The Calamity Girl – The Promotion
I gathered my things and headed towards the meeting room. I got out all of my cords, hooked up my computer, and started it up. I pulled down the projector screen and started to look for the cord to connect the computer to the projector.
It should have been in the meeting room but it wasn’t there. On a whim, I went and checked Colleen’s desk and surprisingly it was still open. The cord was there, but then I noticed that the office cash box was gone.
I groaned, not another problem!
God when was it going to stop?
I used Colleen’s phone to call David and told him what I had discovered.
He was not happy, “I’ll have security look into it.”
I said, “It was the security guy that went to get the ledger. I would send someone else to view everything with the security tapes. Don’t tell anyone else what has happened.”
I went back to the meeting room and people had started coming in and sitting down. There was a dull roar of chatter in there, when I walked in it went silent.
I smiled at the angry faces and said, “We’ll be a few more minutes.”
I was feeling apprehensive you could cut the air with a knife. There was the low rumble of voices again but then they stopped when the door opened and closed. I finally got everything working properly and I went towards my usual seat. David walked in, closed the door, and sat down. I sat down at the other end of the table and waited. It was pretty quiet and depressing in there.
I looked around and saw the worry and disappointment in some of the faces. I was going to have my hands full with these people. The door opened and Michael came in. He closed the door quietly then sat down beside David. Everyone was wondering who the new guy was, they all assumed he would be the new boss.
David cleared his throat and said, “I see that most of our senior employees have left, some on their own accord, handed in a resignation letter to me about an hour ago due to the changes in policy. Before I get started, I have to make it clear to everyone that we have a major battle on our hands. Our company is a sinking ship and it will take each and everyone’s participation to keep it afloat.
Our wages will not increase for the next two years until we can recoup our losses. I had a meeting with our accounting firm and I have more bad news for you. Julie also dipped into your retirement accounts, and bonuses. She has stolen several million dollars each year. It seems that both she and Colleen were in cahoots with Jim Winders and using the funds for other means.”
Everyone gasped in dismay, I personally felt like a huge asteroid had hit me. Why did David not warn me? He answered my questioning look a few minutes later.
He said, “I found out about this two minutes before the meeting started. It has created a big headache for all who are involved.”
I could see Michael watching me as I was twisting my napkin in my hand. I always do that when I am nervous. How was I going to get through the next year with all this stress? Think peace, tranquility, I wish I had my meditation CD right now.
Then I had an idea. I got up and said, “Excuse me for a minute.”
I ran out of the room, to my office, grabbed my CD and my mini stereo, and brought it back. That is when I realized I must look somewhat crazy. Who interrupts the boss in an important meeting, runs out of a room and back?
David was annoyed and Michael was amused.
He could see the great Rachel Tornquist was unraveling slowly before him. He was probably thinking that I am human after all and not some sort of super woman. I could see it in his eyes that he was impressed with me. I knew what my threshold and limits were. Stress was my downfall, the one thing that could drive me insane in a short period if I let it.
First, I would have the panic and anxiety attacks. Then I would have trouble breathing and get chest pains. I would develop stomach cramps and if it got very bad, I would be running to the washroom and tossing up my cookies. I looked around the room and I knew I had to do something my stomach was churning inside.
I said, “David I’m sorry to interrupt but were all pretty stressed out right now and the news you are giving us is making it worse. I suggest we do a quick five-minute meditation and breathing exercise I learned in my Yoga Class. It will dispel some of the stress and help us to think clearer while we make our decisions on what to do. After all, this is a team effort now, David you’re not the only one who has to decide on how to fix the company problems.”
David was shocked, and so was everyone else, including Michael. You could hear a pin drop.
David smiled and stiffly said, “Thanks Rachel, I believe that your ideas, although different than what I am accustomed to, will help us so please proceed.”
I said, “After the five minutes of deep breathing, I’m going to keep the music on low as we continue our meeting. It will help us all stay in a state of relaxation. I want you all to take that anger within you and scream loud, but only up to sixty seconds, one-two-three SCREAM!
