Mr. Cummins and Zelda agreed to meet the next afternoon, just a little after the close of business, because Zelda had to lead a major code review that was going to take all day. That night, in addition to preparing for the code review, she did her homework with Glassdoor, Salary.com, and lots of Google searching to come up with what she thought would be needed in Dee Dee’s offer to attract this highly qualified candidate for a critical position on Zelda’s “bet the farm” next gen architecture project.
Based on her research, she was ready to propose a slightly above market rate salary offer, a substantial signing bonus payable in twenty-four monthly installments, participation in the senior individual contributor incentive compensation plan with goals tied to the success of the next gen architecture project, and a modest but appropriate number of stock options. Zelda also felt that Dee Dee’s work demands would be such that he should have three weeks PTO per year instead of the usual two weeks until his seniority made that the norm.
True to her own nerdy (some would say meticulous) work habits, she prepared a chart of her proposal with the backup included of how she arrived at each line item’s details. Then she rehearsed how she would approach Mr. Cummins and how she would handle each of his likely objections.
The next day’s code review went well, but they were clearly getting behind, not to mention lacking the full brain trust needed to solve specific design challenges, because of the empty position Zelda hoped to fill with Dee Dee. So it was with determination and a real sense of urgency but also the desire to be collegial that she arrived at Mr. Cummins’ office at the appointed time, just after 6:00 PM.
Oddly, Cummins’ office was dark when she arrived. But thinking that Cummins had just stepped away for a moment, Zelda opened the door, turned on the light, and then nearly tripped over Mr. Cummins, lying motionless on the floor, as she walked into the office. Oh no, thought Zelda, he’s had a heart attack.
But, as she looked more closely, she realized that no heart attack could have produced the exotic, beautifully carved knife poking out of Cummins’ chest — unless, of course, he had “fallen on his sword” while examining it. “HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!” screams Zelda as she uses Cummins’ phone to dial 999. “HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!” screams Zelda, when 999 answers, then pulls herself together to give the 999 operator the details of the emergency — who, what, where, when — along with her own name and contact information. Then, following the 999 operator’s instructions, she walks out of the office, closes the door, and prepares to await the police she’s summoned.
Too exhausted emotionally to stand, she slumps down to the floor, sits with her back against the wall, and tries to collect her thoughts.
Stay tuned for Chapter IV