Thank you so much kids for gathering here on such short notice for an all-hands meeting in the living room. I realize that your afternoon playtime is valuable and I wouldn’t bring you here if it wasn’t important. I have a brief announcement I’d like to make before we eat dinner. If we could all have a seat on the floor criss-cross applesauce, we’ll go ahead and get started.
For the past nine years our dog Sammy has been a great asset to our household, the most pro-active and loving golden retriever a family could ask for. She came to us as a puppy, ambitious and ready to explore and succeed. Over the years she has pulled double duties as the family pet and its chief source of security, as well as being prominently featured on the annual Christmas card wearing a Santa hat. Even as her arthritis has made it harder for her to get around, she has valiantly made every effort to continue being a supportive part of our lives. She has truly been a phenomenal member of our team.
You may have noticed that Sammy wasn’t at the bus stop with me this afternoon. Well—this is really hard to announce—Sammy won’t be with us any longer. This morning while you were at school she informed me that she accepted a position with a farm upstate. I told her that while I was saddened to see her go, I understood the need for her to move forward and expand her potential. After discussing severance terms, I accepted her resignation and helped arrange for her transportation to her new job. She left this afternoon.
Kids, please don’t cry. At the farm upstate, Sammy will be making great leaps and bounds, both professionally and literally. Life in the clear country air will be restorative for her arthritis. Her colleagues and networking possibilities will include horses, flocks of chickens, and bumbling sheep in need of herding. Sammy plans to expand her skill-set to include “roll-over” and “bring.” And I am told she will have her own private office, a huge step up from her bean-bag bed in the corner of the rec room.
You will be pleased to hear that the farm where Sammy will live is also the same farm at which our housecat Harold took a position last year! It is my understanding that when applying for the job, Sammy listed Harold as one of her references. Isn’t that adorable? They always were such good friends. (And good friends can make for good opportunities and quid pro quos as you advance in your career, as I am always stressing.) This farm also has a beautiful pond that contains the three goldfish who interned with us last summer. And, coincidentally, it’s also the same farm where that baby that mommy had in her belly—the one we all loved but she couldn’t keep— is now making a go of it as a young ranch hand.
Again, let’s not get overly emotional. This is simply the natural course of life. You work hard, polish your resume, make the right connections, network strategically, and then you move on to bigger and better things. Just this afternoon I heard the parakeet chirping about his plans to get his MBA. These things happen, kids, and there’s no sense in being afraid of it! So don’t be surprised if you come home one day to find that he’s left the cage and flown off to Wharton.
After dinner we’ll be writing farewell letters to Sammy. Let’s try to be upbeat and courteous and very careful with our handwriting. Sammy noted gravely to me before getting in her cab that she hoped her abrupt exit would not affect your productivity level at school. When you’re finished I’ll see that letters are mailed to the forwarding address she left me. And Sammy may even write back, assuming your grades stay up and you don’t cry like you did when Harold switched jobs.
Then of course we need to discuss how exactly we’re going to move forward filling her position. This weekend we’ll go to the animal shelter and interview a selection of potential candidates. Tonight we’ll need to discuss what dog would give us the greatest opportunity for innovation, growth, and expansion. Be thinking about that as we get ready for dinner, OK? I need to go wash this shovel and put it back in the shed.
Thomas Scott lives in Winchester, Virginia.