Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s Job Hunt

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RED-NOSED PARK DEER/Image: Michael Moffa

The day before Christmas, late in the afternoon, an HR company receptionist knocks on the manager’s door and tells him that there’s a reindeer with a resume in the waiting room. Thinking it’s a novel Noel gag, the manager laughs—but, clearly uneasy, she doesn’t. Incredulous, he takes a peek, and, sure enough, there’s a full-sized heavily-antlered reindeer bedecked with ribbons of bells tapping and cooling his hooves while looking over his resume. It’s been a slow day, so the manager makes time for this; besides, it’s a talking reindeer.

Settled in his office, the two of them get down to business. Name: Rudolph. Position sought: full-time team leadership role. Most recent position: Lead reindeer. Current employer: the Kris Kringle Foundation, a non-profit global charity.  Current contract: recurrent seasonal, since 1939.

Manager (despite the temptation to start with the off-limits question about the nose): “So, what specific position are you interested in applying for?”

Rudolph: “The advertised project leader’s job.”

Manager: “And what about your current position?”

Rudolph: “Although it has been a valuable learning experience with an excellent skills-challenge mix and a level of responsibility commensurate with the merits of the project goals, it provides insufficient opportunities for advancement and lacks the engagement of full-time employment.”

Manager: “Yes, I see that it is only part-time.”

Rudolph: “One night a year. That is too limited for my ambitions. Besides, I’m hoping to segue away from evenings and to be able to work days only—especially if I start working full-time.”

Manager: “Can you give me more details about your current duties?”

Rudolph: “I am in charge of our team of nine, with oversight of inventory transport and global distribution and delivery to end-users, utilizing a ‘just-in-time’ delivery system. Working within the organizational mandate and under management directives, I direct the delivery process.”

Manager: “And what goods or services does the Kris Kringle Foundation provide?”

Rudolph: “Lifestyle enhancement, with an emphasis on the youth market.”

Manager: “But your resume mentions that the Foundation is a non-profit charity. What do you mean by ‘market’ in this instance?”

Rudolph: “KKF is indeed a non-profit. However, because various corporations supplement and complement our inventory transport, distribution and delivery systems with their own for-profit market-oriented efforts, our end-users define a de facto market.”

Manager: “But, there is no profit sharing between KKF and these for-profit corporations?”

Rudolph: “None that I am aware of. However, the reciprocal and parallel promotion campaigns are mutually beneficial, even if some of the gains are not monetized.”

Manager: “Could you expand on that, please?”

Rudolph: “The for-profit corporations promote—through their own advertising—KKF’s efforts and inventory; in return, through home product-placement, KKF stimulates their sales and product development. In the end, this organizational symbiosis works for the benefit of all, especially the end-users.”

Manager: “But don’t KKF’s charitable distribution efforts cut into the for-profit enterprise profits?”

Rudolph: “Not really. Whatever toll a delivery-system‘s ‘substitution effect’ takes on their sales, it is more than offset by the transport, distribution and delivery volumes our organizational mission generates for them. For example, KKF benefits FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service much more than we cost them through our competing-complementary distribution-delivery system.

On the inventory manufacture side, KKF’s uncompensated endorsements of products the for-profits license us to transport, distribute and deliver translate into huge sales and profits for them in the final tally. Since KKF, contrary to the charming and fanciful for-profit enterprise depiction of busy elf-workshops, manufactures nothing, outsourcing to the FPEs works to everyone’s advantage. From their standpoint, their products delivered by KKF are very successful ‘loss leaders’.”

Manager: “So, there is no FPE financial compensation, no profit-sharing for KKF, you or the other reindeer whatsoever?”

Rudolph: “None—no third-party compensation whatsoever, not even from the substantial revenues from sales of songs about us, such as the 1949 Gene Autry chart-topper or the D.C. comic-book series about us, not even from retailer Montgomery Ward, our original out-sourced FPE.”

Manager: “How has the team-leadership experience the KKF distribution and delivery system provided differed from that offered at the for-profit companies?”

Rudolph: “Like them, we take pride in reliable on-time, usually intact delivery and in end-user satisfaction. So the job satisfactions are comparable. The most significant difference is in correlated job-pressure and efficiency: Whereas companies like FedEx and UPS have multiple and redundant transport and delivery systems, we are required and able to virtually duplicate their performance, with only one transportation unit, yet with less accidental breakage and fewer and shorter delays. Moreover, we never deliver to the wrong address or toss fragile or any other inventory into an end-user’s yard. Naturally, such high-level performance comes at a price—but in our case, a personal price measured in stress rather than a price paid by the end-user.”

Manager (impressed): “What is your availability?”

Rudolph: “I would have to give ample notice. So, I could start the day after tomorrow.”

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Michael Moffa, writer for, is a former editor and writer with China Daily News, Hong Kong edition and Editor-in-chief, Business Insight Japan Magazine, Tokyo; he has also been a columnist with one of Japan’s national newspapers, The Daily Yomiuri, and a university lecturer (critical thinking and philosophy).