All That He Wants

By: Olivia Thorne


It was a Friday night at Exerton Consulting, and of course, my boss was being a douchebag.

Excuse my French.

Exerton is a small multi-national consulting firm with offices in a few big cities around the globe – LA, New York, London, Tokyo. But they’re not among the biggest fish in the pond, not by a long shot.

‘Consulting firm,’ you ask. ‘What does that mean?’

(If you didn’t ask that and don’t care, skip down about ten paragraphs.)

It means that other companies think they have problems, so they get Exerton’s ‘experts’ to come in and tell them how to fix said problems. Efficiency problems, human resources problems, hiring problems, blah blah blah, are your eyes glazing over yet?

By the way, most of the problems are things the companies could have solved by talking to lower-level employees, or by trusting good people in their own organization. But they never do that. Oh no. That would be craaaazy.

Don’t mind me, I’m just being snarky because I got hired as a temp secretary. I couldn’t even make the cut to regular staff, much less a junior consultant like Anh.

Anyway, back to the douchebag boss.

I work in the Executive Compensation division, which advises companies on how much to offer when they’re hiring high-level executives – CEO’s, CFO’s, and other alphabet-soup positions – in order to be competitive.

So, basically, I make $20,000 a year (which, in LA, is like $12,000 a year in Atlanta) supporting a senior VP who makes at least a half million a year, who advises companies on whether they should offer 11 million or 12 million to a potential new CEO who drove the last company he worked at into the ground.

Sorry, I’m a little bitter.

I’m even more bitter because my boss, Klaus Zimmerman, is… well, he’s not the nicest person on the planet. Even more than that, he’s disorganized, high maintenance, and wishy-washy. He can’t find anything and yells at me like it’s my fault his office is a pigsty. He is constantly coming up with a humongous list of time-consuming demands that he adds to hourly. He makes a hundred last-minute changes on any big project we send out, which means that I’m constantly begging the copy room guys to reprint and rebind 50 reports at 5:45 PM so I can make the last FedEx pickup. Otherwise I get to drive seven miles through LA rush hour – which is, to say, I get to wait in traffic 45 minutes – to drop off the delivery at the closest shipping office.

And he has the evil, evil habit of saving a ton of busywork until 6PM Friday night, which he needs corrected and emailed to him, because he ‘has to work at home on the weekends.’

Ah – but I get paid overtime for this!

Which means I make $12.50 an hour instead of $10. (Don’t forget, the temp agency gets their cut.)

And virtually every Friday night is shot because I’m exhausted by the time I wrap up at 10PM getting Herr Klaus’s reports ready.

I don’t think he even works from home on the weekends. I think he just likes torturing me.

But I shouldn’t complain, because if Klaus weren’t such a jerk, I would have never met him.


It was 5:55 PM on Friday when Anh stopped by my desk and put on her sad, hesitant face.

Anh (pronounced ‘On’) is this adorable little Vietnamese American girl whom I’ve known since I was a sophomore in college and she was a freshman. At barely five feet in heels and a year younger than me, I feel okay calling her a ‘girl.’ She wouldn’t mind.

I envy how thin she is; I like that she’s one of the few people who makes me feel tall; and I love her for getting my sense of humor, for having been my therapist/mom through a couple of wretched breakups, and for generally putting up with me.

Plus, she lets me pay less in rent even though our bedrooms are the same size. I think she does that because, even though she got me the job, she feels bad that I wound up working for Herr Klaus.

I refer to him as ‘Herr Klaus’ because ‘the Exec Comp Nazi’ might get me fired. Yes, I know, I know, I shouldn’t go around comparing my jerk boss to actual, real-life monsters who destroyed millions upon millions of people’s lives.

But if Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld could do it with a guy who sells soup…

Anyway, that’s why ‘Herr Klaus.’ Anh resisted the nickname at first because she’s so sweet and tries to look for the best in everyone, but my continual usage of it wore her down.

“Herr Klaus snapping the whip again?” she asked.

“Yes. And not the type of whip I like, either,” I mumbled.

That was a joke, and Anh knows it. In the bedroom, I’m about as vanilla as they come. (Pun not intended on ‘come.’)

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