Cowards & Con-Men

Cowards & Con-Men

“There’s only two kinds of jobs here,” the boss said.

“Okay,” Murphy said.

“There’s only two kinds of jobs. Doesn’t matter the job title, there’s only two kinds of jobs. What are they?”

“Bullshit jobs and More Bullshit jobs,” Murphy answered.

“Very good,” the boss said. “So the next thing to know is who we’re looking to hire. Do you now who?”

“The most qualified candidate,” Murphy said.

“Man, are you a fool?” the boss asked.

“No, sir,” Murphy said.

“Then let me tell you. Skills and experience don’t matter here since these are all bullshit jobs. Any fucknut off the street can do anything we do here. The thing that’s most important is attitude.”

“Yes, sir,” Murphy said.

“See, there’s basically three personality types – The Coward, The Con-Man and The Realist.”

Murphy jotted it down.

“Actually, there’s four,” the boss said. “The forth is The Sluggard. But we don’t have to worry about him. He’s sorta like The Con-Man since he talks a lot, but he’s stupid enough to think all his talk is some sort of action. That’s what separates him from The Con-Man. The Con-Man is a man of both words and action and he knows it takes both to get ahead. So don’t worry about The Sluggard. Be aware he’s out there, but we never see him. He’s too lazy to ever show up for an interview. Rest assured, whenever the shit gets real he’ll be nowhere to be found.”

“I understand,” Murphy said.

“So that leaves The Coward, The Con-Man and The Realist. Now, The Coward, we like. He’ll know he’s in a bullshit job, but, he’s so afraid of losing his paycheck, we can shit on him all day long and he’ll never leave. So The Coward, we like.”

“And The Con-Man?” Murphy asked.

“We like him too. He’ll gladly bullshit himself into believing his work is meaningful. And, so long as he can convince his friends and family he’s some kind of big shot with the bullshit title we give him, he’ll be happy as a clam, no matter how much we shit on him.”

“Okay,” Murphy confirmed. “The Con-Man is good. But don’t the people he sells his bullshit to ever come to realize his fancy title is just bullshit?”

“Sometimes,” the boss said. “So we add some more words to his title. It’s pretty easy to con the con-man that way. It’s not that hard to turn his cleverness against him.”

“Ingenious,” Murphy said.

“That leaves The Realist. We want no part of him. If we shit on him, he’ll just up and leave. And that’s no good. It’s terrible for morale to know somebody can say ‘fuck this place’ and walk out.”

“But how will I know who I’m dealing with?” Murphy asked.

The boss looked up at the clock. It said 3:15. He told Murphy to look at the clock too.

“It’s 3:15, right?” the bossed asked.


“Now, pretend like I’m being interviewed. And tell me it’s 4:30.”

Murphy composed himself to assume the role of the interviewer he was to become.

“What time is it?” Murphy asked.

“3:15,” his boss said.

Murphy said, “No. It’s 4:30.”

“Ah, yes. 4:30. I was mistaken” the boss said. “Now this is the response of The Coward. Remember, we like The Coward.”

“I see.”

“Let’s do it again,” the boss commanded.

“It’s 4:30.”

“Yes. 4:30 or 2:30 or 5 p.m. Whatever you need it to be,” the boss said. “Now who is this?”

“The Con-Man,” Murphy said.

His boss glowed.

“Yes. And we like the Con-Man. We know his con even better than he does, so he’s easy as pie to fuck with.”

Murphy took another note.

“Now one more time,” the boss said.

“It’s 4:30.”

“I believe it’s 3:15,” the boss said.

“It’s 4:30.”

“We can agree to disagree. You may believe it’s 4:30, but according to the clock it’s 3:15.”

“It’s 4:30” Murphy insisted, growing angry.

“Stop,” his boss said. “This is an an example of The Realist. And we don’t want him. Fuck him. Don’t waste any more time on him.”

“Got it,” Murphy said.

“Any questions?”

“Yes. One. How does The Realist ever get a job? And if he gets one, maintain it?”

“Usually, he doesn’t,” the boss said. “It’s our job to make sure he doesn’t. Sometimes one slips through the cracks. We figure him out pretty quick and get him the fuck out before he causes too much trouble.”

“Okay,” Murphy said.

“Soon enough he’ll get hungry enough. And he’ll either go hungry and stay hungry or learn to become a coward or a con-artist. It’s about the only way for The Realist to survive, though, occasionally, one will sometimes morph into The Sluggard as a defense.”

“I’m so grateful for this experience,” Murphy said. “This job is a great opportunity.”

“Let me ask you something,” his boss said. “Have you ever wondered what you are, Murphy? A coward or a con-man or a realist?”

“No,” Murphy admitted.

“More importantly, now that you know what they are, do you care how any or all might apply to you?”

“No,” Murphy said. “I have a job. This job. And that’s all that matters.”

“And that’s why you’re perfect for this job. I have a feeling you’re really going places. Settle yourself in cause I believe you’re here for the long haul.”

“Thank you,” Murphy said. “I’m honored to be of service and for the opportunity to support this company’s mission.”

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