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‘Face/Off’: The Advice Column

It starts like every other workday. But then your employer asks you to undergo a risky experimental face transplant with a criminal mastermind, who is also your sworn enemy, to save a major American city from a devastating attack. What do you do?

Luca Romeo

2020’s summer blockbuster season has been put on hold because of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the movies from the past that we flocked out of the sun and into air conditioning for. Welcome to The Ringer’s Return to Summer Blockbuster Season, where we’ll feature different summer classics each week.


Dear Cubicle Confidant,

I’m in a bit of a strange situation at work. My coworkers are pressuring me to have my face surgically taken off and replaced with the face of my worst enemy, who is currently our prisoner. I’m reluctant to let my team down, but I have some qualms about going through with this risky-sounding procedure. What should I do?

Yours sincerely,
Facing a Tough Call

Dear Facing,

Let the Cubicle Confidant be frank: The Cubicle Confidant does NOT think you should proceed with invasive experimental face transplant surgery simply because some of your colleagues—not even your supervisor, from the sound of it?—think it would be a good idea. The Cubicle Confidant has CUBICLE QUALMS about this entire situation.

For instance, this “enemy” you speak of. That’s the sort of journey-of-conflict word the Cubicle Confidant normally recommends avoiding in the workplace (see Jamison Byron’s Sails of Growth, Voyages of Productivity for more on the difference between the conflict journey and the concord journey and how language contributes to each). But that’s the least of our worries here. A bigger concern is: Why is this person your quote-unquote prisoner? Have they signed any sort of consent form or liability waiver authorizing the removal of their face?? The Cubicle Confidant is not even sure that would matter, given that a form signed under the duress of literal face extraction would carry minimal weight in court.

Under normal circumstances, the Cubicle Confidant would recommend that you schedule an appointment with your HR pod to discuss your company’s mission philosophies on work-mandated surgery and forced imprisonment. But your workplace culture sounds so broken that HR might not be able to help. It might be time to bring this problem to an employment lawyer, and in the meantime, please, DO NOT TAKE ANY FACES OFF.

Relish the voyage,
CC

Dear Cubicle Confidant,

Not long ago, I made the decision to allow my employer to remove my face and replace it with the face of the international terrorist who killed my young son during a botched attempt to assassinate me with a sniper rifle. Career-wise, this seemed like the obvious smart move. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned and I’m now being detained in a black site prison on a remote island where the Geneva Conventions do not apply. Inmates here are controlled through the use of magnetic gravity boots and electroshock treatment. Several of my fellow prisoners are actively trying to kill me. I have no way to get a message to my friends. How can I resolve this frustrating workplace situation?

In haste—I hear the guards coming with stun sticks,
Fallen on My Face

Dear Fallen,

This is a very concerning letter. In fact, it is one of the five, possibly six, most concerning letters the Cubicle Confidant has received in the 18 months since the Cubicle Confidant began blogging for careersurge.info.

Not only are you being illegally imprisoned and tortured, Fallen, you’re also living in fear for your life. On top of that, you’re being made to wear some sort of strange, confining … gravity boots? Whatever these are, the Cubicle Confidant wonders if they’re covered at all in your employee manual’s dress code section.

This is one of those scenarios that the great business writer Jamison Byron, author of Sails of Growth, Voyages of Productivity, would call a “1-2-3 snafu.” Once communication (the “1”) breaks down, you lose trust and accountability, and finally, what should be a vibrant and joyous career journey disintegrates into anxiety, survival-itis, and “no way out” thinking (as diagrammed in Chapter 64, “The Three Gates of Entropy”).

Given the apparent suspension of the entire framework of international law in the prison, it seems unlikely that you have a functional Zoom login. This makes the Cubicle Confidant’s top tip—contact a human rights attorney immediately—impracticable. You’re going to have to think way outside the box on this one. Be creative. The Cubicle Confidant has always believed that if you can’t change your latitude, you should try to change your attitude, though admittedly the Cubicle Confidant has never had to put this mantra into practice while being tased by a cattle prod.

Relish the voyage,
CC

Dear Cubicle Confidant,

Lately I’ve been having a hard time both personally and professionally. The most dangerous man in the world, whose face I am currently wearing due to what I can only describe as a grave series of errors on my part, has awakened from his coma; forced a doctor to sew my face onto his head; tied up all the people who knew my true identity and burned them alive; assumed my life, job, and property; and moved into my house, where he is now living with my wife and teenage daughter. In the meantime, I have escaped from prison (good) and become the target of a worldwide manhunt (less good).

