After years of searching,
my quest is complete. I have found the perfect employee.
Actually, my general manager, Ralph,
found her. He burst into my office about four weeks ago obviously
overwhelmed by the magnitude of his discovery.
"You’re not going to believe
me," he said, catching his breath. "But I think I’ve just
hired the perfect employee."
"Who is she?" I gasped.
"Where did you find her? Is she human?"
"She’s perfectly normal,"
replied Ralph. "Her name is Mitsuko."
I suddenly remembered Ralph had been
looking for someone who could carry a conversation with some of the
Japanese customers who shop in our retail stores. So I went out on a limb
and asked Ralph if Mitsuko could speak Japanese.
"Obviously," he said. "But
that’s not what makes her the perfect employee."
"Obviously," I said.
"It’s because she’s only been
in the United States a few months with her new husband. She can hardly
speak any English."
"That makes her a perfect
employee?" I asked, incredulous.
"No. She wants to learn English.
When I offered her the job she practically jumped up and down with
excitement and gratitude because she would be able to practice her English
with our other customers."
I still didn’t understand. "I
like that ‘excitement and gratitude’ part, but that doesn’t make her
the perfect employee."
"No," Ralph continued,
"but this next part does. When I told her the starting wage, you know
what her response was?"
"She didn’t understand."
"Why the wage was so low?"
"No," Ralph replied.
"Why we would want to pay her for learning English."
"Yippee yi yo kayay," I
"You’ve done it, Ralph. You’ve
found a candidate for the perfect employee."
"Well, the jury is still out. Let’s
see what happens once she starts working."
She started the next day on a part-time
schedule. After a couple of shifts, I called Ralph for an update.
"Great," said Ralph.
"Perfect. No problems. Excellent with the Japanese customers."
I wasn’t convinced. Things looked
good, but the big test to see if she was indeed the perfect employee would
be coming up soon – Payday.
When the big day came, the checks were
printed and put in envelopes to be picked up by employees waiting eagerly
at the door.
But no Mitsuko. As I was leaving at the
end of the day, I happily glanced at the lone remaining envelope yet to be
picked up – Mitsuko’s.
Two more days went by. Mitsuko passed
the office many times, never bothering to stop and collect her check. I
asked Ralph if she knew it was there.
"I’ve told her three
times," he said. "But she doesn’t seem to care. The perfect
I was admittedly impressed but still
not convinced. "Let’s give it a week".
We not only gave it a week, we gave it
two weeks – the paycheck never left its nest. And Mitsuko, never late,
never complaining, always cheery, was about to be crowned the perfect
But there was a problem. Her English
was improving rapidly. She might quit (or want to be paid) if she got too
As a seasoned executive, I knew just
what to do. "Hello, Mitsuko," I said, seeing her pass the office
doorway. "I hep you er haqing neece dye."
"Pardon me," she replied.
"I sayed, ‘I hep you er haquing
Poor Mitsuko couldn’t understand a
word I was saying. A little annoyed, I gave her some hand signals and off
she went, perhaps realizing her English comprehension wasn’t quite up to
With the next payroll coming up, Ralph
and I decided we’d better hand-deliver Mitsuko’s first check, rather
than have them stack up in the office. This would be the ultimate test.
I waited nervously in my office for
Ralph to arrive and give me her reaction. When he finally came in, it was
with a sour expression.
"She took it," he said,
"Damn" I replied. "We
were so close."
"Don’t give up. It’s not over
I grasped Ralph’s drift. "That’s
right. She hasn’t cashed it!"
Another two weeks went by, with Ralph
calling the bank almost daily. Check #1406, rapidly becoming a legend in
our company, remained uncashed.
Mitsuko: The Perfect Employee.