In which our hero is made to understand his growing irrelevancy.
He realizes that he’s irrelevant. The world is changing and even though he is relatively young he’s still irrelevant. Old age comes faster. The skills needed for today aren’t what were needed yesterday. There is another world starting soon and when this world moves on to that one he will be left behind here.
“It isn’t personal,” said Joy, the department head. “This isn’t about your work ethic or lack of merit. I want you to understand that I know and everyone here knows you’re good at what you do.
“I don’t want you to think this was about Carla, either. Carla gave you a glowing evaluation, well glowing for Carla, and I could tell that she, in her way, really wanted this for you too.
“So it is because Carla values you, because I value you, that I wanted to explain why we chose Evan for the position. I want you to understand that I could have had Carla have this little chat with you, which, with most employees, I would do, since that is the protocol, but I wanted to explain this myself because I personally consider you to be an asset to this company.”
Even as she was saying this it was difficult for him to hate Joy. Joy had, in her short time with the company, completely revamped the way their department operated. She organized the hierarchy to make the work process smoother and unlike the previous department head, a technocrat who was awful at managing, she’d actually fought for the resources to make everyone’s life easier.
So, the bind he was in, in terms of hating her, stemmed from the fact that he respected her judgment. He knew she’d thought deeply about the hire and had decided that in any scenario she could imagine Evan was the better hire for the department. What’s more is that he respected the fact that she was personally telling him all this. She’d, mostly on her own, made the decision to hire Evan from the outside and wasn’t trying to sidestep that responsibility. There was an empathy in her saying all this that got buried beneath her inability to communicate that empathy.
“What our decision came down to was this: we needed someone in this role with not only a high degree of technical proficiency, but someone who also clearly understood where the industry is and where it is heading. Evan has not only a wide range of experiences in the industry, but he also has a technology background that we believe is crucial for the future. We felt that while you could do this job, we needed someone who could innovate our way of thinking about our business rather than simply improving on how we’d thought about it in the past.
“I want you to know that this was not an easy decision to make and that we do, I do, really value you as an employee. ”
He sat down at his desk and worked for the rest of the day. Working was a good distraction. Delegating tasks to his direct reports and intern, putting together analytics, writing emails—all this gave him a sense of temporary relevance. All of this took him out of the future that was slowly erasing him.
Image Source: Internet Archive via Public Domain Review