How to Fail in Business

Auto mechanic checking an internal combustion engine.

Pamela looked worried. “My car is making a strange sound.”

“Do what I do. Turn the radio louder,” replied Karl.

“That’s not going to help. What if it’s a serious problem?”

“Does the car still go?” asked Karl.

“Yes.”

“Do the brakes still work?”

“Yes.”

“Can you steer the car?”

“Yes.”

“Then what’s the problem? It still does all the things a car’s supposed to do. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” concluded Karl.

Karl’s attitude angered Pamela. “That doesn’t mean the car’s okay. Maybe it’s about to break.”

“It’s a machine. All cars break. It’s inevitable. Don’t overreact. You have a cellphone. When it does break down, give me a call.”

“Haven’t you ever heard of preventative maintenance?” demanded Pamela.

“Haven’t you ever heard of a cash grab? Preventative maintenance is the definition of the phrase ‘a fool and his money are soon parted’.”

In a huff, Pamela turned to leave. “You’re the worst mechanic ever.”

“That may be true,” said Karl, “but I’m an honest one. Those are a lot rarer.”

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With Age Comes…

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Kyle was visibly upset when he arrived home from work. Veronica was already setting the take-out Chinese meals she picked up on her way home.

“I spent the last hour fighting with Marcus. That young punk thinks he’s the smartest guy in the world. It’s sickening,” fumed Kyle.

Veronica didn’t reply. Instead, she went to the fridge and brought him a beer.

“These kids walk around like they know everything. I’m tired of the whole lot of them,” vented Kyle.

“You’re starting to sound like a grumpy old man,” said Veronica, with a smile.

Kyle’s eyes flared. “Old? I’m forty-five.”

“To a twenty year old, that’s ancient. Remember when you were that age?” asked Veronica.

The question made Kyle grumble. “It’s not the same thing. At least I had respect for my elders.”

“Sure thing, grandpa.”

“Would you stop that? You know the worst part of the whole thing?”

“Let me guess. Marcus was right?”

“He was right!” repeated Kyle. “I realized at that moment, the older I get, the less I know.”

“That’s not true,” reassured Veronica. “You’re not getting dumber.”

“It isn’t that. There’s more to know,” said Kyle.

“Well, that’s true,” noted Veronica.

“And the stuff I used to know isn’t relevant anymore. The world’s leaving me behind.”

The force of that revelation hung over the room.

“That may be true, but wisdom comes with age,” encouraged Veronica.

Kyle played listlessly with his egg roll. “What good is wisdom if no one listens to it?”

Veronica sighed. “You’ll have to get a lot wiser to know the answer to that.”

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The Unfortunate Speed of Sound

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When the project was finally given the green light, Alan was excited with the chance to work with Gus. By his reputation, this was an opportunity for Alan to work with the best.

On the first day of the project Alan was so excited he could feel his heart pound. “Let me show you to your workstation.”

“Relax, dude,” replied Gus. “Let me explain something to you. Trains stop at train stations. Buses stop at bus stations, so I don’t work at a work station.”

“Oh, sorry,” stammered Alan. “So how do we collaborate? I don’t know how this is supposed to work.”

Gus smirked at his new associate. “We don’t work. I play and you hammer out the details. Get it?”

“Play?”

“I like to think of it this way. God is always watching, so I might as well be entertaining,” laughed Gus.

“That doesn’t really answer-“

Gus cut him off before he could finish. “I’m bored, so here’s the plan: I’ll toss an idea your way and you knock it out of the park. We cool?”

Before Alan could speak, Gus was out the door. Alan slumped at his desk and shuffled papers.

Megan, a coworker, knocked on the door. “How’d it go?”

Alan shook his head in disgust. “That guy is proof that light travels faster than sound.”

“What do you mean?” asked Megan.

“I thought he was bright until he opened his mouth.”

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A Lesson Learned

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“Did you watch The Masters on the weekend? asked Ron.

Luis frowned. “Golf is just very slow polo without the horses.”

