Lubbock ● Austin ● Fort Worth – American Corporate Culture
American Corporate Culture is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
We see the skyline of Manhattan with the title “erutluC etaroproC ehT” written under it. The buildings spin and become inverted with the buildings pointed down and now we can easily read the title – “The Corporate Culture”. The buildings are inverted but the title is upright!
An alternate title might be – “The Reorganization”.
American Corporate Culture
HELICOPTER SHOT and the title credits flash as we near Manhattan and we zoom in on the onion domes of Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
INT. RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH – DAY
A Russian Orthodox priest has just finished services. He takes off his robe and vestments that are cared for and stored by a serious looking younger priest. He dresses now in the traditional skufia all black. He also wears a vest called a kontorasson, usually during colder weather, but that is not the purpose today.
The priest moves with increasing and deliberate haste. There is an expression of urgency on his face. He descends into the undercroft. It is dark and he approaches what appears to be a sacristy. The priest opens it. Inside are a slew of weapons. He fills the especially modified kontorasson with weapons – a pistol, a tactical baton and a military grade knife.
The YOUNG PRIEST opens a door in the basement. It leads under the city and through the utility tunnels. The PRIEST moves quickly through the tunnels.
INT. WALL STREET TRADING FLOOR – DAY – American Corporate Culture
A Wall Street TRADER has just finished work and the closing bell sounds. He goes to an office. He takes off his coat and tie and they are cared for and stored by a solemn looking SECRETARY. There is American Pit Bull Terrier dog (APBT) there – very docile and probably a great family pet. The SECRETARY pets the DOG. The DOG could be very mean but he smiles. He has a friendly disposition.
The TRADER also dresses in all black. He opens a closet inconspicuously built into the wall of the office. He takes out an assault rifle with night vision gear, brass knuckles and a medium length sword. He takes the DOG and gets into a service elevator and descends into the basement. By the time they reach the basement, the DOG’s genetics have kicked in; he is wired and aggressive. The APBT is there to hunt!
INT. ITALIAN RESTAURANT – DAY
A RESTAURATEUR stands over and smiles at a table of clients and then politely gestures for the waiter to take good care of the table. He excuses himself and retires through the kitchen and down into the basement. The RESTAURATEUR makes his way though a dry goods storage area. Behind a mountain of boxes is a wardrobe with a lock and key. He takes off his jacket and tie and hangs them in the wardrobe. He also becomes dressed in all black. He takes out an armoured vest and helmet, a small machine pistol, a small flamethrower and a chain whip. He moves another set of boxes and descends into a tunnel.
INT. MANHATTAN UTILITY TUNNEL – DAY
The PRIEST, the TRADER and the RESTAURATEUR met in the underground space. They make eye contact but nothing is said. They seem to know their mission. They move together at a deliberate speed in one direction. They show no fear or emotion. There is no hesitation. It seems almost like a military operation.
INT. MANHATTAN UNDERGROUND LAIR – DAY – American Corporate Culture
TONY O’KEITH is something between a homeless bum and a vampire. He is a hairy looking creature. He has a thick beard and the clothes of a vagrant but he is sleeping in the “royal” position as many vampires are portrayed. His eyes open quickly. He is startled awake. He is alert but his body does not move. He listens. O’KEITH quickly rises from his resting place. He looks around making plans to leave.
O’KEITH tries to use an expensive smartphone but on the other end a voicemail message answers “You have reached the Island Temp Agency. If you need a temporary worker this is the correct number. Please leave a message.”
CUT TO: Different underground location.
A DUTCH SHEPHERD DOG is sleeping in the utility space. From the background sounds he is very near a subway station. He is black and brindle and sleeping soundly. There is a cell phone vibrating only inches from the DOG. The DOG is not disturbed.
O’KEITH tries another number. Another voicemail greating, “You have reached the voicemail of the Island Office Supply Company…”
CUT TO: Still another location under Manhattan.
A second DUTCH SHEPHERD DOG is also sleeping. From the background sounds he is only feet from the city streets and sidewalk. This dog is also black and brindle and sleeping soundly. There is a cell phone ringing loudly only inches from his ears. The DOG stirs but is not awoken.
BACK TO: O’KEITH’s original location.
We see several items that suggest he is not a vampire – half eaten take out from Manhattan restaurants, bottled water and a radio. There are also items of clothing that a homeless person might collect. But clearly he may be some mythical creature. We don’t know.
O’KEITH can hear the DOG and the MEN moving toward him at least 30 seconds before the audience can here them.
O’KEITH gathers some papers, that we will learn later are resumes. He has some business cards and an expensive watch and some nice pens and legal pads. He has a smart phone and a tablet. He throws everything, including a tear gas canister and a bottle of cologne, into a very old looking briefcase. And leaves his lair.
