“Ten years ago, it must have been, I had a similar experience to this, Sammohini.” The two had just got coffee and were walking, discussing business. “This individual made me feel worthless constantly, belittled my work, and,” exhaling deeply, “mind if I have a cigarette?” “Sorry, I quit when I became pregnant, but if you smoke downwind, I guess it’d be fine, because you are the boss-” “Forget I asked. So, how can I help?”
They were now standing under a tree in the empty courtyard leading into the maternity department of Eville Medical.
“I… don’t know what to do, Lisa. I mean, I like working here, everyone is really nice, and I’m not just saying that because you’re the big boss, I mean, I really do like it and I wanna do my best every day. It… I just don’t… umm… know if I’m gonna make it or not and that email seemed pretty stern, so I dunno.”
“Well, everyone really likes you here.”
“Really? Thank you, I really appreciate it.”
“There’s just a lot of uncertainty now…”
“I don’t understand, Lisa.”
It was a mild winter day as Lisa took a deep breath, pretending it was full of nicotine, and exhaled slowly. She looked around to make sure no one could overhear and walked closer to the younger woman, Sam, who had just fully stopped crying over seemingly bad news and was now quickly eating a bagel.
“Don’t repeat this to that project manager jerk, your recruiter, your husband, or even little Allie, OK?”
Sam nodded. Lisa almost whispered. “Your boss and I really want to quickly get you on-board, full time. You’re nice, polite, and work hard. We need that on Linda’s team and overall in my department. There’s just the bureaucratic red tape. It’s tough. Hang in there. Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t let this dipshit get you down.”
Sam nearly dropped her half-eaten bagel.
“Don’t you worry about that jerk. He’s not managing the project well. We’ve both heard nothing but good things from your customers, and if anything should happen with the contract, I will also provide a reference with a stellar letter of recommendation. Let me make a note on my calendar.” Lisa brought out a small device from her purse.
Sam nearly started to tear up again.
“Thank you so much for everything from the opportunity here, to the… the…” she sniffled, and her nose started to run as she looked at the bagel wrapper, “the coffee and the nice bagel. Thank you so much, I… it’s… my folks’ll be so proud. I’m the oldest of the bunch and I wanna make everyone proud.”
“We’re all rooting for you. I actually have a meeting with Linda in a few, so let’s head back. Remember not to repeat any of this.”
They talked about the ticket queue, SLAs, and communication strategies on their walk back to Sam’s desk. She was still shaky, even with the reassurance of what her future might hold.
|Sources: Some image searches.
Inspirations: I fact-checked with my direct management for this situation. A director telling a contractor about employment status can be realistic.
Related: This is part two after “It Concerns Me.”