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    Christmas and the seven deadly sins

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    Business Spotlight Audio 12/2021
    Kiss and heart emojis on a mobile phone screen
    Von James Schofield

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    “The talent acquisition team are here, Mr Powers,” Paddy’s assistant said as he entered the headquarters of Underworld Inc. (US)etwa: AGInc. “It sounds like business is bad. I ordered doughnuts for the coffee break to to help the mooddie Stimmung aufhellenhelp the mood a bit.”

    Paddy nodded. “Thanks, Miss Jezebel. We’re going to need them.” He went over to a mirror, straightened his tie, brushed the shoulders of his suit and pushed a lock of hair behind his polished horns.

    “Wicked?” he asked.

    “Super wicked, Mr Powers,” answered Miss Jezebel. “Especially the tie. Armani?”

    Paddy winked and went into the conference room.

    The atmosphere was not good. The “the seven deadly sinsdie sieben TodesündenSeven Deadly Sins” — as the talent acquisition team were described in company brochures — were sitting, or (in the case of slothFaulheitSloth) lying, around the table looking depressed. Paddy straightened his shoulders, put on his confident smile and went to the head of the table.

    “Ladies,” he said, nodding to lustWollustLust and envyNeidEnvy, who were whispering to each other about the others behind their hands. “Gentlemen,” he continued, looking at greedGierGreed, Wrath, gluttonyVöllereiGluttony, prideStolzPride and Sloth (who was now nearly asleep). “Shall we begin? It’s November. How many souls have you collected so far this year?”

    Underworld Inc. was always to look to sth.auf etw. setzenlooking to new talent. Competition with their main rival, Heaven PLC (public limited company) (UK)AGPLC, was fierceheftig, hartfierce, but in normal years, results were about evenhier: gleicheven. However, this year, the numbers were terrible.

    “We’ve got two problems,” began Wrath.

    “Only two?” interrupted Envy. “What about… ?”

    “SHUT UP!” screamed Wrath, giving Envy a filthyschmutzig; hier: bösefilthy look. He took a deep breath, counted to ten and continued: “We’re focusing on the millennials and Gen Z at the moment. Gen X and boomer (ifml)hier: Babyboomerboomer souls have mostly already been won or lost, so those 20 to 40-year-olds are where the big numbers are. And the first problem is that they’re idealists.”

    “Idealists?” asked Paddy, concerned. As team leader, his bonus depended on to hit a targeteine Zielvorgabe erfüllenhitting targets and the CEO, Sir Lucifer Beelzebub, could be unpleasant if numbers were low.

    “Well, darling, take casual sexGelegenheitssexcasual sex,” to purrschnurrenpurred Lust, leaning forward towards Paddy so his eyes disappeared down her décolleté. “The statistics clearly show that they just aren’t as interested as past generations were.”

    “What about our investment in dating apps?” Paddy asked. “Surely, they make to hook up (with sb.) (ifml.)jmdn. abschleppenhooking up easier.”

    “Useless,” answered Sloth, raising his head from the table. “I heard that it takes 60 swipeWischen, Wischbewegungswipes on Tinder to find one half-decent lookingeinigermaßengutaussehendhalf-decent looking candidate. Who’s got time for that?” 

    “It’s the same for all of us,” continued Greed. “They’re not to be into sth. (ifml.)auf etw. steheninto consumerism like in the good old days. Kim Kardashian is history. It’s all bloody (UK) (ifml.)verdammtbloody Greta Thunberg…”

    “Refreshments!” said Miss Jezebel, pushing a trolley with coffee and doughnuts into the room. “to spoil oneselfes sich gutgehen lassenSpoil yourselves. With these, it would be a sin not to.”

    “Thank you, Miss Jezebel,” Paddy began. “Could you pass me a doughnut before… ?” But they were too late. Everybody stared at Gluttony, who was quietly licking his fingers.

    “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “Did you want some? Silly me.Wie dumm von mir.Silly me.”

    Paddy sighed. 

    “The second problem is worse, though,” continued Pride, to look down one’s nose at sb.jmdn. von oben herab ansehenlooking down his nose at them. “The Angel Gabriel has taken over the HR departments of most companies.”

    “How do you mean?”

    “He’s launched all these annoyingärgerlich, nervigannoying HR programmes to get people to behave better at work. No dating anybody from the office. No bottle of Scotch in the bottom drawer of your desk. Anger-management courses the moment anybody raises their voice. Vegan Christmas parties. It’s impossible to get anybody to misbehave any more.

    “I nearly had a hedge fund manager the other day,” said Greed sadly. “She got a bonus, and I hoped she’d buy a Porsche or something. But she just gave the money to some children’s reading project.”

    “Well,” said Paddy, “we need to escalate.”

    **** 

    Now, what people don’t realize is that the expression “we need to escalate” is based on something real. Between Heaven PLC and Underworld Inc., there is a long escalatorRolltreppeescalator for when members of the two organizations want to visit each other. So, Paddy took the escalator up to Heaven PLC.

    At the gates, he rang the bell, and after going through security, was taken to see the chairmanVorsitzenderChairman on his marble throneMarmorthronmarble throne. Angel Gabriel fluttered about, wearing glasses and carrying a clipboard. He looked pleased with himself.

    “Ah, Mr Powers,” to boomdröhnen, donnernboomed the Chairman. “I hear nobody’s joining your organization any more. Does this mean,” he winked at Gabriel, “you’re going to get… to get hell-fired (ifml.)hier: aus der Hölle gefeuert werdenhell-fired?” He to roar with laughterschnallend lachenroared with laughter and Gabriel to gigglekicherngiggled.

    “Very funny, Chairman,” said Paddy. “Actually, I wanted to congratulate you. You’re well on the path to eliminating evil and shutting down Underworld Inc. I’m sure Gabriel’s planned for the consequences.” 

    “Consequences?” the Chairman asked.

    “Well, accommodation (UK)Unterbringungaccommodation, for example, Chairman. Where will you put all these extra souls?”

    Gabriel looked uncomfortable.

    “…and religion, Chairman,” Paddy continued. “If we’re out of business, you are, too. Who is going to build churches and to sing sb.’s praisesein Loblied auf jmdn. singensing your praises if people don’t need to show how good they are?”

    The Chairman scratched his head. He knew about human laziness.

    “Don’t listen, Chairman!” to squeakkreischensqueaked Gabriel. “He’s trying to cause trouble.”

    “Not at all,” Paddy answered. “It’s just that I have a proposal…”

    **** 

    A short time later, Paddy took the escalator back down again. On the way, he got out his phone and called the office.

    “Send an email, Miss Jezebel. Tell the team we have a deal, so no more excusehier: Ausredeexcuses. I want them out there causing the merriest Christmas the world has ever seen…”

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