The Boss Threatened Me For Laughing Too Much

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Continued from Part 1

We would have sales meeting every morning at PSC. Including me, there were four salespeople, and Gary would call us all into his office along with Assistant Manager Will to preview the day ahead.

There was no real need for this meeting; if you work or have worked in corporate, you’ve probably uttered this phrase before. Its sole purpose was to —

  1. Assure Gary that actual work was being done (which, like the meeting itself, didn’t matter) and
  2. For Gary to forecast how many PSC gym memberships would be sold in the day ahead (which is the only thing that truly mattered to any of us, including the bosses).

In this morning sales meeting, Gary would look at the appointment schedule of each salesperson, ask us about any pending membership sales that might close that day, and find out what else each of use had planned that day with regards to drumming up new business.

Knowing that this meeting was bullshit, I would do my best to make it entertaining.

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We each put $5 in a powerball jackpot pool to be split amongst the sales team if we were to win.

The last workday before Thanksgiving, I had us go around the room and announce what each of us were thankful for.

I created the What are you, SCARED??!! meme (long before memes existed) one day when Gary asked me why a certain prospect of mine had failed to close (i.e. sign up for a membership).

“She’s acting like she’s scared to join the gym,” I replied, half-jokingly and half-seriously.

Gary, seemingly in a desperate bind to get some sales under his belt for the day/week, asked me to call the prospect on the phone, right there in his office in front of everyone.

I did, and got the woman on the phone. We agreed to reconnect later that day, when she was home from work. She hung up, but I remained on the phone, pretending that she was still on the other end of the line.

“What do you MEAN you’re not ready to sign up for a membership? What are you, SCARED??!!

All the salespeople stared at me in stunned silence. Gary turned a shade of red that I didn’t know humans were capable of.

Three second later I’d told everyone that the woman wasn’t on the line for that part and it was a joke. Will, the assistant manager, found it hilarious that I would even think of semi-mocking a person for not joining the gym by accusing them of being afraid of the gym.

From then on, we used different forms of this phrase anytime someone didn’t do something that we thought had been a forgone conclusion.

You don’t want a donut? What are you, SCARED??!!

You’re not out prospecting, Dre. What are you, SCARED??!!

Man, you still work here? What are you, SCARED??!!

One day in the morning sales meeting, Gary’s attention was on fellow salesperson Onyi. Onyi was about six feet tall and buff; he’d been a club bouncer and bodybuilder before working at PSC.

On this day, Onyi had a meeting scheduled with a woman who owned a local business. Looking at the scheduled appointment, Gary asked Onyi to “explain the gist of the meeting.”

Onyi replied that he didn’t know what Gary meant by the question.

Gary got this semi-condescending look in his face, matching a contemptuous smirk. He turned his palms to the ceiling and looked around at the rest of us and repeated the question.

When Gary’s eyes skimmed past mine, I laughed at Onyi’s playing (?) dumb.

Then Onyi started laughing.

Then Will laughed.

In about ten seconds, Gary’s serious morning sales meeting had become a farce. I chimed in to help my coworker Onyi.

“Tell him the gist of the meeting, Onyi — what are you, SCARED??!!”

Will was doubled over.

Now everyone was laughing.

Everyone except Gary.

Gary was bright red again — not from anger, more embarrassment. I think he felt his authority was being undermined by the joking.

The meeting eventually ended, and we all went back to our desks. A few minutes later, Gary came over to mine to ask about something, and ended it with a suggestion/request.

Before he spoke, I could see that Gary had the same look on his face as he’d had when the IT Dick had called him to report my hanging up on IT.

“Dre, in the morning meetings, you gotta stop laughing…”

I soon quit PSC and started my own business, where I laugh when I please. I’ll talk about all that and more in my book Work On Your Game: Using The Pro Athlete Mindset To Dominate In Sports, Business and Life, coming february 22. Here’s all the bonuses I’m giving you for preordering the book.

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#WorkOnYourGame

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