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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: Changing the Inner Person


Sally had learned office politics through ten years of faithful duty. She started work as an administrative assistant after her last child began high school. Now, at the age of 45 her family still needed her income for retirement, and college tuition. Sally had a strong sense of duty and did not like to meddle in other people’s affairs. She performed her work with thorough diligence and equanimity.

One could say Sally was a mild-mannered person. Sally was quiet, punctual, reserved, well-spoken, and non-confrontational. She was the perfect person to survive corporate America. While others were battling each other, Sally just plodded along with regularity, offending no one. She didn’t offer too much in the way of talk except a pleasant hi.

Business objectives can quickly change. What is profitable today might not be profitable tomorrow. Factors that affect our economy might originate from another country. The businesses of corporate America are built on shifting sands at best.

The inevitable happened. The business, Dynamo Aerospace, Sally’s employer, was taken over by Kitty Hawk Express. It was a decisive deal. The takeover was done purely from a financial perspective. Some new staff would be brought in and some of the old staff of Dynamo would be allowed to stay. The people staying would be invited to a party with the staff from Kitty Hawk Express.

Sally thought, “Naturally, I’ll be allowed to stay. I have worked here ten years and my boss says he likes my work.”
However, in the bathroom, behind a stall, she heard otherwise. Betty, another administrative assistant, said, “I guess Sally Johnson will stay on with Kitty Hawk Express.”
Jeanne, a computer technician, replied, “No. I don’t think so. Sally’s too quiet. She is so dull. I’ve never heard her speak up about anything. True, she is competent in her work, but who wants to work with a wall flower. She needs to speak up if she wants to be invited to work with Kitty Hawk Express.”

Shocked that she might lose her job, Sally vowed to change her inner person. She would liven up the office so she could remain and keep her job. The next day Sally wore one of her daughter’s dresses to work. The dress was low cut in front and the hem line reached only to the middle of her thigh.

Sally spoke to Betty as they passed in the hall the next morning, “I think I’m having hot flashes. Coming to work I almost got caught for speeding and I’m always fifteen minutes early. I just love that rock n roll station QZ103.5.”

Bewildered, Betty said, “I just try and get here on time.”
Sally smiled, “Time rhymes with mine. Chow.”

Sally then walked over to Tom, a lead engineer. “Hi, Tom what’s up?”
“Hi, Sally. Did you catch anymore of my mistakes in my submittals?”
“Not yet. But that won’t stop me if you keep making mistakes.”
“That might keep me honest and make me think through my reports.”
“Isn’t it a beautiful day? Why don’t we all go to the beach for the day?
“Sounds like a plan.”
“I’ll ask for the day off.”
Tom scratched his head, “The work has gotten to you Sally. You’re talking crazy.”
“Thank you. I’ll work on your submittal in a few hours.”
Beatty whispered to Jeanne, “What happened to Sally? She’s acting different.”
“Maybe she has a boyfriend,” grinned Jeanne.
Just then the CEO, Gary Clark walked in. Sally rushed over, “Hello Gary. How are we doing today?”
Gary Clark replied, “Just as lovely as ever. Hey, I like your new dress.”
“I’m just trying to liven up the office.”
“Well don’t try too hard. You are perfect just the way you are. We need to send out our party invitations to Kitty Hawk Express so we can welcome them to our big party in two weeks. I’m putting you in charge of all the details because I know you’ll do it right. Let me clear my desk of emails and make some phone calls before I start the morning business. Glad to see you are so happy.”

Sally stopped in the aisle letting her mouth swing wide. Sally watched Gary Clark walk into his office without another word. Her inner person wanted to scream. Just because she heard some gossip in the bathroom she acted on her fear. Sally quickly got a sweater from her office cupboard and covered her bare shoulders.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/10
This is a great message. It is easy to change who we are to please others, but it's almost always a bad idea. The story really picked up in the end when you started showing the reader what was going on rather than just tell. Good job, keep writing, I'm eager to read more of your work.
Sarah Heywood09/17/10
This was cute! There is much to be said for the "plodders" in life.

One suggestion: try to put in some "white space" between your conversation lines - it makes it easier to read.

Keep writing - you have a definite gift!
Christina Banks 09/20/10
Change can be good, but changing ourselves because of something that someone said might not be the best plan. I like how you developed Sally through this piece.