By Bob Gielow
On behalf of our Board of Advisors, 1,000 plus team members, and the myriad beings we are serving every day, I welcome you as a new employee at NEXT LIFE. Congratulations on being chosen for this important work from what I am sure was an incredibly competitive pool of candidates!
Please allow me to apologise for misleading you regarding the name of our organisation and, to a lesser extent, the nature of the work to which you were applying. As you will learn reviewing the accompanying Employee Manual, it has long been necessary for NEXT LIFE to present itself under the guise of different company names and to advertise for new employees using fictitious jobs, even though the desired skills and characteristics listed do accurately represent the work at hand.
Our work at NEXT LIFE is important. Though I don’t want employees to get overly anxious or, alternately, full of themselves when thinking about their roles, I can tell you that the continuing existence of mammals on this planet relies on our efforts. As you’ve learned, when an animal’s life ends, we are tasked with assigning the next living vehicle for their souls. As magical or ridiculous as it might have seemed to you several days ago, NEXT LIFE determines in which animal each and every soul will continue their existence.
Although you will be cautioned about this many times, I want you to hear from me that there are severe penalties for informing other beings about the existence of NEXT LIFE. We are capable of learning whenever you have revealed the truth about your employer. This is true even if you speak with select animals. At your request, I have a long list of former employees who ignored this warning in the past and are paying for their discretion(s) in perpetuity.
To answer several questions that immediately come up for new employees: yes, we will eventually assign a new bodily home for your soul, we assigned your current body to you, and we have been doing this from the time when mammals first appeared on Earth. In section one of the Employee Manual, you can read a brief history of NEXT LIFE. Though we discourage employees from spending an inordinate amount of time on the task, you will be able to research the history of your past lives.
I’d also like to answer a frequent question regarding the lucrative compensation package that has been offered to you. In almost every case, the salary and benefits offered to NEXT LIFE employees is more than they have ever known. Our ability to offer these compensation packages is supported by key governmental leaders in several dozen countries. These Finance Ministers and Treasury Secretaries funnel currency into the coffers of NEXT LIFE-affiliated shell companies on the promise that they will have a choice in decisions regarding their next bodily host. (No, I’m afraid that employees do not have this same freedom.)
Although you will hear more in section seven of the Employee Manual, I’d like to say a word about the “technology” being used by NEXT LIFE. As you will soon learn, NEXT LIFE employees are able to access location, health, and what we refer to in English as CTGP (Contributions Towards the Good of this Planet) information regarding every single soul on this planet. Our ability to access and disseminate this information is supported by technologies not yet available to other organisations or industries. While there is no doubt that NEXT LIFE’s IT Department is staffed by the world’s best and brightest, our data system — known as “Umskipti,” or “transition” in Icelandic — possesses information-gathering capabilities and a sentience that are beyond the current capacity of both existing and imagined near-future technologies. While some employees have credited an almighty god with our ability to “see” what we see, most simply accept that we cannot explain how we are able to do what we do. My advice to you is to not worry about how or why you can check in on the soul of a dying Wildebeest in east Africa, for example. Instead, simply marvel at it and play your role in assigning that being’s next life.
Lastly, I’d like to confirm the end-of-contract terms for your employment. As has likely been mentioned by your On-Boarding Coordinator, your tenure at NEXT LIFE will end when you reach 70 years of age. On your 70th birthday, your employment will be terminated and you will be asked to sign an updated Non-Disclosure Agreement verifying your intention to keep secret what you have learned about NEXT LIFE. Rest assured that at the end of your life, your soul will have been credited handsomely for all your efforts in support of our mission.
Thank you so much for the role you will be playing at NEXT LIFE in service to Earth’s nearly 200 billion souls (and growing). We hope you will enjoy your time with us!
About the Author
A college administrator by day, Bob Gielow (he/him) spins tales in formats we all use when communicating with each other: text messages, emails, fictional Wikipedia posts, and diary entries all allow him to be clinical and thorough in describing his characters, their thinking and actions … without diminishing his ability to explore the resulting human emotions.
Bob utilises these epistolary styles, and others, to tell tales that frequently explore the most common of human experiences, death.