Аннотация: Everybody looking for the good job, where you not suppose to work too hard. For good salary, good partner, good health - practically looking for the niche.
In search of a niche.
Leo Koifman met Nikolay Grechko on his first working day in the new place. As usual, for all big companies, the first working day every newcomer has to spend on filling out different forms, listening to online safety training and other rubbish. Somewhere around lunch time, after filling out all questionnaires, in which Koifman honestly promised not to climb where it is not necessary, do not put various parts of his body into rotating mechanisms, do not solicit employees during working hours and do not steal secret documents, he decided to take a short coffee break. In the kitchen, near the microwave, a huge bearded man was busy with some food boxes. The guy looked like typical Russian man. In Canada, many immigrants from the post-Soviet republics, especially Ukrainians, who immigrated more than hundred years ago. However, all these children of former immigrants almost lost their language, so Leo decided do not ask man in the kitchen a straight questions, despite the fact that on 95% was sure that he speaks Russian. The man was unusual and the newcomer unwittingly began to scrutinize him. The man looked clearly not ordinary. The height was about two meters, high temples on the forehead, a short haircut, thick heavy beard, a big ears sticking out perpendicular to the head, crumpled dirty pants, soft smeared with moccasins, a big belly and long loose shirt. If Leo would meet him in Russia, he will think that this is a Pope from Siberia which forgot to wear his cassock. The big man blocked access to coffee machine, to a sink and to a microwave at the same time. Leo, after full inspection, politely sad "Excuse me" and the "pope" turned around. The man looked at Koifman from his two meters height with a heavy glance of "taiga-cannibal yeti", but after 10 seconds suddenly smiled as a child.
- Do you speak Russian? - Nikolay began without forewords.
- Are you also Russian speaking? - Leo pretended to be surprised.
- Have you been working here for a long time? - simply asked Nikolay, firmly holding Leo"s hand.
- Today is the first day.
- Where are you sitting?
- Over there, in that corner office.
- Oh, are you a manager?
- Well, yes, but very small.
- Hm-m, well, but if you have your own office, it's already serious. I'm seating there, in the open space, with another designers. So if you will have a second, don"t be shy, please come over. By the way, my name is Nikolay.
- And I"m Leo. When you are planning to free the microwave? I'd like to warm up the coffee.
- Yes-yes-yes... I'm just warming up soup, then bread and porridge...
- Wow! I see you brought a lot, kind of seriously prepared.
- Well, dinner is a holy thing, - Grechko smiled shyly.
- Okay, come to my office. We could have lunch together, - Koifman realized that heating process will take a long time, therefore decided do not waste his time.
Nikolay came to his office in about twenty minutes with five different boxes, which he neatly laid out around him and pausing a while thoughtful:
- Probably I'll start with a soup.
- And all of these five boxes for lunch? - Koifman was more than surprised.
-Well, what's wrong? You should eat well, otherwise how you will go to shit, - Nikolay looked seriously at Leo and added, - and if you didn"t eat on time, you didn"t shit on time and here you are - cancer of the rectum! Not funny!
Leo, who used to take just one box, began to observe with high interest the new acquaintance. When soup was finished, Grechko started the salad. He opened a box of sliced vegetables and pulled out from the depth two small jars. One was with olive oil, the other with balsamic vinegar. After pouring the contents of both cans into the salad, Nikolay began slowly to stir all components.
- Could you mix the salad at home? - Koifman was surprised. - Are you have nothing to do? Stir your salad at home, and no need to drag bunch of jars down here.
- Ha... Well, it's not so delicious if I would prepare it at home. I always prefer fresh, - Grechko laughed in a paternal way. He was amazed that such elementary things should be explained to someone.
Slowly having dealt with five boxes, Nicholay folded his entire household in a cloth bag, burped with a pleasure and simply said:
-Do not go away. I brewed a tea there, about half an hour ago, it"s probably ready.
Grechko appeared in a few minutes with a half-liter teapot and another box, containing chocolate and nuts. Since the beginning of the lunch, it has been no less than forty minutes, not counting the half an hour which he spent for all preparation process. Koifman ate his salad in the first seven minutes. A new acquaintance, with some kind of not healthy pleasure, started sipping the tea and take all sorts of sweets out of the box. In another twenty minutes, Grechko finished long lunch and went to his room. Leo glanced at his watch. Lunch with a new friend lasted more than an hour. Koifman waited a few minutes and went to the washroom. However, after walking a few meters, he was again surprised to find Grechko sitting next to some young Indian designer and talking animatedly about something. It was evidently that Nikolay did not come for a second, but for a long time. Further, during the working day Koifman saw Grechko in the kitchen and with different people, but he never found him in the workplace. What and when Nikolay work for this company also remained a mystery to him. The next day the situation almost completely repeated. Nikolay was walking from one to another, asked how things were yesterday, talked about his problems, politics, complained about his health, gave someone to rewrite movies or mixed martial arts shows, warmed up the dinner... And everyone was happy to see him and to share their family problems with him. The workplace was used as a base for storing lunch boxes, filling the timesheet and printing out variety documents that he then exchanged with a pleasure with his colleagues. In two weeks Koifman was so interested to understand what going on - he even started to spy after a new friend. Having worked 5 years in the former USSR, after 11 years in Israel and 14 years in Canada, he never saw that somebody worked no more than one or two hours a day. And Grechko was neither the owner nor the husband of the general manager, and he even wasn"t a small boss. In the process of communication and constant observation, Koifman slowly began to develop a portrait of Mr. Grechko. For the present day, Nikolay was married, had a son and a daughter who already grew up and lived separately. Also in the house there were three Dachshunds, which he was fully in love with, and could talk about them for hours, sincerely experiencing and laughing at the habits of his pets. His wife had not worked for the last five years and was enjoying housework. All the attempts to teach her at least some computer program always ended in tears and Nikolay paused the process for some time, and finally calmed down. However, let's start everything from the beginning.
