Will Somebody Do Something?

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I.M. Somebody wants to apologize for what he calls a “communication malfunction.”

Mr. Somebody, who works for Everybody, Inc., has been on sabbatical since last December. But apparently his employer was unaware that he was no longer in the office. As a result, emails, directives, and appeals for assistance continued to pile up on Mr. Somebody’s desk.

“Everybody wants Somebody to do something, but Somebody never appears,” reads one irate missive, sent in July. “Will somebody please ask Somebody to get back to work?”

The confusion apparently arose when Mr. Somebody requested time off but failed to file the proper paperwork with Everybody. His immediate supervisor, Whoo Mee, agrees he gave verbal authorization for the prolonged leave, but says he expected Mr. Somebody to adhere to Everybody’s procedures manual and assign somebody else to take care of his responsibilities.

“Following up on the details is not my job,” says Mr. Mee. “I am not Somebody.”

Mr. Somebody only became aware of the problems his absence was causing when he returned to work yesterday and found Everybody poised on the brink of disaster. His inbox was overflowing with the tasks he’s expected to tackle, including increasing production, getting people back to work, unfreezing credit lines, reversing the decline of Everybody’s stock, making the company energy independent, staving off foreclosure on the home office, and ordering paperclips.

Mr. Somebody hopes Everybody will forgive him, and says he’s ready to start on his to-do list. But he admits he’s feeling overwhelmed.

“I’m only one person,” he says. “I can’t do Everybody’s work by myself.”

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