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3:26 am - Thurs 10/28/04
\"The Company Man\"

"The Company Man"

Thurs 10/28/04 (12:54 a.m.)

Only a few days ago, I was feeling pretty darned unhappy...

Mandy, for whatever reason, had decided that of all the bookstores in the world, she had to come back to work at mine, and the situation was feeling...untenable.

And David, the new GM, as impossible as it seems, is making people long for the "Golden Age" of John Acero: On Monday, he was having staff in his office, a couple people at a time, to have us go over updated rules and regulations for the store, and during the course of the "conversation", he made it abundantly clear that he thought all the problems in the store–the high "shrink", the poor sales, etc.–could be laid squarely at the feet of the thieves and screwups that work at Borders #102.

(That would be me, and the people I've worked with for the past couple years.)

(As you might imagine, as a morale-builder, taking this tack with employees has been a complete bust. And the mood right now, amongst peons, supervisors, and other managers alike, is grim; to quote a coworker, "This may be the first GM in Borders history who gets fragged by his crew".)

So, in a nutshell, I was feeling pretty down.

But then...

Mandy quit.

I don't know if they told her she'd have to get along with me and she couldn't stomach the idea, or she just thought a crappy part-time job wasn't worth the aggravation, or what, but she has "given notice". And I'm going to assume "That's that with that", unless she plans to sue me for somehow forcing her to quit (By saying "Hi" to her on the job or something).

I am very relieved. I think it's a little sad that we couldn't just "deal with it"–She's almost 30 years old, while I am...substantially older than that, which makes us both theoretically "adults"–but it's fine by me that I'm not going to have that particular "growth experience".

Maybe some other time.

And the fact that the new GM is a flaming asshole motivated me to recently go online to check out the whole "notary thing", and what I found was very encouraging: The test is inexpensive (The most expensive place I saw offered it for $120), fairly easy (30 multiple-choice questions, and 70% is "passing"), and you can be official in as little as a month's time.

I could take the course pretty much any time, but I think I'll probably hold off till I can find out when it's scheduled at L.A. City College, which is maybe a mile away from my apartment (Otherwise, I'd have to go to Santa Monica, or out by LAX. in order to take it).

As for the new GM...

He's really not a "flaming asshole". That serves to make him "bigger" than he really is.

What he actually is is "Company Man", who probably has to consult the Borders Handbook when he takes a dump for the proper way to wipe his ass.

My biggest concern, as it always is when a new regime starts, is "Am I going to get any static about my schedule needs?".

The schedule I have is about the best schedule I could have for what I'm doing right now (Auditioning for commercials), so I don't want it to change. And really, there's no reason why it should–I actually want to work nights and weekends, which a lot of the kids at the store, understandably, don't want to do–but I don't trust this guy not to change things just to put his "imprint" on the place, to show us "there's a new sheriff in town".

And unlike with John A.–who got off to just as bad a start as this guy (For the first couple weeks, he wasn't even introducing himself. He would just walk up to someone and start telling them what to do)–there's no John O. to act as "humanizing influence", to whisper in the new guy's ear "Hey, you have to treat your staff like people...". To, in effect, teach him how to be a decent manager, to teach him the stuff that apparently isn't in the Borders "General Manager Playbook".

John O. had the view that "We're not paying you very well, and we ask for a lot of work from you while you're here, so the least we can do is be as accomodating as possible about your schedule", which I thought was imminently fair and humane.

And while I've had a great streak of convenient auditions–I've had seven auditions in the past five weeks, and they've all fallen on one of my days off–it's only a matter of time until I'll need to call in, to say I can't make it in at the start of my shift the next day (It won't happen for months on end, then it can happen two or three times in a single month). And if I get written up every time I have to call in to say I'll be late the next day, my tenure at Borders might very well be shortened considerably.

In any case, I've decided that if/when the situation comes up, I'll try to reason with "Company Man" the same way I did with John Acero, who was nothing if not pragmatic: My schedule works for both of us. And you want to work with me on this stuff, because I'm one of your "good people". I show up on time, I never call out, I'm good with the customers, and I probably know where more of the books are than you do.

If this makes sense to him, that will be fine and dandy.

If not, then I will have to have the courage to continue doing what I need to do, and let the chips fall where they may. I can't let Borders in general, or this guy in particular, dictate what I do in my acting career.

As more than one of my friends have said "You didn't go out to California to work in a bookstore".


Well, I was going to write about my last couple auditions, but it's late, and I'm tired, and I feel like I've gone on for days about this stuff (Till next time, let's suffice it to say that having some auditions, and some good ones, is another reason my mood is a great deal brighter right now).

Till next time...


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