Nikolay was born in the small industrial town, located more than thousand kilometers from Moscow. When he born, his parents were about 20 years old and didn"t have time to pray on the new family member, in comparison with a modern generation. They immediately went somewhere for high pay work and left their child in the care of their parents. His childhood was regular, however he considered himself the happiest child on earth. The matter is that the grandmother and grandfather lived in the downtown across to the central toy shop. About fifty years ago, children still sincerely believed in communism, although not only children... The government promised communism in 5-10 years and asked all citizens to tighten up belts and accelerate their efforts in order to speed up a bright future arrival. Grandfather spoke in detail about life under the communism and young Grechko had the impression that his grandfather had already lived there and knew exactly how it will work. For five-year-old child it was still hard to understand the adult words "supply according to need," "work by the ability", but what he understood very clearly - it will be no money! Each person can take everything what he wants. Every morning Nikolay woke up with his grandfather at 6-00a.m. and turned the radio on. The government had to announce the beginning of communism early. And if communism has come, then he only needs one minute to dress and run to the store across the street. Well, in any situation he will be there at 6-05a.m. But all another children never show up prior to 7a.m. And he will be the first to choose whatever toys he wants and how many he can bring at home. And the little Grechko already figured out that he can make more than one run and until seven in the morning, until everybody arrived, it will be possible to go back and forth seven or eight times. So, in happiness anticipation few more years slowly passed. When his parents returned from another city with money. They bought a new condo far away from the city center. Nikolay didn"t want to lose such a "strategic" place and categorically refused to move. All the arguments that the store opens at 9a.m. and in case if communism will come, they still will be able to arrive before the toy shop opening, didn"t work out. Relocation process was delayed. At some point, his father, which just quietly observed at this advanced educational procedure, lost his patience and hit Grechko-junior with a heavy slap. Then he slowly dropped: Ten minutes to tidy up, otherwise you never see your communism!
So Nikolay Grechko came to the edge of a small, god-forgotten town, on the edge of the empire, far from the central toy store and without any enthusiasm for the coming communism.
Entertainment or cultural activities, in those years was close to zero, even in Moscow. But what you can expect from a small provincial city with a population less than 100 thousands. Well, all entertainment: soccer, basketball or ride on the bike. A theater or a concert - two or three times a year, and you have to be lucky to get the tickets. The people around are half criminals, and their children are no better. Habitat - bad ecology, knocking down wind, aggressive and angry population, alcohol, street fights and other similar "delights". So, in order to be busy Grechko began to read. And he read practically everything, which you can find in the library of his small town. At seventeen he had already read almost all the classics, read many books on history, thriller stories, and adventures, and we can objectively say that he became almost a local intellectual. Nikolay spoke smoothly, without swearing and not stuttering to find the right word. Tall, thin, with a smart look, not aggressive - really nice fellow. And he knew how to tell interesting stories. 30-40 years ago it was no Internet. Go, check if it"s true. And who will go? What, people have nothing to do? After school he went to university in Samara. The city is more than a million, there are thousands of such "smart" and knowledgeable young men. Once his class gathered in the student dormitory to celebrate some holiday. The boys were full of energy, funny and cheerful: somebody plays on the guitar, somebody sings, somebody reads his poetry, somebody discusses technical ideas, somebody jokes... and the girls are all beautiful. Grechko sat and waited, but from no reason the girls did not paid attention. He already walked a couple of times to show his height, and smiled to some of them, but nothing happened. He also began telling all kinds of stories. But only he will start, and one of the boys cuts him off: Nikolay, I was read this story last year in the magazine "Youth". Okay... then here another story, which happened during Queen Catherine Second era. Guys started to listen, but after a couple of minutes someone again cuts him: Where did you read this? Something doesn"t work out here. Queen's education reforms already started before slavery was canceled. And why queen will fight against her own initiative? Well, what can you do about it! Very difficult to show off. Hmmm... not like it was in his hometown. And another guys are discussing the stand-up comedy for the New Year. What a sketch we'll prepare, what song we'll sing ... Nikolay got upset. He felt like a stranger in this party and went to his room.
After the university he went back to his home town, got married... A son was born, then a daughter. Women again began to pay attention. Life again turned face to him. But then the glorious nineties burst forth. Everything flew backwards. People lost a lot. While he got up off his knees, established some "shuttle" business, while began to make some money... And then the default came - money turned into a paper... And he realized that he needs to start all from the beginning.
Grechko thought hard. He clearly realized that it was not the last default and that his whole life would be the same torn stripe - from default to default. And probably he never get out from the low social level, will grow old and nothing will see in his life. And he is already 34... Grechko decided to take a risk and went to Moscow, drove to the Canadian Embassy, took forms to complete and return back home. He translated everything in a hurry, filled everything and sat down to study English. A year later he was interviewed "in an enemy language", and in half year sold everything that he had and came to Canada.
