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Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry

Zoe: Story part 4 of 4

Patrick Greyson. Graduated top of his business class from Standford, a mathematics whiz, up and coming star of the corporate world. I had to make a very weighted offer in order to out compete. It’s costing me quite a lot just to have him in this conference room, although the eventual consequences will make it worth it.
   He’s talking about a taking over a smaller company, he’s showing me the documents he’s drafted up for the takeover. They’re very good. We could take over our own small portion of real estate market in a month. A foot hold. If he was trying to impress me, he’s succeeded.
   But I don’t like him.
   It’s not the sort of thing I would have had a problem with forty years ago, when I was desperate for clients, with a license to sell insurance still warm from the printers.  If I had the chance to slice up someone else’s agency and serve their life to myself on a platter, I would take it. No question. All that mattered was Warren Enterprises. All that mattered was building something, creating something entirely my own. I never took anything. I merely absorbed things.
   My clients, my buyers, they got screwed over. Let’s not doubt that. I thought that if I wanted to build a large, sprawling corporation like I wanted, if I wanted to grow so tall I couldn’t even see my moms shadow, I had to be ruthless. Legal, always always legal, always within those hard black lines. But there was so much room inside those hard black lines as long as you were making money.
   Patrick Greyson is smiling at me, now. He’s waving his hands around expressively, so excited about how much money we’re about to make.  Craig would be excited too. Craig would also have drawn up different documents, better documents, ones that let all the employees keep their jobs instead of us outsourcing them to cheaper sources in India. Craig would be better.
   Craig is better. That’s why he’s getting promoted. That’s why Mr. Greyson is sitting in my conference room, trying to show me projected profits.
   Craig. Started off as an legal assistant, noticed a mistake that would have plunged us under, and then managed to restructure the entire internal system so it wouldn’t happen again. That’s when I noticed him; he’d already been working for me for two years. I rewarded his commitment to the company with a raise and a promotion. Someone like that doesn’t deserve to be bringing coffee to his superiors.
   Later, then. The aftermath the hurricane. Phones ringing off the hooks with people trying to cash in their insurance, people collecting, people not collecting. Craig, again, stood out. He stayed long after hours, burying his head in his hands. I called him into my office when I realized how much more money was flowing out in his name then anyone else’s. He explained that there were people without homes that couldn’t be abandoned. I explained that my company making money was not negotiable. He explained that generating public goodwill would work well in the long term. I questioned. He showed me how we would rise above our competitors by dint of name.
   I was impressed.
   Next time I ran into a problem, I called him in again. Asked him for his opinion. Tested him. Craig was very, very good.
     I don’t know what a proper parent child relationship looks like. I grew up as a prop for my mother’s cons. But I’d like to think that–
   He had so much potential. Originally I only took him on as a protégée, someone who could be moulded into a valuable tool for Warren Enterprises, but then. Craig continued to be good. He made up new drafts, new models, wanted to change everything. He showed me that the idea of my company, something that was mine and mine alone, to carry me far and away from helping my mother rob men in seedy bars, could be so much more. An idea that helped so many more. He showed me plans for low-interest insurance to be sold to those who otherwise couldn’t and wouldn’t insure their houses at all, plans for employment outreach that would allow us to find talent where other companies wouldn’t even look, plans for philanthropism that had benefits for everyone. Craig wasn’t good, he was great, and our relationship wasn’t just about me moulding him, anymore, it was about making him great for his own sake. Because I wanted him to do well.  I’m just–I’m so proud of him. The things that he’s done, the person he is. I don’t know what a proper parent child relationship looks like, but. Craig is what I would have wanted in a son
     We were talking, the other day. He was looking exhausted, so I suggested we leave a few minutes early and grab a drink. He told me that he wanted the weekend off to spend time with his family. I didn’t understand. There was a big conference coming up, and I wanted him to represent the company. It was a fantastic opportunity, both for the organization and for him. He told me I didn’t understand what it meant to truly have a family. I told him that he didn’t understand what it truly meant to run a company. We fought.
   Patrick Greyson is leaving now. Meeting over. He’ll do a fine job in Craig’s old position. Not as well as Craig did it, but he’ll be fine.
   I didn’t really mean for this to happen so soon, but it’s not like I wasn’t going to have him inherit the company eventually. I’m just speeding up the process, a little. Giving Craig a full partnership position. I still don’t know what to do about the conference, but maybe I’ll just cover it myself. This company is all I’ve had for so long, but. He was wrong. I do understand what it’s like to have a family, I think.
   

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