Conflicted – Chapter 72

*Door pushed open and enters.

*Startled.

Everyone who enters the boardroom will get startled and surprised upon seeing Xi Men already sitting down on his seat in the boardroom.

Because Xi Men is usually the last one to enter the boardroom, so to see him there…

This has never happened before.

“C… CEO Xi Men,” they called immediately, regardless they recover from their shock or not.

Xi Men never utters a word, but only nodded as an acknowledgement and then writes something on the printed paper.

Secretary Xu only sits next to him, and unsure what is Xi Men writing.

The boardroom is utterly quiet and tense now, as no one dares to say a thing to each other since Xi Men is there.

They wondered if they are late for the meeting, but a quick check on their wristwatch, it’s only 9.50am.

No, they are not late.

*Door pushed open again.

Xi Men had his eyes on the door.

He’ll look at the door everytime it opens.

“Actually it… KYAK!”

Everyone looked at the door now.

She covers her mouth after the shriek. “I… I am sorry,” she quickly apologizes. “I’m sorry, CEO Xi Men,”

His eyes looked down to the paper.

‘Miss Huang. Senior Manager of Human Resource Department.’

And then he wrote something down.

She entered the room followed by the female director of the same department, who walks in behind her, and they take a seat.

They must have been talking to each other while walking to the boardroom and the senior manager is perhaps surprised to see Xi Men already in the room.

Everyone exchanged gazes.

It is odd.

Silence.

And the cold air blasts from the air conditioner makes everything cold and eerie.

The door opened again, and everyone looked to the door.

The person who opens the door finds it odd that everyone is looking at him as he opened the door, and then will be surprised by the sight of Xi Men sitting comfortably at the end of the table.

“CEO Xi Men,” he called.

Xi Men nodded, and then he writes something again.

Since no one is talking to each other, all they could do is to look at the door, watching who’s going to enter now…

“Is he marking our attendance…?” someone (a female) whispers.

And the person next to her turned his head to look at her upon hearing that.

**

10am.

Xi Men finally moves slightly more than just his head, eyes and right hand.

He sits up straight and looked at the time on his wristwatch.

And then he looked straight to the door.

Everyone wondered what he is doing, and they looked at the door as well.

As 56 seconds had passed by…

The door opened again.

Everyone in the room looked at guy that had just entered the room, and he is also startled at the sight of Xi Men.

“Good… good morning, CEO Xi Men,”

Xi Men nods once at him.

Xi Men gave a quick gaze to his wristwatch, and then he stands up.

Everyone paid attention to Xi Men.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” Xi Men said.

Someone opened the door again.

Everyone gazes at the door, and the person realizes the meeting has started.

“I… I am sorry,” he uttered.

Seeing that he had only said ‘good morning’ to the room, “Okay. Sit down,” Xi Men said.

He gave a small bow to Xi Men and then sits down on an empty seat.

“First of all, I would like to express my appreciation for everyone’s attendance by 10am at such a last minute notice,” Xi Men said. “Thank you,”

He looked at each staffs in front of him.

Some of them smiled.

Some of them smirked.

“So, I am going to hit this straight to the point,” he said. “The reason I am holding this meeting…”

*Door opened.

Everyone turned their heads to look at the door.

This is the director of the legal department.

He finds it odd that everyone is looking at him, until he saw Xi Men. And not only that, seeing Xi Men is standing up, does it mean…

“CEO Xi Men, you… the meeting has started?” he asked, walking to his seat; few seats away from Xi Men’s seat.

“Yes, the meeting has started. Go sit at the back,” Xi Men said.

The director paused.

Back?

Everyone exchanged glances.

The director looked at Xi Men. “But this is my seat…”

“Please don’t waste our time. Move to the back, faster,” Xi Men said, looking at the director.

The sudden order takes him by surprise, and he walked away, to the back of the boardroom – or rather, furthest away from Xi Men is consider as ‘back’ and sits down on one of the few empty chairs available.

Silence.

Instead of continuing the meeting, Xi Men looked at the paper that he had spent the last 20 minutes writing on. He grabbed the pen and started scribbling something on it.

“So, we still have two that have yet to come, huh?” Xi Men asked, looking at the paper now.

Oh uh.

Secretary Xu looked at Xi Men.

So, this is the reason why he (Xi Men) asked him (Secretary Xu) to print the list of email recipients. Apparently he is keeping track of people coming to the meeting.

