Author's Note: In college I took a class called Industrial Organizational Psychology. In English that means: So you want to work in Human Resources. After I took the class, I realized that I did NOT want to work in HR. Now, I have all this worthless information in my head. I decided to do something and write a story based on some of it.
Oh…before I forget…
Disclaimer: I don't own LWD and in no way, shape, or form will ever even imply that I own or have anything to do with the HR…stuff that follows.
No matter how many happy plants and colorful pictures they put around the waiting room, no one was really going to believe that taking a visit to HR was what they had been waiting for their whole lives. Looking at the other two occupants of the HR waiting room George was fairly certain they'd agree with him.
Leslie, a new associate, tossed her severally outdated magazine back on the pile and turned to George and Brad, the firm's resident workaholic patent attorney. Smiling in an effort to make her coming comment seem funnier, Leslie asked, "What are you two in for?"
Brad leaned his head back against the wall and sighed. It was obvious that he wished he'd brought some paperwork with him. Despite that, he spoke first.
"I made the mistake of answering that stupid stress test correctly. My ex and I finally finalized our divorce after five years of being separated. Add in the fact that my dog and my Dad both died, HR got worried. It didn't matter how many times I told them I was closer to my dog than my Dad."
Leslie laughed as she replied, "I got high marks on the stress test due to moving and a new job. They want to make sure I don't crack my first year here."
"No," George snarked. "That's how they like to celebrate your tenth anniversary."
"How about you, George?" Brad asked. "How did they catch you?"
"It probably has to do with that promotion I turned down."
"Of course. They only employ workaholics here."
"Why did you turn down a promotion?" Leslie asked wide-eyed.
"Surprisingly," Brad answered for him. "George likes his family better than he likes us."
"What can I say, Brad? Nora's just better looking that you."
As Brad and Leslie burst into peals of laughter, what could only be described as a living Businessman Ken Doll walked into the room with a large grin that perfectly showed off his capped teeth. "George Venturi, why don't you come on back?" he said with a liquid smooth voice.
Exchanging a look of disbelief with Brad, George pushed himself out of his amazingly uncomfortable but exceedingly comfy-looking chair. Following HR Ken to his office, George idly wondered if the guy was once a model. He looked like the kind of guys that were in all those magazines Casey and Emily looked at.
Once they were seated and introductions and the complementary glass of water or coffee was offered and turned down, HR Ken—otherwise known as Philip—said, "As I'm sure you know, you scored fairly high on the stress test."
"And it used to be a good thing to get a high score," George cracked.
Philip gave him a smile, but George was unsure if Philip actually understood the joke.
"Here in Human Resources we are concerned about the entire wellbeing of our employees, not just your work performance."
George, sensing that Philip wanted a response to that, slowly said, "Thanks?"
"It's the least we can do."
Yep, George decided, HR had no sense of humor.
"Since your score was so high, we would like to talk to you and see if there is anything we can do to help you regain balance."
"I don't really think…"
Interrupting, Philip stated, "It says here that you recently remarried."
"How's the second marriage going?"
"Very well. Nora and I are happy."
"And how's your relationship with your step-daughters?"
"Casey and Lizzie are wonderful girls. I love them like they were my own daughters."
"And how are your children getting along with Nora's?"
Inwardly George sighed and wondered if Dave from Accounting was just kidding when he said that all HR wanted was for you to burst into tears and declare the talk a cathartic release. In response they would cut you loose and you'd be free from HR for another year. Unable to bring forward a dose of fake tears, George decided to give in and just talk to this guy.
"Marti is thrilled to have older sisters and Casey is very good with her. Lizzie and Edwin are attached at the hip; you'd almost think they were twins. Derek has helped coach Lizzie in hockey and has declared her his successor."
"And Casey and Derek…"
"Well, they are always arguing, calling each other names, pulling pranks, sometimes the fighting becomes physical."
"Would you like some pamphlets on helping blended families get along?" Philip asked with almost too much concern.
"Do you have any daughters of your own?"
Surprised at George's question, Philip lost his overly concerned look and shook his head no.
Nodding, George replied, "Then you really aren't going to understand. Marti's only five. I thought I had years before I had to worry about the Dad to Boyfriend 'I'll kill you if you make my baby cry' talk."
"But, what's this have to do with Derek and Casey not getting along?" Philip was thoroughly confused.
"It'd be alright if I actually thought that the reason Derek and Casey fight is because they don't like each other."
"They put way to much effort into it for that to be true."
"So, you're afraid…"
"Unresolved sexual tension practically sparks from them. And then, Derek seems to have this weird ability to talk Casey into stupid things she wouldn't normally do. Like the time they had a party while Nora and I were gone." Sighing, George added, "I'd really like them to be well into their twenties before I become a grandfather. Actually, I'd like them to be well into their twenties and married for a couple of years before I have to worry about them even doing anything that might make me a grandfather."
"Wow," Philip said, clearly overwhelmed. "No wonder you scored so high on the stress test."
"I don't have any pamphlets on that."
"I'm not surprised," George replied. "So, am I free to go?"
"I guess," Philip replied. "But, I'm supposed to help you learn to de-stress."
George thought about this for a second before offering, "Talking to you was very cathartic. How about I come back to chat the next time my home life becomes overwhelming?"
Philip thought about this for a second before nodding. "That will do. So, see you next year?"
"Hopefully I won't need to see you before then."
"Good luck," Philip replied, and it was clear he really meant that.