I want you to write down everything I say. Yes, everything. Even this. Do you have a pen? Good.     It's only when you get to t...

Remember Me

   I want you to write down everything I say. Yes, everything. Even this. Do you have a pen? Good.

   It's only when you get to the edge of the cliff of your lifespan, when you teeter on the edge of that eternal drop into mortality, that you really get a chance to look back at your life and evaluate once and for all the successes and the failures that summarise your tenure on planet Earth. It's only when it is escaping you that you see life in the clearest light. Then and only then do you really appreciate the colossal achievements and catastrophic mistakes that got you where you ended up. Only when you are about to die, my friends, can you truly consider the only thing that will be left of you once you're gone: how you will be remembered.

   Me, I would like to be remembered for the first class degree I earned at university. The pride my family felt when the first of us ever to attend a higher education institution walked out of there with a tightly rolled scroll that read First Class Honours. I want to be remembered for the societies I chaired at that university; the finances I managed, the socials I organised, the like-minded individuals I brought together. An excellent start to life was carved there, a solid foundation built.

   More than that, I would like to be remembered for my time as a youngster at GeneriCorp, where I increased sales by 400% in my first year alone, all through the innovative marketing techniques and aggressive tactics I had the initiative to put in place. Under my charge, my team’s productivity levels soared until we were given more new projects year on year than all the other teams in our area, and we still had time to run a table tennis league on the side. Some of the methods that company uses today can still be traced back to me and my time there, so it would please me to think that they will mourn me when I'm gone.

   I'd like to be remembered for my fast rise up the corporate ladder, that ruthless ambition and ingenuity I showed that meant I went from Analyst to Senior Analyst to Assistant Vice President to Vice President to Senior Vice President to Director to Managing Director in under a decade. My wish to be respected for such a speedy ascension might sound to some like unabashed arrogance on my part, but I assure you it is only confidence and pride in my own achievements, a trait our species could benefit from appreciating every now and then.

   My time as CEO of GeneriBank should not be forgotten either. After years of jumping from company to company, being headhunted here and poached there, I finally got the recognition I deserved and was put in charge of one of the world's largest financial institutions. And boy, did I rock it. Under me, profits skyrocketed. Our share price soared to dizzy new heights with every passing day. We acquired new profitable companies at the rate of two a year, until we were a staggeringly huge behemoth of banking the likes of which has never been seen before. Almost every decision I made led us into new successes. If I could choose how I wanted to be remembered, it'd be for the sterling job I did running that company, and the legacy I've left behind there.

   More than all of this, I'd like to be remembered for the happiness I gave my wife and the fantastic children we brought up. Really, they're my greatest achievement. The money I made, the businesses I saved, the projects I completed, all of this is transient. It could all be forgotten the minute my casket is closed. But those kids, they're how I'll truly live on. When I see their smiles, their popularity, the grades they achieve at school, their blossoming personalities, I realise that my real successes lie in them.

   And finally, I'd like someone to remember me for surviving this illness for so long, and the dignity and strength with which I have handled it. I can only hope that I've inspired other people to never let go of the fight that keeps them alive.

   That's how I'd like to be remembered. If I could choose, that's how I'd... Could you get me a glass of water? My throat is getting dry. Quickly, please. I'll stop dictating until you return.

   Thank you.

   That's how I'd like to be remembered, but it's not how I will be. That's because it's not the way things happened. I won't be remembered for those things, because they're not really my achievements.

   My degree, I achieved by bullying the geekier students into helping me with. If they were paid enough or bribed with enough alcohol, they'd even complete whole assignments for me on occasion. Failing that, I’d borrow their work and just copy it. For all their talk of crackdowns and eagle eyes, universities are surprisingly lax with their plagiarism checks. And that's how I achieved my First. As for the societies, they ran themselves. Anything that didn't function autonomously, I would assign to someone below me. I was just a pretty face to put on the societies' posters.

   At GeneriCorp, my biggest achievement was choosing a team that knew what they were doing. I knew nothing of the world of sales techniques or marketing; I was just loud enough to be able to order my peers around so convincingly that everyone thought I was the boss. Like a tired girlfriend, I was faking it; and no one saw through the act, so I kept on acting. I didn’t even learn anything there; the work was so technical and I was so clueless that I never understood a single concept that I bragged about applying, but I got through it by becoming a self-styled people manager. Ask me to do that job now, I still couldn't do it. My team did it all.

   My rise up the ranks was similarly driven not by talent but by loudness of my voice. Like a ruthless shithead, I stormed my way up that ladder treading on every toe that poked out in my way and beating down every underdog that crossed my path. I was a vicious bastard, ordering people around like they were my servants and disappearing above them before they'd even realised they had been two ranks above me. None of that was down to my talent, unless not giving a fuck is a talent these days.

   And of course, once I was in real management I really had the chance to sit back and do nothing while everyone below me ran around like headless chickens desperate to finish the work I piled on top of them. Like every modern manager, I had nothing nice to say to my staff and knew nothing of their work except for when I wanted it done by. Everything I accomplished at GeneriBank can be attributed to one of my direct reports, but none of it to me. I came up with no ideas and no strategies. Everything I put my name to was stolen from someone else further down the chain. I was fantastic at managing, but a terrible manager.

   My kids aren't my doing either. While I was at work 24x7 with my feet on the desk watching daytime TV, I left my wife to bring them up. They hardly know me, but thanks to my incredible income they’ve received an enviable education and a nanny that takes more care of them than I ever have. There are at least twenty people in front of me in the queue to collect kudos for bringing up those children. And I didn't even need to please my wife; I let money do that for me. In fact, I can't even take the credit for our marriage - we only met because I ordered a friend to introduce me to his barmaid friend in my twenties.

   And then there's the illness. I could take full credit for that one, if it wasn't for the private healthcare I'm taking advantage of, the nurse I'm employing, the crazy alternative therapies I can afford. I've done nothing to help myself over the past few months other than lay here and order other people to care for me.

   So although I'd like to be remembered for all these things, I won't be. Because I didn't do them. What I'll really be remembered for, when I finally kick the bucket, is one thing: I was a master of the art of delegation.

   Now type this up and submit it to that story website that I like by the end of the day, please.

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