WITH TURNOVER AND BUSINESSES CHANGES, I CAN USE THIS AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW BUSINESSES
STORIES AND PERSONAL INFORMATION ARE WHAT PEOPLE CONNECT WITH
Fire everyone, change the locks
A slow morning had turned into a slow day as it neared 5 pm. The phone rang. It was a familiar attorney and she asked if I could assist with a unique situation. She said she had a new client, the Owner.
The Owner owned a booming business and had a mind for marketing, but was terrified of confrontation and arguing.
The proposition was this: help the Owner fire everyone at the company, secure the building, and return it to the Owner, including changing the locks.
The Owner had been so anti-social, they never went into the office, and so another member of management had become the de facto Boss. This Boss had made a power play, shifting the direction and spending of the business, against the owner’s wishes and commands.
The Owner was afraid most of the employees would follow the Boss in the mutiny, as they didn’t really know the Owner and rarely saw them at work.
I agreed and gave the conditions – I would need an Armed Guard with me for the day, preferably former LE, and a locksmith on standby, all of which I would arrange. The attorney agreed and send the retainer.
I looked up the building on Google. It was a large corporate office situated in a mixed business park/strip mall. Most of the stores supported the employees who worked nearby, and were therefore a mix of sit down and take-out restaurants, dry cleaners, a gym, and several coffee shops.
At 6 am the next morning, I parked my truck among the sparse vehicles in the open parking lot. A text came in. “GOOD MORNING, IT’S X, THE EP GUY. DID YOU JUST PULL UP IN A TRUCK?”
I smiled. “GOOD MORNING. YES. JOIN ME.”
I heard an engine turning over and saw the headlights of a black jeep parked 40 feet away in a parallel parking space.
It rolled in a giant circle and pulled up next to me. The driver got out, nodded, and got into the passenger seat of my vehicle.
“Good morning, nice to meet you,” he said.
“Good Morning. Nice to meet you too. Any activity?”
He looked out the window toward the building. “No. Everyone I’ve seen arrive so far has been for coffee or the gym.”
I nodded. “The Owner will be here soon. When they arrive, they want to walk in with us, but I will do the talking. If anyone tries to take anything, stop them. If anyone tries to assault the Owner, stop them.
X nodded. “Have there been threats or indications someone may want to hurt the Owner?”
“No,” I replied. “Just the off-chance. What are you carrying?”
“A .45 1911.”
My phone rang. It was the Owner’s assistant. They would be arriving at 9 am, after everyone at the office has arrived. I told X to sit tight and he headed back to his original position.
The owner arrived and after going over the plan, we walked in. “Where is the Boss?” I asked the room.
“He isn’t here,” said a young brunette.
The Owner went to the Boss’ office and peaked in. The lights were off. “His laptop is gone!” yelled the Owner.
He walked up the blonde lady standing by the coffee maker. “Where is his computer?”
“He takes it home. I haven’t seen it since yesterday,” she replied.
The Owner started rubbing his temples.
“Everyone – out,” I said. “You will be contacted shortly by Human Resources. You may take your personal belongings, but leave all computers and company property now.”
The office staff started gathering their belongings.
X watched each one back up and inspected their belongings as they exited the office.
After searching the offices, the only thing missing was the most important thing: the Boss’ computer. On it, every password, control of all user access, and all of the customer information, trade secrets, the works.
The blonde women seemed most concerned and was seen in the parking lot on her cell phone before she drove away.
The locksmith who was “on standby” was late. When they arrived, it was quickly apparent they were new to the job. Over the next two hours, the young locksmith toiled and pried and tinkered and banged, but we were no closer to the magic words, “All Done.”
After some trips back to their van and a few phone calls, the job was done.
Time to let the lawyers fight over access to that computer and the fate of the company.