Corporate Contract

Jake came back from his lunch break to find a glass mason jar sitting on his desk. He frowned; there was absolutely no reason for it to be there. What good was an empty jar at a business which dealt strictly with numbers? He looked past his desk, down the row of cubicles occupied by the data crunchers who worked under him. Connor lives on a farm, Jake thought to himself. Maybe he’ll know why this jar is sitting on my desk.

“Connor…” he began, walking over to stand behind his computer.

“Almost done with the Tinasky report, boss!” he said, turning around in his chair to look up at Jake. “Once that’s done, I’ll move on to archiving-“

“Yes, yes, I’m sure you’re doing great,” said Jake, cutting him off. Connor was the rare breed of High School Part-time employee who was actually excited to have a job over the summer. The work ethic was nice, but the chipper attitude was quite annoying. “What I really wanted to know was if you knew anything about the glass jar on my desk.”

“Oh, sure,” said Connor, nodding his head. “Mr. Flint came by and put that on your desk. He said that you were supposed to use it to collect what is due. He also said that you’d know what that means,” he added, noticing Jake’s confused look. “Anyway, I think he’s still in his office.”

“I should probably figure out what he wants, and why he thinks I need a jar for it,” said Jake, rubbing his chin as he mused it over. “Thank you, Connor. Keep up the good work.”

“Dork,” he muttered under his breath. It was bad enough being the manager of a team of ‘Data Processing Advocates’, a fancy title for a grunt job that involved converting all of their paper documents into digital reports. Everyone knew it was a shit job that was one step away from being replaced by a digital scanner, which is why most of the positions were held by surly teenagers forced to get a job by their parents. The kids would work for a month or two before quitting or getting fired, at which point they’d be replaced by the next batch of surly teenagers. Years later, it would show up on their resume, and give them needed job experience so that they could get a slightly less shitty job elsewhere. It was the way of the world.

But, no. Six months and counting, Connor was still here, and just as happy and eager as he’d ever been. Didn’t the kid realize that he was just a cog in the machine? The only thing more offensive than his optimism was his attire. No matter how many times you told the kid that there wasn’t a dress code at his salary grade, he still showed up in khakis and a tucked, collared shirt.

Stop it, Jake, he thought to himself, grabbing the jar and walking across the building to Lucas Flint’s office. This is how you depress yourself. Not everyone gets to have their happy dream job, and there’s no shame in being a manager. He’ll figure out that the world sucks soon enough, and then you won’t have to feel that empty spot in your soul where your dreams used to be whenever you have to talk to him.

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