From the beginning the Canadian life didn"t start very well. He didn"t have a real profession, wasn"t a businessman and definitely had no connections. In Canada it is not like in Russia, where if you are friend with an owner, you can get a good position and high salary. Here people have different minds set. If your salary less than market price - you and owner are the best friend. But if you milked a little bit higher salary than average market price, it's better not to get caught by the owner! He went from one family business to another, but everywhere it was a same. The salary was slightly higher than a minimum wage - enough to eat, but not enough for good life. By Russian standards, looks like everything is cool, but for Canadian life - low level. Once again when he was laid off and went to unemployment, Nikolay decided to summarize and think about a path forward. Eight years of Canadian life had flown by, and he, except of spoken English, hasn"t progressed anywhere. It was absolutely clear that he had to do something urgently. After long and hard debates and doubts, it was decided to go and study three-dimensional computer design in a college near the house. The training is exactly for one year. The government, as part of the re-qualification program, will pay almost everything, in case if you will pass all the exams and receive a diploma. Grechko took up his studies very seriously, fully understanding that it could be his last chance. He bought a powerful computer, with intend to consolidate what he learned during the day after the study. In the same time, Nikolay started a tight friendship with more advanced students, in order to learn extra tricks. He even tried to make romantic relations with the teacher, with hope to get "private" lessons... Shortly speaking, he did everything he could. And luck did not keep him waiting. After graduating from college, Mr. Grechko was employed in a large engineering company as a draftsman in the mechanical department. He was paid exactly double salary, in comparison to his last job, in spite of Nikolay would agree even to a minimum wage. After half a year he bought a new car. The old car he generously gave to his wife and, embracing her with a fatherly hag, added: "We are not a poor people to commute on the buses". A year later, having saved up enough money for down payment, the Grechko family bought a house. The house was far away, pretty small, but it was their house! Life again began to accelerate the motion.
Nikolay certainly understood what his department was doing, but on very high level. Especially he had no clue why it was necessary to do this way, and not otherwise. He tried not to ask any questions, in order do not draw a special attention to himself. When more experienced colleagues argued with each other, to prove that some specific coefficient should be used in this calculations, Grechko always tried to pretend that he is very busy and do not have time for discussion. And if someone insisted to hear Grechko"s opinion, kind of trying to pull him to his side, Nikolay usually tried to laugh off, throwing some neutral meaningless phrases like: "In Russia, this coefficient has always low, and now I eventually realized why USSR broke apart." He didn"t fight, didn"t pretend to leadership or career growth, he just wanted this job! And he wanted this forever. He dreamed to be forgotten and just receive this big salary.
The project, for which Grechko was taken, was slowly unfolding and the mechanical department was not too busy, because detailed design hasn"t begun yet. If the boss was needed something, he was coming out of the office, caught the first seeing designer and asked him to check some "problematic" place. Just like it was in the Soviet Army. Grechko, as an experienced soldier, immediately understood how the system works and simply tried to avoid the boss and not to appear in the workplace. If the task was a bit more complicated, i.e. not just an ordinary redrawing, but required at least some sort of qualification, then Nikolay began to ask a lot of additional questions, clarified all sorts of unimportant things... At the same time he was nodding seriously and added amicably: "Oh, now this is different story! You didn"t mentioned it from the beginning. I don"t want to guess." Having received all the necessary explanations, he sincerely thanked the person who gave him the assignment (usually the lead designer) and returned to his workplace. When in 2-3 hours he was asked to show some results, he looked faithfully into lead engineer"s eyes and, seriously replied: "Yes, yes, yes, of course, of course. I"m working on it and I'll try to finish by the end of the day. "
At the end of the day, of course, nothing was ready. Realistically for average designer this scope of work takes no more than an hour, but not for Nikolay. The hour only was spent for clarifications and amplifications. Two days later everything was as before (i.e. nothing happened), but Grechko continued to ask additional questions, and nodded with a smart face, listening to the answers. The "lead designer" which already lost all his patience, started yelling with a red face that he would have done it by himself in maximum an hour and already would forget about it. And he spent only for an explanation at least a two hours, and lost a lot of time and nerves! And that he also has a boss and a schedule! And he has been working for more than 30 years as a designer, and never saw clowns like that! Nikolay stood with a guilty look, looking frightened from side to side and repeating with a stubby tongue: "Excuse me, I had all sorts of problems with the computer there... Sorry, I apologize...". Screaming in such a respectable engineering firm was pretty rare notion and usually everyone around stopped the work and began to listen. No one knew the prehistory of the conflict, but from the side everything looked very ugly. Poor immigrant, harmless draftsman was intimidated by "lead engineer". And poor guy just tried to defend himself... And this poor Nikolay, he is a nice guy! What this lead engineer wants?! When the unpleasant scene was over, Grechko almost cried like a battered dog. He went away somewhere, with a sad face of undeservedly humiliated person.
After 20 minutes he returned and sat down at his workplace, looking with a sad eyes on the screen, but without touching the keyboard. It was so painful to look at it... Humiliated in public, a 50-year-old man, grief-stricken and deeply experiencing his shame. Someone from colleagues can"t stand and came to pity him, expressing sincere sympathy.
And then came the second part of the beautifully rehearsed performance, which Grechko held tightly under control. With a dull look, listening to the advice not to take everything that happened closely to the heart, "humiliated and insulted" with frozen tears in his eyes, he looked at the interlocutor insanely and said in a half-whisper: "I do not know how I will live with all this... this... I have never... never been so humiliated in my life...".
The compassionate colleague asked him to calm down, and went to Nikolay's "offender" to convey a "terrible" conversation. After five to ten minutes, the "lead designer", who already was not so "hot", and well understanding all the potential consequences, came to Grechko to make a peace. After many apologies, the "offender" returned to his workplace and never touched the "offended". The main idea of this tactic was that the conflict never went to the head of the department, and faded at the initial stage. Everyone was happy with this result. Grechko never received any skilled work, only a purely drafting. Lead designer no longer gave him anything more or less serious. This way he tried not to lose his temper again, and don"t lose his job. Koifman understood all this not right away, but when the "puzzle" was finished, he even started to respect his new friend. Without connections, without any knowledge, without even good English... practically without anything, Grechko managed to stay in a serious firm, on a good salary, with a title "mechanical designer".
