Jonas Meyers was an asshole.
Everyone knew it. The board of directors knew it. The corporate employees and retail workers knew it. Hell, even his (asshole) wife was used to his assholeish ways. But unfortunately, Frank Meyes, Jonas’s father, founded the company sixty ago and passed it on to his son thirty years later. (Frank Meyers was, of course, also an asshole, but as he passed on his company to his asshole son, no one was particularly happy to see him go.)
The assholery was so prominent within the Meyer family that even the spoiled children were detested. They pranced around every franchise, knocking toys off shelves and screaming when their father didn’t buy them that limited edition toy airplane, the one from the commercials. The retail workers curled their lips when the Meyers came in, and the managers forced smiles.
So when Jonas Meyers pulled his asshole April Fools’ prank, no one was really surprised.
“Congratulations, employees!” read the email sent out that holiday morning. “You all have one extra week of vacation this year!”
No one believed it, of course. They rolled their eyes at the email and continued on their day.
But Jonas Meyers, as many assholes do, had made a mistake.
He had meant to say “April Fools!” at the end of his email, for legal purposes. He had meant to include a footnote that said, “You will not be given an extra week of vacation. This was merely a prank.”
He had meant to write that, but he was so busy laughing at his asshole prank, and sending a picture of the awful email to his (asshole) wife, that he did not include the disclaimer.
The legal department called him within thirty seconds of the email going out.
“It’s Legal, Mr. Meyers,” called his secretary.
Jonas ignored him and turned to the giant TV in his office. How very rude of his secretary; the idiot knew not to interrupt Jonas when there was a game.
The secretary, as used to Jonas’s assholery as Jonas’s (asshole) wife, shrugged and hung up the phone. And then he booked his week’s vacation.
In fact, all across the company, employees booked seven days for roaming the streets of Paris; swimming around tropical islands; skiing in Canada. And, coincidentally, they all booked sometime within the next three weeks, taking turns with team members. Therefore, there were not enough people each week to keep the company fully thriving, but there were still enough people that they needn’t have their vacations rescheduled.
Jonas, of course, didn’t know about any of this. He sat on his couch, drinking beer in the middle of the work day, and finished watching the game.
“You have fourteen messages from Legal,” said the secretary when Mr. Jonas left the office for a walk, feeling he had worked himself too hard that morning.
“I’ll call when I get back,” said Jonas briskly. He took the elevator all the way down, ignoring the ogling eyes of lesser employees, and walked out into the fresh air. Frowning, he turned off his phone; it seemed to buzz every minute.
Jonas strolled around the block, wrinkling his nose at anyone who wasn’t wearing a suit. He stepped into a coffee stop and tapped his foot as he waited in the line.
“Can we hurry it here? Some of us have got work to go to.”
After many grumbles and glares, many from Jonas himself when he was not able to skip the line, the CEO exited the coffee shop with a warm drink in hand. He slammed the door, vibrating the glass, and wandered back to his company’s building.
When he once again stepped into the elevator, and once again ignored the staring from those below him on the company ladder, he remembered to turn on his phone. Thirty two missed calls. He scrolled through the callers; none of them were his wife, thank goodness. He put his phone back in his pocket.
“Seventeen more calls from Legal, sir,” said his secretary.
It was only ten minutes later, when Jonas had settled himself into his desk chair and finished every last drop of his coffee, that he called back the legal department and discovered his mistake.
“But that’s absurd,” he sputtered. “Anyone would know it was a prank!”
Too late, they said. Vacation days were scheduled and approved by supervisors, who also concurred that Jonas Meyers was, in fact, the biggest asshole they knew. Then the supervisors booked their own vacations.
Jonas immediately called his VPs into a conference meeting, ignoring the fact that it was lunch hour. He ordered them to cancel all vacations in every department.
“No can do, boss,” they said. “Flights are already booked. And Legal says you approved one extra week of vacation.”
The CEO looked at his people in disgust. “Then you’re all fired.”
“Cheers to that.” They left without a backward glance.
Jonas Meyers stared at the empty conference table before him and ran his fingers through his hair, shaking. Swearing, he emailed each VP and asked them to come to work but keep their vacations. However, those that cancelled and worked full-time over the next three weeks would receive double pay and a bonus. They all graciously accepted, having never really booked their vacations in the first place but happily approving their departments’ plans.
The corporate employees silently cheered at their desks and shared secret high-fives. Franchise owners grinned when Jonas Meyers visited their store, dark circles under his eyes from working nonstop for the first three weeks of April. He even snapped at his own children when they asked for a toy, and they gasped in shock before delving into rages of screaming and crying. When they left empty-handed, they descended into complete silence, for which the retail employees were grateful.
The three weeks of chaos didn’t put too big of a dent into the company, much to everyone’s great disappointment. It did, to everyone’s surprise, kickstart a success the business had never seen. It seemed, perhaps, that everyone, rejuvenated from an extra week of fun and leisure, was more productive that quarter than the past four quarters combined.
Jonas Meyers, of course, credited himself with the success, because he was an asshole.