The Job

by Adam Acidophilus

A graduate was approached at his graduation party by a colleague of his father’s. “Any thoughts about your future?” asked the colleague. “Anybody sounded you out yet?”

“Why no sir,” said the graduate — who was well brought up and courteous. “Do you have any advice that you feel able to offer?”

“The Organization is always on the lookout for young graduates,” replied the colleague of the father. “I don’t doubt the Organization could use a man like you … ”

The graduate was interviewed in the boardroom by a panel of senior managers – and the CEO.

“And what exactly — ” the CEO asked the graduate — “can you bring to the Organization?”

“Um. I just graduated?” said the graduate.

“And do you have any questions for us?” said another.

“Yes,” said the graduate. “What do you actually do here?”

He was given a small office on a lower floor of the Organization’s International Headquarters.

“It’s a hell of a start in life,” his father told him. ”Many a great man has started his career in a small office on a lower floor.”

“What exactly will you be doing?” his mother enquired.

“Ooh … all kinds of stuff,” said the graduate. “All kind of stuff.”

He sat in his office. He adjusted his calendar. He checked his telephone was working. He sharpened his pencils and arranged the items in his desk drawer.

“Fine work,” said his Departmental Chief. “I have a project I’d like you to come in on . . . ”

He moved floors. He changed canteens. He was made Team Leader.

“What would you like us to do?” he asked the chief.

“Exactly,” agreed the chief. “Exactly.”

The project was a huge success.

At a weekend social for the employees of the Organization, the youngster met the woman of his dreams. “Which department are you in?” she asked him, awestruck.

“That would be telling,” he told her.

The Organization organized the wedding. The Organization paid for the honeymoon. Healthcare, child care and education of their offspring was provided by the Organization.

“O is for Organization,” chanted the children. “P is for Personnel. Q is for QWERTY keyboard configuration — as used by the Organization.“

The young man grew to middle age. His offices grew higher and more prestigious.

“What exactly does he do?” whispered one office cleaner to another.

“Shhh!” hissed the other. “You mean you don’t know?”

He flew the world. He flew first class. He attended great meetings of unfathomable importance. They gave him a nameplate with his name on it. He brushed past reporters. He sipped at water. He wore a little earpiece through which translators whispered to him.

“He works so hard,” his wife would tell the children.

“What does he do?” they would ask.

He became a favourite speaker at corporate gatherings — with a talent for rallying audiences.

“As we envision predicated futurements, and alternative foreseeables, within the contextualized framework of today’s rapidly reconfiguring counter-reality — ” he would preach. “We can elicit one certainment: the Organization shall survive!”

And so he would leave the podium — to an deafening ovation.

Listeners, delegates, academics attended Q&As, where the man would answer in elaborate, peculiar aphorisms.

“To move,” he would remind them, “is not to stand still.”

“What exactly is it that you do?” a student once asked him.

“Good question!” chuckled the man — to a chorus of hearty, knowing, laughter.

“What exactly is it that you do?” people from outside the organization would ask him.

“What exactly does he do?” people would ask his wife and family.

“What exactly is the job?” young graduates would ask him at job interviews.

“Enable. Facilitate. Action.” he would reply with gritty aplomb.

“Oh, well. If you enjoy it,” they would shrug — ambling away, none the wiser.

The man rose to the very top. From his glass office it was said he could survey the whole known universe.

He enabled.

He facilitated.

He actioned.

And then he died.

“For over fifty years — ” the eulogy began — at his grand and magnificent state funeral — “this man served, built and ran the Organization. He was a Titan – a father — a son — a brother — a facilitator — an enabler — he was many things … ” (for the eulogist was a professional eulogist who had never actually met the man).

“Our loss is beyond comprehension,” he continued. “My loss is beyond comprehension. He made us who we are. He made me who I am … ” dissolving into trembling and tears (for as long as it took everyone to get their photographs and news footage).

Many hours later, as the reception was winding down, the eulogist asked one of the caterers “What exactly did he do?”

“No charge,” said the caterer — who spoke little English. “Everything is paid by the Organization.”

Moral: Always skip the middle bit if you think that the reader has guessed the ending,


I’ve got a mate that works there.

© Adam Acidophilus 2020