While working really hard at his firm, Zumbo realizes that suddenly he’s become really good at this work. His colleagues love him, his clients depend on his advice and his boss absolutely adores him. It’s a great time to be Zumbo!
“Hey Zumbo, how do you manage to come up with these brilliant ideas? I just couldn’t seem to think of anything on this issue! You are something Zumbo! ”
Zumbo took immense pride in his work and that finally he’s beginning to love what he does and everybody loves him! He became more confident while advising clients and comfortable while suggesting out-of-the-box ideas which were loved by everyone. The best part, he delivered brilliantly on all that he had thought of and suggested. He made sure that he put in the extra effort and time to make things happen. It was a great time to be Zumbo! The guys wanted to be him and the girls wanted to be with him. But good old Zumbo, continued to keep his cool without a chip on his shoulder and focused on evolving beyond what was told.
After 6 months, Zumbo realized something was amiss.
“How did I get to this place? My work never gets done! It is so tiring. My colleagues dump their job on me saying I am the best person to deal with it. My boss always calls me for everything that she wants to discuss and get done. My clients call me for every little thing that they want or for things that haven’t been done yet by others! And I am expected to get them done! All by myself!”
He started to lose touch with his friends, one could rarely see him smile anymore and he seemed to be so engrossed with work that he didn’t eat for days. He had forgotten the last time that he chased a car, soaked in the afternoon sun or shared a drink from the office water dish with Ally, the cute Alsatian babe.
After a long drinking binge at the nearby watering hole, The Lap Dog, Zumbo decides to fight back! “Enough is enough! I’ll show them for snapping at my tail constantly!”
Zumbo started showing up late at work. For starters he thought that that might tick everybody off. Everyone just thought that he must be tired and so he’s coming late. But at least he’s getting the work done, so let’s leave him be.
It made Zumbo angry. He started to act out at work with angry outbursts at others for no reason. Everyone thought it’s the pressure getting to him and left him alone.
He stopped taking calls and sharing ideas anymore. He stopped doing any work beyond what he was supposed to. Everyone got a bit worried now. They started asking if something was wrong and if he needed some help. Zumbo refused and continued on his path of destruction.
“Help?! I don’t want your help! I want you to do your job!”
A senior executive was visiting the office one day. He walked up to Zumbo hanging around the cafeteria and soaking up the sun with a nice juicy piece of steak.
“Hey who do you think you are?!” the senior screamed at Zumbo. His veins were throbbing, hand pointing in rage and eyes popped out of their sockets.
Zumbo calmly replied, “I am the guy who does his job! You must be the other guy!”
The senior lost his cool and immediately asked Zumbo to report to his office tomorrow along with his boss, Madison. By now, after hearing all that had happened, she was incredibly angry at Zumbo!
“Zumbo, what is wrong with you! What happened? Why are you behaving this way? You are such a smart pup! With so much potential and talent! Why are you throwing it all away?” Madison yelled in frustration. She still had a soft corner for him, but couldn’t ignore all that was happening for the last few months.
This was the last straw for Zumbo! He just couldn’t believe that his own boss did not understand what he was going through. Even if he wasn’t being the best that he could be, he still never completely let go. He was still helping everyone and taking on more work from them and completing it for them. He kept listening to his boss talk about opportunities and how he is a vital part in the chain leading to PR glory. He was doing all that, just without a smile anymore and that irked everyone.
His carefully guarded inner sanctum now seemed violated at this callous attitude towards him. He wanted to let go but he tried to restrain his anger as much as he could. And then it happened…
“You think I am some kind of a super pup! That I can just get things magically done, deal with everyone’s work and bad attitudes, rework on their assignments and still be happy all the time. I am slogging like a dog here Maddy! Give me a break!”
Madison did not know what to say to him. She asked him to leave her alone.
The next day, Zumbo and Madison showed up at the senior executive’s office. She noticed that Zumbo had arrived early and was sitting there by himself. Madison sat in the chair next to him, but at a noticeable distance, as if to let him know that she was disappointed.
The senior entered and exchanged a few pleasantries. He looked at Madison and asked “What’s the problem with this guy? He seems to have stopped caring about anything that happens here. Are you aware of what’s happening around or are you just as clueless”
Madison looked at Zumbo, took a long breathe and replied “Sir, the real problem is that I think we stopped caring for him. We didn’t see the signs or understand him better. You can’t expect a Zumbo to care about everything when the rest just walk all over him. He needs help, my help. I will take care of it.”
With that Madison signaled to Zumbo to get up and walk out with her.
Zumbo was confused, rattled and grateful all at the same time. He didn’t know whether to thank Madison or blame her for everything.
She looked at him and noticed the bewilderment on his face.
“Zumbo, I am angry. But I understand. We’ll sort things out and get you more help at work. Now go home, take a bath, get some sleep and come to work after you are well rested!”
With that, Zumbo walked away with a feeling of warmth, contentment and satisfaction that at least there was someone who cared and understood what he was going through.
Two months later, after Zumbo had resumed with renewed resolve he was a changed pup. Ally saw more of him at the water dish, lapping cold water in glee.
She went closer to him, smiled at him and took a sip of water.
She asked him “Hey you are looking great! What changed?”
Zumbo replied with the wisdom of a transformed pup, “Nothing. I still am caught in a million things, Maddy ensures that I am kept on my paws and the rest … well the less I say the better”
“So what are you so happy about?”
“At least they get me now…” he replied looking listlessly at the sun rays streaming through the window.
His work had improved, everybody loved him again. His clients started recommending his work to others and loved interacting with him. He was now able to find more time for himself and his family. He started thinking of all the things that he had missed out in the last few months and prepared a schedule for him to start pursuing his interests. He found his life balance once again. The rest started stepping up to the plate and taking on more responsibilities, to avoid a Zumbo episode again. Madison would keep a watch on him and started having frequent, albeit informal interactions with him to cheer him up. More than anything else, everyone realized how much they missed had the happy, smiling, brilliant and witty Zumbo.
He started walking slowly to his desk with his back straight, chin up and a smile on his face.
“It’s good to find myself again”