KNOXVILLE, TN—Taking a break from surfing the web, going out for multiple cups of coffee, and missing important work deadlines, employees at Winthrop Media complained once again Monday about being taken for granted.
"I come in almost every day, bust my hump for like four or five hours, and what do I get? Nothing," said Tom Bertram, one of several chronic underachievers employed by the Knoxville advertising firm. "You'd think management could show us a little appreciation now and again. It's not like I particularly enjoy just sitting around here all day."
Bertram then returned to his computer's web browser, logged out of Facebook, and hurriedly responded to 14 work e-mails that had accumulated in his in-box.
According to sources, the 36-year-old isn't the only incompetent employee on staff who feels undervalued. Joseph Garten, a production designer, notorious procrastinator, and all-around liability, said that he wished he got more respect around the office.
"A simple thank-you from the higher-ups would be nice," said Garten, who spends nearly 60 percent of his workweek making personal calls from his desk. "Yesterday I stayed late in order to finish up some work I've been putting off, and nobody even noticed."
Added Garten, "I don't know how much longer I can keep killing myself like this."
In addition to receiving praise for their hard work, the inept and often neglectful staff members said they'd like to see a number of new incentives introduced. Among them, a larger and more comfortable break room where employees can go unwind, longer extensions on overdue projects, and the option of working from home on Fridays and possibly also Mondays.
"This place would fall apart without me," said routinely absent project coordinator Susan McIntyre. "I'm the only one around here who actually knows how to use the popcorn maker, and I almost always remember to wash my mug in the sink after I'm done using it. Plus, I show up to meetings only like a minute or two late."
"Honestly now," McIntyre continued. "They're lucky I just don't pack up my things and leave."
Despite feelings of frustration, employees at the design firm have yet to bring their misplaced concerns and unfounded complaints directly to management. Instead, many choose to air their grievances by making passive- aggressive comments beneath their breath, setting aside important assignments in favor of reading gossip columns, and sneaking out several times each week to grab a "much- deserved drink."
"Our Christmas party this year was the last straw for me," said Deborah Castor, whose early departures to attend a scrapbooking class have resulted in the advertising firm losing two separate clients. "Some crappy Secret Santa thing, a bowl of punch, and a box of Archway cookies and they call it a holiday bash? We're the heart and soul of this company, for Christ's sake."
While no one has come forward as of yet, management at Winthrop Media is reportedly aware of its employees' reticence to work and prepared to take action.
"We've already tried buying everyone lunch and handing out big bonuses, but so far nothing's worked," company president Harvey Dunn said. "I wish I could just fire the entire staff for being so incompetent, but between going on vacation and running around trying to buy a second home, I'm really only in the office a couple of days a year."