Thursday, April 13, 2017

Corporate Obscurity

It was toward the end of a dozen years with a multi-billion dollar corporation that I found myself on a list of employees whose value to the company had come into question. The unfortunate group was assigned to a "special project," which may sound like something desirable that would distinguish or redeem us. Not so for the corporate professional whose contributing days had run their course.

Each of us knew this was a make or break situation. We were in the pool given a monumental task that we knew was destined for failure. There was minimal chance that when the task was completed that success would lead us to a new position within the company. We were living in limbo land.

There were participants from many departments of various levels, grades, and specialties, yet, despite our wins in the past, we now faced that dreaded outcome: "separation from the company" which would end our careers.
Still, most of us took on the responsibilities with chins held high, our stiff upper lips pursed into dogged expressions, and our noses planted firmly on the grindstone.

Our job was to inventory company assets scattered through the facilities of its outsourced transportation company and find discrepancies in the millions of dollars of equipment that had gone missing from the books. For the best part of five weeks, we traveled from city to city across the United States serving in the heat of blistering warehouses in Atlanta, Boston, New Jersey, Florida and other, more obscure towns.

The members of our team, for the most part, grew closer through our mutually shared yet unspoken knowledge of upcoming doom. Each of us hoped somehow to distinguish ourselves in some creative way and regain our misplaced importance to the corporate entity. Our futures depended on making the right impressions with those token "safe" employees who joined us from time to time to interject a sense of validity to our efforts. If only we could make the right connection, impress the holder of an open personnel requisition, perhaps befriend someone who could keep us afloat in a top-heavy, overburdened ship with excess cargo.

The rumors of upcoming layoffs floated among us in the evenings when we gathered for the dinner meal. Those were times when the most desperate tried their hardest to find a listening ear, to work out some deal to keep themselves on the payroll. Doomed alliances were pushed to the limit by intense competition for any safe place left within the organization.

As we toiled in our unaccustomed manual labor roles of the temporary assignment, we brushed elbows with Vice Presidents and departmental leaders whose objective during their brief tenure among us was assessment of team members.

As the hours, days and weeks passed, the stays at adequate but less than luxurious hotels continued. We sweated, washed our clothes in motel laundromats, ate take-out food, sang songs and whistled while we worked, and grew as close as our tenuous situation would allow. When we concluded our round-about inventory tour, our diverse team members returned to their respective home bases and awaited our fates.

To our immense surprise, the project was deemed an unqualified success. We located and documented millions of dollars of elusive inventory and turned our ill-fated mission around. Many were able to secure jobs in new areas within the company. Our assignment became a test of our adaptability to change. Those who were able to embrace the uncertainty and plow through were awarded a cash bonus and handed an engraved plaque of recognition by the Senior Vice President.

It was a memorable moment in the trial by fire of the corporate worker.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Salad - 50 Ways to Lose Your Blubber

Trying to lose a few pounds at my age has become a real challenge. Two years ago I decided to lose ten pounds. I'm not discouraged. I've only got twenty more pounds to go. "All I had was a salad." Go figure.

This is a favorite with Iceberg lettuce, chopped Roma tomatoes, drained black beans and sliced fresh strawberries. Where I've been going wrong is with the dressing. If you read the label, two tablespoons is an average serving with 140 calories. I usually quadruple that amount. (I may be underestimating a bit.) This week I decided to try something different. I've been using Balsamic Vinaigrette mixed with Zesty Italian Lite dressing and I've lost two pounds.
This was lunch on Monday: Iceberg lettuce, chopped celery, sliced baby carrots, chopped beefsteak tomatoes and dressing. What's missing is the mountain of cheese that I usually shred over the top of this "low-fat" meal. Of course, I've skipped the Simply Dipped Nutty Buddy ice cream cone afterward, too. How droll.
For variety, there's rolled up deli turkey, 15 calories per slice, and rather than the entire tomato, I used only half. What a sacrifice!
This one's also a favorite with baby spinach leaves, deli turkey and half of an avocado. I like to sprinkle a little lemon juice over the top to keep it from browning too quickly. Usually, there's no danger of that since it's gone in 60 seconds. Just kidding. It usually lasts three minutes while I watch an episode of Snapped: Killer Couples or Lt. Joe Kenda on TV.
Here's another way to use up that Costco-size Hillshire's Farm Deli Turkey in the economical five-gallon tub. I back-slid on this one and added shredded cheddar cheese, but to make up for it, there's fresh grapes. So I'm good, right?
Okay, here I'm really falling off the wagon with this tuna salad and its high calorie mayonnaise. Please help me, I'm falling. Down one pound and back up two. Aaaccck!
Getting better all the time with these added black olives, half a boiled egg, Garbanzo beans (for protein) and two rolled up slices of deli ham at 25 calories each. Oh, don't forget the Roma tomatoes and the half cup of Ranch Dressing.
Now, you're cooking. Avocado, black beans, grilled chicken breast, Roma tomatoes over Iceberg lettuce. Yes, now, that's a meal in itself. But wait, what about the dressing?
Venturing way out on a limb with Artisan type lettuce, otherwise, same stuff, different day. Black beans, Roma tomatoes, boiled egg, hold the salt - I'm on a diet. Ah, never mind. What good is an egg without salt?
Better. Tuna with no mayonnaise, sliced baby carrots, baby spinach, Iceberg lettuce, paprika. Uh oh. Giant bowl.
Really branching out now. Adding diced Bell pepper, rolled ham with Swiss cheese, boiled egg, Spinach and Iceberg lettuce. Feeling happy. Have a nice day. Ok. Google won't let me add more images so that's it for now. Eat healthy. Drum roll. Here's Paul Simon, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.