by Barb, who just finished making her famous (in small, exclusive circles) mincemeat. The holidays must be coming.
The Wicked Cozy Authors’ Thankful for Our Readers month continues. Leave a comment on this blog post to win a copy of Eggnog Murder, along with a Snowden Family Clambake tote bag.
When my agent called me to say that “Kinda out of the blue,” Kensington had asked me to contribute a novella to a collection called Eggnog Murder, I was thrilled. My novels are always too short and my short stories always too long, so I suspected novellas were my true calling.
But another reason I was pumped was because I had been sitting on a gem of an eggnog anecdote for almost thirty years.
Many moons ago, when I was a young manager, I interviewed an even younger woman for a sales position. This is how it went.
Me: “And why are you considering leaving your current position?”
Interviewee: “Well, I kind of food poisoned every person in my company and all their guests at the office Christmas party.”
Me: (mouth open, no sounds coming out)
Interviewee, continuing: “My mother has this great recipe for eggnog. She makes it every year for our holiday open house. But something went wrong. The eggs were bad. Everyone was throwing up, and…” (ominous pause) “…worse.”
Me: “Oh, my God. Were you fired?”
Interviewee: “No, but once you’ve been in the ER, hooked up to an IV, being re-hydrated, next to your boss, and your boss’s boss, I figure you really don’t have much of a future with the company.”
Me: “You’re hired!”
Actually, I didn’t hire her on the spot. We did the usual reference checks, etc. But I knew in that moment that I wanted to hire her. As one of my mentors had taught me well, you should always hire employees who are “pre-disastered.”
In John Irving’s The World According to Garp, Garp and his young wife are standing on the front lawn looking at a house for sale when a small plane flies straight into it. Garp turns to his wife and says, “We’ll take the house. Honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical. It’s been pre-disastered. We’re going to be safe here.”
Of course, as Garp learns, having survived one kind of disaster does not prevent another. And so it is with employees. Pre-disastered doesn’t mean they’ve gotten their disaster “over with.” It means that having survived one, they know what to do. Tell the people who need to know immediately, honestly and completely. Ask for help. Treat the situation like a problem to be solved. Not, hope it will blow over, hope no one will notice, try to solve it by yourself until it gets even bigger. That sort of thing.
So, the action in my novella, “Nogged Off,” kicks off when Julia finds out her young subtenant has brought her mama’s eggnog to the office holiday party, and….
Readers: Have you been “pre-disastered” at work? Tell us about it in the comments, or otherwise just leave a comment for a chance to win.