The changes happened unexpectedly. It turned out that the mechanical department lagged behind, puffed at the end of the schedule, didn"t order more than half of what was due and so on. What exactly happened Nikolay did not understand, but to be honest, he even didn"t try. On Monday morning, to mechanical department, without any explanations, was announced that they have a new boss. Also, along with the new head of department, another new lead engineer was presented. The Project Director expressed the hope that these changes will help to catch up the schedule and that the new people will help to push entire team of mechanics.
- I don"t care about all their personnel reshuffles. I'm a small guy and not pretending for anything, -Grechko philosophically shared his thoughts with Koifman. The dinner was long over, and Nikolay did not even finish the fourth box.
- I wouldn"t be so sure, - Leo raised his finger and shacked.
- Oh, come on. And what will they do to me?
-They can remove you from the project...
-So what? I will be transferred to another project. Not a big deal.
-You will not just be transferred. If your boss complains, then maybe for the first time only they will move you. And if it will be complains from the second project? Or you believe they will move you again?
-Come on. Why they can"t send me to the next project again? It is seven-eight projects right now.
-Hm-m... This is Canada, but not USSR. They are nice, but everything has limits.
- What do you mean?
- They can laid you off.
-Leo, stop frightening me! I've been here almost three years and while everyone was happy, - Grechko looked at Koifman with uncertainty.
-Now the situation on the project is not so good and when the real pressure begins, then no one will not play with you in political correctness. I hope, you understand that all these democratic games are played for the time being.
-Well, and what do you suggest?
-Start to pull your connections in order to jump to another project.
-What kind of connections do I have?
-Well, you talk with people three quarters of your working time, exchange movies, technical literature...
-Well, they are not managers.
-So? Sometimes a little person can help more than any big boss.
-Okay, Leo. I'll go. You finally scared me.
-Where are you going? On another project?
-No. I'm going to work.
-Wow... What's wrong with you? And how about your traditional tea ceremony?
-You know that, stop puffing me! I do not want to go anywhere! I"m just fine here, - with these words, the exasperated Grechko left Koifman"s office, even with not finished lunch.
The next day, Leo went on a business trip for several days. After his return, they were a lot of questions and problems, which were pretty urgent. During the dinner time, Nikolay didn"t show up. Koifman was even delighted, because he wanted to scatter the questions that had accumulated in his absence. However, the next day Grechko did not appear again. Leo didn"t see him in the kitchen, not among his fellow-colleagues... Leo went to Nikolay's workplace, and was surprised to find that Grechko was sitting at the computer and actively drawing something.
-Where did you disappear? Not coming for lunch, - Koifman began cheerfully.
-This is a new lead engineer, he asked me urgently to draw some stuff.
-Urgently?! Why? Since when did it bother you?
-Yes, he's a bastard, every half an hour comes and asks. He almost checks the quantity of lines.
-Well, but does he shouted at you?
-Unfortunately not... Speaks politely and with respect. And he smiles all the time. This smile as a mask on his face. Anyway, I hope to finish it till the end of the day.
-OK, not bothering you.
- I'll come for lunch tomorrow.
-No problems, just don"t forget go to the washroom. As you told me, didn"t poo in time - cancer of the rectum! - Koifman smiled maliciously and returned to his room.
Grechko appeared in Koifman's office only next day. He looked far from relaxed and even slightly tired.
- I barely managed to escape, I didn"t even have time to warm up my dinner, - shortly explained he, setting legendary five boxes, - This guy drives me nuts. He will soon begin to follow me to the washroom with a stopwatch.
-Why did he start with you? There are also 15 people.
-How do I know? Maybe someone has snitched...
- Why does he stick around you all day? What, he has nothing to do?
- Do I know? He always says that I work slowly.
- So work faster.
-Leo, really! I'm literally work like a dog! I'm afraid to go to the washroom. I already have arthritis on my fingers and my eyes are watering. I have to go to the doctor.
-Well, if you work so hard, then why is he not happy? I know him pretty well. We worked together about five years ago. Absolutely adequate person.
-O yeah! Adequate! We are changing everything 3-4 times!
-Now at least I understand why everything in slowly motion mode...
-What's wrong with you?! Damn it! Are you on his side?! He told me - I drew. He looked and began: Why did you go on the left side? What, you didn"t see that your duct blocks access to the service door. And why here chute went up? You cross straight through the passage. How will people walk?
-And what, you didn"t see where your chute is going?
- I do not care who goes and where! Draw me with a pencil, and then I'll bring all of it to the model. I can"t get into his head. He is a lead engineer! And I just a regular designer.
-Well, he can"t get into your head either. He not supposed to tell you the basic things. It's like ignite a car first and then driving. There are things that you can explain till five years, and after it starts to be annoying.
-So what, are you on his side?! I'm working as a slave here, with outstretched eyes. I chained to my chair and even not go anywhere..., even in washroom! I'm probably going to have heart attack soon, and you still pinching me!
-Me?! I have worked like that all my life...
-Oh Leo, it is something disgusting in my soul, - Grechko changed his tone dramatically, realizing that he is not going to get any compassion. After that he looked at his watch and added, - I will go... This "condom" probably came three-four times with a stopwatch...
-So what? You still have five more minutes of an official dinner...
-Okay... You know..., I'm afraid ... We bought a new car, furniture, we have a mortgage... By the way, we still didn"t pay for the last vacation... If I get fired, then I will be impossible for us to live for half the salary that I have now.
