I’M WORKING, AS a computer programmer, at The Lozenge Corporation. Things are not going well. I have just presented a demo program to a prospective customer. I think that my demo was the best of the three demos, presented to the customer. However, the customer decided to go with another company. I was told, by a customer representative, that the prices quoted by my company were too high.
It’s Friday, early afternoon and I’m called into the Department Manager’s office.
Ricky glares at me. “James Hall, your demo didn’t win us a contract. I’m gonna have to lay you off.”
Ricky is what we call in the programmer trade an ass hole. I don’t reply to Ricky’s layoff message, except to say, “I did my best.” Bringing up something like the pricing issue will only harm me.
“Your best isn’t good enough. You’re gone.” As if by magic, black magic, a personnel lady appears and she leads me off to the amputation of my pay check.
I sign the required forms and I then exit, with my final pay check in my hand. I drive to my bank and deposit my last Lozenge Corporation pay check. I draw out a little cash, to finance my daily expenses. I then drive home.
I review my situation. I’m a much better than average computer programmer. I’m a much worse than average politician. I have been quietly looking for another job for the past several weeks, with no responses, not even an interview.
I can see only one way that I might survive financially and that’s a desperate try. I pull up the last week’s stock market trading data into my home computer and run the data through an automatic trading program that I have developed on my home computer. As with the past several weeks, I would have made about a third more than my Lozenge Corporation salary. I would also have generated some seven hundred dollars in commissions, for my broker. I update certain parameters in my automatic trading program, based on the latest week’s trading data. Come Monday, I go live with my automatic trading program, for better or for worse.
Monday finds me reading the financial reports and adjusting certain parameters, in my automatic trading program. By the end of the trading day, I have made about forty percent more than my former Lozenge Corporation daily salary. I also feel as if I have just run the Olympic fifteen hundred meter race. I go to the gym, to work out and to ease my tensions.
As I try to do my work out, one of my former Lozenge Corporation workmates gets in my way and sneers, “Too bad that they don’t pay for work outs, unemployed boy.”
I go and talk with Mike. Mike runs the gym and he’s very large, very muscular and he takes no crap at all.
Mike has a little talk with insult boy.
Insult boy leaves and I finish my work out.
I thank Mike and he just laughs and says, “You pay your dues, you work out here, without wimp boys insulting you.” Mike’s idea of a wimp boy is any male who weighs less than maybe two hundred fifty very muscular pounds.)
I finish my work out, go home, eat supper and then collapse into bed. It has been a profitable, but stressful day.
Tuesday, the stock market is down, but my automatic trading program is up, even better than Monday. (My automatic trading program also trades on the short side, betting that certain stocks can be sold, will go down and can then be bought back more cheaply.)
Wednesday, the stock market is up. By the end of the trading day, my automatic trading program is also up, if a bit less than Monday.
I go to the gym, to work out and to ease my tensions. After my workout, I shower up and then hit the grocery store. There aren’t a lot of people in the store and I’m getting my shopping done. Suddenly Tanya, from The Lozenge Corporation, is in my face and she wants to know, “How is the unpaid vacation going?”
“I find things to keep me busy.”
“Busy is good, paid is better.”
“I seem to be having a bit of trouble finding someone who wants to pay me.”
“You won’t find work again, until Ricky decides that you should get paid.” With that, Tanya is off, down the frozen food aisle.
I realize that I have been an idiot.
Thursday, the stock market is up again, but my automatic trading program is up, even more, and a nice bit more than Monday.
At the end of the trading day, I hot foot it down to my stock broker. I tell Danny, “I’m generating quite a bit of commission money for your company. Why is it that your computer department won’t hire me?”
Danny looks surprised and he calls someone on the telephone and has a fairly long conversation. He then looks at me and says, “Apparently, you really angered management, over at The Lozenge Corporation.”