Interviewer: Nice to meet you, Mr. Eagerbeaver, I understand you’re interested in a career in publishing?
Mr. Eagerbeaver: Indeed, I am. I’ve dreamed about being in publishing all my life. It’s such an exciting prospect, being in charge of buying and selling a bazillion books each year, influencing the reading habits of every man woman and child on the planet. Like…Wow. Just wow.
Interviewer: Mind if I ask your qualifications?
Mr Eagerbeaver: Of course. I have law degree as well as a PHd in marketing and finance, I’ve worked ten years as a political advisor, writing speeches, putting the spin on some unpleasant and potentially explosive situations. I have a wife and seven kids I need to put through college, starting with the eldest who is going through med school. Big expenses there. *nod, chuckle, wink*
Interviewer: *nod, chuckle, wink back* You sound perfectly qualified for the job and we’d love to welcome you on board. You’ll be overseeing the financial department… which is a huge responsibility…keeping the bottom line at the bottom and the company profits at the top.
Mr. Eagerbeaver: *cheesy grin* I can certainly do that. My last job was working with an exiled African Prince who managed to escape his country with ten billion dollars. I helped him get his money out of the country by organizing an email campaign.
Interviewer: Excellent! We can’t pay top dollar just yet, you understand, not until you can prove yourself in the numbers department. We’re prepared, however, to offer you an advance on your salary of $10,000 which is, I must say, a very generous amount considering you are new to publishing and have never worked in the business before.
Mr. Eagerbeaver: I see. Is that the industry standard…?
Interviewer: *waving a hand magnanamously* Most publishing houses would offer $2k- $4k to start, so you’re already ahead of the game. And we do offer a generous incentive on commissions…8% of all profits your department brings in.
Mr. Eagerbeaver: Ah! Okay then. Sounds wonderful.
Interviewer: We pay twice a year, at the end of each accounting period. You may have to wait another 90 days after that for the accountants to juggle the numbers, print out statements etc etc etc, and you may need that law degree to find the bottom line, * chuckle* but don’t forget, there is another VP running that department who works under the same mandates…bottom line at the bottom, profits at the top.
Mr. Eagerbeaver: I see. But…twice a year? Is that standard as well?
Interviewer: *another cheesy smile* Of course. And of course you will have to first earn out the $10,000 advance we’ve given you against your salary. Depending on how efficient your department is, that could take you into the second, or even third pay period.
Mr. Eagerbeaver: So…you’re saying you’re going to give me a $10k advance now…which I will have to earn out by relying on the performance of my department employees, which will pay me 8% on everything they earn….but I only get paid twice a year, and there’s no guarantee my department will be efficient enough to earn out the 10K in the first six month period…or even the second? Do I have that right?
Interviewer: Oh, and you have to sign a contract stating that we hold exclusive rights to your services for the next ten years or so, whether your department earns anything or not.
Mr. Eagerbeaver: But…I have seven kids to put through college. I have a house, a mortgage, car payments…
Interviewer: *leaning forward with a wink* But you’ll be a Vice President. It’s an important job. People will look at you in awe and say: wow, I always wanted to be a Vice President.
Mr. Eagerbeaver. Hmm. That’s true. And it’s what I’ve wanted to do all my life.
Interviewer: *still smiling, sliding a contract through the slick oil spill on his desk so it blurs some of the fine print* If you’re good enough and work fast enough, you can take on other departments, so you could potentially be earning another advance and another 8% from, say, the marketing people. They could always use a good spin doctor there.
Mr. Eagerbeaver: *reaching for the pen…pauses* Were you hired under the same terms? Has it worked out for you?
Interviewer: Me? Hell no. I get paid a salary every two weeks. Mind you, I can’t brag that I’m a VP….
This blog was inspired by a comment from Tuesday’s blog about numbers. Done with loving irreverence, of course *sweet smile*