About a year ago, James got hold of a few business books. He didn’t tell any of us his plans – just started acting on the junk he was reading. I developed four canker sores in my mouth over the span of nine days, thinking I was on the brink of being fired any moment, since the boss who’d always communicated so well with me… suddenly stopped.
Thankfully, the book stuff fell into James’ “Things I Try and Grow Bored with Quickly” folder, along with his Houston Marathon training schedule and Space Food Diet Cookbook. But in the midst of it all, I found that pesky book he was reading, and authored an accompanying pamphlet for anyone else who might try the shenanigans it promotes.
The Four Hour Work Week: Accompanying Pamphlet Insert
- So you’re going to stop working so much? Get a grip on life? Explore the world and climb mountains in all your free time? Good for you, pal. Now listen. I know part of this book tells you to stop checking your email so much and encourages you to set up some sort of auto-reply telling people you don’t have time for them, but listen…you’ve got to give people a heads up that you’re starting yet another self-help book scheme before you implement this crap.
- Why? Because you always used to reply to emails! And all of a sudden, one day you stop, and guess who thinks you’re mad at them? Yep, every single person that sends you emails. Especially people who like to email a lot, like assistants who enjoy sharing pictures of their cat with co-workers. Like, say, this cat:
- A friend of mine reading the book told me that it tells you to answer your cell phone like this:
- “Hey, I’m in the middle of something…What do you need!?” Then, if the person on the other end of the line stammers even for a second, I think you’re supposed to scream at them and bang your fist on a nearby bar stool (because you’re in the Galapagos Islands, at a bar) so they can hear it. I don’t think James ever got to this chapter. I suggest you skip it as well.
- Before beginning any instructions in this book, send everyone you know the following memo:
Henceforth, don’t call me. Don’t email me. Don’t stop by to visit. Because if you do, you’ll regret it. And you better hope you don’t happen to text me in the middle of any of my four working hours. Oh man, you’ll get it so bad.
Remember when we used to banter over email, sending funny forwards and replying to all with our witty remarks about the talking twin babies? No. More. Leave me alone.
In a few weeks, all my hopes and dreams will have come true.
[Insert Name Here. Better yet, don’t. That will just waste time.]
I’m not sure how business fared that month. While I was busy gargling salt water, thankfully, Chad was around to pick up the momentary communication lapse and keep all the clients happy. And now, if any of us see a stray business strategy book lying on James desk, we have a code warning we send out to all the other employees: “James is bettering himself. Code 2, Red, Orange, Alert!” Then we elect a run-man to go give James a pep talk and explain that his regular ole strategy of being really nice to clients and providing solid loans that save people money is actually a great idea, and we’re pretty sure that’s why all his clients become clients for life.
We haven’t seen any books in a while, and that’s good. James has actually been quite busy meeting with folks and talking about loans, so I don’t think he has time to read them anyway. Meanwhile, I’m busy avoiding angry emails from the publisher of that book I inserted all the pamphlets into. Thankfully, I’ve got my auto-reply set up to take care of it.