“So there are two options now,” Xi Men said. “I can’t stand anymore ‘door-opening’ interruptions. So, either we wait for this 2 ‘VIPs’ before I continue the meeting, or someone go and look for them,”

Secretary Xu stands up, “Sir, let me go and find…”

Xi Men looked at Secretary Xu, “No, not you,” he then looked at the director of legal department. “The last person who came in into the room should do it,”

The director’s eyes widened. “Wh… what?”

Everyone’s eyes are widened too.

There are other lower positioned employees in the room. Why would Xi Men made such a high post’s guy to do the job?

“You are no different than these 2 people. Late. So, why don’t you go and do it?” Xi Men asked, stretching the hand with the paper out.

“I…”

The door opened again.

Everyone turned to look at the door.

Just the same as everyone was, the 2 person at the door looked at everyone, before they are startled upon discovering Xi Men is already in the room.

“Ah, they are here…” the legal director said.

Seeing the two people at the door, one a director and another a general manager, “Good,” Xi Men said, putting the paper down.

Now the two people are also doing the same thing as the legal director does earlier, going to their seats…

“Sit at the back,” Xi Men said as he wrote on the paper.

The general manager is taken aback, while the director does not care; pulling his chair.

“Director Liang, I said sit at the back,” Xi Men ordered.

The director looked at Xi Men.

He heard what Xi Men said earlier, but did not know that instruction applies to him.

He has a seat here, yet, being ordered to sit at the back of the room?

Not only that, he feels humiliated to be ordered to do this in front of everyone else.

Displeased, “CEO Xi Men, in case you forgot since you are busy attending to company’s crisis, this is my seat,” Director Liang said, still pulling the chair.

“Director Liang, in case you have problems with your time management, I said the meeting is to be held at 10am. Not 10.04am. Since you’ve said it is crisis now, do you know how important 4 minutes is to me?” Xi Men looked at him. “Where’s your respect to time management? Then what about everyone’s 4 minutes? What about the first person who came at 9.45am?”

Wow… what is wrong with Xi Men today?

Director Liang swallowed the lump in his throat. “I did not receive any calls about the meeting,”

“Secretary Xu sends the email at 8.30am. If you come in at 9am, you have one hour to read. I gave a buffer of a full minute until time turns 10.01am,” Xi Men said. “All latecomers sit at the back. Go,”

Director Liang looked around, and after he exhaled his deep breath of frustration, he heads to the back as ordered.

Xi Men took a deep breath. “There is a reason why I make this meeting at 10am and to announce this emergency meeting via email only,” he said. “Since your working hour starts at 9am, it is expected you’ll see the email after 9am, and with that, I give you adequate time to re-plan your schedules and work. And you are not expected to be spoon-fed by getting calls from my secretary to inform you of the meeting at 10am, when it is your responsibility to read your emails time after time. So, get it why you did not receive any calls?” he looked at Director Liang, before looking at everyone else. “Like you have said, company is in crisis now. Why am I parking my valuable secretary to waste his time making phone calls to you?”

Xi Men switched his gaze to look at someone else.

“I have been in this room since 9.40am with Secretary Xu, watching every single one of you coming in, marking down the time you are here. Didn’t I say this is an ‘emergency meeting’? This is how I know; how will you prioritize this,” he, said, lifting the paper up.

Everyone in the room exchanged glances with each other.

Some are glad they come in early…

“Let’s get it started,” Xi Men said, looking utterly serious now. “Everyone knows what kind of crisis Xi Men Corporation is having now,”

Everyone looked at Xi Men.

“Agenda number one; I know many of you hold tiny amount of shares to Xi Men Corporation, especially the directors,” Xi Men said, gazes at the few directors in the room.

The directors exchanged gazes.

“As a professional and the CEO of Xi Men Corporation; I am telling you, if you want to sell it, do it,” Xi Men looked at them.

Their eyes widened at that.

“The price of the shares will go down after lunch today. So, sell them before lunch time today so you will not suffer too high of losses,” he said.

The directors looked at each other now.

“Number two. A lot of clients have announced their desire to terminate their projects with us because they have lost confidence in Xi Men Corporation,” Xi Men said, “I have decided not to persuade them to continue the projects,” he then looked at the General Manager of the Project Management Department, “So, tell your project managers that they do not have to persuade the client,”

Everybody is startled to hear that.

