Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Jump In With Both Feet (11/28/19)
- TITLE: Work Sisters
By Donna Powers
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Our office was busy and things got hectic at times, but for the last 10 years, Julie had pulled us together into a cohesive, supportive group. My coworkers have become like a second family. We even call ourselves "The Work Sisters."
Saying goodbye to Julie had been bittersweet. Even though we wished her well. we'd also known her “shoes” would be tough to fill.
None of us had applied for her job, so we knew someone from “the outside” would fill the spot.
But no one had been ready for Ms. Morris.
She pelted into our office like a gust of icy wind. She wore a grey suit, and her hair was gelled into a seemingly-impermeable helmet (in an office where we all favored Business Casual.)
We watched in stunned silence as she marched in and called for a staff meeting. I tried to be optimistic about the meeting. Maybe her appearance wouldn’t fit her personality. Maybe the meeting would allow us to let her know we'd appreciate her continuing Julie’s policies.
But none of that was on her agenda.
“Good morning," she said. "I'm Ms. Morris. You will address me as Ms. Morris."
Her voice was as cold and impersonal as a drill sergeant's; before his morning coffee. "I’ve been fully informed by this company’s management of the flagrantly loose standards condoned by your former manager.
“These will NOT be tolerated by me.
We blinked in unison, as she continued, “I've studied the last 24 months’ productivity records. These records are unforgivably poor. I have a list of rules - which will now be in effect. We WILL regain optimal productivity.”
It was fortunate Ms. Morris had prepared handouts, because I doubt any of us were able to focus.
After the meeting, Ms. Morris strode imposingly into her office, and shut the door.
We looked at each other in consternation. I think the others probably wanted to cry as much as I did. After Julie.... we get Ms. Morris and her List???
I heard Helen mumble, “I knew I should have applied for Julie’s job.”
Carrie asked, “Do you think she’s serious about us wearing only clear nail polish?”
Toni groaned. “Well, I don’t care so much about that. But how about this lateness policy?”
I was just as upset as they’d been. The list really did seem unnecessarily stentorian, and her personality seemed as welcome as a slap on the face. But I also knew if we let this resentment fester, our discontent would make our jobs even worse than they had to be.
“Look, I get it," I told them. "This list really stinks - and Ms. Morris is a far cry from Julie. But maybe she’s right about our productivity. And if she’s right about that, maybe we should at least give her list a try.”
They looked at me like I’d grown horns.
“But, Connie!” protested Carrie. “Even if she is right, what does nail polish have to do with our productivity?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. But we’ll never know unless we try.”
“Maybe Connie isn’t the one to ask,” interrupted that Drill Sergeant voice. “It’s my list. So, ask me.”
No one spoke. We hadn't seen her return. The atmosphere inside the office was suddenly fraught with tension. She’d heard us!
She told us, with a voice which was tempered with a soupçon of warmth. “I was given a job to do. The management has tasked me with raising this department’s productivity. They also told me about the closeness you’d developed with your previous boss. I know how stringent my rules seem. But they’ve worked at other offices, and I believe they'll work here. I don’t plan to justify my rules; I just plan to enforce them. I hope you'll all use the closeness you've developed to help you comply with those rules. But if you choose not to- you can resign right now.”
Then, she strode briskly back into her office.
All of us looked as miserable as I felt. But I got up and looked at my Work Sisters. “Well, it looks like we have work to do, so let's get to it," I sighed. I headed over to my desk drawer and asked, ” Does anyone else need some nail polish remover?"
Romans 13:1-2 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves"
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