Memos from the CEO

BJT's editor unearths a folder full of memos that shed light on corporate life in America.

January 4

Team: Happy New Year! To help us thrive in this web-driven, 24/7 global economy, we today announce the tearing down of all walls that separate our 826 teammates and the elimination of all job titles. Soon, everyone will be working together in big rooms where we can share even bigger ideas. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sitting right next to team member and former president John Clueless.

April 3

Team: This has been a challenging quarter for us all, but the lessons we’ve learned will serve us well in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Today we introduce a new management team, led by president Clueless, who now understands that only with a clearly delineated hierarchy can we move forward productively. Carpenters will be arriving tomorrow to begin rebuilding private offices for everyone at a junior executive level and up. The rest of you will enjoy VIP-style cubicles, where display of properly framed family photos will again be permitted.

June 2

Team: You’re cordially invited to a mandatory offsite bonding event, where we will discover exciting new ways to communicate and to think beyond our corporate debt. Dress is business semi-casual with no cufflinks permitted.

June 15

Team: We regret the injuries that resulted at our bonding event. When we asked employees to fall backward from the stage and trust their coworkers to catch them, we didn’t anticipate what might happen, or the distance to the nearest hospital. We have already dismissed the people responsible for this activity and have severed our links with a leading life-coach organization. Those of you who suffered injuries will soon be receiving attractive offers from our attorneys. Please keep copies of all medical bills.

June 30

Team: President Clueless has informed us of his intention to seek other opportunities, effective 5 p.m. yesterday. We appreciate his more than nine months of service to the company but are excited to announce his replacement, Joe Uh-oh, who comes aboard with 38 years of experience in the mergers-and-acquisitions field.

July 10

Team: Thank you for the warm welcome you’ve given president Uh-oh. He looks forward to meeting and learning from each and every one of you, assuming you’ll still be around in the wake of some painful but necessary belt-tightening. Please refer to the attached list to see whether you’re still employed.

August 19

Team: This is a great day for our business, as we announce our acquisition by the Costcutter Company, a division of Shanghai-based Chop Chop Ltd. If you’re reading this, you probably still have a job but please check with John Hatchet to be sure. FYI, John, who joined us last week as executive vice president in charge of creative downsizing, has agreed to add HR to his responsibilities in the wake of the dismantling of our human-resources department. 

September 14

Team: Harry Costcutter, our corporation’s namesake and new president, has asked me to congratulate you all on a job well done and to say how sorry he is that your pensions and medical coverage have been eliminated. On a positive note, the company stock in our 401(k) is rebounding and is now worth almost 30 percent as much as it was six months ago. Please join us in the cafeteria after work for a celebratory cash-bar-and-cheese event.

November 2

Team: I regret the pain these last weeks have caused for the company’s remaining employees. As I head off to my new startup, I want to thank all six of you for everything you’ve done. You’re free to leave immediately but please note that I’ve arranged to continue your salaries through the lunch hour in recognition of your fine past service.