- Well, push your wife go to work.
-Yes, she is looking for job, but so far nothing good. I've been thinking - maybe I'll get sick for 3-4 weeks, and then maybe situation will dissolve... What do you think?
-And how exactly it will be resolved?
-This "condom" will get a new designer and when I return, I will be transferred to another lead engineer.
-But another lead will start to run into you again. Now the mechanical department is not just behind the schedule. At each meeting the management talking only about mechanical department. They finally realized that you, guys, fuck around for a year. You all came here as to the gentlemen club.
- Oh, come on. I'm not the only one. The entire department was fooled around. And I'm just a little man... Tell me to draw here - I'll draw, tell me to move there - sure, please. And it turns out that everybody scratched his balls, but they only run into me.
-Situation changed completely. They started to push everyone.
-Oh, I have to run. I'm sorry, - Nikolay literally ran out of Leo's office frightened glancing at his watch.
The next morning, Koifman again went on a business trip. Returning after the weekend, he was usually more busy than usual, so he was glad that Nikolay did not come to the lunch. The next day, Leo again had a lunch alone. After lunch he decided to check on Grechko. However, in the mechanical department, he was told that Grechko broke his leg and now located in the hospital. It was also said that the fracture is somehow horrible and that he will be back just in 6 weeks. Rummaging through his papers, Koifman found the number of the mobile phone of the injured friend and immediately called.
-Hello, - the voice on the other end was almost like from the grave.
- Is it you, lazy slack? - started Leo's cheerfully.
-Oh, hello! - Grechko"s voice immediately became regular, - I just see that somebody are calling me from work... Didn"t realized that it was you.
-Therefore you are playing as after contusion. Okay, tell me, are you really broke your leg? Or this is part of your plan to be sick for a month?
-What are you talking about?! I did not plan anything! Don"t start! We went to the forest with my wife, I collected firewood, go back to the camping tent, and stones were slippery...
-Clear. Slipped, woke up - plaster.
-Well yes. Only this is an open fracture... Thanks God ambulance arrived on time, otherwise I would die.
-Well, what do the doctors say? When you back to work?
-Said that if everything is good, then in 10 weeks it will be possible to return.
- So, your colleagues in mechanical department told me that you'll be back in six weeks.
-Well, I did it on purpose. Otherwise they can remove me from the project. If they will hear that I'm left on a temporary disability, for a three months, then they will immediately take someone else.
-But anyway someone needs to work and meet the schedule. No one will wait for you for three months.
- That's exactly what I'm talking about. I'll call in six weeks and say that doctor took an X-ray and demanded another two weeks. In two weeks I will call again. And this way I could sit quietly on my temporary disability for 3 months. The insurance covers 75% of the average earnings, which is not so bad. Honestly, I need some time for rest. I'm so tired of all this pressing.
-You was under the pressure even less than two weeks. I thought you were rested enough over a three years. Or you expected this beautiful life will be forever?
-Why are you tease me all the time?! I told you everything as to friend, honestly, didn"t hide anything, and instead of compassion you...
-Sorry, I'm silent. What leg did you break? I hope this is not a right leg?
-No. Luckily. I broke the left one. I mean, I can drive a car.
-So what's the problem? After six weeks, go to work. No one will start push poor semi-disabled man.
-Why do I need this? I have already calculated everything: taking into account price of gasoline, amortization of the car, time in transit, etc., I will earn almost the same money in the end.
-OK, I got it. You want not to work for 3 months, but stay on the project.
-Yes. Eventually you got it.
- Hm-mm. It's certainly not my business, but all of it somehow stinks. Once you certainly can play this card, but the second time they will crack you down and you will be thrown out. I would do it.
-But I'll say - it's a doctor. I wanted to return, but doctor do not allow me.
-Brilliantly, as in the fifth grade. Only I wouldn"t play this game. Maybe one time you can do it, but no more. People not stupid.
Six weeks flew very fast. Nobody was taken to mechanical department. From time to time Grechko called Koifman and asked him to go to the mechanical department and tell people how hard he is living with a broken leg, how he takes morphine, does not sleep at night, but his heart with his colleagues. In parallel, he phoned his colleagues directly and told the same stories, but with much more details. At the same time he scolded "stubborn" doctors who did not allow him to return.
The day before the end of the glorious six weeks, Nilolay, as was planned, called to the head of the mechanical department and said that he needs two more weeks. Boss, who by that time barely coped with the accumulated volume of work and had already planned something for the missing designer, squeezed his teeth and told a neutral OK, and hung up with a big disappointment.
Two weeks later the situation was completely repeated, with the only one difference - the head of the department asked Grechko to send him an official e-mail, which he joyfully did.
At the end of the working day Nikolay"s boss came to Koifman"s office and without even saying "hello", exasperatedly asked:
-Nick Grechko, your friend, is he a "smart-ass", man with protection or just an idiot?
-What happened? I hope he didn"t solicit you or asked for the date? - Leo, who knew Mechanical Department Manager for many years from his previous job, tried to laugh it off.
-Leo, listen, I'm serious. A man is over fifty, and he behaves like a kid. What kind of games he is playing here?! He thinks that I do not understand that he wants to stay on temporary disability as maximum as possible? Or does he think that he's so clever and all the fools around?
-What can I say? I told him... And he just plays down. Oh, I feel so bad, oh I'm taking morphine, oh, doctors do not allow me...
- You understand, he is really weak designer, but he even doesn"t want to work. Anyway, if I understand correctly, your friend wants to sit at home for 3 months, until he will receive temporary disability.
