Through alternate reality experiences, a young and ambitious junior executive is forced to face an early-ingrained need to prove himself.
Chester Lee Ryley, the 27-year-old junior executive spoken of before, works for a large corporation. He acquired this job just like anyone else would – he’s a hard-worker, and he spends an extremely large amount of time either at work or preparing for his job. Chester is one who truly believes that if he has free time from work, he’s not doing enough (as per his ‘busy hands are happy hands motto). There is always a job to do, whether it’s mundane paperwork, a meeting to prepare for, writing one of the many speeches he’s given, or hiring and directing the employees under him.
Besides being an asset to the company because he’s a hard-worker and he’s always willing to do more than he’s asked, Ryley is also an incredibly well versed speaker. As a junior executive, he uses this skill to manage the number of employees under him, and is very successful with finding a motivator for people to get things done in a timely manner. Beyond that, he is also asked to go to a number of conferences to give speeches, and while there, Chester’s way with words ends up creating many successful relationships with the customers and contributors that his corporation needs. He is indispensible in this area, and when he is speaking to the people, he’s in a kind of zone that no other task could put him in.
Now, when it comes to his family, with two older brothers constantly doing great things, he has grown up with a need to prove himself. His parents always pushed Ryley to be like his brothers, to do the best he can, and he was left to either fail at what they did, or follow in their footsteps. While he did a pretty good job with the latter, he still felt insufficient. In his mind, there was no way he could be loved and accepted if he just followed his brothers’ successes. He had to be better, and he had to work harder. Chester Lee Ryley couldn’t be left to fend for himself, left without love or friends, because he wasn’t good enough. However, because of this constant mindset, he has ended up living out his deepest fear and is pretty lonely. He goes home from work to an empty home, with no friends to hang out with and a family that lives hours away. The only person he regularly talks to outside of work is his younger sister, Mary.
To put it truthfully, outside of his job, Chester would be lost without his younger sister. Mary has an incredible time management skill that allows her to hold a job while still being constantly cheery and social with her friends and family. Mary is successful where she works, but she can prioritize and draw the line when she needs to go home and be there for her kids and her husband. For her, it’s not about following in any of her three brothers’ footsteps, but finding what works for her. She leads a great life and it astounds Ryley by just how much of that life isn’t focused entirely on her job. However, the biggest thing about Mary’s character that is endearing and brings the most admiration from him is that no matter what, her selflessness wins out and she’s always there for the people she loves. Mary loves her job and will, of course, always do the best she can while working, but the people in her life are the most important.
Unfortunately, even though he admires his sister, his fear of being left alone is accented by his weakness. Since Chester only spends his time doing work, he always turns down offers from coworkers to hang out after the workday is over. Even when he can’t seem to find any extra work to get done, he turns down social opportunities to get a few extra hours of sleep because of how much he has strung himself out with all the extra work he had taken previously. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he won’t talk to his coworkers at all. If Ryley’s at his job, he will talk to them all the time during meetings and while trying to get them motivated for work. After all, his speaking abilities are his greatest asset. The self-ostracization from a social life outside of work, however, has started to create further downsides in recent months. His coworkers no longer ask him to come out for social hour because it’s not even worth trying anymore, and Ryley himself has become more ignorant to peoples’ needs. Before, his greatest weakness was being ignorant of his own needs away from work, but now it has started flooding over to his employees. If he can take on more work and not do anything else during the workweek, so can they. However, if this continues to spiral out of control, he could be lost to his dark side (being an insensitive, angry, and exhausted power-hungry leader). He would be so far gone that if he loses any part of his work ethic, he has nothing.
To resist the dark side completely, however, Chester has to realize that he doesn’t have to work himself to death to be loved and appreciated by everyone he knows, and that even if he were just making it by, his parents would still love and support him. Of course they always push him to do his best, but that’s just because they want him to see that he can do whatever he wants in life. A person’s best is all anyone can ask for, and Chester Ryley doesn’t have to try and prove his worth to anyone. If someone is going to be there for him, they are going to be there for him, and if they’re not, then he doesn’t need to try to prove anything to them anyway.
If he met this to the fullest extent, Chester Lee Ryley would be a happy man that went to work, and used his amazing speaking ability to motivate his employees and gather people for his company (like he has been seen to do before). He would also do it in a way that kept in mind peoples’ needs. However, at the end of the work day, he would leave his job behind and either spend some non-work-related time with his coworkers, or go straight home to his loving family. He is no longer in fear that he will be left out in the dust if he doesn’t do everything right - there are many people that love him for what he does, and he has found a way to be there for them in any way that he can. Chester’s lonely days are over – he has friends, family, and a job that he can love without it soaking up all of his energy.
As for Chester’s story, he lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the present day. He continues to be a successful, if somewhat ignorant junior executive, and because of the company’s recent profits and an out-of-the-blue meeting with his boss, Mr. Ryley has high hopes for a promotion. He will soon find, however, that what he really wants at this time doesn’t exactly correlate with what he truly needs. Through completely opposite circumstances, Chester Ryley will come to realize what his worst and best sides can be.
