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The Money Is Fine, But The Karma Is The Real Bonus

, , , , , | Working | July 2, 2020

My boss, the CEO, calls me to his office. Our company has a policy that if you speak a foreign language, you get a bonus, but you have to have an official certificate to prove it. I can speak several languages, but since I don’t “have a paper” to prove it, no money for me.

CEO: “[My Name], on Monday there will be a meeting with one of our suppliers from Italy. We have some problems with late delivery of the material and I think they are bulls***ting us. I want you to attend the meeting and tell me what they say in Italian.”

Me: “Boss, you know I’m not paid to speak Italian. I don’t have a certificate to prove my language skills, and [Human Resources Director] said—”

CEO: “Don’t gimme that bulls***. You studied and worked in Italy for a year. But don’t worry; I spoke to [Human Resources Director] and you’ll get a one-time bonus for it, and another one if you find out something useful. [Human Resources Director] wasn’t very enthusiastic about it, but we really need some leverage; because of them our schedule is late and we may have to pay some fees to our customers.”

I give him a wicked smile.

Me: “As you wish, my lord.”

I attend the meetings as “a person responsible for writing the minutes of the meeting” and find out that while our supplier prepared our purchased material, right before the shipping they sold it to our competitor at double the price, but their official statement for us was that there were some problems at the forgery and they had to postpone the production because of a broken machine.

I send my findings to my boss by email and he is very pleased. He uses this information — packed in some fairy tale about how he found out about it — during two days of negotiations and the Italian side isn’t very happy that we know. They apologize a lot and pay some hefty fee for breaking the contract with us.

Also, because I stayed in the meeting room during the breaks, I heard that they did the same thing to us before and to our sister company, as well, and I heard about some other problems they have.

After the last meeting, the head of their delegation is in the corridor on his phone telling the results to his boss. Unknown to me, an agent from a different Italian supplier has come to visit us. He is an older man and very fond of me since he found out I could speak Italian — as the only person in the whole company. I’m passing by the Italian on his phone when I hear a familiar voice.

Agent: *In Italian* “Oh, my dear, how are you, sweetie?!” *Hugs me*

Me: *Also in Italian* “Hello, [Agent], I’m fine. How about you? How was the flight? Let’s go to my office and grab some coffee.”

The head of the delegation stares at me, completely shocked. 

Head Of Delegation: “F***.”