Experienced C3PO Seeks Unique Challenges
My business card read “C3PO.” The title stood, depending on who you asked, most often for Chief Peace/Poetry/People Officer. The office was in Silicon Alley, otherwise known as New Hack City. (As an ex-poet, I have my private concerns about these coinages, but that is beside the point.)
At my last job, I was hired—no, invented—to deal with the CEO’s temper tantrums. There was only so much the VP of Marketing (23 years old, Columbia graduate) could do for damage control. Every Gawker pastiche and HuffPo listicle covering the company carried some jibe about the CEO throwing company-branded Nalgene bottles at employees or threatening clients with Citi Bike passes. After the man picked up a rival founder by his Herschel backpack and slammed him into a wet bar at Headquarters, the board finally voted to take immediate, drastic action.
Entered me. My qualifications were a Bachelor of Arts in Poetry and a following of 400 subscribers for my YouTube channel teaching dance meditation.
You could say I was good at my job. A natural. Within a month of being hired, I had successfully de-escalated the crisis and transformed the CEO’s temper from an investor anathema to an almost amusing quirk. How? A lesser C3PO might have tried to cure the CEO of his urge to express emotions via violent hand movements. They might suggest hypnosis, talk therapy, bla bla bla, maybe enroll him in yoga nidra classes or canine behavioral training sessions and hope for the best. Me, I’m practical and unconventional. I saw the fastest way forward, and I made sure the CEO kept a pack of marshmallows with him at all times. That way, whenever his superior intelligence failed to suffer fools gladly, he could toss pellets of soft, gooey food items in the general direction of said fools and declare: “Well done, have a snack!” Or “This is on me!” Even a simple “Take that!” as marshmallows bounced off employees’ temples would be manageable; the VP of Marketing could handle that much.
The plan worked brilliantly, up to a point. The CEO had lousy aim and gigantic hands, which meant that the marshmallows weren’t so much tossed and gratefully caught than they were rained upon people. These projectiles never hurt, but apparently employees do not enjoy sticky delicacies getting caught in their hair. Some of them started wearing headgear to work, the couple of women glad to get away with colossal Kentucky Derby monstrosities. “Gotta protect the moneymaker,” muttered a software engineer (21, Columbia graduate) unlucky enough to be questioned by the CEO as to his choice of pairing sweater and torn jeans with a pith helmet.
So for phase II of Project Volcano Icing I had to swap out the marshmallows. In the end, I got the idea from a magician at my nephew’s birthday party. He was truly a talentless hack, but children apparently love anything involving brightly patterned props, like handkerchiefs. So I went with my bolt of inspiration and cleared out Bergdorf Goodman of polka-dot pocket squares. An investment, I told the frowning VP of Finance (24 but looked 32 (poor guy), Columbia graduate). Besides, you could reuse the pocket squares and they never expired, unlike the marshmallows.
With that masterstroke, I sucked out every ounce of violence from the CEO’s twitchy throwing hands. A fluttery, garish piece of fabric is not a weapon. Even if the CEO balled the pocket squares up before pitching them, the insubstantial things couldn’t go very far. I had done it. I had made a terrifying man quirky.
Waffle Water’s eventual implosion was unfortunate, but it had everything to do with market conditions and nothing to do with the CEO’s hotheadedness, which I had satisfactorily resolved. As I have demonstrated, I am incredibly well-poised to handle any unique challenges your start-up might face, and that is why you should hire me. Besides, how many poetry graduates do you have on your staff? Wouldn’t you like to have one around? It would give your company so much character.
YZ Chin is the author of deter, published by dancing girl press. Born and raised in Taiping, she now lives in New York, where she codes by day and writes by night. You could say she is a pro-grammar programmer.