Attack of the Co-Workers
Now that Aaron has landed that all-important first job, see how he handles his well-meaning but uninformed co-workers' mistakes about blind people.
Transcript of Attack of the Co-Workers
AARON'S ADVENTURES THEME MUSIC UP AND UNDER
NARRATOR: AFB CareerConnect, a program of the American Foundation for the Blind, presents: Aaron's Adventures in Employment. Episode 2: (REVERB) ATTACK OF THE CO-WORKERS!!!
THEME MUSIC CROSS FADES TO EERIE HORROR THEME. A WOLF HOWLS IN THE DISTANCE.
NARRATOR: (VINCENT PRICE-LIKE) It is...the first day. The first day on the job for Aaron. He has been preparing furiously—planning what he will wear, working out adaptations for his office equipment, studying the employee handbook. But his careful preparation will not save him from what he is about to encounter. As Aaron walks to his desk they come—one after the other after the other...with no clear intent or purpose! Aaron is overwhelmed by the onslaught of greetings and well-wishes by the CO-WORKERS!!!!
NICEY-NICE: [SUGARY SWEET] Aaron! It's so, so, so wonderful to meet you! Here, let me take your cane. I'll take you right to your chair!
KNOW-IT-All: [LADIES MAN] What's up, dude? Hey, remember Stacy Jones? That hot blind chick at the Community College? Maybe I can get the two of you hooked up, whaddya say?
ADMIRER: (SNIFFLING, OVER THE TOP DRAMA QUEEN) I am so moved by your courage Aaron! (sniff!) You are a shining beacon of hope to all of us. Thank you for inspiring me today!!!
PARANOID: I just want to say this right off the bat—you WILL be expected to do your own work. I'm too busy to help you out all the time so you better be able to carry your weight. And don't ask me for a ride!
WELL-MEANING: [SPEAKING VERY LOUDLY AND SLOWLY.] HELLO AARON! WELCOME TO OUR COMPANY!!!!! SO GREAT TO MEET YOU!!!
NICEY-NICE: Now here is your pencil, let me show you how to hold it. And I'll get your computer turned on and can I get you a drink or anything?
KNOW-IT-ALL: (WHISPERING) Hey Aaron...I know you have Super Hearing so I just wanted to tell you—HELLOOOOOO....
ADMIRER: You're going to love it here, everyone is so nice, just like on that TV show in the office where everyone...oh my gosh...I am SO sorry...I forgot you don't watch TV!!!!
THE VOICES CONTINUE TO PICK UP IN SPEED, OVERLAPPING UNTIL THEY ARE A JUMBLED MASS OF MUMBLING. HORROR MUSIC GRADUALLY INCREASES IN FRENZY AND VOLUME.
Aaron, would you like me to read your e-mail to you? Aaron...Aaron...follow my voice...okay, now I'm over here... I learned Braille in Boy Scouts so if you need help... Your parents must be absolute saints! Proofread this database. And don't ask me for help. You have so much courage! Hey Jim, what do you think Aaron wants to talk to me about? The telephone is right at the top of your desk—getting warmer, getting warmer!
AARON: (THINKING IN REVERB—HORRIFIED) Oh my gosh! They are EVERYWHERE! What am I going to do? Got...to...get...out of here....
AARON: (out loud) Excuse me, excuse me! VOICES HALT AND MUSIC ARRIVES AT A CRESCENDO. THERE IS A MOMENT OF SILENCE, FOLLOWED BY SUSPENSEFUL, HIGH PITCHED VIOLINS.
AARON: Ummmm.... I think I'm going to take a little lunch break now. I'm just going to the cafeteria. I'll be back.
HORROR MUSIC BEGINS SLOWLY, MUCH LIKE THE JAWS THEME.
NICEY-NICE: (A little eerie) Aaron... I can walk you there...AND help you pay for your food!
KNOW-IT-ALL: Don't you know? Blind people can FEEL their money with their fingers...
ADMIRER: (bawling) You go, Aaron! You go, honey!!
NARRATOR: In sheer terror Aaron flees the office, without looking back. (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) Exhausted, he seeks cover behind some filing cabinets.
AARON: (BREATHING HARD) Oh my gosh! What the heck was that? I hope they can't find me here. That was the most horrifying experience of my life! What am I going to do? I can't go back there!!
COMMANDER: (TOUGH MILITIA GUY) Lookie, lookie here. Scared of a few co-workers are you,? Hiding out like a wimp?
AARON: Listen, you don't know what I've just been through...the things I've experienced!
COMMANDER: Waaah, waaah. Somebody call the wahhhhmbulance!
AARON: Who are you, anyway?
COMMANDER: (SERIOUS) Commander Les B. Friendly, head of Employee Affiliations, Fifth Division, Regiment 27. I am responding to a report of unusual employee social compensation in this sector. En route to ground zero I find you, barricaded behind office furniture, just outside the men's latrine. Sucking your thumb like a baby. On your feet soldier! Back to work!!
AARON: With all due respect, Commander Friendly, I am NOT going back there. You can't make me. I think I'll just quit.
