Rose Tyler Was Not Designed For Corporate Bureaucracy
Rose stomped her foot and did her best to suppress the growl that was rising in her throat. The man seated in front of her peaked an eyebrow, then looked back at the papers spread across his desk like some horizontal wallpaper… deskpaper. Rose's eye twitched. The papers, she assumed, were absolute junk, as most papers are. Signed and notarized duplicates of archived originals from thirty year old files that supervisors like the man in front of her pull out to use as deskpaper to make themselves look important. Except every other employee knew the deskpaper was comprised of signed and notarized copies of archives from thirty years ago, so all the supervisors did was, in fact, make themselves look silly.
The man lifted a sheet of deskpaper and examined it closely before carefully sliding it back into place between a diner receipt from 1976 and list of numbers that wouldn't be recognized as a fax transmission report by anyone except for the fax machines original manufacturer, and since they went out of business in 1989, that leaves no one.
Rose sighed and the man looked back up at her, furrowing his brows to express as much contempt as humanly possible. The Fulnoxi they'd captured did a much better job at this but since the Fulnoxi have six sets of eyebrows and are required to take lessons on Proper Expression Through the use of Hairy Appendages in grade school, the man was okay with that. What he was not okay with, was the continued presence of Rose Tyler.
He furrowed his brows deeper, tilting the left one just a bit off kilter, and closed his eyes.
When he opened them she was still there.
"Why are you still here?"
Now, dear reader, as you and I both know, it's hardly proper conduct for a supervisor to behave in such a way. What you may not know is that supervisors (managers and the like. Call them what you wish. Really it's inconsequential.) have the most powerful positions in the world.
What about the President? you ask. Or the Prime Minister? Queen of Jordan? King of Fulnox? Ah, good questions, but what you fail to see here is the balance, not of power or persuasion, but responsibility.
The basic corporate hierarchy works like this:
Employee — Supervisor — Owner
Yes, most corporations have many more levels than this. That's why I called it basic. Do try to keep up.
Now, if the employee makes a mistake, they're at the bottom rung (quite literally at the ladder factories of Fulnox where they have a very interesting form of employee incentives in that each mistake you make knocks you down one rung until you reach the end and simply fall. Once this practice became standard, hospitals began to relocate to just outside the factories. Then a fleet of workers compensation lawyers set up offices next to the hospitals. Copy and fax services (because lawyers are quite possibly the biggest fans of deskpaper in all the galaxy) came next and indeed now the entire Fulnox economy is based around the practice of knocking employees off ladders.)
I seem to have digressed so perhaps I should step back. Employee bottom rung. Their mistake is their mistake and they take the punishment. Now, should a supervisor make a mistake and end up being confronted by the owner, they pass the responsibility on to the employee. The employee is fired and the supervisor is given a bonus for weeding out another bad apple.
What happens if the owner makes a mistake? No one knows because, quite simply, the owner never does anything, and therefore can do no wrong.
Because of their unique position in the middle, supervisors can use this arrangement in the opposite direction as well. Any punishment or bad news delivered to the employee always came from "higher up," even if the supervisor himself is the one who came up with it. No matter which direction the problem is coming from, the supervisor can simply pass it along.
The supervisor in front of Rose Tyler was no different. His name is John Pinder should you care to know. A weasely man with a long weasely face, and thick weasely eyebrows that were failing to properly express his contempt to make Rose Tyler go away.
Rose sat down to make it perfectly clear to the weasely Mr. Pinder (and his eyebrows) that she wasn't going anywhere.
"What," she asked, "do you propose to do about this?"
Supervisor Pinder (he preferred to be called that far more so than simply Mister Pinder) sighed and told his eyebrows that they could relax for the moment, but to stay alert as he may need them again quite soon. "About what?" he sighed.
"About the fact that I've been working here for nearly two years and I've never gotten any kind of promotion. In fact you started paying me even less, in addition to giving me more and more to do."
Rose Tyler was livid. Supervisor Pinder hated livid people. Livid people never went away. He politely asked his eyebrows to get back to work before rattling off a list of reasons like cutbacks, company expansion and resources stretched too thin. He hoped that the list had managed to sound somewhat like a sentence because he hadn't been paying too much attention when he said it.
"Look," the livid Rose Tyler began again, "I can understand if you can't afford to give me a raise, but I'm doing my job and covering for three other people too. People you said you were going to replace months ago. I'm agreed to do Mary's entire job while she was on maternity leave. Her kid's already potty trained!"