We are not sure what is happening exactly. There is the distinct possibility that these MEN are hunting O’KEITH and other homeless men for sport. Or is this some part of a supernatural (vampire or demon) war.
One thing that we can agree on – writer and audience – it is a subterranean conflict.
INT. MANHATTAN UTILITY TUNNEL – DAY
O’KEITH is running though the tunnels as fast as he is able. He is perused by the DOG and the three well armed MEN. Clearly O’KEITH is the quarry. O’KEITH stops only to warn his friends who are also sleeping in the tunnel.
O’KEITH reaches the location of the first DUTCH SHEPHERD and finds his human comrade LANCE where the DOG was sleeping. LANCE is curled up like a DOG, still sleeping. O’KEITH wakes LANCE and says…
Lance, I tried to call.
LANCE looks at the phone.
They are right behind me. Go a different way.
LANCE scrambles for his things and O’KEITH moves on.
O’KEITH reaches the location of the second DUTCH SHEPHERD and finds his human colleague DEAN where the DOG was sleeping. DEAN is sleeping also curled up like a DOG. O’KEITH wakes DEAN and says…
Dean, get up. They are following me with a dog.
O’KEITH gestures for him to run in a different direction.
We have a short chase through the underground spaces. The MEN and the APBT nearly catch a glimpse of their prey, they discover the lairs and stop only to quickly survey them for clues. They quickly return to the chase.
Only seconds behind O’KEITH are the PRIEST, the TRADER and the RESTAURATEUR. O’KEITH pops a tear gas canister and emerges from the underground space. The hunting party is delayed by the gas and smoke.
At the end of the chase, O’KEITH, LANCE and DEAN, at different locations in escape out of the underground and they blend into the crowds. They appear homeless dressed in dirty clothes and their hair unkempt.
The HUNTERS are frustrated the game has escaped and with weapons clearly visible, they attract attention. The pursuers immediately leave the street and return to the underground defeated.
The PREIST, the TRADE and the RESTAURATEUR look very dejected; they know that this opportunity will not present itself again.
EXT. LOWER MANHATTAN – DAY
O’KEITH exits the utility space inside the New Amsterdam Tunnel. He walks out of the tunnel and surveys the various options (skyscrapers). He walks into the sun and he looks up smiling and it baths his face; we realize he may not be a vampire. He might simply be a homeless man.
He walks and enters one of the buildings.
He is in a dirty suit with a few rips in it. O’KEITH looks like a vagabond on his way to fill out a job application at a Fortune 500 company. He is nervous on the street constantly looking around for the hunters.
EXT. HARLEM SIDEWALK – DAY
LANCE exits the underground and walks into the Island Temp Work Agency. He looks like a vagrant but sits at a desk and immediately begins answering the phone.
EXT. WEST 34th STREET SIDEWALK– DAY
DEAN exits the underground and walks into a warehouse the Island Office Supply Company. He appears to be a homeless alcoholic but he gets some keys off a nail and drives a van, which has just been loaded with paper.
INT. LOWER MANHATTAN OFFICE BUILDINGS – DAY
We find O’KEITH in a human resource offices filling out a job application.
Are you sure you don’t want to do this online?
I will just do it the old fashion way.
The receptionist is so lazy it is clearly a chore for her to reach for the application. She would rather him make the application online; less work for her. However, she does hand it to O’KEITH. He sits and writes.
A lady in the next chair is attracted to him. She leans over and takes a whiff of air. She smiles.
I’m sorry. You smell great.
Do you mind telling me what cologne?
Of course not.
The receptionist gives him a dirty look.
At the very heart of the largest Manhattan corporations, O’KEITH finally relaxes as he reaches a corporation’s employment office. Only now does he feel that he has escaped the hunters and O’KEITH completes an application.
He hands the application to the receptionist.
Thank you. I just need an opportunity to show you what I can do?
No longer hunted, O’KEITH has become charismatic and likeable, but still his is poorly dress and this is very suspicious to the uptight human resource people.
This is the first HR office to accept his application. The receptionist takes his application and smiling says …
Thank you. We will let you know.
When O’KEITH turns to leave, the receptionist makes a face like she is about to gag. She takes a red Sharpie marker from the desk and writes, “SMELLS LIKE PEE!” across the front of the application. He does look a looks a bit rough, but O’KEITH doesn’t smell like pee. The receptionist is clearly a BITCH.
O’KEITH suddenly turns and the receptionist quickly smiles at him and places the application in a stack of twenty other applications.
CUT TO: Sidewalk between buildings. O’KEITH walks in the sun to the next building.
O’KEITH finds a second HR office. We get the impression in this scene that the HR EMPLOYEE in this office is single. She isn’t very attractive and she is a little bit overweight. While O’KEITH appears homeless to the audience, the HR EMPLOYEE sees potential, as O’KEITH could easily be a handsome man.
