More bleak leaks out of AOL's local news network, Patch: Jim Romenesko got his hands on two internal emails asking staffers to make more sales. Asking is one term, pleading, in a panic, is another. You never want your boss to say "We had $36K day yesterday, when we need to be having $100K+ days."

Between Tim Armstrong's tyranny and pressure from middle management like this, we can only hope AOL's snack pantry includes Xanax in addition to all the Sun Chips. The following was sent a week ago, before mass firings were announced via conference call:


I realize that the news, last week, came as a surprise and caused each of you a high immediate level of anxiety. I am absolutely empathetic to that fact. When news like this happens, it can certainly set you back on your heels…I get that. With that said, the only thing that really has changed, is your mindset and that is purely controllable by you.

We heard Tim talk about changes coming this Friday. Today is Tuesday. The way I see it, we can sit around and let our minds wander, or we can lean forward and make something happen. I know this team to be a “make it happen” group. Over the last 5 sales days, we have amassed our worst results of the year. Again, I am sensitive to what must be going on inside of each of you. However, I am a true believer that (1) there are things we can control and things that we cannot and (2) I refuse to let my mind wander and worry about what “might” or “might not” happen. The news will come when it comes and I don’t believe it will be as impactful as your mind is letting you believe that it will be. In the meantime you are losing your most important asset…an asset that expires and you cannot have it back…TIME! We are nearly 40% through August, which means that you should be over $9,000 in Bookings right now. Are you there? Do you have plans to be over $14,000 by the end of the week?

Come Monday, the dust will settle and we will have 10 days left in the month and a quota that remains unchanged. I don’t want any of you “chasing” goal or “chasing” pay. You have today and you own today and nobody can change that. What you choose to do with it is squarely up to you. My suggestion…shake the doubts and anxiety and passionately go out and tell our story, many times. We have an awesome product and a talented sales team, who have delivered amazing year over year results. We need to come together, right now, and behave as we always have…like winners. Be confident, be passionate, share our story. Time is an asset that we cannot waste. Make it an awesome Tuesday and get on pace this week. You will be thankful that you did, come Monday.

This was sent on Friday, after everyone emerged from the rubble:

We are salespeople. We are the “left-half” of the revenue/cost equation. We control our fate, each and every day and the fate of many others, as I’ve said since my arrival (think “300″). We need every person engaged every day. Approach your day (and the market), with passion, sincerity and urgency. Tell our story and do it with pride. Focus on success and let nothing get in your way. Believe in what we do and where we’re headed. We have support and leadership at the helm. This is the moment that we need to embrace our responsibility. No messing around…make it happen. We had $36K day yesterday, when we need to be having $100K+ days. I understand why yesterday happened, but we cannot settle for days like this going forward. We’re in the game and swinging. This is not the time for bunt singles. This is the time to drive the ball and swing big. Do it for yourself, your families and the 1,200 people who call themselves “Patchers.”

I am convinced that we are put on this planet to give our all and make a difference in every aspect of our life. Your professional side is calling for you to step up and give everything you have…

Emphasis added. Sports metaphors are never pretty, but even worse when the person employing them hardly believes what they're saying.

Update: An AOL employee has contacted me to state that they do not, in fact, receive free Sun Chips. Just "drinks."

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