"Introducing the newest member of the Big Top family."
The pompoms began shaking in front of her face with more vigor. Her nose was itching like
crazy now, but she was afraid to make a move.
"Mandy Maloney!"
Tiffany swept her hands down Mandy's head and chest, finally giving her a good view of
what lay before her. Enthusiastic applause and cheering filled the lobby. There must have been
fifty people clap- ping along with Tiffany. She felt like she was going to pee her pants. Wouldn't
that make a great first impression? Mandy didn't want to know what color of red she had turned.
It was a shade she had never seen before—that she knew for sure.
"Mandy is our new manager of sales training. Make sure you stop by her office tomorrow
and introduce yourself. It's the cotton candy pink one on the third floor. But right now we are off
to orientation.
Thanks for coming, everybody!"
Mandy heard laughter as the crowd began to disperse. The laughter began somewhere
around the word "orientation."
"Tiffany, does everyone get this warm of a welcome?"
"Of course. That's my job. I'm the Big Top cheerleader." Tiffany replied with a tone of how
could you ask such a stupid question and doesn't every company do the exact same thing. "It's just that
today you are the only new person. Usually I have more of a crowd. So today was a little
strange." She curled up her nose.
Mandy followed the pompoms through the hallways to a room with a big sign on the door:
Orientation The room was filled with what she was beginning to think of as "normal" pictures,
plaques, and awards covering every inch of wall space. At one seat in the front of the room was a
stack of papers a few feet high. Tiffany pointed Mandy toward it.
"Let's get going, we have a lot of paperwork to get through. Here's your pen.
"First, your network sign-on and e-mail address."
Mandy read the paper. Her new e-mail address would be
"There's no time to read every paper, Mandy. We're going to be here all day as it is. Just sign
by the X and let's keep going."
Oh, the ever positive Tiffany! Mandy did as she was told. Medical insurance forms, 401K,
stock options, emergency notifications— the papers just kept coming. Tiffany was flipping them
one by one off the pile, placing the next one in f ront of Mandy as soon as she signed the last
one, and turning it face down onto the completed pile. "How much longer can this go on?"
Mandy thought. Finally one of the papers caught Mandy's attention.
"Company car. I get a company car?"
"Well, you are eligible, but I have to tell you that, if you choose the car, there's only one
model to choose from."
"What is it?"
"It's a yellow- and purple-striped station wagon with an elephant on top."
Mandy looked at Tiffany strangely.
"No one has ever taken it. They take the allowance instead. You'd be the first."
"I think I'll take the allowance."
"Good choice."
She signed the paper and moved on. The next paper placed in front of her read
What size shoe do you wear?
What is your favorite TV show?
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite act in the circus?
What is your favorite movie?
What size underwear do you wear?
How tall are you?
"Tiffany, where are we going with this?" Mandy asked. "What is all this information for?"
"In a little while the clown costumer, Jose, will be here to take your measurements. This
helps him design a suitable clown costume for you."
"Clown costume?"
"Yes. Everyone at Big Top gets their own personally designed clown costume to wear on
special occasions. Isn't that just the coolest?" she squealed. "I just love mine. I'd wear it to work
every day, if I could. When was the last time you worked at a company that gave you your own
personal costume to wear?" Tiffany was oozing with excitement as she spoke.
"Uh, yes, very cool," Mandy hesitatingly agreed.
She kept on signing. The papers got more confusing as the day wore on.
Have you ever been to Niagara Falls?
Are you allergic to latex?
Do you know why circus peanuts are always orange?
Mandy had to sign to certify her answer on each piece of paper.
Mandy finally looked at her watch as she signed the last paper. It was now 4:15. She hadn't
even had a break for lunch, and she was famished. As she took the last piece of paper and put it
on the pile, Tiffany grabbed her pompoms and began a cheer.
"Mandy, Mandy, we're almost done."
Clap, clap.
"Then it will be time to have some fun!"
Clap, clap.
Tiffany clapped, threw her pompoms in the air, and jumped up and down. She ran to the
corner of the room and grabbed a big canvas bag. She plopped it down in front of Mandy just as
she'd done with all the paperwork.
"This is for you. A couple of things need some explanation." She began to search for and pull
items out of the bag. "Here is your company-issued kazoo. Keep it attached to your badge at all
times. Here is your badge." Tiffany examined it closely. "Look at your picture. You look so
"When did they take my picture?" she wondered. "I do look cute," she said as she caught a
glance of it. "Must be the marvel of airbrushing."
"There are a few other things in there to help you get started and feel at home."
Mandy had started to rifle through the bag when the door opened. Jose, the costume
designer, had arrived. Mandy stood on a pedestal and allowed herself to be poked, prodded, and
measured on every conceivable inch of her body.
When he was finished, the costumer smiled at Mandy and said, "This will be my finest work
ever, I promise you! You are so cute—the perfect model!" He quickly packed his things and
scurried out the door.
"Mandy, we're finished!" cheered Tiffany. "Don't forget to look through your bag of
goodies, and we'll see you tomorrow morning!
"Mandy, Mandy, your first day is done! "Now go home and have more fun!" "Fun? I'm
"All you did was sign a few papers. How can you be tired?" "I bet you never get tired, do
you, Tiffany?"
"Nope, and I sleep like a baby every single night. Good night, Mandy!"