Logan was to start on the first floor. An HR person named Kyle would set him up. He was to assess operations on that level—talk to employees, attend meetings, observe processes. Kyle would arrange access to everything he needed. He was to determine the biggest problem on the floor and report back to the Director.

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to assess the organization as a whole rather than level by level?” Logan asked.

“In most organizations that would be the case, but in this one the various levels operate independently. Each division of the company occupies a separate floor. They don’t have much interaction.”

“Maybe that’s a problem.”

The Director smiled. “Yes, I’ve considered that.”

He wrote something on a Post-it note and handed it to Logan. “You can simply e-mail me. Nothing long and complicated. Just your basic observations. You don’t have to impress me with your report-writing ability.”

It all sounded simple. His job was to hang out, see how things worked, and determine what the problems were. Nothing could be easier. If he had written a dream job description himself, it wouldn’t have been this good.

“Do you have any questions?”

He hated to interject anything uncomfortable into the discussion, but certain issues hadn’t been addressed.

“You haven’t mentioned salary…”

“I’ll let Kyle go over that with you. I’m confident you’ll find the pay acceptable.”

“And benefits?”

“Ours are top notch. Kyle will review them with you.”

“And who will be my supervisor?”

“You’ll report directly to me.”

“To you? Always?”

“Yes. You’ll be my right-hand man, so to speak. My eyes and ears in the organization.”

“What would be my opportunities for advancement? That’s pretty important to me.”

“I understand. If you successfully analyze each of the first four levels, you will have the option of joining me here on the fifth. If you do”—he nodded toward those at the conference table—“you will be in pretty exclusive company. You will be rewarded commensurately, of course. But first you must succeed at your assignment.”

“So all I need to do is tell you the biggest problem on each level.”

The Director nodded. “Correct. Things around here are pretty simple, aren’t they? But don’t expect it to be easy.” He stood and extended his hand across the desk. “I am pleased to have you with us.”

Logan shook it. “Thank you, sir. I hope I can live up to the trust you’ve placed in me.”

“Come back and talk to me anytime,” the Director replied.

“Tell me how things are going. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to come up.”

“Who should I contact to set up an appointment?”

“No one. Just come up to the fifth floor.”

“Your secretary doesn’t screen people?”

“I don’t have a secretary. Just drop in. I’ll be here.”

“Okay…thanks. I mean, thank you, sir.”

Logan turned around, hiked past the conference table to the elevators, and descended to the first floor. He didn’t have the nerve to ask what he was really wondering—why the Director had the entire fifth floor virtually to himself. It seemed an awful waste of space, a problem he might note at a later date. But that wasn’t his concern at the moment. He was just glad to have a job—and a better one than he had ever imagined.

From The Next Level.  Copyright © 2008 by David Gregory.  Used by permission of WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO.  All rights reserved.