A “Happiness Engineer☺” Contemplates Unhappiness ☹ - A Fable*

Posted by jlubans on July 17, 2020


Isaac, a new Happiness Engineer (HE) at BlogWorld, is having second thoughts.
He knew he’d be part of a call center, however highfalutin’ the job description, but the pay was good and he definitely agreed with the stated perquisite: “you love helping people.”
The job was highly satisfying since he could demonstrate his superb technical proficiency – the feedback was consistently positive.
But, while his love of helping remains true our epidemic times have resulted in more people canceling their accounts:
“My designer is sick; he can’t work on my blog. I want to get my annual fee back.”
“I’m sick with the virus and the doctors tell me it’s going to be a long recovery.”
“I have no time for my blog, what with teleworking and homeschooling my kids. I’ve not even gone public with the blog; can I get my annual fee back?“

BlogWorld’s refund policy had been the Golden Rue – we want customers to be “happy” even if they leave us.
Now, there’s a new policy: Keep the Money. The boilerplate script has Isaac saying no, spreading unhappiness.
Indeed, the epidemic is the reason not to refund; somewhere in the small print of the multi-page user agreement there’s a clause exempting BlogWorld’s refunds from epidemics.
Increasingly, the negative vibes from unhappy customers counters the positive feelings Isaac gets from helping a client figure out the technicals.
The script offers no leeway, no exceptions. All Isaac can do is recite, Kafkaesque-like the boilerplate about no refunds.
Isaac is conflicted, as they say. He wonders why, if people are in a fix, can’t BlogWorld accommodate their situation; eventually kindness will be returned.
To put it into the IT vernacular, Isaac is no longer “pumped”. He’s on his way out but just does not know it yet.
He’s talked with the corporate Happiness Officer, to no avail. If the HO was ever really happy (content and joyful), he has become less so.
There are rumors of reductions in force.
The grape vine has HEs as among the first to be replaced with an offshore call center.
One day his supervisor finds a note pinned to Isaac’s empty cubicle:
“I quit.”
Moral: Ignore the Golden Rule and lose/lose. You’ll lose customers and you’ll lose (in more ways than one) staff.
*An original
fable by John Lubans in the style of George Ade.
An epidemic brings out the worst and best in organizations.
This fable is based on recent personal experience with KLM airlines ☹, WordPress ☹, Allianz travel insurance ☹, AirBnb ☹, the Latvian National Opera ☺, Russia’s visa office ☹ ☹! and its USA agent ☹, and the Hermitage museum ☺.
ONLY a click away, now 40% off all summer long only at this link:

And, my book on democratic workplaces, Leading from the Middle, while not discounted, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2020

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