She got out of her nearly paid off Mercedes as she closed the garage door, walked up the steps and opened the kitchen door. She placed her leather handbag on the table and sifted through the mail her husband had laid there when he came home for lunch. A blue envelope caught her eye and she noticed her company’s name at the top. “Hmmm. Wonder what they are sending out. Probably my W-2,” she thought then immediately began pondering tax documents that have yet to come in.
The woman looked up from the mail, saw her reflection in the tall window that overlooked the back yard and noticed that her scarf had come untied. She tied it back in its usual neat off center knot. In the window she could see her classically styled size 12 teal pantsuit looked relatively fresh even after a long day at her office in town. Her warm brown hair had a sexy mussed-up look that tended to happen when she attended a lot of meetings of Fridays. Good thing her husband liked that look, ’cause that was what he was getting today. She smiled to herself as she kicked off her shoes and plopped onto the couch.
She laid aside the envelopes she knew had bills and advertisements in them. She held the blue envelope in her hand, recognized her name and address through the little cellophane window then stopped before she tore open the seal. There was part of the letter showing below her address. She tapped the top edge on the side table to see if the contents would shift enough to see a bit more. Success! She held it under the lamp and read the portion of a sentence that now showed clearly.
…regrets to inform you
Those were the words she read out loud but they screamed in her mind. What the hell! What do they regret? Am I being fired? Why am I being fired? She dropped the envelope beside her and thought about her job for a moment. After 8 yrs, she was darn good at her job! Her department had made the company a lot of money this past year. How dare they think about firing her! She picked up the envelope again and shook it some more to see if more words showed through the little window. Nothing but those first hateful words were view-able.
Maybe she wasn’t being fired. Yeah, that felt better. Maybe there is a lay-off. Oh, no! I wonder if Becky is on the list. She just got back from maternity leave. What will she do in a lay-off? She and her husband just moved into their new home last year. This could ruin them. It can’t be a lay-off. Surely the company wouldn’t be so cruel. What am I saying, of course they could, they are looking to make a profit, not take care of the world. I thought this company was different, that they valued their employees. That was why I decided to work for them. How could I be so wrong?
I know what it is. It’s a reprimand. I knew that little argument with Bill would come back to bite me! He had a point with the logistics of that project but his solution was gonna cost much more than Casey’s idea. I had to make a decision that was viable and cost effective. Why did he have to slam his fist on the table and yell at Casey? I had to ask him to leave until he got hold of himself, didn’t I? He swore he’d get even. Now it’s happened. I wonder if this will affect my future project managing. She sighed and laid her head against the back of the couch.
“Hey, Sweetie,” her husband called from the back door. “How’s my favorite girl? I don’t know about you but I need a whiskey after the day I’ve had. Wanna glass of wine?” He saw her on the couch with her eyes closed. He fixed the drinks and came over to sit with her, handing her the glass.
She opened her eyes as he sat down, took the glass of wine and drank a long gulp before speaking. “How would you feel about moving to a cheaper place, maybe the country somewhere?”
He saw the blue envelope in her hand. “What does your letter say?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t opened it yet.”
“Why not? Could be good news” He took a sip of his whiskey and kicked off his shoes. He mimicked her pose and sat with his head back against the couch.
She looked at the envelope, took another swig of wine then set the glass down on the table. She turned the envelope over and tore open the seal. Taking out the letter she took a deep fortifying breath.
She scanned the greeting and began reading the letter to herself.
American Technology Components (ATC) regrets to inform you that all company paychecks will be late this week due to a fire in our outsourced accounting and payroll department. Your information and all our accounts are safe but the emergency has caused a slight delay. You all will receive a 1% bonus to make up for the inconvenience. A fund has been set up to help the family run business involved with their relocation should you choose to donate.
It has come to our attention that you and your department were the driving force in ATC’s recent increase in in our fourth quarter income statement. All of you are to be commended and will receive recognition at the next company Board meeting. You will receive a notice of time and place so you may attend in your weekly company summary.
After several favorable employee reviews and your long track record of on-time/within budget project management ATC wants to offer you a position commensurate with your experience and capabilities. We invite you to come to our Miami headquarters to negotiate salary and benefits so that you may begin in the new position at the start of the next fiscal quarter. Travel documents and airline tickets will be forthcoming.
Again our apologies in the payroll delay. Your dedication to your work and attention to the welfare of those under your supervision is one of the things that make American Technology Components a world leader among our peers. If you have any questions or comments, please forward them to the Human Resource department.
She couldn’t believe what she just read. He husband sipped his whiskey and quietly allowed her to read the letter. She turned to him and sat there for a moment. He felt her stare and sat up looking back at her. “Well? Was it good news?” He was met with silence so he asked as he leaned back on the couch and closed his eyes again, “What would you like to do for dinner?”
She smiled and shook her head at all the dire thoughts she had before she opened that little blue envelope. Her motto had always been- Prepare for the worst but Hope for the best. She must have been more tired than she realized. She had forgotten the Hope part of the saying for a brief time.
“How do you feel about seafood?” she mused out loud.
“Sounds good. Where are you thinking?” he answered without moving from his comfortable position.
She half-jokingly responded, “Miami.”