To Nigel Gloater-Hogg: Head Of Human Resources
From Walter Grobble: Section Leader, Arrears Department
This is the letter I have been longing to write for ten of the eleven years I’ve sweated in the Dickensian hell-hole we call General Property Maintenance Ltd. Having looked long and hard for another job in such a difficult labour market, I’m delighted to tell you that I have secured a position with our rival, Smith & Sons.
Over the years, I have repeatedly seen my most innovative efforts nullified by toadies, some of whom now sit in judgement on me. Not being a sycophant myself, I do not understand the lickspittle mentality, but I won’t labour that theme, as I have no wish to indulge in bitterness or recrimination.
You may have noticed from our annual parties that I am not normally much of a drinking man, but today I have brought a dimpled bottle to the office and shall be indulging. As you know, I have a slight defect in my right leg, so with that and a few shots inside me, I’ll probably leave here with an unusually pronounced list to starboard.
I am well aware that the practice of working a period of notice is outdated, so I shall depart with immediate effect, by which I mean at five o’clock this evening. I am writing this immediately before I start work at 8.30 a.m. No doubt it would give you great delight to have a couple of your security goons frog-march me to the exit, then send out an office junior with my jacket and the few personal effects in my cubicle – I shall have a proper office in my new employment – but you will not get that pleasure. The items in question are already outside in my car, being looked after by my wife and four children, who will do some shopping, then call for me when I bolt from this ghastly treadmill.
As both we and Smith & Sons are in the same town and engaged in the same kind of work, I rejoice to say that I shall soon be instrumental in putting GPM Ltd. out of business. What fun that will be. However, I am mindful of the fact that you once, long ago, did me a risibly small favour and I am not one to forget such things, nor am I the type to bear grudges. Therefore, when you are at a loose end, as a man of your limited abilities is certain to be after becoming unemployed, you may contact me at Smith & Sons, where I am sure that I shall be able to find an opening for you – in the mail room!
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From Nigel Gloater-Hogg: Head Of Human Resources
To Walter Grobble: Section Leader, Arrears Department, to be delivered by hand before 5.00 p. m.
Thank you for your letter of resignation, which I received this morning. You are certainly forthright, a quality much valued by this company. Your intention to leave us at five o’clock today is noted, as is your observation regarding our security staff. You need not have had any concern with regard to the second point, as only those departing employees who have occupied senior and sensitive positions are escorted to the exit by the officers in question.
I have no recollection of having done you the favour you mention, but I have tried to be helpful to many of our workers over the years, so one good turn more or less might easily be forgotten. Anyway, it’s nice to know I was able to carry out that act of kindness, whatever it was.
Now I must address a very significant point. No doubt you will have had your nose to the grindstone since writing your letter, so you may well not have heard a rather distressing news item which came to our ears today. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that there was a terrible accident at the premises of Smith & Sons shortly before nine this morning, so apparently less than an hour after your letter was completed. I understand that the incident was something to do with a gas main, though that may be just a rumour. Irrespective of the reason, Smiths’ premises were totally destroyed. Fortunately, nobody had started work, so there were no personnel casualties.
The blast caused all operations to cease, and on hearing the tragic tidings, the directors of Smith & Sons called an emergency board meeting, the upshot of which was that no attempt will be made to rescue the business. It is now defunct.
Walt (I hope you will forgive the familiarity), having accepted your resignation, we must of course see the matter through, so we appreciate that you will part company with us this evening. With this in mind, I feel it incumbent upon me to mention that you have no formal qualifications of any kind and that you came to us direct from a four-year spell of detention at her Majesty’s pleasure. What was it? Oh, yes, fraud – multiple charges if I remember rightly. Still, you served your time. In fact you did so without remission for good behaviour. Something to do with attacking another inmate, wasn’t it? But we have no wish to dwell on the past.
In view of today’s events, I imagine that you may find yourself in an awkward position after you leave us. We are a humanitarian company – you will perhaps recall that we overlooked that little matter of the petty cash discrepancy that occurred two years and eleven weeks ago. Should you wish to contact me at your leisure, which I feel sure you will have, I think we might be able to find an opening for you – in the mail room.
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