Thursday, June 14, 2012
My "Career" ~ Part 9 ~ A Cold Wind
It was one of those ominous days.
Instead of a nice ease-into-spring May day, the wind was howling at 60 miles an hour. I'd never seen anything quite like it.
My main supervisor, Laurel, had one of her rare days off. We pitched in and covered for her. Everybody covered for anyone who had the opportunity to take a day off. It was the least we could do. Everyone worked damn hard.
Peter called. But this time, he sounded strange. "Hey, we're flying in today."
What? Just like that? Flying in today?
"Can you make reservations at a restaurant? And make sure all your supervisors are there....and Bonnie from HR."
"Laurel is off? Well, can you call her at home? Can she be there? She really needs to be there."
I called my four supes in. I told them that their presence was required at a "dinner". I told them that Bonnie from HR would also be there.
We all glanced around the room at each other. Somebody made a crack about, "do I have to update my resume?". We laughed uncomfortably.
I reached Laurel at home. She asked what was up. I said, I don't know, but it doesn't sound good. Laurel said she'd be there.
I called the East Forty and made a reservation. The East Forty was the most "upscale" restaurant in our little middle-of-the-prairie town. Since the president of our division was flying out with Peter, I figured McDonald's drive through would probably not be conducive to whatever conversation was forthcoming (although, in hindsight, the image of the president and Peter in the back of my Ford Taurus, scrunched together with Peg, Cathy, Laurel, Tracy, Lynnette, and Tasha, with Bonnie from HR sitting on Peter's lap, all yelling out their orders of Big Macs and large fries, with a chocolate shake for the prez, makes me feel a whole lot better)
My staff and I were, naturally, the first to arrive at the bistro. I wore a light spring sweater decorated with blue and yellow flowers. When I'd purchased it, I thought it was lovely. Now it seemed hideous. We sat there in the anteroom, with the fireplace crackling, and we ordered drinks all around, because our mindset was, if this is bad news (which we all knew it was), why not be half slockered?
Again, like earlier in the day, uncomfortable black humor was tossed about. "I wonder if Target is hiring", somebody said. "Gee, I hope nothing happens to the plane. It is pretty windy out there."
When Bonnie from HR showed up, she kind of took a seat unobtrusively, and waited quietly. We knew that she probably knew something, so we basically gave her the cold shoulder. Bonnie had always been one to throw her weight around, and make herself feel all warm and fuzzy in her perceived superiority, so we didn't even feel bad ignoring her. We felt entitled, under the circumstances.
Eventually, Peter and the prez alighted upon the lobby. Peter would not meet my gaze, so I, at that point, just thought, you know what? The hell with you. The two drinks I'd had before had bolstered my bravado. I made the decision then that I would henceforth ignore Peter.
So, there we all sat, at that long dinner table, and we placed our orders with the wait person, and we choked down our fish or prime rib, or whatever we'd blindly managed to order. If anyone felt comfortable, it was not the six of us. I think we managed to grunt a response here and there to snippets of awkward conversation. Mostly, we just fidgeted in our chairs.
And the prez, after everyone had been fed and sated, cleared his throat and announced, "Your division is the best division in the company. You have exceeded; no, well exceeded everyone's expectations. Everyone looks to you as the gold standard. I can't tell you how proud we all are of you and your department."
"Now, let's all go back to the office, shall we? Let's continue the conversation there."
And the cold wind stirred the crackled leaves past our window.
To be continued..........
My "Career" ~ Part 10 ~ Thank You ~ Goodbye
My "Career" ~ Part 11 ~ Breaking the News
My "Career" ~ Part 12 ~ Loose Ends
My "Career" ~ Epilogue
My "Career" ~ Part 8 ~ "Everything's Great!"
My "Career" ~ Part 7 ~ Another New Boss?
My "Career" ~ Part 6 ~ "Who Do You Think You Are?"
My "Career" ~ Part 5 ~ Welcome to the I-Land
My "Career" ~ Part 4 ~ Phil
My "Career" ~ Part 3 ~ Karma
My "Career" ~ Part 2 ~ Evil Bosses
My "Career" ~ Chapter One