I just need an opportunity to show you what I can do.
Mr. O’Keith, this is an impressive resume – an MBA and experience at several corporations.
You have held some important jobs. But many of these corporations don’t exist anymore.
Mergers, accusations, bankruptcies.
Oh, I’m sorry. This seems to happen to you often.
The woman wants to hire him. She is romantically attracted to him. But…
Well listen, let me hold on to this and I definitely will call you if we have something open up for you. Our CFO is very very old.
Great. I mean, I understand. I will look forward to hearing from you.
Listen, between you and I. You seem like a really nice man. Get a new suit. Lose the beard and I’m sure you will find a position suiting your experience and stature.
Why yes. Thank you very much.
O’KEITH walks out of the office confidently.
CUT TO: Sidewalk between buildings. O’KEITH walks in the sun to the next building.
Arrive on time or slightly early to show your professionalism. Lateness can reflect poorly. It is even more important to begin punctually if you’re chairing or hosting the meeting.
Meetings can be quite casual, depending on the seriousness of the business being discussed.
Americans often like to cultivate a friendly atmosphere that facilitates openness. For example, people may introduce humour to the conversation.
If a meeting is conducted over a luncheon or dinner, expect conversation about business to begin almost immediately, or as soon as everyone has ordered their food.
It can be good to emphasize your accomplishments and experience. Americans generally trust business partners on the basis of their credentials and success.
Americans often start negotiations by stating their position from the very beginning. It is often expected that others are just as transparent about their stance.
Individuals may think aloud during meetings, imagine ideas on the spot and verbalise them without intending to seriously propose them.
Anyone present at a meeting may be welcome to give their opinion regardless of age or business , depending on the size and culture of the business.
Many Americans are culturally uncomfortable with silence in meetings and may seek to fill it with conversation.
Try not to be offended if disagreement is shown bluntly. When ideas are negated, it does not necessarily reflect poorly on the person who proposed them.
Americans can be powerful, open and persuasive communicators. Bargaining is usually done by negotiating a give-and-take scenario. People may “cut to the chase” very quickly and be hasty to reach decisions.
Expect them to seek a verbal agreement sealed with a handshake at the end of the meeting, such as, “Have we got a deal?”. However, keep in mind that nothing is finalised until it is on paper. This is simply their way of checking for confirmation of the meeting’s final agreements.
Don’t be rushed by their desire to quickly come to an agreement. Meet questions such as “Have we got a deal?” with “Maybe” if you need more time or persuasion.
Business cards are usually only exchanged if there is a need for contact information following a discussion or meeting.
Americans can come across as very friendly and personable people in business. They often cultivate a casual business environment that makes partners feel comfortable enough to trust them and share their position. However, while they are often very warm and welcoming, Americans do necessarily seek to build personal relationships with business partners. Depending on the industry, business is seen as strictly professional with little association to one’s personal life. Therefore, be aware of how much you open up in this informal atmosphere and how it can expose you.
Apart from initial pleasantries, not much time may be allowed for familiarisation with new business partners. Therefore, it’s best that you aim to establish your reputation or brand with them first and foremost. They will be more interested in your experience, credentials and the longevity of your company.
American business culture is largely , with employees generally being highly motivated by their careers. There is not a strong cultural commitment or obligation to age or business . People are likely to overlook factors like company loyalty for technical competence and excellence in employees. For example, American companies are fond of hiring ‘wizz-kids’ that have a specialised knowledge but less workplace experience.
Americans tend to work longer and harder than other Westerners, though not always by choice. Executives often closely monitor absenteeism and productivity of employees. In some workplaces, there can be a social pressure not to take leave unless absolutely necessary.
Americans can be opportunistic in business. For example, they may be more inclined to take a risk if it has big payoffs.
Address disputes with someone directly and privately. Talk about the problem only in the specific context that it has occurred to avoid making it seem like a criticism of their character.
The optimistic outlook of Americans can sometimes make it seem as though they are ignoring genuine problems or setting goals too ambitiously. Avoid making this assumption as it is rarely the case.
Be aware that business negotiations and deals are usually underpinned by tight legal control. Risk management is heavy and litigious, and contracts are often laden with clauses that can pin liability on the other party. Always read the fine print and understand any documents front to back. American companies commonly rely on lawsuits to settle disputes.
It can be hard for foreign companies to penetrate the American market for multiple reasons. For example, the scale needed to tackle such a large country can be difficult to attain. Products and procedures also tend to be judged by American standards and domestic reference points.
On the Corruption Perception Index (2019), the United States ranks 23rd out of 180 countries, receiving a score of 69 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This perception suggests that the country’s public sector is somewhat clean from corruption.