One division's database group at this Fortune 1000 company consists of a pilot fish and his manager — except the manager isn't around.

"She was out for months, recovering from liver surgery, leaving me in charge," says fish.

"One day, an engineer I'd known for years came in with an urgent request for a special report. I pointed to my overflowing in-box and told him I'd probably get to it sometime tomorrow afternoon.

"Seeing his disappointment, I added slyly, '…but if you bribe me with donuts, I'll cut your work to the top of the pile.'

"I didn't think he'd take me seriously. But he thought about it for two seconds and said, 'Deal!'

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