I could see people putting their hearts into it, the relief was apparent.
I said, “Now you feel a little bit better, now close your eyes take a deep breath and hold it. Think about a pathway at the bottom of a mountain. Now exhale.
Let us see how high the pathway is up to the top of the mountain. Now take a deep breath, hold it.
Picture yourself walking up the steep path slowly let the air out each step you take. Were still on the path, take another deep breath, let it out slowly as you climb to the top.
Now we have reached the top of the mountain. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Look at the view around you. Everything looks so small up here. Now look at the little people down below. See how tiny they look.
Let us look up and enjoy the big blue sky and fluffy white clouds around you. You are floating on air, feeling very light and happy. Now take a deep breath, slowly exhale, and let us slowly start walking down the other side of the mountain one-step at a time. Careful don’t slip, take your time.
Okay let us pause for a moment and enjoy the view, see the trees and the waterfall down below? Try not to be afraid of the heights or get dizzy from the view. Again take a deep breathe and hold.
Turn and look up, your halfway down the mountain now. Slowly exhale as you turn and start walking down the mountain again. Walk carefully, weaving through the many loose stones, keep your footing strong. Finally, you are all the way to the bottom now; take a deep breath and hold. One, two, three now release and exhale as you stretch your arms to the sky, now bring them down, and open your eyes.
You feel great now because you just climbed a high mountain. You conquered your fears and saw just how small things are. Those small things are the problems we are going to solve today. I want you to look around the room at your coworkers.
I was happy to see that people had smiles on their faces now. I felt good and I looked across the room and saw that David and Michael had exchanged a knowing look. I nodded towards David to continue.
He sat for a moment and grinned, “I was enjoying myself so much that I have to gather my thoughts and try and remember what it was that I was saying. Oh yes, Julie has created a financial hole in our budget, but the good news is that Rachel has formulated some plans and ides to help restructure the company and create a profit.
Rachel has been our idea creator now for the past two years Julie and Colleen were taking all the credit for her hard work. I was going to wait until after her presentation but as you can see Rachel has a good head on her shoulders so I will make my surprise announcement now.
The Company has decided we need a strong person at the helm to lead us through a storm. Rachel has agreed to play Captain of the ship for a year. I have agreed to step down as CEO and take a large pay cut and just be one of the managers. I will be working closely with Rachel on a daily basis.
I would like to introduce the man sitting beside me. This is Michael Ferraras my brother, a representative for our shareholders and Investors. He will not be involved in any of our day-to-day business matters, but he will review our financial reports on a weekly or monthly basis to make sure that we stay on track.
We are all getting a two-month vacation from work then we meet at our new office location. Each person will have their own office and eventually all of you will become supervisors and managers over the course of the next five years if all goes well. We wanted to start with a new group of employees so that we could mold and train you into what we need to succeed. Rachel has a presentation for us now. I’m going to hand the meeting back over to her.”
I was feeling groovy by now and I stood up and put on my power point presentation. As I explained how we would expand our ideas and data programs into other markets, I stressed that our team effort would be used to its maximum potential.
I noted that all groups that I created would be required to sign a new contract of confidentiality, if a breech happens, it would constitute charges. As a team, we would develop new program ideas for Bryson who was now the head of the technical division, Jason would be his right hand man. I know the two of them worked together well enough to get the job done.
After the office moves, Operations will begin two weeks later. There will be no set scheduled shifts, until everything is running smoothly. I cautioned there would be no vacations for the next year because of the two-month break we were taking now. I suggested that we create a set of emergency articles for our business newsletters. Everyone had to contribute so if anyone were ill we would have something to draw from.
Our articles are going to be freelanced from the new university students attending this year that need to gain some work experience. It will be a co-op program. Not only will we develop new software technology for customer service markets, we will branch into all sectors of management including retail and the food industry. We could even develop new medical program if we wish. Our students will be encouraged to write about what our products can do for our customers; in turn, we will create an online tool that people will have to pay a set fee per month to use.