“I have already approved some of the projects to be cancelled early today. I will pass the project name and project code to you to process later,” Xi Men said to the general manager. “If any of the project managers receive a request from any clients to cancel their projects with us, forward the request to me. I will approve them. Once I have approve them, the project manager need to work with the legal department to process the cancellation clause of the project contract to seek compensation from these clients,”

Secretary Xu frowned worriedly.

This is so… weird.

Xi Men has been working really hard to persuade clients to continue their projects with Xi Men Corporation for the whole of last week, but now… he is giving up?

“Ye… yes, sir,” the General Manager replied to Xi Men’s command.

“Number three. I know some employees have already begun looking for new jobs,” Xi Men said, and then he specifically looked at Director Liang, and later on, Xi Men looked at everyone else. “All managers here,” he ordered. “Tell all your staffs that if they want to leave Xi Men Corporation, they can do so,”

Everyone is surprised now.

“At this period of one week and subject to be extended, if a staff tenders resignation, they do not have to serve a notice period of one, two or three months based on their respective employment letter. Instead, they can leave within 24 hours. Xi Men Corporation will pay the salary until the last day of work. All exit interviews will not be held,” Xi Men said. “Human Resource department do take note on this,”

“Yes, sir,” the director from the HR department replied, before she looked at her colleagues.

“No one will be retrenched from Xi Men Corporation. So, no compensation is to be expected from the company. So either you stay or you leave, there is no such thing as waiting for company to fire you and subject to pay you compensation,” Xi Men said.

Everyone in the room exchanged gazes again.

“All of you are expected to tell this to your staffs by this week as I will be sending an email to everyone with a follow up note next Monday, so they need to know this from their reporting managers before they get the note from me,” Xi Men said. “Do you get me?”

“Yes, sir,” everyone in the room said.

“Good. If any of you in this room felt you want to leave the company too, you can tender your resignation anytime starting today, but do your responsibility as a manager, senior manager or director first by informing your staffs of what I have said, before you leave. Any questions?”

A guy lifted his hand up.

Xi Men looked at him, “What is your question, Manager See?”

“I am sorry if I may be rude about this, but all the three points you have mentioned sounded… umm… negative… and… if we were to tell this to the staffs… will it create chaos or…” the guy said.

Everyone waited for Xi Men’s answer.

“If they asked,” Xi Men said. “Tell them, I have a plan for the company but I cannot disclose it yet. And they can wait for the follow up note next week,”

“Umm… CEO Xi Men… you… you are not going to furnish us about the current condition of Xi Men Corporation…?” another guy lifted his hand up and asked. “If we knew then we can tell our staffs…”

Xi Men shook at him. “No,” he said. “There is no need to. It’s not like you all don’t know already,”

They looked at each other.

Is Xi Men Corporation really… going to die?

“Thank you for your time. Now you can go back and do your work. Meeting dismissed,” Xi Men said, grabbing the ‘attendance’ paper on the table and walked to the door.

*****

Knock! Knock!

“Come in,”

Secretary Xu opened the door and looked at Xi Men typing on the laptop, “Sir…”

Xi Men glances at Secretary Xu, “Yes, Secretary Xu?”

Secretary Xu bites his lower lip and then entered the room, and closes the door behind him. He then walked towards Xi Men’s desk. “I…”

“You have something you want to tell me?” Xi Men asked, typing on the laptop, before he pauses 5 seconds later and looked at Secretary Xu, “Do you want to resign?”

“No, no, no,” Secretary Xu shook and waves with his hand. “No, no. I have no plans to resign…”

“Oh. Okay. Then, what is it?” Xi Men asked, continued typing on the laptop.

“I…. I don’t understand,” Secretary Xu said, sitting down on the chair in front of Xi Men.

“About?” Xi Men asked.

“All that you have said earlier in the meeting…” Secretary Xu said.

Xi Men glances at Secretary Xu, “I thought I’ve made it quite clear. What about it that you don’t understand?”

“I mean… why the sudden change?”

Xi Men looked at Secretary Xu, “You mean?”

“Sir, you were fighting to keep the projects last week, and all of a sudden you decided not to fight for it anymore? And then… asking the directors to sell their stock, and asking staffs that want to leave to just go ahead? It sounds as though Xi Men Corporation is going…” Secretary Xu swallowed the lump in his throat, “Sir, have you given up the fight?”

