Fire Away

If after a rash of layoffs your boss sends out a memo instructing you and your office mates to chill out, have some fun, and mix it up as an effort to turn around the communal dread of additional corporate hatchet jobs, be careful. Be very careful.

The Bush administration's cheery reports of new jobs being created could just mean someone new is in line to take your position. It's hard to stay inspired in such a precarious and back-stabbing professional climate. It's tough to be cheery when answering the phone in the sing-song "how can I help you" manner in which you were trained.

What you may need to get you to thrive in the depressing gloom that pollutes your office environment is a tool that will allow you to convincingly act as if you love trying to make impossible sales quotas. A good spanking also works, but if that is not your thing, you can try a training session with motivational guru Zig Ziglar. The 77-year-old corporate cheerleader is storm-barreling America's less-than-sunny business climate with the Get Motivated Business Seminar, a rantfest that promises to fire you up, and, it's hoped, not get you fired.

The key, says Ziglar, is teamwork.

"Individuals score points," he allegorizes with his winning Southern drawl. "But it takes a team to win a game."


What a concept.

So if Gail's ass is on the line because she's not going to make her quota, Barbara, Dan, and Cuqui are to chip in some of their already fizzling energy and time to help her out. The point is to keep the company stock high and the electricity running and by all means not to let the fire go out, Sabina. Meanwhile the corporate board is going to recognize your little pod's golden effort and decide not to move the company to Honduras? Hmmmm.

Let's get fired up indeed.

Ziglar and a bunch of corporate trainers will be doing their rants and cheers in a special session at the American Airlines Arena, ironically enough.

There you can let conservative deity Rudy Giuliani show you how to lead during tough times. Marlins slugger Jeff Conine will be on hand to sharpen your competitive edge. Goldie Hawn (yes!) will be beamed up via satellite to show you how to exceed your goals. She'll inspire you, of course, with her fabulous bod.

Best of all, the Ziglar fest is running an office special so that you and maybe nine of your least favorite office buddies can get your slagging asses inspired and motivated for only $49! That's $4.90 each person.

So take a look around your pod. Open the secret file you have with bull's-eyes over bosses' faces. And get fired up! You can do it! We know you can. America is counting on you.

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Juan Carlos Rodriguez