Early that afternoon, all employees received a mass email at the exact same moment. The email announced a company-wide meeting scheduled for 4:00 that day in the auditorium. Attendance was mandatory, the email said.
There was nothing in the email to indicate the purpose of the meeting, so naturally the building was abuzz with speculation. Were the rumors that the company was being acquired true? Was the company’s founder and CEO, who was in his seventies, going to announce his retirement? Had the last quarter’s financial results missed the target and, if so, would that mean possible layoffs.
Not much productive work got done between the time the email was sent and when employees made their way to the auditorium.
Nearly all of the seats in the auditorium were filled at 4:00 when the CEO and the head of Human Resources walked into the room and stepped onto the stage. Daniel leaned over and whispered into his cubicle mate Brian’s ear. “Shit, man, it’s never a good sign when the head of HR is on the stage. That usually means a reduction in force is being announced.”
The CEO stood in front of the podium and cleared his throat, signaling that he expected silence from the attendees. A hush fell over the room and the CEO began to talk. “Thank you all for coming this afternoon,” he said. “Most of you know Mrs. Jameson, our director of Human Resources. She has an important announcement she’d like to share with all of us.” He then turned to Mrs. Jameson, a kindly looking, somewhat matronly woman, and motioned for her to step up to the podium.
Mrs. Jameson stepped in front of the podium, adjusted the position of the microphone to suit her shorter stature, tapped the microphone to make sure it was working, and then proceeded to speak.
“Good afternoon, everyone,” she said. “As you know, we here at Grayson Technology pride ourselves on our training and development programs. It’s so important that you have the training and the tools you need to be effective, efficient, and productive. So it is with a heavy heart that I am announcing that this coming HRTEDYP will be the last HRTEDYP to be scheduled, so if you haven’t yet enrolled in that course, you should make sure you do so by the end of this week because we won’t be offering it after this one last time.”
“What the hell is HRTEDYP,” Brian asked Daniel.
“Oh it’s this bullshit course that they’ve been making us take every year,” Daniel said. “It’s Jameson’s baby, which is why she’s making s big deal of it. But even the old man knows it’s a total waste of time.”
“But what does HRTEDYP stand for?” Brian asked.
“It’s the Human Resources Technical Education Development Yearly Program,” Daniel said, but most of us just call it ‘Ted Dip.’ Believe me, nobody’s gonna miss it except for poor Mrs. Jameson.”
Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Making Sense of Nonsense prompt, where the topic is “the last Hrtedyp.”