“Slow down Emma,” reminded Bonnie. “It’s important to get it right.”
“Yeah, yeah,” answered Emma, “but you know the quota requirements.”
“Sure, I do,” Bonnie muttered under her breath, “but I also know the fragility of speedy workmanship.”
The two ladies put their heads back down and all that could be heard was the “thud-sizzle” of the copper electrode welding the fine thoriated-tungsten filament wire around the delicate mandrels. The continual friction between the two was as static as the electricity flowing through the welding heads. The equipment was grounded to prevent unexpected shock, but the relationship between the two co-workers never had been.
Bonnie had welcomed the young apprentice. After five years of flying solo, she was eager to have some help.
Emma was bright. She caught on quickly. Her eagerness to please and impress her knew boss deafened her to Bonnie’s cautions.
“Look, I’ve got three small kids to raise,” Emma argued, “Mr. Anderson promised hefty bonuses for increased production. Maybe you don’t need the money, but I do.”
Bonnie just rolled her eyes and turned back into her work station. She put on her headphones and turned up the volume to escape the constant bickering between the two.
Emma may have had children to raise, but Bonnie had tuition to pay. She was not working at this tedious job for her health. She had plans, too. She was earning a nursing degree. And if pursuing her dream had taught her anything, there are no shortcuts to success.
“Emma and Bonnie, report to the office,” squawked the company intercom.
“Ladies,” began Mr. Anderson, “we just got a call from our distributor in Hong Kong. It seems our filaments are opening after only a few hours of broadcasting. Know what that means?”
Both ladies hung their heads. They knew exactly what it meant. First, the bonus they had worked so hard for had just evaporated and the company’s reputation in the broadcast industry had just taken a hit. No one would purchase unreliable transmitter tubes. No one could afford to go “off the air” in this frenzied media driven society.
“We’ve been tracking your production ladies,” he continued. “It is obvious Emma’s numbers are better than yours Bonnie. That can only mean two things. Emma is either rushing and not producing quality filaments or Bonnie, you’re lagging behind padding your time sheet.”
Bonnie could feel the blood rush to her cheeks chase by the catty sneer of Emma’s eyes. She took a deep breath and ventured a question, “Mr. Anderson, are the filament tags listed with each tube’s serial number?”
“Why, yes, Bonnie, they are,” Mr. Anderson said surprised at her response to the accusation.
“Then it should be very easy to determine the problem,” answered Bonnie.
Emma’s eyes launched searing hot scowls in Bonnie’s direction.
Bonnie blinked back the tears as her name was called.
“Ms. Bonnie Annette Lawson,” announced the president of the university.
She reached out, took her diploma and firmly shook the hand of the school’s administrator. Glowing, she waved the document at the cheering family members in the stands.
“We’re so proud of you!” Bonnie’s mom exclaimed hugging her baby girl. “Look who came.”
Sheepishly Mr. Anderson leaned over giving a comical smile and wave. Overcome with emotion, Bonnie run and spontaneously hugged her ex-boss and kissed his cheek. .
“Bonnie,” Mr. Anderson blushed as he cleared his throat, “I just want to apologize for misjudging you. Meeting quotas and increase numbers has been my life. You taught me to value of quality.”
“Oh, it’s okay Mr. Anderson,” Bonnie assured him. “Everything turned out alright.”
“Yes, it did,” Mr. Anderson agreed, “and because of your consistent company loyalty, personal integrity and attention to detail, I’ve been authorized not only to give you your final paycheck, but this hefty bonus check. Hope it helps with the job transition.”
“Oh, my! Thanks so much!” Bonnie teared up again. “What can I say?”
“No need to say a thing,” Mr. Anderson assured her, “the production tickets spoke loud and clear!”
Everyone laughed as they headed to the graduation celebration.
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