Tim McElroy had his staff right where he wanted them, and he wasn’t shy about letting them know. Just eighteen months into his reign of terror – rather, his reign as General Manager at Powerhouse Insurance, he had fired six long term employees, hired fifteen newbies, and then promptly canned twelve of them.
“No one is irreplaceable,” he liked to remind his employees. “There are hundreds of people who’d loved to work here. I could have someone new sitting in any of your chairs within five minutes; someone who’d do just as good of a job, if not better.”
Management through intimidation…that was Tim’s style, and it worked. People came in everyday worried they’d be fired. They went home wondering if tomorrow would then be the day. No one kept photos or anything else of a personal nature on their desks because it would only delay their escorted exit out the door.
Tim wasn’t shy about implementing crazy ideas either. He ordered the building to be painted hot pink because he thought that was the logical way to make the company stand out from the competition. He once hired a waitress from his favourite restaurant simply because he thought her perkiness would translate into sales for the company. The fact that she wasn’t a licensed broker, knew nothing of the industry in general, and couldn’t shake her Valley Girl voice while trying to pitch life insurance to clients was of no concern to him. He also approached the nearest fire hall and asked for permission to set fire to things so he could measure their response time.
‘Psycho Timmy’ they called him, and everyone hated and feared him with equal measure. Everyone except Rich Martin. Oh Rich hated him alright, but he didn’t fear him. He had heard the same speech as everyone else over and over again – that no one was irreplaceable, which got him to thinking. If he was replaceable, then couldn’t a company be as well? He’d seen a lot of people get fired over the past year and a half, and not one of them was rendered homeless. They all found work elsewhere. They moved on. They were fine. Rich would be too; especially with the year’s severance he’d had coming thanks to his twenty years of service. Before he got fired, though, he had something he wanted to do.
“Hey everyone, I got you all presents!” he said to his fellow insurance agents at their weekly We Hate Psycho Timmy Meeting at a watering hole across town. It was their last get together before Christmas, so he thought gifts for everyone would be a nice touch.
One by one he handed his fellow cogs in the Powerhouse Insurance Company’s wheel a t-shirt. On the front was a giant thumbs up symbol and the words: I Survived the Psycho Timmy Massacre of 2014! On the back, the names of their fallen comrades and the dates they went down. To the casual observer, it would look like a concert t-shirt with a list of tour stops.
By the end of 2015, Rich and three others at that get together would be gone. They would all survive, and go on to better things. By the end of 2016, though, Powerhouse Insurance would be swallowed up by another firm; one whose building wasn’t so harsh on the eyes. Psycho Timmy was not asked to stay on and hasn’t been heard from since.