“Don’t hold back. Tell me how you really feel,” laughed Ron.

Luis shrugged. “Alright. Golf is a game invented by groundskeepers who needed an excuse to justify their existence.”

“I was just kidding. Seriously,” said Ron.

“It’s a waste of space and water. It promotes highly questionable fashion choices. Don’t even get me started on golf snobs,” ranted Luis.

“Gee, I’m sorry I brought it up,” said Ron, picking up Luis’ golf bag.

“Consider it a lesson learned,” replied Luis. “Don’t bug a golfer when he’s having a lousy round.”

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Awkward

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Wayne entered the administration building and bumped into what seemed like a familiar face in the lobby. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember the guy’s name.

While he was wracking his brain, the guy noticed him.

“Wayne! How’s it going?”

Wayne froze. It was way worse now that the guy knew his name. He needed to fish for information. “Not bad. How ‘bout you?” he asked.

“Oh, you know, the daily grind.”

No luck. It was time to bail out.

“I hear you. Well, I’ve got a thing. I’ll see you around,” Wayne said.

“Sounds good. I’ll catch you later,” replied the guy.

Wayne turned to the elevator, relieved the awkward encounter was over. He slipped inside and turned to face the door and saw the guy follow him inside.

“I guess it’s later already, Wayne.”

Wayne forced a smile. He watched as the guy pressed the button for the fifty-first floor.

“Which one are you going to?” asked the guy.

“The forty-seventh,” replied Wayne.

The two stood shoulder to shoulder in the crowded elevator as it ascended to its destinations. Wayne could feel the stare of the guy.

“You don’t remember me,” he said.

A bead of sweat ran down Wayne’s back. “I’m bad with names. Sometimes I forget my own.”

The guy didn’t smile. “I remember you,” he said.

Several people turned and looked, making Wayne even more uncomfortable. “If you remind me, we’ll both know.”

The guy shook his head. “I can’t believe it.”

“Sorry,” said Wayne. “I meet a lot of people.”

“There are courses on how to remember things,” said the guy.

“I’ll look into one, I promise. But for now, cut me some slack, okay?” begged Wayne.

At this point, Wayne noticed several people around him shifting nervously.

A smile grew wide across the guy’s face. The elevator reached the forty-seventh floor. “Relax, dude. We’ve never met. You’re wearing a name badge.”

Wayne looked at his shirt. “Aw, crap.”

“I was just messing with ya,” laughed the guy.

Wayne stormed off the elevator through the crowd. He pulled the badge from around his neck and shoved it in his pocket. “I hate this place,” he grumbled.

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Spring Feelings

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Kent watched wisps of snow dance across the asphalt. The wind flipped and whirled the flakes in a wintry choreography. It reminded Kent of the elegant flocks of birds or sleek schools of fish, moved by a divine hand in joyous play.

At that moment Kent remembered it was April.

“Stupid winter!”

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The Coffee Motivation

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Matthew burst in the room carrying a cup of coffee. Edgar was taking his time coming down the hall.

“I am displaying a level of bravery scarcely known to humanity,” announced Matthew.

The look on Reece’s face was one of disbelief.

“What are you babbling about?” asked Angela.

Undeterred, Matthew continued. “I am about to drink coffee made by Edgar.”

“Have you lost your freaking mind?” demanded Reece.

“I think you’re confusing bravery for stupidity,” added Angela.

“That stuff’s used as torture in some countries,” said Reece.

“It’s against the Geneva Convention to serve it to enemy combatants,” said Angela.

“Yet, here I stand, unflinchingly staring certain death in the face,” proclaimed Matthew.

At that moment, Edgar stormed into the room. “I heard you, you know. It’s not that bad.”

“That’s easy for you to say. You’ve built up an immunity to the stuff,” said Matthew.

“Then you make the coffee next time,” complained Edgar.

The other three looked at each other and snickered.

“If we did that,” said Matthew, “what would we tease you about?”

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