Xi Men smirks belatedly, “Like I have said in the meeting, Secretary Xu, I have a plan. But I cannot disclose it yet as it has not begun. I’ll announce it when it is time. So, if you have faith in me, just stick with me, okay?” he then smiled.

Hearing the last statement brings hope to Secretary Xu that he smiled, although not knowing anything, “Yes, sir, I’ll stick with you,”

**********

“Hi Secretary Xu,” Lei said, and Mei Zhuo as well as Ah Si followed behind.

“Hi CEO Hua Ze, oh, hello CEO Ling, CEO Dao Ming. All of you came together?” Secretary Xu asked.

“We come separately but we met in the lift,” Lei smirks, glancing over to Mei Zhuo and Ah Si.

“Oh,” Secretary Xu said.

“Xi Men asked to meet up at 3pm. Is he in his room?” Mei Zhuo asked, pointing at the teak door.

“Yes, he is, but he said your meeting will be held in the boardroom,” Secretary Xu said.

“Boardroom?” Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si asked.

“Yes,” Secretary Xu stands up, and then moves out from his desk, “Please follow me,”

Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at each other.

“Boardroom? Why boardroom?” Ah Si asked. “He never meets up with us in the boardroom,”

“This is strange,” Mei Zhuo said.

Lei gazes at the teak door of the CEO room; where Xi Men is inside the room right now. “Yes, very,” Lei said.

“Umm, sir?”

Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si turned to look at Secretary Xu who has already walked a few steps ahead.

“Oh, sure, coming,” Ah Si said, and all three of them followed Secretary Xu as Secretary Xu directed the way.

Upon reaching the boardroom, Secretary Xu opened the door, “Please take a seat. I will call for CEO Xi Men now,” Secretary Xu said.

“Sure, thank you Secretary Xu,” Lei said and the three guys entered.

They took a seat as Secretary Xu closes the door.

“I wonder what is this all about,” Ah Si said, sitting down.

“To be in a boardroom… sounds very serious,” Mei Zhuo said, tapping his fingers as he sits next to Ah Si.

“Hmmm… oh, are you guys aware that Xi Men Corporation’s stock takes a steep dive just now?” Lei said.

“Really?” Mei Zhuo asked, taking his smartphone out.

“Yes, just right before lunch hour,” Lei said.

Ah Si leaned closer to Mei Zhuo, wanting to see the data on Mei Zhuo’s phone.

Few seconds later after the site loads on Mei Zhuo’s phone, both Mei Zhuo and Ah Si stared at the graph.

“Goodness…” Ah Si said.

Knock! Knock!

All of them instinctively turned their heads to look at the door.

Xi Men opens the door and entered, looking at his three friends sitting next to each other. “Hi guys,” he greeted as he entered the room, alone.

“Hey,” all three of them responded.

Lei noted the stack of files in Xi Men’s hand.

“Thank you for coming,” Xi Men said with a small smile.

“No problem. But it’s so rare to have your secretary to contact us instead of you doing it yourself,” Mei Zhuo said. “All of us are in a whatsapp group,”

Xi Men just remained smiling as he sits down on the seat in front of them.

“Is this really a work related meeting?” Lei asked, pointing at the files that Xi Men had just put down.

Ah Si and Mei Zhuo looked at the files too as Lei had pointed.

“Yes,” Xi Men said, and then began distributing the files to them.

“What? Really?” Mei Zhuo asked.

“Ah, I should have asked Susan to follow me…” Lei said.

“You could have told me earlier. I am here without Wendy,” Ah Si said, taking the file that Xi Men had just passed to him and open it.

“Now, you guys are not here as my buddies, but as my potential business partner,” Xi Men said.

Lei, Mei Zhuo and Ah Si looked at Xi Men.

“Huh?” they asked.

Xi Men smiled. “I am here to present a new business plan,”

“Business plan?” everyone asked.


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6 thoughts on “Conflicted – Chapter 72

  1. wow…. XM got new tactic
    director can sold their share, no retrenchment….
    whoever cancel project need to pay him, in other words people would think why he do this or because he had other big plan, he don’t bother the small project
    F4 came to the picture…..
    XY really can make XM to turn the whole thing around

  2. what,!! new businees plan?
    mmm…curious about that!…;-).,.;-)

    happy that xm have plan for his company….go xm…fighting !!

    • I am afraid of writing that business plan, considering I did not come from that background and not sure if it will ever work in the context of business (and probably flouted a lot of things and rules). I am just writing what I feel for and I hope it turns out OK for readers. 😱

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