“I’m your CEO… and I want you back,” by Kara Panzer

Nov 8th, 2023 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Look, I know it’s weird and all. Me showing up like this at your door. I don’t know you–but I feel like I do. I know you only as a concept. A worker. My worker. Can I come in?

I see you have a family, as do I. Of course, my kids won’t talk to me, or I won’t talk to them. I forget which at this point, scout’s honor. All I have left of them are the notifications on my phone when they use a checking account linked to mine to pay their credit card bills and $10k monthly rent checks. Raising grounded children, that was always important to me and the ex. Who also won’t talk to me.

I know it seems like my life is easy, but if I make one wrong move I’m gone. Carl Icahn will be up my ass faster than a rat up a drainpipe. If I want thirty million, I have to go make it. I’m a wage earner myself, it’s just that my personal salary is larger than the GDP of a moderately wealthy island nation.

Daily life is stressful for me too. I can’t do normal things.

Hailing a cab isn’t an option for people like me. You know, important people. PJ charter is kind of the minimum. That’s how important people travel. If I die, the New York Times will cover it. Unless you die in a really gruesome and disturbing way, the New York Times won’t cover it. See what I mean?

I’ve been hearing that you’re unhappy about the conditions of your employment, and that’s why I wanted to talk to you.

I don’t get a lot of phone calls these days. The only people who call me really are journalists at puff outlets hoping to get quotes for stories like “5 Tips to Succeed in Business.” And me and the boys agreed to always say things about growing your network and learning. Really what it takes is simple.

See, where most people have a soul, what we have is a bottomless pit of insecurity and a belief that there is some amount of money that could fill that pit, although, so far, there never is. I don’t know anything about building a business. What I know is how to accumulate allies and humiliate my enemies.

I have a vision for the future that doesn’t include you at all. In my dream, there are only four companies. Each company is so automated that the only humans it will require will be the man at the top. They will be privately held. They will run perfectly smoothly and do business only with each other. The world will function like a perfectly oiled machine for commerce. The invisible hand, steered ever so gently to my needs and my vision. Computers talking to computers to make money, for me. AI can replace any job, except for mine.

People don’t make good employees. They make mistakes. They need vacation. They get sick. They want increasing shares of profits that should be mine. So what if we built our AI platform on the back of all human creative output in the English language? Someone else would’ve done it. We just did it first.

We’re like the first conquerors to arrive in the Americas. If you really wanted to keep Manhattan, why’d you post it on the internet where anyone can scrape it?

I believe it was Jesus Christ himself who said, “work will set you free.”

So what I’m saying is: please come back. I don’t miss you. But you might miss your last chance to be one of the four men at the top. Wouldn’t that be a shame?


Kara Panzer is a writer based in New York. She writes about things like her obsession with her dog, marathon non-training plans, and the time a stranger threw up on her jacket at her favorite bar. Find more on karapanzer.com.

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