Sunday, September 28, 2014

There ought to be clowns, redux

"The Mime in Me" by that genius, "Tabitha"  Part of Cookie's
collection of bad art. 

So I was going through some old papers today at the house, and I came across this pile from my former life as a consultant for a statewide trade association in Ohio.  I left in 2005 because the leader was turning into a bunker mentality, and it was hurting a lot of good people as they were shown the door and summarily fired.  I got out on my own terms.

ANYWAY, in that pile I found all this "stuff" on his big plan to corral the Human Resources market in our field in Ohio.  His idea was to use this program to stuff F.O.P. (Friends of "Pete") into leadership roles in the BIG powerful member organization.

To do this, they hired a consultant who would sell a program that was basically an Executive Search and Policy manuals.   The person who they hired had no experience in our field, but she seemed very nice.  For the purposes of posting, we'll call her Amy, which really isn't her name.  Seriously.

So Amy moves into her (real) office over the weekend and on the following Monday she invites us into the office for a little house warming and my coworkers and I walk in to find two bookcases, not holding books, but dolls.  Not just any dolls, either.

They were clown dolls.

Thats right, the HR expert filled her office with her collection of very expensive, very valuable, yet still kitschy clown dolls.

To say that we were shocked is an understatement, as we all got a good case of the creeps.

Successories, I would have expected.  Not clown dolls.

The conversation kinda went like this:

Me: "That is quite a collection of..."

Co-worker 1: "CLOWN DOLLS."

Amy chortles and says: "I have always loved clowns and I thought they would cheer up the office."

Co-worker 2: "Well thanks for letting me have a look, but I gotta get back to my desk...."

Me: "Been collecting them for long?"

Amy: "My grandpa made me that one on the top shelf when I was little, and the collection has grown."

Me: "It's good to be surrounded by the things you love.  It's nice."

Co-Worker 1: "I have worked with clowns before, but this is a first."

Amy: "Yeah, thats why I love them."

And love them she did. Eventually the collection grew to include a couple of those white clown masks, that some people would hang on their walls in the 1980s.

Funny thing is that about a year into her job she asks me to go to lunch, and after we are seated, tells me that she doesn't feel like part of the "team".

Amy: "I just feel isolated back there.  I love being out on the floor with the rest of you, but I feel like there is something keeping others from finding me accessible."

Me: "Amy, did it ever cross your mind that there could be something that is keeping people from feeling at ease in your office?"

Amy: "Well I know that some people are uneasy around human resources people."

Me: "I don't think its you."

Amy: "Well thats good to know."

Me: "It's your clown collection."

Amy looked stunned.  "But clowns are such happy people," she countered.

So we talked and the following Monday, the clowns were gone.  A month later, so was Amy.  She wasn't happy in her job, and I think she dismayed and disillusioned with co-workers that couldn't love clowns as she did.  Truth be told, she went back to work for her former employer, International Amalgamated.

The boss decided not to replace her.  Instead they went a different direction and hired a firm to do the work for us.

Finding that paper folder today made me wonder what ever became of Amy, and then I threw it out.  I already have enough clowns, like "Pete" in my past.


  1. Isn't it rich?
    Isn't it queer,
    Losing my timing this late
    In my career?

    I am amazed she was employed anywhere, what with her "Pennywise" fetish'n'all...

    Then again, it's that eternal joke called "human resources" so I'm not really surprised at all. Jx

  2. The reflection looks like late-80s-Madonna's long lost mime-look.

  3. How could she not be aware of Coulrophobia?

    1. And its just a fear iof clowns, but a MORBID fear.

  4. i would've squeezed her big nose & slapped her face with a big shoe.

    1. I had her look at my boutonniere and then I squirted her with water.

  5. Clowns! NOOOOOOO! They are creepy, and to be surrounded by them, oh hellz no. You were a good guy to explain to her what the problem was.