Friday, June 4, 2010

Pink Slip for Wheat Penny

My friend Betty is a contract worker. Like many, she is simply thankful for a job in this economy, even with the idiotic dysfunctionality that can come with the work. She does a fine job and she attended one of my Certified Scrum Master classes a few months back.

Betty, my friend, Wes, and I were talking about some of the absurd things companies do to enforce "rules" and while enforcement (and the rules themselves) often venture into the ridiculous, one instance she recalled caused us to laugh pretty well. She told us she received a pink slip for having a penny in the drawer of her desk. Wes and I gazed at her in disbelief. "Let me explain," she offered. By all means, we said.

It seems that a company she worked for had a rule (called a policy in company speak) that prohibited employees from leaving money in the unlocked middle drawer of their desks. Through some fortune, Betty had come across of "wheat penny" (produced circa 1909 to 1958) and intended to save it for one of her nieces. So, she put it in the middle drawer for "safe keeping." Bad timing; one of her company support people (we used to call them secretaries) did a "desk inspection" where they surreptitiously check to see if desk drawers are locked, that no contraband is in them, and that, heaven forebid, no money is in that unlocked middle drawer, which would surely tempt the local thieving office gremlin. But, lo and behold, there was that wheat penny - right up front and center - for all the world to see!

Well, for such a transgression, one receives a "pink slip" which Betty explained did not mean you were fired, but rather that you had violated (semi) sacred policy. Wes and I were extremely relieved. "How many of those pink slips can a person get before they get the other kind?" I asked curiously. "I don't know, thank goodness," she replied. "But if you accumulate 3 parking tickets in the company lots, you get to visit the head honcho in Chicago!"

"Wow, what a way to win a free trip to the big house in Chicago," I marveled. With that, we called it a week on a late Friday afternoon.

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