Deidre felt hollowed out. Her stomach churned. Dark shadows ringed her eyes, making her look older than her 30 years. Knees knocking, legs shaking, she stood in front of her boss’ closed office door. She took a deep breath and pushed her glasses up on her nose. She patted her hair and knocked.
“Come in,” barked the ogre. She entered the vast office with its Persian carpets. Walls covered by original artwork. She looked at the imperial woman sitting behind the large mahogany desk and hesitated one step inside the door. She wiped her damp palms on her suit pants.
She stumbled forward to the edge of the desk. Hands shaking, she leaned forward and passed the white envelope over.
She watched Edwina picking up her embossed letter opener. The wall clock ticked away warningly. Her heart thundered a tattoo on her rib cage. A gastric growl loudly escaped from the region of her lower stomach.
She crossed her arms in front of her chest, watching Edwina rising like a phoenix from behind her desk. Her eyes fixated on Edwina’s finger stabbing the air between them.
“After all I have done for you over the past decade, you decide to leave? Do you really think I have not heard the rumours? You think you can start out on your own? Just who do you think you are? You will never make it my girly,” Edwina bellowed.
Digging deep inside herself, she lifted her chin. “I have given more than the required notice to finish the current court matters I am tasked with.”
Deidre wondered just how many it would take to fill her shoes. One, two, three??? She worked 18 hour days and innumerable weekends to keep up with her workload as a junior attorney, as well as shouldering the extra office managing and bookkeeping duties that migrated so easily onto her desk and into her capable hands.
“I should be thankful for that as it really taught me how to run a busy legal practice,” she thought to herself.
“Get out of my sight and immediately clear your personal belongings from your office. Your cheque will be waiting with the receptionist. You have 15 minutes.”
Without looking back she left Edwina’s office. The devil in her wanted to slam the door on her way out, but common sense remained in the driving seat.
Relieved, she ran to her office. She would now have an extra month to organise her future.
Packing up, she took her Dad’s picture from the desk, looked him in the eye. “I got this and yes Dad, I learnt a lot. The best lesson of all, how not to treat loyal staff.”
Years later she would think back, realising that it took the denial of a meagre request for a well-deserved increase, to launch her own successful career.