I’m an upbeat guy, but it’s hard not to feel downcast when it seems like nothing is going my way. What can I do to keep my spirits up, especially as I am now marooned within a violent criminal underworld full of people I find unpleasant?

With heavy sighs,
Blue in the Face

Dear Blue,

There’s nothing more stressful than identity confusion in the workplace. Believe the Cubicle Confidant—the Cubicle Confidant knows firsthand. Ever since the Cubicle Confidant began blogging for careersurge.info, the Cubicle Confidant has been dogged by accusations that the Cubicle Confidant is nothing but an alias for the renowned business author Jamison Byron, and that the Cubicle Confidant’s entire advice column is merely a front to sell copies of Sails of Growth, Voyages of Productivity, Byron’s legendary guide to finding happiness in the boardroom and beyond, which boasts more than 1,100 five-star reviews on trustedprofessionalbookreviews.ru.

This scurrilous accusation has cost the Cubicle Confidant many a sleepless night. What, is it SO hard to believe that even one independent business blogger would appreciate Byron’s visionary work in defiance of the deafening silence of the mainstream press? Any attention Byron receives must be fraudulent, is that it? Yes of course, because heaven forbid that an unappreciated genius should find even a single devoted fan before we—the braying multitude—find a way to tear him to bits!

At times it makes the Cubicle Confidant so angry that the Cubicle Confidant would like to kill these so-called critics with a speargun. Which, needless to say, the Cubicle Confidant cannot legally propose as a solution to your current difficulty.

Relish the voyage,
CC

Dear Cubicle Confidant,

Recently I’ve found myself fantasizing about killing my work enemy with a speargun. What’s more, I’ve been fantasizing about claiming his young son to raise as my own. A kind of living totem of my triumph, I guess? I guess what I’m wondering is, are these fantasies normal? Should I explore them further, or should I try to get them under control?

I should probably add that my enemy murdered my own son, who was about the same age as this boy. It is possible that this has influenced my thinking on the matter.

Uncertainly,
Saving Face

Dear Saving,

You want to know how the Cubicle Confidant feels about your little “problem”? Here’s how. The Cubicle Confidant is sick up to HERE of your bullshit. All these people—these morons—writing in with their petty concerns. Not one of them could understand beloved productivity author Jamison Byron’s paradigm-shifting concept of Spiritual Dropshipping. Oh, no. These mole rats wouldn’t understand Spiritual Dropshipping if it jumped up their ass on a hot pogo stick and started doing the rumba. It’s enough to make the Cubicle Confidant puke up the Cubicle Confidant’s lunch (chicken).

Here’s a question for you, sunshine. Why is it that so many people are so sure the Cubicle Confidant is “actually” Jamison Byron if no one is “actually” GOING TO AMAZON AND PURCHASING JAMISON BYRON’S BOOK?

Don’t get the Cubicle Confidant wrong. The Cubicle Confidant is still committed to the Journey of Concord, as outlined in Chapter 39 (“Efficiency or Tranquility? No: Tranquilificiency”) of Sails of Growth, Voyages of Productivity. The Cubicle Confidant simply needs to purify the path. The Cubicle Confidant must unleash a cleansing fire upon the malefactors who befoul the way with their corruption and false Better Business Bureau reports.

As Jamison Byron himself said, “Sometimes the speargun you find on eBay is the only productivity hack you need.” This was in an unpublished work.

Relish the journey,
CC

Dear Cubicle Confidant,

I’m happy to report that everything in my life has been going extremely well. My family and I are reunited, my career is back on track, I have a new adopted son, and let’s just say my work nemesis isn’t a problem anymore. (*Cough*, speargun, *cough*.) On top of that, I recently had my face reattached to my body. Hooray! Yet despite all this good news, I still feel constantly anxious, and I jump every time a door slams. Is this an effect of trauma? If so, what should I do to treat it? Therapy is back on the table for me now that I am no longer seen as the world’s most wanted terrorist.

Optimistically,
A Face for Everything and Everything in Its Face

Dear Face,

Thank you for this touching letter. The Cubicle Confidant will be happy to advise you. First, however, let the Cubicle Confidant ask—humbly—would you happen to be the same person who wrote to the Cubicle Confidant a few weeks ago about being locked in an international super prison? Did you … did you ever figure out how to reverse those gravity boots? Also, if you knew an inmate called Drakov the Python, the Cubicle Confidant would appreciate any tips for deflecting his so-called blade vendetta.

Please respond as if a generational-defining productivity author’s life depended on it.

Relish the journey,
CC