Office Space

Office Space
All Play and No Work, A Speculative Fiction

Corvus Elrod | 30 May 2006 12:02
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Sandra was a loan officer for a large bank who very much looked forward to Monday mornings. This Monday, in particular, was going to be exciting, and she was heading in early to make sure she was ready.

As she walked to her cubicle, Sandra scanned the rankings board. It was lit up like a Christmas tree, displaying the top 100 loan officers from all the major international banks. Today, Sandra was going to break the top 20. Looking over her nearest competition, she noticed that Frank, her main rival, had gained a number of points over the weekend. Now he, too, was poised to make the more exclusive list. A final loan payment must have cleared late Friday, or the interest rates on a foreign account had moved in his favor. Regardless, it would provide her with extra incentive today. Frank made it onto the board before her. He also made the top 50 first, and she wouldn't let Frank reach this goal ahead of her.

After sitting down at her desk, Sandra started up the Loan Loader and un-checked the boxes next to the pictures of the car and small house. Automobile and first time home loans were easy, but the time they took could be spent staking out business and major real estate loans. As she did every Monday morning, she thought about the stories her mother told of her days as a loan officer. She knew if her job today was anything like Mom's, she wouldn't be so successful. Between keeping track of paperwork and taking time to meet with applicants, there's no way she'd have kept up.

When Sandra's parents realized that her dyslexia and preference for late night death matches over homework made her a less than ideal candidate for employment, they thought she'd never get a decent job. But thanks to advances in Job Design Theory and Work-Flow Engineering, she is now outperforming her mother by more than five to one, even accounting for inflation and other economic factors Sandra doesn't understand.

Sandra's system indicated readiness and she fired up the game as the system clock blinked 9:00 a.m. She clicked her left mouse button and zoomed in over a digital crowd of 150 applicants. Double clicking a woman in a brown suit automatically selected all applicants in brown suits. Sandra directed them to the side. She ctrl-clicked the four tallest brown- suited avatars and sent them to her base, where she could look them over later. These were real estate speculators with decent portfolios, and were good for a few points; they tended to play it safe and make their payments on time. Noticing a short and shabby-looking avatar, Sandra zoomed in for a closer look. Ill-fitting gray suit - first time business loan; manila accordion stuffed with papers - poor credit history; unshaven face - no current loans; bloodshot eyes - behind on utility payments. Sandra wondered why this guy was even applying here.

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