And now, another installment in our search for safe harbor during the nonprofit apocalypse…
Forced into self-reflection and existential contemplation in a post-apocalyptic landscape, our plucky band of nonprofit survivors soldier on for weeks after they were unceremoniously dismissed by Finance-Guy, Trevor, for not providing any ROI. Battered by the elements; sustained by nothing more than crumbs scavenged along the way; Jon and Sarah begin to submit to the overwhelming fatalism of their trudge.
One by one, their numbers dwindled. First, it was the social worker, who stopped to help a mother and child, only to realize all too late that they were zombies intent on feeding. The land conservationist – who was always more comfortable around trees than people – was swarmed by ravenous creatures drawn to his screams of joy upon finding a Shaggy Bark Hickory amongst a copse of Norway Pines. “Oh, happy day!” was the last they heard as he was swallowed by the horde. But still, they trudged. They started to hallucinate, partly from hunger and dehydration, and partly from the monotony of what life had become. Sarah was convinced a squirrel was mocking her choice of camouflage parachute pants. Jon kept seeing a shadowy wraith each morning upon waking. He was sure it was either someone from his past warning him of impending danger or the Grim Reaper offering a final invitation of respite on the other side.
After the group shared a saltine cracker for breakfast, they staked out in single-file through the last of the woods, only to come upon a parking lot of great expanse, ringing a 20-story building a half-mile in the distance. From there, Sarah could recognize the massive placard adorning the top four floors of the building: Sorgan Manly.
“Fuuuck….it’s their corporate headquarters,” Sarah exclaimed defeated, dejected. “For five years, I tried to get program underwriting from their Corporate Social Responsibility representative. I met her for coffee six times. We talked on the phone 28 times. Each grant was for $5,000. She wouldn’t allow me to ask for more. She said I wasn’t worth more, and, in fact, I was asking for one of the highest grants Sorgan Manly had to offer. She was murder.”
“We have to check it out, Sarah. We’re almost spent. Allie keeps saying ‘It’s not that I’m weak; it’s that I’m not strong,’ and Kelly’s been babbling incoherently about a farm and mustard greens for days,” pleaded Jon.
The group carefully skulked toward the front entrance of enormous, reinforced, revolving glass doors opening into a cavernous marbled hallway with Sorgan Manly etched into each side of the lobby. They were surprised by the lack of confrontation or conflagration. Once inside the lobby, a late 50-something year old women in a black-and-white Karl Lagerfeld business suit walked out from around the corner.
“Patricia, oh my god, hi! I should have expected you’d survive the apocalypse. It’s Sarah. We met two years ago when…”
“I know who you are, Sarah. You were the one that just didn’t get it,” said the Sorgan Manly Corporate Social Responsibility officer. “We only fund programs that get it.”
Jon, nonplussed by the coldness of their reunion, interjected, “I know we’re intruding on your time as well as Sorgan Manly property, but we’re desperate. It’s been months since the nonprofit apocalypse, and our band of survivors are looking for a safe haven. Might your company welcome us? We have a lot to offer and we don’t need much. We’ve made do with a saltine cracker a day. And that’s been split 23 ways. We know how to keep low overhead!”
“A saltine? My god man. We can do better than that here. Come with me.”
Sarah and Jon looked at each other in abject disbelief and contemplated the possibility that this may, in fact, be a safe place for their group to ride out the end-of-nonprofit-days. The group followed Patricia around a corner into a large cafeteria, with dozens of 20-year-olds running around in chaotic fashion. Most had reams of paper in tow. Some were carrying styrofoam food containers. More than one was carrying a cardboard tray with cups of lattes and other assorted pretentious beverages. They all seemed to be under the Svengali-like control of a handful of men seated behind mahogany desks in corner, glass enclosed offices.
“Do you want something to eat? Drink? One of our interns can get you something,” offered the Sorgan Manly representative.
Sarah stammered, “In… wait, what? Interns?”
“Yes,” replied Patricia. “We have a very competitive yet progressive program here. It’s a fantastic learning experience, which of course, will lead to great job opportunities in the future for those that are team players and follow the Sorgan Manly way. Our interns are only required to work 18 hours a day.”
“18 hours… a… day? I thought Silverman Sacks capped them at 17,” said Jon, who felt like the initial welcome was about to wear out.
“SILVERMAN!!! You think we care about anything Silverman does!?!Silverman Sacks has an intern/zombie turnover rate of 96%; we are proud of our low turnover rate of 89%, which dramatically increases our human rate of highly accomplished Portland coffee brewing techniques!”
Sarah sensed the welcome was about to end. She feared Jon’s response to the situation: a sharp falchion and a swift hand. “I think what Jon was trying to say was that clearly an 18 hour workday will enable Sorgan Manly to continue its, um, low intern/zombie turnover rate for continued and longterm post apocalyptic dominance in the free labor market. I mean…Wow. It’s amazing. You’re amazing. This place is amazing. We would be speechless if we weren’t already speaking. We just don’t know what the hell is going on in the most wonderful way, but, we want in. How can we join your camp, ermm, company? How can we become part of the Sorgan Manly team?”
“Oh, so now you get it, Sarah. Good. Good. It took you long enough. Not enough of you nonprofit people get it. Well, if you’re serious about being a part of the team, then I’ll take you to meet our Chief Branding Officer.” Patricia, without delay, stepped lively down a hallway.
“Branding?” Jon exclaimed as the group scurried to keep up. “Are you fucking kid…” Jon stopped himself mid-sentence. He could feel Sarah’s icy gaze and sensed his group’s desperate longing to grab onto any life preserver, particularly one that was greeted by really excellent coffee every morning. “Sure, right, branding, that would be great. We’d be happy to wear Sorgan Manly T-shirts or fly banners or whatever.”
“Oh, deary. We prefer a more permanent commitment to our team,” said Patricia as they turned another corner and were greeted by the warmth of a wood-fired kiln heating a red-hot iron featuring the Sorgan Manly logo.
Sarah turned to Jon and stated simply: “Jon, why are they all fucking crazy?”
“I don’t know Sarah, but let’s make sure to grab a couple of lattes as we run out of here.”
– Sarah and Jon