-How do I know? I told him my humble opinion three times already, but he still cries how he feels bad.
-OK, don"t be offended, but I will take your friend off the project. Management will transfer him to another project, but I"m not interested in this guy at all.
Koiftman decided not to tell anything so "sick on his leg" man. Maybe management will not be able to find a person to replace, maybe another big project will start, or maybe the boss will change his mind... or maybe another miracle will happened.
Grechko continued to call every two weeks and sing the same song. However, in all subsequent times the boss was very kind to him and always wished him a speedy recovery. And in the mechanical department a new designer already started to work.
Pain, morphine intake and permission of the doctor ended for Nikolay exactly the day before the end of temporary disability, i.e. in three months sharp.
Grechko appeared at work with a wand and a mournful expression on his face. Putting five boxes in the fridge and turning on the computer, finally returned "disabled", began a leisurely round of all colleagues. Strongly lame he approached everyone, and slowly, in details began to tell how everything happened. How he slipped on the slippery stones and how did he hear the crunch that still hangs in his ears... How he was transported by ambulance, and how was he sure that he would not survive. How he recalled the children and the colleagues... Everybody expressed full compassion, asked additional questions, which he was even more than pleased to answer, recalling more and more details.
Having finished in his department, Grechko smoothly continued to visit other departments. At last, somewhere before lunch, he came to visit Koifman.
-Oh! Look at you... Almost a Jesus came from the sky. I thought you would not appear at all... You look good, lost weight...
-Ha, lost weight there. I scored another 7 kilos.
-It was a joke. I saw that you added to your superfluous 30 kg, another 10 kg. If I would in your place, I would begin to lose weight, because all this extra weight falls on your injured leg.
-Yes, you are right, but I'm not too limping. Tomorrow probably I will be without a stick.
-Well, have you already been given a job? - The owner of the office asked cautiously.
-Not yet. The head of the department is not in place, so I've talked to the people so far.
-There, at mechanical department, one more man was taken, - again from a far began Leo.
-Yes, I saw. Pleasant guy. By the way, he broke his leg three years ago. Do you know what happened?
At this time the telephone rang and Nikolay, waving goodbye, left the room. However, in ten minutes he returned without a stick and without a smile of happiness on his face.
-Listen Leo, I turned on the computer, but I have no access to the project's folders or drawings. And what I suppose to do? - he asked nervously without preamble.
- Check your internal mail, maybe some notification has been sent to you.
-Precisely, I completely forgot, - Grechko quickly went back.
Nikolay appeared at the end of the day and fell wearily into the chair across Koifman.
-You will not believe, I have not been on this project for over a month.
-What do you mean? - Leo pretended to be surprised.
-I mean exactly what I told, damn it! And no one even told me a word! And this boss, shit! After he threw me out of the project, I talked with him at least three times. What, it was so difficult to inform me?!
-But how you figure it out?
-He sent the message to the entire mechanical department that another man starts instead of me.
-Ah, is that one who broke his leg too? Kind of good guy.
- By the way, you started telling me that something funny happened to him...
- I don"t care what happened to him!
-Well, you have friends... And you shared the literature with them, discussed family problems, - Koifman put on a sympathetic grimace.
-I can understand everything, but without hesitation lie in your eyes! And this son of bitch, with his gentle talk: "Nick, do not worry, feel well... take your time". And he already threw me out!
-Yes, you right. Lie to people not fair, - Leo smiled wickedly. - You are honest with people, open your heart, and they are just waiting to return you a dirty trick. Anyway, I told you do not play your two weeks game. I understand that you upset, because not just you lie...
-What?! Was I deceiving someone?! You know that I felt bad!! Have you ever took a morphine?! The pain is such unbearable that at night you ready to climb on the walls. And he... nit, immediately threw me out, like a used napkin.
-Yeah... Not funny... And now what? What are your plans?
-I really didn"t understand. I went to the HR department. And there is a young girl, who is younger than my daughter, and so tenderly asks me: Nikolay, why you didn"t come to us in the morning?
-What did you answer?
-Well, I tell her that it was necessary to urgently help my colleagues, then I wanted to talk to my boss, maybe he'll change his mind... Whatever, I blew some fog on her.
-And you definitely told her a truth.
-You know what... Stop your jokes! Not funny at all!
-Sorry. But something I didn"t understand. Are you will be transferred to a new project or not?
-God knows. They said that one guy from the marketing department needs designer for a week or two. And then looks like a big project begins in Brazil pretty soon. They still didn"t finish some financial details. And if it starts, then I'm sort of safe...
-And if it doesn"t start?
-Exactly! Well, what I can tell... I don"t know. I don"t know! I have some disgusting feelings on my heart, and feel awful... Okay, I'll go. I'm really tired from all these terrible developments...
Grechko was relocated in a new place and got access to another project. The project was small, or rather it was not a project, just conceptual design for a future project. The new manager sketched sketches, and Grechko simply redrawn them into three-dimensional models. He really liked a new job, in spite of high pace. But more important - he did a simple work, had no responsibility and nobody challenged his qualification. The new boss also approached him every 2-3 hours, though without any claims. Joint lunches in Koifman"s office became much shorter and lasted no more than half an hour. Nikolay, as usual, complained of health, fatigue, weather, children, wife, neighbors and his excess weight. However, he did not even try to go on a diet or work out in a fitness. Leo still teased him, but Grechko didn"t take any offense. Deep in his heart he was realizing that his friend was right. If Koifman had time, he explained to Nikolay the basic things, otherwise it was almost impossible properly to draw any equipment. Grechko just wanted to join the Brazilian project. There were rumors that if the project starts, then in half a year, about a third of the designers will have to move to Brazil for 2-3 years. And it will be a turn arounds: three weeks in Brazil and a week at home. The company paid all expenses, except food. For the food was given 2 thousand dollars in cash every month, and then you can spend these money as you want. If you want to eat three times a day in a restaurant - go ahead! And if you want you cook at home by yourself and save good bucks. Almost all prepared food by themselves and saved about fourteen-fifteen hundreds a month. Most important, it was not taxable money, which you can simply put into your pocket. Nikolay managed to make friends with people who already worked in Brazil on previous projects and with native Brazilians, who (like him) were former immigrants.
