I Love My Job by Anne Cargile

The psychobabble was getting out of hand… it was time to really kick this group meeting into gear, and he knew exactly how to get that done.

Rick stood up. The force of his movement threw his chair back hard enough that it slammed into the wall behind him.

“Enough! Are we all done with debating whether green candies are better than red? They are both apple for crying out loud!” Rick practically shouted. “We have much bigger issues to discuss, and I for one would like to get to them before the day is completely blown.”

The room fell silent at his outburst and every head turned to stare. Rick looked at the faces in front of him and pinched his nose in frustration. He loved his job he told himself while he counted to ten.

“It is very important to understand the psychology of color versus taste Mr. Shuman,” said Manix. Rick stared at the blue Denebian and let out a long-suffering sigh.

“I know, Manix. Different species do have different perceptions of color versus taste, and I really do understand the importance. I’ve read all the psychology studies on humans, Denebians, Arcturians and so on. But we have been stuck on this one issue for over an hour. I’d like to make a suggestion to get this meeting moving in the right direction. If I may?” Rick asked, his tone as modulated as he could manage.

Various heads, and other appendages, nodded in agreement.

Once Rick had the room in agreement, he brought up the first point on the agenda that had caused the argument, red or green for the new apple flavored candy their client wanted to put out on the interstellar market. The working title for the candy was Gapple Gobs, which Rick personally thought was ridiculous, but had proved incredibly popular in surveys on Deneb and Capella.

“We’re going to settle this right now,” Rick began. “Please raise your hand, or appendage, or whatever it is you have if you think this candy should be red.” Arms of various types went up around the room and Rick did a quick count. “Then it’s settled. The majority of the room prefers red. Next item on the agenda, where are we on the test candy surveys?” He looked around the room and pointed to Manix.

Manix cleared his throat and Rick groaned internally. That sound indicated a lecture and Rick knew from experience Manix’s lectures were always long and boring.

“You have 3 minutes to summarize, Manix, please. Starting now,” Rick said and clicked the stop watch function on the table.

Two hours later, Rick thanked everyone and went back to his office. Once inside, he closed the door behind him and went straight to his desk, where he pulled out a bottle from deep in his bottom drawer. A beautiful Scotch, imported from Earth–Rick knew he needed a good pull to calm his nerves. I love my job, he told himself again as he uncorked the bottle and took a swig. I love my job.

His desk chimed and he saw the latest report on another client’s product flash up. A three hundred page study on the psychological appeal of putting twirls onto candy strips. Rick sighed, knowing he was going to have to slog through yet more psychobabble before he could go home that night. He took another pull on the bottle, recorked it, and sat down to start reading.

I love my job, he kept saying to himself as he pulled up the first page.

His desk chimed again, a video message. Looking for any excuse not to read the report, he clicked play. A holograph came up of a rather beautiful human female. Rick sat up straighter in his chair.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Shuman. My name is Carla Henries and I represent Hershel Candy. We’ve been extremely impressed with your work and would like to know if you’d be interested in a meeting to discuss a possible change in employment. We are expanding into new product lines and think you would be a perfect fit for our Director of Production. If you are interested, please accept the invitation attached to this message. I hope to hear from you soon.”

Rick sat back and let out a little whistle. What a woman, he thought. What a promotion, too. Before he could think himself out of it, he accepted the invitation. He was getting tired of Mars anyway and he was pretty sure Hershel Candy had their headquarters on Neptune.

Two months later…

The psychobabble was getting out of hand. Rick looked around the conference room and felt a sense of déjà vu. The faces were different, hell, the planet was different, but the arguing and the stupidity were exactly the same. He sighed deeply. He’d accepted the job at Hershel Candy, and things had started off smoothly enough. He no longer had to read three hundred page reports on the psychology and sociology of food choices, which was a bonus. He had a nice little thing going with Carla, which was a real bonus, but Rick learned quickly enough that production was just as bad as marketing. Under discussion currently, and getting contentious, was whether to tint the wrappers of the new candy, working title Silver Butter Bombs, or leave them clear.

“Enough!” Rick shouted. The feeling of déjà vu was even stronger when the room fell silent at his outburst and every head turned to stare. Rick looked at the faces in front of him and pinched his nose in frustration. He loved his job he told himself. He loved his job.


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