The Consultant

Posted on Friday, October 7th, 2011

by Sean McNeil

Have you ever been late for an appointment, something really important, and felt like everything was conspiring against you? Almost get run over by a kdarran courier, the woman in front of grabs the last berth on the steamer, every elevator in the building is suddenly summoned to the top three floors of a skyscraper just as you stumble in…

And your meeting is on floor fifty three.

Yeah, that’s you right now.

So much for that interview. Oh, they still let you come in, ask a few questions, but a woman who can’t make it across town on time shouldn’t be managing a factory. They don’t say it, but they’re thinking it. Despite the perfectly corporate handshakes and the perfectly casual way they brush it aside, you can tell. The human from Novagallia rolled his eyes once when he thought you weren’t looking, and the desert-born kdarr probably thinks your huffing and puffing was a sign of weakness.

So. You go through the motions. And then you just… go. You didn’t think you’d have to interview with anyone else. You came here because a company you admired, a kdarr-human enterprise, was finally moving off planet. Tennyson Delinoix Associates proved you could make truly immense amount of money by expanding across multiple planets, and you think it’s great someone is moving into position to compete with them. That’s half the reason you wanted this job; TDA shouldn’t be the only corp that spans hundreds of planets. Not that that’s evil, of course, you just think someone else deserves a chance.

And your résumé was perfect. You could have helped them so much, and they’ll never know.

But now… now, you’re the best factory manager on the planet. But you don’t have a job, and the pergressor fee to get here took a big chunk out of your savings. Only one other company is hiring someone of your experience in the area.

Tennyson Delinoix Associates. Of course.

But who cares, right? They pay, the benefits are good. So you call, arrange the interview for the day after tomorrow, and try to put today out of your mind by ordering room service. We’ll discreetly change scenes while you decide if you’re more interested in the bottle of scotch or the bellboy that brought it.

Two days later and everything is different. The canals are clear, the weather is perfect, and a beautiful coroca female hands you your wallet after you drop it trying to tip a food vendor. Everything is smooth, and you walk into the local TDA headquarters looking like you’ve got the world on a string.

And they’ll hire you. You really are the best factory manager on the planet, and they know it.
As for me, I don’t feel that bad. It’s always fun to talk to the city, and it’s as easy to make sure someone else misses a boat or to make sure an elevator isn’t there as it is to make the crowd part around me as I walk.

But just because the street lights always turn green for me doesn’t mean I don’t have bills to pay. And TDA really does have immense amounts of money. And they really, really didn’t want the best factory manager on the planet working for the competition.

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Tagged as , + Categorized as Columns, Building Character, Columns

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