-I already dream of Brazil at nights, - Grechko dreamily rolled his eyes and broke into a smile. - I talked with different people and was told that the girls are very cheap there... And all are sexy, swarthy, with a solid big butt, with smooth skin, without cellulite... Just for 10 dollars, you can have sex with a beautiful hot mulatto... And for 15 bucks you can find the beauty queen.
-Are you so hungry?! I see saliva already dripping from your mouth. Don"t be over exited, otherwise you will clean-up in my office...
-And the people are hot there, - Grechko continued, ignoring Leo's comment, - for them sex it is a natural process, as a breakfast in the morning. A bottle of good wine cost maximum five bucks. The sun, the sea, exotic fruits... Oh, I just pray for this opportunity.
-How you will pay for the girls? You spouse almost every day checks the bank account.
-I already thought of everything. She doesn"t know how much everything cost there. I, for example, will spend $400 a month, and I'll tell her that everything in supermarket very expensive. To save money it is necessary to go to the farm market. And in the market, you have to pay in cash. I will take thousand bucks once a month. And how she will check how much I spent? I'll have a hotel from company, so everything seems to be going well. I can easy save $600 a month for girls.
- Nikolay, what wrong with you? You steal from the family budget $600 for 60 romantic contacts a month. I based on your rates - 10$ per romantic date. That means, total two times a day. Do you have enough health for this kind of activities?
-Well, $10 probably will be not enough. You still need to buy wine, fruit, condoms... so it easy could come to 20$. Overall once a day.
- Oh boy! So you, my dear friend, already thought of everything.
-Well, what wrong with this? You always have to keep different options in your head.
-You'd better think about what you're drawing... - Koifman chuckled sarcastically.
-One dude, Spanish speaking, said: If we will go there, then don"t worry. I'll tell you where to go, what to say and explain how it works...
-My dear friend, hard to believe that you will spend $400 a month for food. You eat five boxes of food only during the lunch... With your appetite it will cost you minimum $800. And it is hard to believe that this sexual event will costs less than $20. Today this type of service even in Ukraine will cost you more. Maybe somewhere in a remote village, in a dirty barn or cowshed. If you want my humble opinion - you will have enough money maximum for three romantic meetings a month.
-What kind of person are you?! Do I have a right even to dream?!
- Your dreams, like a high school student during puberty...
-You know what! Go to hell. You always spoil my mood, - Grechko waved his hand and left the office.
A week later, Grechko came to Koifman"s office with a smile of happiness on a bearded face. His perpendicular to the head ears, were glowing.
- What, you was transferred to the Brazilian project?
-Yes! I received a notification that in two weeks I'm starting. So Leo, I'll be sitting in another building. Are you going to miss me? Or maybe you will ask management to join this project?
-My sexual life not so problematic. I mean, why I would travel to Brazil?
-No one will go to Brazil from the first day. It could take half year or more, until people will be relocated.
-Whatever. And what about you? Are you going to learn Portuguese, have a diet - in order train your body to spend at least $500 a month... By the way, I heard people in Brasil don"t know English. How you'll negotiate with the girls?
-I have already downloaded audio guide for people who wants to learn Portuguese! I'll start tomorrow when I drive to work and back. You know, it's very convenient. Instead of listen to the empty news I'll learn one more language.
-I'm happy for you. It's very nice when an individual has a goal in life...
- Listen, Leo, I've talked to another designer, Francisco. He is also will join this project, because he is Spanish-speaking. He told me that he had already traveled to Brazil twice and every time came back with a new wife. Wow, like in the soap opera. Well done!
- Is he a Muslim?
-Of cause not. He divorced with previous and made sponsorship for the new one. A man approximately of our age, about 50. He divorced four times, now he is married for the fifth time. From each wife has a child. Well done!
-What exactly in his life you found so exciting? He pays alimony to all children and probably spouse support. All these families in Canada. Not sure how he handles his finances.
-Of cause he pays alimony. But the last wife is 25 years younger. He showed me the photo - she is a sex bomb! - Grechko rolled his eyes dreamily and fell silent, thinking about his lost opportunities. After that he had a deep sigh and slowly began to collect the lunch boxes. A wandering smile froze on his bearded face, and his protruding ears blushed.
- You know what, hmm... Do not worry. I mean, in half year maybe you will find a young woman, - Koifman felt sorry for this big fat man, who probably had a Shakespearian passions in the head.
-Life somehow passes not interesting. Everything is monotonous, gray, sluggish... Sex is not emotional anymore... Every day the same thing. If I wouldn"t have the dogs, I probably would have fallen into depression for a long time. We've been thinking about changing the old car, so the wife does not want to buy a new one, says there is no money... But if you'll buy from the second hand, then you can find such not funny adventures on your ass that it eventually will be even more expensive at the end. And I explained already hundreds times - there will never be any money. But she push back - let's pay the debts first. Well, but now... I"m finally transferring to another project, so maybe I'll convince her. And because I was hanged in the air, she even want to discuss...
