The day Management throws the gauntlet down onto its newest hire's desk is a sad one. Definitive, too. For the first several months, new hires truly are innocent in their occupation; if they violate the Employee Code of Conduct, they are neither aware or liable for their transgression. Then, everything changes. Overnight, it seems, the employee becomes responsible for his or her actions. Not all at once, of course, as training is a gradual process, right along with employee growth and development. But there comes a day when the new hire makes his move in a very conscious way, and The Manager says to him for the first time, "No."

Today, N.Lo bit The Manager.

The former New Hire has two bottom teeth and is working on two top teeth. He has also recently acquired the skill of biting, even quasi-chewing, which comes in handy while dining in the cafeteria. The employee has put away whole blueberries, crackers, green beans, peas, Cheerios, Gerber Puffs, bits of pasta, cheese, and melon. Granted, he hasn't yet mastered putting that food into his own mouth, but he knows what to do with it once it's there. He still eats quite a few fruit and vegetable purees, and bites down on that spoon kind of like the Canine Staff used to do with their toys when they, themselves, were new hires. The biting makes N.Lo smile. Feeding him solid foods is kind of like sticking your hand into a mouse trap.

Biting my finger at meals is not what we're talking about here, however. While playing earlier, N.Lo leaned forward and very deliberately bit a patch of skin near my neck. He's teething, yes, but man did it hurt. And according to The Lo.Co. Employee Code of Conduct, biting is Not Cool. Managerial instinct told me the time was right to apprise N.Lo of this rule.

N.Lo, as expected, smiled his innocent, crinkly-nosed smile that I enjoy so much, and my heart broke a little. So blameless, so naive, these newly-hired employees. Because once he starts to get the message with this "No" thing, he won't be smiling so much back at me.

The basic positive nature of our business will remain, I know, but it's a sad day for the employees when they realize The Manager isn't all about fun and games, that there's work to do, and The Manager will make sure the employees do it. And it's a sad day for The Manager as well, when she must begin the job of crushing their little spirits: a regrettably necessary part of being The Man.

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3 peanuts:
  1. Megan says:

    Crushing little spirits is what being The MANager entails, it's true. So sad.

    Ahem, N.Lo. NO PULLING BAILEY'S TAIL!

  1. Kurt says:

    Take some pictures now while he's still happy.

  1. Andria says:

    I had a very similar moment with Wyatt just yesterday. He was starting to crawl towards the houseplants and I told him, "no, no!" and realized, it was a first for actually trying to direct his actions and (partially) starting to expect a certain response. He did pause and turn to look at me like, "huh? what did you just say to me?" and then turned right back around and kept trucking. But, it was a moment. a first. and I feel you!