COMMANDER: (quiet, stern) What did you say?
AARON: I said I think I'll just quit.
COMMANDER: You think you'll just quit, do you now? A few co-workers give you a little scare and you want to run home to mommy. Listen up kiddo...
COMMANDER: (SERIOUS—CLINT EASTWOOD-LIKE) You're in the real world now, and it's no picnic. If you run scared now, it won't do you any good. They'll just keep coming you know...one after the other after the other. Co-workers are like that...they are there all the time—for the rest of your working life. They will keep coming and coming—each one more puzzling to understand than the last. There is no escape. You must learn the ways of co-worker survival.
AARON: Hey, I've done just fine through high school. Everybody there knows me, and my visual impairment is no big deal. This job is challenging enough without having to deal with co-workers!
COMMANDER: Believe it or not son, co-workers can be your friends too. There are just three simple Rules of Engagement.
MICHAEL-BAY-TYPE THEME MUSIC UNDER
COMMANDER: Number one: RESPECT. Know your co-worker. Know yourself.
COMMANDER: Aaron, there is nothing to get upset about if you know who you are. This is your life, suck it up! Everybody has a tough time in the workplace. Everybody has challenges. You have a visual impairment. Maybe someone else has a lack of confidence. And someone else has a need to be liked. And someone else has five kids to feed and is terrified of losing their job. Anytime a new co-worker comes on the scene, there will be conflict until there is respect and trust. If you want respect and trust, you have to give it first. Do I make myself clear, soldier?
AARON: Yes, sir! I will respect my co-workers. I will respect myself.
COMMANDER: Number two: ENGAGE. Humor is the best artillery. If you feel like you need to respond to an attack, then do it with humor. It levels the playing field.
AARON: So when someone asks me about my Super Hearing...
COMMANDER: ...tell them that you lost it when you were exposed to Kryptonite, right along with your X-Ray vision.
AARON: And if they think I know all the blind people in town?
COMMANDER: Tell them the membership dues got too high and you had to quit.
AARON: Seriously? That's not that funny.
COMMANDER: Well then, if humor isn't your thing, just respond respectfully with the facts.
AARON: Got it. Humor. Facts. I'll remember.
COMMANDER: Number three: FOCUS. This isn't a tea party, it's your job! You and your co-workers are here to produce a good result for this company. You need each other. You need each other's skills to do your own job well. Don't get sucked into the drama. Do your job, and do it well. Develop your own skills and find your own way to be excellent.
AARON: I think some of them don't think I can do the job. They either hate me already or they want to do it for me.
COMMANDER: Aaron—this is your job, not theirs. Making that clear to them is part of your job. And this is just your first day. As you do well, you will have more trust. So soldier, what are the rules of engagement?
AARON: Respect...Engage...and Focus! I think I've got it! And I'm ready!
COMMANDER'S WALKIE TALKIE CRACKLES
WALKIE TALKIE: Base to Commander Friendly! Base to Commander Friendly!
COMMANDER: Commander Friendly, here. Over...
WALKIE TALKIE: Sir, we have a Co-Worker Affiliation emergency in sector G-27—the copier room. A paper shortage may lead to potential conflict, sir! Over...
COMMANDER: I'm on it! Over...Good luck, soldier.
AARON: Thank you, sir!
INSPIRING MUSIC UNDER
NARRATOR: Armed with the knowledge of respect, engagement, and focus, Aaron emerges from his file cabinet foxhole and walks back into the office to confront his fears...and meet his destiny.
SOUND OF OFFICE DOOR CREAKING OPEN. SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC UNDER...
AARON: (Resolute) I'm back.
PARANOID: Glad to see you're not one of those who take long lunch breaks, Aaron. I don't want to have to cover for you all day.
AARON: Jane, I know you have a lot to do and my goal is to help you, not to be in your way. I know we both want to do a good job so if you ever feel like I'm not pulling my weight, please be honest with me so we can work it out.
PARANOID: I appreciate that Aaron, thank you.
NICEY-NICE: Aaron, let me walk you to your desk. While you were gone I put pennies on your drawers so you can find them...
AARON: Susan, you are being so nice to me, I appreciate your friendship. I want to be a friend to you too, and I know you have too much work to do to worry about me. I think I'll be OK from here on...but if I do need help, I will let you know.
NICEY-NICE: Of course, Aaron, whatever you need, just let me know!
KNOW-IT-ALL: Aaron, dude—I just want you to know that if you need to, it's ok for you to feel my face—so you know what I look like.
AARON: Travis, I would like to get to know you better but I have a feeling that I'm probably the luckiest person in this office—NOT being able to see your face—is that true, everyone?
ALL CO-WORKERS LAUGH.
KNOW-IT-ALL: Dude, you're hilarious!
AARON: Remember, guys, you don't have to guess what I need, just ask. I'll let you know right away.
THEME MUSIC UNDER.
NARRATOR: Once again, Aaron survives another employment challenge. If you need help dealing with co-workers (and don't we all!) check out the CareerConnect web site at www.afb.org. CareerConnect is a program of the American Foundation for the Blind.