- Well, your wife tells you the right thing. I also want a lot, like everybody, but we are adults! And I do not believe your new polygamy friend"s stories. If he did not learn how to fasten his pants at the age of 50, he obviously had something wrong with his head. The new wife just saw his Canadian passport, and when she will get all immigration documents, she will send him to the hell. Everything he earns, goes on the alimony. And the emotional sex he had with her before the sponsorship. And now, I'm almost sure, he just tells folk-tails. Well, do you believe that it is so cool for a 25-year-old beauty queen have sex with 50-year-old fat man?!
-What am I? I just told you what he told me.
- You have not seen yourself from the side.
-In general, if I don"t change my wife, then at least I'll buy a new car. - Nikolay again had a deep sadly sigh and slowly went from the office.
-To buy a car - you not supposed to be a smart. You better would have lost weight. Then maybe emotional sex will wake up, - loudly told Koifman, but Grechko did not hear him anymore.
Two weeks passed very quickly. During lunch, friends discussed the brands of cars, gasoline consumption, reliability, safety and other characteristics, which in such cases are discussed by men.
-That it. We bought the car yesterday, - Grechko smiled happily, - even my wife agreed. Car as a pink dream! Subaru with four wheel drive. Super car. And then we got so lucky... They sell a one-year-old car, on which their chief accountant drove. We got discount 25%. And for Japanese cars one year it is nothing! In general, yesterday the deposit was given, and the remaining part was broken up into 48 payments. After a week we can take it. They only have to install winter tires for a slippery season. You know what kind of roads we have during the winter. I never felt safety. And now, the four wheel drive - another thing! By the way, we first came to another dealership. We sat and talked. Got a good price - almost 48 thousand after all taxes and fees. They even broke down 48 thousand for 60 interest-free monthly payments. Well, I just automatically pick up my calculator and multiplied 900 dollars for 60 payments... and got 54 thousand. OK. I told them - guys, it's probably typo. And they are smiling and saying: everything fine. You just sign here. In short, word for word, the supervisor came out with a mafia face and started threatening me...
-You?! You almost 6.5 feet tall with 150kg of weight...
- Yes threatened me. And my wife. They told me - if you are not sign right now, then we will call to all dealerships and no one will ever sell you anything.
-Wait, I did not understand. Even in Russia salesman do not behave like that. They wanted to deceive you at 6 thousand, got caught and instead of to say sorry, they push you?!
-Well, this is what I'm talking about! And you would have seen this salesman. He has thousand dollars shoes.
-And how you figured it out? You never bought a shoes for more than 80 dollars.
-I can see that it kind of in fashion, some high quality. Well, maybe for 950 dollars. He didn't show me the price tag. In short, barely escaped. Well, in the second shop everything was normal. We trade-in the old car for 12 thousand, and the new car costs 60 thousand. Deduct 12 thousand - so we paid total approximately 48 thousand.
-Wait. You had an old car in a serious accident...
-Well... But we repaired it.
-Why are you playing an idiot? Car after accident loose half of the price. You told me by yourself how you paid for the car history and refused to buy machine even with a huge discount. You probably did not tell them that your car was in an accident, this is why you got 12 thousand off. And afterthey checked this car in the database, and they gave you half price.
-What are you talking about?! I told you, a dude's shoes cost $1,000.
-So what? I mean, does he automatically become a crook if he has expensive shoes?
-Well, yes. And how can an honest man buy a shoes for $1,000?
-It's very logical. You have shoes for $ 80 and you openly stated that your car had a serious accident...
-Why do I have to scream about it on every corner? Let them to check. Whatever... I'll go.
The new project was in an adjacent building. After Grechko left, Leo sometimes visited him. Several people have already moved to Brazil to resolve organizational issues. It was necessary to rent a hotel with good security, as well as to find a new working space in which all engineering team from Canada will be settled. Grechko has already begun to prepare his wife, about potential relocation.
- What I didn"t see there, in this Brazil? - Nikolay told her as indifferently as possible, letting her know that he was not interested at all, - but if they push me, we have no choice... Now this is the only project, which company has... besides, from which I was removed because of a broken leg. You know how much debts we have. And you not really interested to find the work, so I'll have to suffer... far from home... M-yes. Well, okay, I"m not complaining, but if they tell me to go there, I'll go.
Thunder, as usual, stroked unpredictably. Via internal mail everybody received a short notice that the Brazilian project, unfortunately, is being closed. The company changed the owner and the new management, after reviewing the budget, came to conclusion that project will be canceled. Engineering company has to archive all drawings and documents in 3 days. All employees, working on the project, will be called to the central office for further transfer to other projects. Since there were no other projects, the people were very nervous. Everyone tried to pull any connection internally, began to look for work outside the company. But most people realized that pretty soon they will find themselves on the street.
Grechko stop-by in Koifman office the next day with an expression of world sorrow on his face.
-Well, did they call you to HR?
-Called already... Just returned.
-So how is it?
-Nothing. They have no job. They asked to take vacation days and use all overtime hours, which I accumulated till now.
-And what's next?
-I don"t know. I have four weeks of vacation and two weeks of time off, which I must use and then to contact HR department again. Well, they said that if something pops up, they will contact me right away.
-Well, and after 6 weeks what?
-I was told that if in 6 weeks nothing poping up, then they will sent me for the temporary unemployment for a two months. Well, and if then nothing will come over - welcome to the street.
-Oh poor Nikolay, who will caress your mulattoes there? And to whom do you give your unspent tenderness?
- I will give it to my dogs. And local machos and cavaliers will figure it out.
- And what about emotional sex? So you'll stay again on a starvation ration?