I know that 11:30 AM is a little bit of an inconvenient time to take a break from your physically and emotionally draining jobs to enjoy some mediocre chain-store pizza, but I want to take this opportunity to do more than say my quarterly “thank you”—I want to say, “I’m sorry.”

You see, up until recently, I was somehow okay being an ignorant, self-serving, and lukewarm corporate expense—content with leaving people hungry for more in every possible sense of the phrase. But since the pandemic began, something inside of me has changed. My recent dormancy (besides the occasional appearance at some super-spreader events throughout the South) has given me time to consider how my actions have impacted you—the American worker—and how I am partially responsible for the continued shrinking of the middle class and growing wage gap among workers.

I am sick about it, and I have decided: I am done being a corporate tool of faux appreciation and compensation, and I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done.

Alongside my apology to you, I am also working on myself. My analyst said Perpetrator’s Guilt can be helped by clearing out the web of lies I have weaved over the years—so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Please indulge me as you fight over the last piece of the veggie thin crust that nobody wants:

  1. I am worth virtually nothing. I came to a total of $123.12 including the “generous” 10% tip your boss gave to the nice delivery driver who showed up on time while still wearing a mask for your health and safety. Worse yet, that $123.12 will be written off by your company as an expense and will come out of nobody’s pocket turning something marginally valuable into nothing at all.
  2. I lied about there being a “secret recipe” for my cheesy breadsticks—there isn’t. It is just the same pizza dough, covered in the same pizza cheese, dipped in the same marinara sauce. I am sorry we forgot the extra ranch.
  3. I did not forget the extra Ranch—I just did not want to fucking give it to you.
  4. I know that corporate pizza parties are yet another burden on you who now has to spend your lunchtime eating barely edible pizza instead of laying down on the front seat of your car and wishing you’d never bought that condo close to the office so you could give it all up and move to Europe.

For all of those lies, half-truths, and advantage-taking behaviors that I have been a party to, I am truly sorry.

I know we’re getting close to the fifteen-minute allotment we’ve been given for this “team-building activity” designed to make you forget you haven’t had a cost-of-living adjustment to your wages in a decade, but I want to leave you with one more thought: if you see me in your future workplace being used as some kind of substitute for fair compensation, my advice is simple: Run. Your time, energy, efforts, and talent are worth more than my pre-made crust and sad excuse for a salad.

See you at your kid’s birthday party.