visits Cubeville." Dilbert says, "My morale is soaring."
Catbert stands at his desk thinking, "My tail is twitching . . ." Catbert thinks, "That can only mean it's time to write some more evil policies." Catbert types, "To: all employees. Subject: new policy." Dilbert gets the e-mail message and reads, "Employees must wear shoes that are one size smaller than their feet." Alice reads, "This will reduce wear and tear on carpets by five percent." Catbert thinks, "This is my favorite part." He types, "We must do this to be competitive." A woman enters Catbert's office and says, "I'm a reporter for 'Evil HR Policies Weekly.' Do you have any success stories?" Catbert purrs. The caption says, "This is how industry practices are born." The journalist asks, "Has anyone complained about the 'Footsizing' program?" Catbert replies, "I haven't listened to a single complaint."
Dilbert, Alice, Wally and Asok sit at a conference table. Dilbert says, "Our pointy-haired boss will be joining us by speakerphone." Alice tells Asok, "This is an important part of your engineering trainig, Asok." Asok asks, "What do I do?" Wally explains, "When Alice presses the mute button, you make witty and sarcastic remarks." The phone rings. The Boss says, "Hello, everyone. I'd like to talk about the new compensation plan." Alice presses a button and points to Asok. Asok says, "Tell us some lies, you ugly, two-faced, hypocritical troll!" Asok continues, "I am Asok the Intern and I spit on your feeble compensation plan!" Asok continues, "I've found stuff on the bottom of my shoe that was smarter than you!!" He laughs. Dilbert and Asok walk out of the conference room. Dilbert says, "Next time, a bit wittier . . . And make sure Alice really presses the mute button."
Dilbert and his mother stand in the kitchen. Dilbert asks, "What do you want for your birthday this year, Mom?" Dilbert's mother replies, "Oh, nothing. I have everything I need." Dilbert says, "Oh, c'mon. There must be something you want." His mother replies, "Well, one thing, but it's silly." They sit in chairs. Dilbert says, "You just name it." His mom replies, "Okay." Dilbert's mother says, "I'd like a home entertainment theatre with a fifty-inch screen, 'Thx' Surround Sound and a 600 KBPS satellite link to the Net so I can view adult pictures during the commercials." Dilbert replies, "I was thinking more along the lines of a new toaster oven." Dilbert's mother says, "Oh, that's exciting. I'll put it next to my other one and watch them fight it out." Dilbert says, "There's a real dark side to the information age." Dilbert's mother says, "Oh, and about the gift of life I gave you; you're welcome."
The Boss says, "You'll love your new assignment, Alice." Alice thinks, "Uh-oh." The Boss says, "You're going to redesign all of our brochures!" Alice replies, "I'm an electrical engineer, not a graphic artist." The Boss says, "We can discuss your huge inadequacies during your annual review." Alice replies, "I'm not inadequate. I'm a highly skilled engineer." The Boss says, "And yet you can't make brochures." Alice says, "Okay, let me try to explain this in the simplest possible way . . ." Alice continues, "You . . . Are . . . An . . . Idiot." Alice sits at her desk thinking, "The simplest possible explanation isn't always the best." Wally stands behind her and says, "Hey, it looks like a brochure, only uglier!"
Wally sits at his desk thinking, "Whoa . . . I found a huge bug in our new software product." Wally thinks, "I could alert the development team and work many hours of overtime to fix it . . ." Wally thinks, "Or I could surf over to my online brokerage service and buy stock in our competition." Dilbert asks, "Are you going to lunch?" Wally replies, "No, I have to do an analysis." Dilbert walks away thinking, "When Wally works through lunch . . . It's time to buy stock in our competition." Dilbert tells Alice, "Wally's working through lunch!" Alice says, "Quick! To the online brokerage service!" The Boss reads the newspaper and thinks, "Our competition is up ten points on no news. We're up two, maybe from the industry halo effect." The Boss tells Alice and Wally, ". . . Or maybe our new compensation plan is motivating smarter behavior." Wally says, "I think you nailed it."
Wally is driving to work. He thinks, "I have a vague feeling of uncertainty." At work Wally thinks, "It gets stronger at the office." Wally loses his balance and thinks, "The uncertainty saps my strength. My suitcase is getting heavier." Wally crawls on the floor and says, "Must.. get... to... cubicle." Wally leans back in his chair. He thinks, "The uncertainty feels like a piano on my chest." The Boss looks in on him. The Boss says, "I decided to reorganize... or downsize, unless there's a merger." Wally waves his arms about. Wally says, "I summon the unholy demons of Apathy, Sarcasm, and Cynicism!" Wally is surrounded by devils and demons. He says, "Good thinking! Reorganizations always increase profits!" The Boss thinks, "Wow. Third time today."
Dilbert holds a paper and says, "I'll make a quick copy and then we can discuss it." The Boss says, "No, no. I'll have my secretary do that." Dilbert protests, "That will take longer." The Boss says, "It's more cost-effective." The Boss hands the paper to Carol and says,"We're highly-paid professionals. Carol is... well... I don't know if we pay her at all." The Boss says, "Now we'refree to do high-level planning." DIlbert says, "Um... we kinda need that document." Carol is in her cubicle and drops the document on a stack of papers labeled "Urgent." She looks at her watch and says, "Ooh, time for lunch." Dilbert rests his head in his hands and the Boss says, "So... do you fish?"
Dogbert sits at a computer with a telephone headset on. He says, "This is Dogbert's technical support. How may I disconnect you?" Wally sits at his computer and holds a cordless phone. He says, "What are my choices?" Dogbert says, "I recommend the abrupt disconnect; simple, gets the job done." Wally replies, "I had that last time. What else do you have?" Dogbert says, "You might like our 'Please hold,' followed by the 'wrong button' disconnect." Wally says, "Too predictable. Do you have anything new?" Dogbert says, "Try our new "Kervorkian Disconnect." I put you on hold and play an annoying message until you disconnect yourself." Through the phone Wally hears, "Your call is important. Please hold while we ignore it... Your call is important..." Wally thinks, "Not bad."