My boss says if I don’t sell more satellite TV subscriptions he’s going to have to let me go. He says it confidently, from behind his desk.
I say, where, and he leans forward, pardon? I repeat, where? Where will you have to let me go? I wouldn’t mind Thailand if I get a choice.
He sacks me on the spot.
The next day I go in to work anyway. I figure he didn’t really mean it. I do my spiel – hi, my name’s Will, I’m calling from TV Solutions. I was wondering whether you’d be interested in upgrading to satellite – fifty odd times before my boss, or ex-boss, comes over to my desk. He looks at Sarah to my left and Tommy to my right. They both click call, and start reading their prompt. The boss says, didn’t I sack you yesterday?
I take my headset off, I thought you were joking.
– Since when are the words, get out, you’re fired, a joke?
– So you want me to go then? I figured you wouldn’t’ve found a replacement yet.
The boss says, come with me, and I stand and follow him out to the corridor. He goes on, how many sales have you made this morning?
– Okay. You’ve got till the end of the week. If you don’t sell any by then I’m going to have to let you go.
He waits for me to say it. I don’t. He waits some more, then says: well?
I say, have to? You’ll have to let me go?
– Yes, what’s your point?
– Nothing, and I go back to my desk.
By the end of the week, I’ve made no sales, said hi my name is something like six thousand times, and had a conversation with a septuagenarian who’s convinced someone is trying to poison her cat. When I log off my computer, my boss appears behind me. He says, well?
I think about lying, but then figure he’ll know anyway. They’ve had time to advertise too. They’ll have someone new for Monday. In the end I go for hi.
The boss leans over my desk, how many have you sold?
I shake my head. He looks at the day shift filing out, the evening shift filing in, and says: you’ve got two more days. If you don’t sell any by the end of play Tuesday, I’ll have to let you go.
I say, are you sure?
He stands up, definitely.
– ‘Cause that’s the third time you’ve said that. And the third deadline. Will I just get a new one on Tuesday?
He ignores me, Tuesday. You’ve got till Tuesday.
At the end of my shift on Tuesday I’m still without a sale. My boss corners me as I leave.
– Well, it’s Tuesday.
– Yes it is.
– And what?
– How many sales have you made?
I say, I think you know the answer. Will I see you tomorrow anyway?
He ushers me into a broom cupboard, you’ve got three more days. If you make no sales by Friday, you’re gone, right?
I say, sure, trying to sound worried or scared or something when in fact I’m elated.
On Friday he comes to see me again. I don’t even let him speak.
– See you Monday, I say, and, with a smile, I walk out the door.