It was a day like any other. Chester walks out onto his company floor, nodding happy hellos to everyone he sees on the way to his office. The rest of the employees acknowledge him, but nothing more than a curt nod before getting back to work. However, that doesn’t bother Chester Ryley because when he opens his office door, there’s already a large pile of work for him to do, and that’s all he needs. He pats his junior executive plaque by his door, smiles, and closes himself in to get to work.
Near the end of the day, Chester is called into his boss’s office. As it was out-of-the-blue, he didn’t know what to expect, but he assumes it can’t be anything but good. He works his butt off for this company. Ryley takes a deep breath before opening the door, imagining the best and worst case scenarios. When he’s in his boss’s office, he closes the door behind him and these two cases take form, splitting down the middle.
On the left, Chester Ryley is promoted to be an executive of this company because of his part in increasing the company’s stats over the year. He can’t believe his ears. This is an extremely exciting moment! He walks out of his boss’s office, back on to the company floor and realizes that he has to keep this promotion to himself because he’s not close to any of the people here. It’s no matter, though, because now he will have even more work to keep him busy.
On the right, well, time seems to have slowed down for Chester on the right. He has done nothing but help this company, or so he thought. How can he be fired? Low company morale seems like a horrible reason to fire Chester Ryley. He helped bring up profits, didn’t he? He took on all of the extra hours, didn’t he? He walks out of the office, sullen, looking morosely around at all of the employees of the company that were still working. Chester shuffles back to his office in silence before packing his stuff up and leaving.
With no one else to go to, he calls his younger sister, Mary, and ends up going over to her house so that he doesn’t have to go home to even more emptiness. When he enters her home, everything is in mayhem. Mary’s two children are running around, yelling at the top of their lungs, and Mary herself is in the kitchen making dinner.
“Sorry if I’m bothering you,” Chester starts out timidly. “You look busy.”
Mary smiles at him. “Absolutely not. I always have time for my big brother.”
Chester smiles softly at that before starting in on his day. He stays for dinner and even stays until later that night before Mary and her husband make him leave. They had to work in the morning after all.
He visits their house multiple times over the next couple of months while searching for a job, and every time, he is amazed by how well the household runs. Mary and her husband go to work, they come back from work, spend time with their kids, maybe have a friend or two over, and then they repeat. Mary never complains when he comes over either. She is always cheery and welcomes him in. She even talks with her friends and co-workers to see if they would know of a job opening that would be fit for her brother.
Chester and Mary’s mother visits a couple of times as well, comforting Chester and giving him tips on what he can do next while also bringing the latest news of their two older brothers who live states away. Chester Ryley sits there politely while his mother talks about them, but the small frown on his face is enough for Mary to know that something is wrong.
“Are you all right?” she asks after their mother leaves.
At this question, Chester looks up from a cover letter he was writing and some of the anger that he had been holding back comes out. “She’s just rubbing salt in the wound by coming here and talking about them. Why is it always about them?”
“Chest, she came here for you. If you haven’t noticed, all anyone is doing is trying to help you out.” Mary frowns and turns away to clean some of the dirty dishes that were piling up.
Chester was about to rebuttal angrily to that, but he stops himself. Mary is right. His brothers may be doing well and his mother wants to talk about it, but the two of them are both there for him. He’s not remotely successful at this particular moment and they are still there at his side. He stares at his sister’s back for a few moments before letting out a timid, “thanks,” and goes back to his job search.
During this time, on the left side, Chester is still reveling in his promotion-high. However, he is finding out just how much more work he has agreed to take on. He’s working much later into the night than he used to, and pushing employees much harder than before. Chester is happy to do the work because he’s good at it, but he’s finding himself exhausted and even more of an outcast than before.
More specifically, he has started raising his voice when talking to employees. He has never lost his cool before, but with all of the work on his plate, the addition of employees not wanting to take on extra work is infuriating. This is their job! They should be willing to do anything to help further the company.
Beyond that, Chester hasn’t been able to do what he loves as of late. The best part of his job before was going to conventions and giving speeches to attract customers, but now, he is too busy. The new junior executive gets to do that job, and he has to stay here trying to shove his work ethic down the other employees’ throats. He’s not happy in this new position, not in the slightest.
On the right, however, by this time, Chester has found another job. It doesn’t have as many hours during the week as his other job, but it is a job that lets him utilize what he is good at – speaking. He honestly doesn’t know what to do with all of the free time this work schedule gives him, but he’s attempting to do things he wasn’t able to do at his other job – spend time with his co-workers. While it may be a slow process, Chester believes that he might actually be making some friends within work, and over time he pushes aside the search he had been making to possibly score a second job. This time, he’s going to focus on the work he already has and the relationships he is building.
It turns out it had never been a good idea to push out people before. Chester is the happiest he has ever been. He still goes home to an empty house, but the acceptance he feels from his peers still lingers and he doesn’t feel quite as lonely. The next morning, Chester Ryley decides to buy a coffee and he meets a girl. They start talking, and while he definitely isn’t feeling love, he has a glimmer of hope for what could be his future. At this point, the right scenario wins and pushes the left-side Chester (who is seen angrily yelling out his office door before he walks back and physically slumps over a pile of his work, his eyes sad and showing large purple bags from exhaustion) to the side and out of his mind.