Supervisor Pinder could hear the exclamation point in her voice and sighed. The only thing worse than a livid employee was a livid employee using exclamation points. His eyebrows gave up and relaxed up into the creased of his brow.
"Perhaps you can speak to the man in charge." He waved his hand dismissively, not to gesture anything in particular, but because he hoped to movement would distract her. That and his hand was starting to get a little tingly.
Rose rolled her eyes. "The whole point, Mister Pinder," (oh, how he hated to be called Mister), "of my starting as an entry employee, is that my father is the man in charge."
Supervisor Pinder shrugged. "Well that should make it easy, shouldn't it? I'm sure he'll do whatever you want."
The growl that Rose had originally suppressed was finally released and the thin thread holding together her patience for the corporate bureaucracy she was forced to struggle through finally snapped, taking out her restraint against physical violence in the process.
Supervisor Pinder was used to outbursts from his employees. He would simply wait until they'd finished yelling or crying or whatever expression of emotion it was they chose, then direct them to the man upstairs. And by the man upstairs, I mean Pete Tyler. Yes, that's Rose Tyler's father, the man in charge. I thought you'd figure that out yourself.
In this case however, he was not given the liberty because Rose Tyler would not allow it, as she did not merely scream and yell — she attacked.
The first thing to go was his deskpaper. He gasped in shock and let out a strangled sort of meep as he watched the papers flutter to the floor and slide under filing cabinets, chairs and, in one case, right under the throw rug. His fancy gold pen - the one on the gold pedestal that spun when you flicked it but wrote rubbish - spun off into the velvet red curtains next. He was still staring at the billowing fabric when his employee of the month placard hurtled through the air to collide with the world globe he'd placed with such care and precision in the east-southeast corner of the room. It was then that he called for security, and while they waited, Rose Tyler told him what-for.
"You stupid, useless, bloody wanker! Out of all the people in this damned building, working for this damned company, you are the worst, most pathetic, pointless, and lazy son of a bitch! You don't do a damned bit of work and dump it all on me without any regard for the crap you dumped on me last week or the week before. You make promises of raises, and replacements and offices with bloody windows and none of it happens and you expect me to just take it!" She gave a sharp kick to the front of his fine mahogany desk, splintering the fine mahogany wood and sending his silver mesh container of paper clips to the floor.
"Well, not any more! I'm going above you to whoever'll listen, and I'm gonna get your weasely ass fired." She glared at him. "You and your eyebrows!"
At that moment security came in, which spared Supervisor Pinder from an embarrassing sputter about not knowing why in the world she would point out his eyebrows. It also spared Rose Tyler from the follow up question of "Is it that noticeable? Do you think I'm doing it right? How about like this? Or this?" and all sort of other eyebrow related discussion that would have likely driven her mad and driven him to challenge the Fulnoxi downstairs to an eyebrow off. But as I said, security did come, so we don't have to worry about that.
Enter security, and along with them Pete Tyler (Rose's- oh, you remember I should hope). Rose turned with her hands on her hips to address him.
"This man," she gestured to Supervisor Pinder, expressing far more contempt than his eyebrows ever managed, "does absolutely nothing but shirk responsibility all day long and I'm sick of it."
Pete Tyler frowned. There were a number of reactions Rose Tyler expected, ranging from "What? You're kidding? He's fired and you're promoted!" to "Oh, I'm sure he must be doing something. Let him explain." What she was not expecting to hear was "I know," but "I know" was exactly what she got.
Rose gaped in much the way one does when faced with an unexpected response.
Pete nodded. "Yes, I know. That's what his job is here."
Rose frowned. "His job is to do nothing?"
Pete Tyler laughed. "Heaven's no. His job is to shirk responsibility!" He gave another hearty laugh which the guards and Supervisor Pinder join in with. "He's the filter that allows me to punish you and other employees without taking the blame, and he lets me pass any mistakes and problems in the company on to employees we've been looking to get rid of anyway. That way the higher ups maintain the respect they need to control those below them and we weed out the people we don't like. It's very simple really." he cocked his head just slightly to the right in the direction of the still spinning globe in the east-southeast corner. "I thought you would have figured that out."
Rose gaped again, this time much stronger than the way one does when faced with an unexpected response. She looked at the spinning globe. She glanced at the golden pen. She took in the deskpaper that had become floorpaper. Then she dropped to her knees on the floorpaper and sighed.