Today’s writing prompt is inspired by a recent meme of a CEO crying after laying off employees that went viral. Keep reading to see the full prompt, and my completed version of it titled, The Tears of a Crocodile.

man in suit CEO crying
Created by K.E. Creighton in Canva

Today’s Writing Prompt: The day my CEO cried

For today’s writing prompt, your main character is witnessing the CEO of their company or their boss cry. Write from your main character’s point of view using the first-person perspective. And try to write at least three paragraphs.

Before you begin writing, consider why the CEO or boss is crying and if it’s genuine. What is your main character feeling as they’re witnessing this person cry? Empathy? Remorse? Shame? Revulsion? Also, consider where and when this is happening. Is this happening during a one-on-one meeting, a conference, or online?

Completed Version of Today’s Writing Prompt

The Tears of a Crocodile, by K.E. Creighton

I am going to be a few minutes late for our all-hands meeting. Again. But Frank, my dachshund, wouldn’t stop barking at the doorbell, so I had to answer it first. Of course, it was just chatty Kathy from down the hall at the door, again, handing me yet another package that was delivered to her by mistake this week. She really should start complaining to the mail delivery person, or anyone else, instead of me. This is the third time this week I’ve been late to a video call with the entire team due to her “just stopping by.” Sure, she’s nice enough. But she has the worst timing.

My team lead, Brad, even called me out in front of everyone during our Touchdown Tuesday meeting. “Nice of you to join us,” he had chuckled when I logged in two minutes late due to Kathy inquiring about our garbage pickup being a few hours early that day, fifteen minutes prior to the meeting’s scheduled start time.

I was now five minutes late to our Feature Friday meeting, in which we discuss feature-worthy achievements, quotas, and performances from the week. So, I take a deep breath and click on the “join” button and can’t believe what I’m seeing. I’m looking at a close-up of Brad’s freshly shaven face with crocodile tears streaming down it. He’s talking about how he’s sorry that he has to let some members of the team go. But due to recent output and performance data, he had no choice and was full of regret about what he had to do. “Heavy is the crown…” he begins to say.

But I don’t hear the remainder of his speech because the enlarged image of his face is distracting me. First of all, it’s uncomfortable seeing his face wet. Very uncomfortable. And while his eyes are red and irritated, they’re devoid of sincere emotion. So it doesn’t seem likely they got that way by him crying, which is perplexing. Very perplexing. Did he put something in his eyes to make them red? Or smell something foul? Or pinch his eyelids vigorously or something? So that he would appear grief-stricken? Because he doesn’t actually seem full of regret. No. Only a sociopath would…

Then, he announces my name. I tune in to what he’s saying again when I hear that. I am one of the featured employees being laid off, it turns out. Or the only one. He doesn’t feature anyone else on this particular featured list of his. And I swear I see a twinkle in his eye as he says my name, and then with faux remorse, “We’re so sorry to see you go. I wish there was something I could do.” He sniffles for less than a second and then carries on with routine business. Todd receives this week’s Stellar Employee award. Chuck is recognized for exceeding his sales quota. Devon is congratulated for putting in 50 hours already this week…

After I log off the call, I scream into a throw pillow on the couch for a full minute. When I come up for air, Frank is looking at me with a worried expression and whimpers. Next to where he’s sitting, I notice the package Kathy dropped off sitting on the coffee table and decide to open it. Inside the package is a mug with a large anthropomorphic clock on it. The clock is smiling and dancing and there’s a note inside it. The note says: Hope you look back at your time with us and smile. We will! – Brad

[All Rights Reserved by K.E. Creighton and Creighton’s Compositions LLC. The above work is a piece of fiction. All names and locations referred to are the product of the author’s imagination and are used entirely for fictional purposes. Any similarities to real-life persons or places are purely coincidental.]

Notes on Completing this Writing Prompt

Full disclosure: most of the bosses I have had in the past were terrible, petty, and incredibly insecure people. At least one of them must have been sociopathic. So, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to muster too much empathy for a boss shedding tears for my writing today, especially as they’re laying off employees. I would love to see a completed version of this writing prompt in which the boss is being honest and sincere when crying, however. Truly, I would!

If you complete this writing prompt, be sure to share your draft with members of our writing community. We’d love to read it! Be sure to tag #DailyDraftsAndDialogues and @kecreighton on Medium, WordPress, or Facebook, so we can read what you write for this writing prompt. Get creative! Let’s see how many different versions of this prompt can be written.

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