Hi, everyone. So, usually around now we’d all be together in the big auditorium at headquarters, and it’s really such a bummer we can’t do our in-person training because of the pandemic. But as I’m sure you know, this year, and everything that’s happened, means that the services we provide are more important than ever.
You’ve all seen the headlines. Unemployment claims are at historic rates; the wage gap is increasing; hundreds of mom and pop businesses across the country have been forced to close; families everywhere are in danger of eviction, starvation, bankruptcy.
Yet meanwhile the bankers and CEOs of this country are lining their pockets with massive holiday bonuses, made off the backs of their underpaid, exhausted, essential workers. These same people that put their workers’ lives on the line in meatpacking factories and big-box stores, are the ones lobbying in Congress to avoid liability for the harm they’ve caused, and to be the first ones to get the vaccine!
So now more than ever, they need a wakeup call. They need those chains rattling! They need that graveyard revelation! They need that change of heart. They need to see exactly the hurt they’re causing, and we are here to show ‘em. Am I right? Yeah!
… Uh, so, I really appreciate you all taking the time to go through our audition and vetting processes. Yeah, it was a bit of a gauntlet, but we’re known for high quality service, we are the original, we’ve been doing this since 1843 and we’ve only got the one night a year to make a difference and we just want to make it count.
Last year we had eight hundred forty three agents on the ground on Christmas Eve. Our analytics department, tracking client progress throughout the year, showed a 65% increase in philanthropic giving, a 21% increase in employee compensation, and over four hundred political disaffiliations from the Republican Party. Wow! Let’s try to hit five hundred this time, huh guys? Shouldn’t be too hard!
This year we’re proud to welcome seventy-six brand new agents to the fold—that’s you! I’m sure you still have a lot of questions; I’ve been getting a bunch of them in my inbox, it’s great to see everyone so curious and enthusiastic. Most of it will be covered in this weekend’s training, I promise. But I’d like to reassure you up front that of course we have a conflict-of-interest protocol—we get a ton of people every year who apply because they are inspired by a greedy boss or a terrible father, but our algorithms will make sure you do not get matched to someone you know personally. Would be totally awkward, right?
Okay, so here’s what today looks like—first we have a presentation from one of our top-performing agents, who has run all three roles very successfully for the past ten years. He’s got some amazing stories, super inspiring guy, I really hope he tells the one about the art collector’s mother-in-law. It is a riot.
Um, then we’ll put everyone into breakout rooms to do a quick bit of roleplaying, you should all have been assigned a group in your orientation email, so that’s groups A through C, and you will all take turns acting as Past, Present, Future, supervised by one of our trainers who will be acting as Client. Just a quick note, it’s new this year, if you were referred by a friend who did the training before they might have referred to the Client as “Scrooge” or “The Miser” but we are looking to reframe that for brand reasons.
Tomorrow we have a morning session in which we’ll be going over the software, including all of the fun effects you can use—these things come and go, last year “icy fog” was huge across the board, “golden shimmer” is always a classic for Past, but we did just add a new “floating skull on fire” filter that we think will be a big hit.
In the afternoon you’ll get broken back into your groups, A through C, to go through the roles one-by-one in a bit more in depth. So if you’re assigned as Past or Future it’s the same as it ever was, but for everyone who ends up as Present, things will of course be a little different this year, but that’s part of the challenge, that’s part of the fun, I’m sure you’ll rise to the occasion, and use the sights and scenes of a pandemic Christmas to get your Client where you need them to be by the time the sun rises. IT has been totally on it with the solutions—we can go inside phones, computers to look at messages, video chats from the inside—it’s really cool, um, super cyberpunk, so, we’ll show you all of that.
Sunday morning we’ll hear from our on-call counselor, who will give you guys some emotional and psychological tools to deal with the stuff that you’ll be seeing when your shift starts. I’m just being honest, there’s no sense in trying to pretend that this isn’t an incredibly emotionally grueling gig. You’ll see heartbreak. You’ll see poverty. And the kids—man, the kids. It’s rough. But they are your main weapon, remember that. That is how you get to these guys, we knew that a hundred and seventy seven years ago, and it hasn’t changed. Human nature, for better or for worse, doesn’t change.
But hey—there’s also a lot of fun involved! I mean, the flying alone. Nothing quite like it. I did ten years in the field… Those were the days.
Right… okay, Sunday evening we have a mixer with returning agents, so all of you new folks will be able to mix and mingle over Zoom with the folks who you might end up working alongside on your shift. Unfortunately you’ll miss out on my classic spiced eggnog recipe, but we encourage you to mix your own cocktails at home—we sent out some recipes in the orientation email, I’m particularly fond of the “Dead To Begin With,” which is my little twist on a Death In The Afternoon, ha!
You’ve all completed the pre-training modules, so you know how all the tech works—we’ve come a long way since the Victorian era, and this year since we’re fully remote everything will be going through dispatch straight to your personal devices. Let’s give a round of applause to IT for sorting that out in record time. Rock on.
And you know our dress code rules—don’t think that just because we aren’t running things out of HQ that you can get away with making your ragged shroud a little more low-cut than it should be! Of course we encourage creativity with your looks, because you know, based on our analysis it’s novelty that wins the night, your basic hooded figure can’t do much these days just given general cultural saturation, but remember you’re here to scare the Clients, not seduce them.
Finally, I just want to reiterate, everyone has signed an NDA which means under no circumstances are you to disseminate any information regarding what you see or hear during your shift. The Clients friggin’ suck, yeah, that’s the point, but they’re people, you gotta remember that, and if you do your job right they’ll soon suck a little bit less, so just remember what happens on Christmas Eve stays on Christmas Eve, haha. Because we are the OGs, we have a reputation to uphold, and you gotta pull your weight. I’m sure it won’t be a problem, but I gotta say it just in case, you know, that’s my job!
We’re still running the matching algorithms, so, yeah, it should only be a couple days before you see your role assignments, partners, and Client dossier appear in your backend. Exciting stuff, I know I remember my first Christmas Eve on the ground like it was yesterday…
Um. Ok. Gotta wrap up here so we can start. Cool... so— Wait, can you guys hear me? Sorry, have I—was I on mute?