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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Admiration is Optional
By Nancy Quinn
02/15/08


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Glancing up, Susan eyed the new employee with distrust. Julie was dressed in a smart, navy blue suit and tried to look busy as the boss walked out of his office. Smiling sweetly, Julie offered to get the boss coffee and complimented him on the wonderful presentation he gave that morning. Restraining herself from rolling her eyes, Susan kept working on the report in front of her.

The day dragged by as Susan listened to each transparent compliment and was incredulous that her boss seemed to eat them up. How would she ever get the promotion with Julie in the department? Susan’s tenure of 10 years had been filled with hard work and conscientious attempts to save the company money and look good to all their clients. She loved her job and it showed in everything she did. She knew she had been next to being promoted until Julie came. Susan had always been rather quiet and constantly struggled with low self-esteem. She had never tried to manipulate anyone with compliments and knew she couldn’t compete with Julie. Her confidence began to sink lower as the days went on.

Susan watched over the coming weeks as Julie seemed to divide her time between finding ways to compliment the boss and attempts at making Susan look bad. The boss had even called her into the office to ask her about a confidential indiscretion to another client. Susan assured her boss that she always kept information confidential, but his faced betrayed his uncertainty. She walked out of the office wondering when Julie had gotten into the files in her desk.

Susan’s lunchtime hour that afternoon was spent on the phone setting up an appointment and updating the document on her laptop in the car. She hit “send” on the computer and the document disappeared. She sadly stared at the towering building in front of her and slowly shut the laptop. She shoved it into her leather bag trying to cheer herself with thoughts of allowing herself a brownie at her afternoon break. She needed something to look forward to for the afternoon. She slowly walked into the building, dreading the show she would watch that afternoon. Julie had offered to help the boss organize his files in his office.

The call came the next morning and Susan discreetly used one word answers since Julie was nearby. She quickly typed up a brief statement and grabbed it off the printer as she knocked on the boss’s door. She placed the statement on his desk and he looked up at her with surprise. “Are you sure you want to do this?” he questioned. At her nod, he said he was disappointed, but knew the company who offered her a job had a great reputation in the community and said he hoped she would be happy there. “I’m really sorry to hear you’re leaving. The director asked for my recommendations on promotions and I gave him your name this morning. Susan is transferring to another department next week. She drove me nuts with all those phony compliments.” Julie’s heart sunk.


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This article has been read 616 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/21/08
Ouch! You nailed the topic, that's for sure, and I like your title, too.

There's a lot of "telling" here, and not so much "showing". I'd recommend doing a Google search on "showing, not telling", and checking out some of the examples. You're a good writer, and ready to step it up a bit.
Yvonne Blake 02/21/08
right on topic!
Did you get the names mixed up at the end, or did I just understand it wrong?
well done
Marlene Austin02/21/08
I was wondering the same thing about mixing up the characters in the last paragraph...Very good piece and definitely a real experience for many employees. :)
Seema Bagai 02/22/08
A good start. Perhaps consider adding some dialogue to this. Keep writing.
Patrick Whalen02/22/08
"Um, sir, the company that offered me the new job just sent me a text message. They regretfully closed the position I applied for. May I please have that resignation letter back?" :)

Good entry...I could feel her heart sink!
Jacquelyn Horne02/22/08
What a dilemma!
You switched the names on the last pargraph, don't forget to check your story before you submit it. But it was an obvious error and did not take away from the story itself.
Catrina Bradley 02/23/08
Wonderful writing skills, and you nailed the topic. Well done!
Tessy Fuller03/04/08
I thought it fit the topic very well - but it was a little too predictable to me. I had guessed the conclusion before I reached the end. I really like how you added small details in though, like looking forward to the brownie.