Friday, May 26, 2006

...And Now For Something Completely Different

I'm going away on a trip, so it must be time once again to dig into the rejection files. This one is a piece of satire I wrote, hoping to get it placed in The New Yorker's "Shouts and Murmurs" column. When they rejected it, I tried The Funny Times, who sent me back my query letter with a handwritten notation "Close, but not quite." Mad Magazine also turned me down.

I wrote this because I was fed up with all the non-compete and non-disclosure agreements I've had to sign in the course of my relatively short professional career.

Welcome aboard! We are delighted to have you join our team here at OmniCorp. We just have a little paperwork to complete and then we can show you around.

OK, the first document here is the Non-Compete Agreement. I think you’ll find that it’s a pretty standard form. You agree that after you complete your employment with us- due to the sensitive nature of our business - you will not work for any of our competitors. For how long? For ever, of course! We have to protect ourselves, you know. Incidentally, if you have children, we ask that they don't work for our competitors either - kids are like sponges. We have to guard against little Johnny sneaking a peek inside your briefcase and going on to undermine one of our trade secrets twenty years from now. You understand..

This is the Non-Disclosure Agreement. Again, this is all boilerplate stuff – nearly every company in the industry requires you to sign one of these babies before you start work. Really, nothing here should be shocking or surprising.

You basically agree to keep confidential anything we tell you to keep confidential. You also agree not to divulge our trade secrets, documentation, templates, phone lists, laundry lists, business plans, floor plans, interior decorating plans, internal communications or any other written communication. We also ask that you not share things you hear, overhear, or imagine you heard with anyone outside the company. Any thoughts you might have belong to the company, so please, until we have our ThoughtWare monitoring system in place, we ask you to use this handy Dictaphone.

Anything you create during the course of your work here becomes our property, regardless of whether it was created on company or personal time. You’ll see in the kitchen that we have a very nice set of coffee mugs, plates, and serving platters, all thanks to the ceramics students who used to work here. And you may have seen our latest novel, “The Wild Hermits of Wheaton” by OmniCorp. Alice, the secretary, is really quite a talented author. Of course, we couldn’t allow her to have the author credit – it just wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the staff, you know.

Here’s the Liability Release Waiver. The waiver recognizes the fact that any workplace can have hidden dangers and that you promise to hold us blameless should you have any workplace-related injury. This includes, but is not limited to, carpal tunnel, eyestrain, broken bones, sprained ligaments, torn muscles, or dismemberment. Which reminds me, please be careful when using the shredder on the eleventh floor, something is definitely wrong with it.

We ask that you sign a copy of our privacy policy, to acknowledge that you’ve read it and understood it. If I may speak bluntly, you have no expectation of privacy here. We own the computer systems, the network, and the phones, so any communications on these devices are subject to monitoring to ensure that only work-related business of an appropriate nature is discussed. We also own the building and everything in it, so we can always see and hear you and report to the relevant company authorities the most minor infraction of company policy. You understand how it is, business these days. We must make sure everyone is functioning at maximum capacity and that we are all working toward the same goals.

And the last document we have here is a medical authorization form to obtain a DNA sample. No, we’re not going to take your blood! A simple oral swab will do. This form authorizes the company nurse to take a sample of your DNA, so that if it’s determined that you match our standards for the ideal employee, our R&D department can get started on cloning you. You’re not going to be around forever, you know, and the least you can do is ensure that when you’re gone, the company will have a way to replace you.

Now, you can’t start work until you sign all the paperwork, so I suggest you get started. Sure, you might want to read it through, but do you really think you need a lawyer to look it over? You know, lawyers wrote all of the agreements so I’m sure they’re perfectly legal. You don’t really want to go through all the hassle, especially when we’re so excited to have you, instead of one of the other 500 qualified applicants, on board.

That’s right, there you go. Here, you can use my pen. Then I’ll show you to your desk.


At 27 May 2006 at 19:49, Blogger Terri said...

LOL! Someone has got to publish this!

At 30 May 2006 at 19:14, Blogger Col said...

Tee hee. This one hits way too close to home! :-0 Clever but yet acerbic...


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