Undercover Boss is the hottest show on TV and, for the first time, I’m hooked on a reality series. Each episode involves a top executive going undercover at his own company. The CEO tries their hand at entry-level jobs, learning in the process about the character of their employees, the soundness of their policies and how incompetent they are at grunt work.
The show inspired me to go undercover at my own corporation. Unlike executives on the TV show, I would not have to deceive a large number of workers. I only had to mislead one: my one-day-a-week assistant, Eva.
On my last day as boss, I left a note for Eva claiming I was going on vacation and appointing her to run the company. I instructed her to hire the first person that applied for the job of temporary assistant. After drastically altering my appearance, I added the piece-de-resistance to my disguise: Clark Kent glasses.
When I came through the office door on Monday morning, Eva didn’t show any signs of recognition. Introducing myself as Tom Price, I was immediately put to work typing reports. Once Eva saw my two-finger technique, though, I was demoted to the mailroom. The mailroom was only 10 feet from the executive desk but I felt like I had fallen much further.
I weighed the mail but failed to notice that the postage rates on the corporate scale hadn’t been updated since 1967. Before I could head to the post office, Eva sternly warned me that twenty-five cents an ounce wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I sheepishly added the additional postage – before learning that I had been demoted to emptying the wastebaskets.
Garbage detail went so well; Eva promoted me to Accounts Payable. Watching me busily writing checks, Eva actually smiled. I was leaving for the bank, when she asked to see what bills I’d paid. A look of disgust spread across her face, as she saw I’d written all the checks to my wife, Ed’s Way and myself. I was immediately exiled to our most hopeless department, Accounts Receivable.
I paged through the “Collections” folder noting that some of the invoices actually had cobwebs. I called the clients who still owed us from January 2008 and was surprised to hear both lawyers had retired. Then I remembered attending their send-off party – that explained why we were never going to see $859.90.
By now, I was totally exhausted from my labors and the tension of working undercover, so I took off my glasses. Eva gasped. She couldn’t believe she’d treated the corporate president like a nincompoop. I assured her that her job was safe; in fact her hours were being expanded to one-and-a-half days a week. I also unveiled a much-need new corporate policy: naptime for everyone!
John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.