Thank you for inviting me into your office to discuss my quarterly progress face-to-face. Before you say anything, let me be completely honest: I haven’t finished that market segmentation report our client asked for two weeks ago. In fact, I’m not even close to being finished. I barely even started. However, even though I haven’t done any of my work, I am proud to share that I’ve had some really great personal realizations along the way.

I didn’t intend for this to happen; I started working on the report weeks ago. But the more I looked into the market trends among our client’s target demographic, the more I found myself looking inward for the answers. Questions began to swirl in my head, like: “How does our client compare to its competitors among users ages 18-30?” “Is our client’s business model flexible enough to adapt to a changing market?” and “What does it mean to lead a meaningful life and constantly strive to grow as a human being?”

Learning to gain a deeper understanding of where I fit into the vast expanse of the universe, unfortunately, appears to have conflicted with the deadlines you gave me for this report.

I know I often miss deadlines, but this one is different. One night a few weeks back, I was alone in the office after everyone had left, looking at charts, digging up data, and analyzing balance sheets. There were numbers, numbers everywhere. As I looked at the many columns of the Excel spreadsheet, I started to think of my father, who himself looked at a lot of Excel spreadsheets, and I started to fit the pieces together: all this time I had been trying to push away from my family because I felt suffocated, but really we, as humans, are social creatures who crave to not be lonely; that pushing myself away in the name of “independence” had only made me more lonely and less able to ask for help from the people who truly care about me; and that it was not an affront to my adulthood or masculinity but actually the true path to more fulfillment to be able to finally share my vulnerabilities with the people I love. And then amidst this self-discovery I accidentally closed all of my documents without saving, and I have failed to make major headway on the report since.

Overall, when I step back and look at this situation objectively, I think this report has been a positive experience for us all.

You may be right to express concern, as our company will likely suffer major losses as a result of failing to deliver our stated product for this client. Even if this is our largest client, whose contract is the source of all of our salaries, we need to keep in mind the most important thing — that throughout this process I have continued to grow and develop on a deeply personal level. Although I don’t really understand the ins and outs of our client’s business model, I certainly feel like I better understand myself.

What do you mean I’m fired? You can fire my physical self, but you can never take away my commitment to understanding the human condition. Take a good hard look at yourself — in the long run, will you remember that one time our business suffered financial losses due to my failure to meet deadlines, or the time when I truly started to accept and love myself for who I am? I, for one, have already started to forget the former.

Also, you can’t fire me — I’m the only one who knows how to use our data analytics software.