They also can purchase a copy of our reports for a set fee. I also want to create a lucrative customer service rewards program and University eBook course. Our students will have certificates upon graduation. They will also do programming projects for the company’s use. As part of the contract deal, any program of theirs that sells shall have a twenty-five percent cut of the net profits.
They can use the money to further their education with us. We will also develop a global clientele as we translate our programs into various languages. I intend to have universities from all over the world participating in our programs. It can be a part of a student exchange program. It will be one semester per year. The company saves money by not having to pay out wages for programs that we can sell.
Bryson and Jason will set up a student committee in all technical fields of programming. I will approach the University and offer it as a credit towards their University Degrees. It will also be open to the adult public sector that will be retraining for a new career or getting back into the work force. The Government will provide all monies required for training and program development. It will come from the Education Stimulus Package, and new business ideas division.
We already have a client base, after searching on Facebook. I realized we have not tapped into the competitive market by staying in the same category. Customer service is an old market, but new technology comes on a daily basis and it will be requiring customer service data to handle its sales, marketing, and training.
We can tap into this market and use it to our advantage. We just lost fifty percent of our work force, so we will have to be quick about re-developing the new departments, training our people, then rehiring some of the workforce that wants to return to Global Data Services. They will be re-tested and have to be bonded. The hiring process is going to be much stricter this time. There will be no favors for family and friends.
The University Human Resources Department will be participating in a screening process. We will write a test of the skills required for each department and have an acceptable scoring system in place.
This program, because it is dealing with the University is under Government funding. I also did a quick evaluation of office supplies. We will purchase in bulk, so each department will be required to give an idea of what they need for a year. We will send a notice to all suppliers to bid on us. In turn, we will advertise for their company in our business newsletters and reports that we sell.
Any client that uses a special referral code (Each book will have a new one) will receive a discount if they purchase a certain amount of supplies at a set price. They will make money. We will save money and so will our clients.
I have also requested that Bryson and Jason create an Intranet program to be set up on our computers so that we can chat back and forth with our team members. We will design an internet café in the cafeteria and extend your lunches to one hour. This will give you time to eat and be refreshed for your busy day.
However, I will be monitoring your progress. Each person that has a project also has a deadline. If you miss the deadline then you will lose your one-hour lunch privilege for a week and you will revert to the thirty minute lunch period. When the next project starts, you get to start over again. If you fail three times, you have to look for another job within a two-month period. You will have the choice of working in a different department here or at another company.
If you have any questions, write them down on these sheets. When you come back in two months, we will discuss them then. They will be part of my next presentation. I also need you to fill out this online directory. Everyone needs to update his or her Name, Address, Phone, and Social Security numbers, and Driver’s license Information along with your License Plate numbers. We will offer free parking to our employees and the company will cover the costs as a benefit to you.
There is a check box if you want to receive company discount offers for credit cards, vacations, automotive purchases, and loans. I have asked for a “Corporate rates plan from Canada Trust and I’m also setting something up with CAA/AAA Memberships so that you can get discounts at various theme parks. I want you to have fun during your two-month vacation, so I am sending all of you a company discount card, with a list of events where you can save money.
We also plan to have a company BBQ picnic when you come back, a sort of welcome back party. I promise every month to plan something unique and fun for our employees and their families, David, this is all from me do you have anything to add?”
David looked overwhelmed; he did not know what to say.
Michael spoke up, “I think we should give a round of applause to Rachel for all her hard work and research. I want everyone to know Rachel worked on this presentation for several days with Bryson and Jason let’s give them all an applause.”
Everyone clapped and everyone was smiling. Michael looked so proud of me. I took my bows and sat down. There I had finally made it to the big time. My father would have been so proud to see me. I tried not to let my eyes get too watery. Think good thoughts Rachel stay happy. Everyone came by to thank me, shake my hand, and congratulate me on the new ideas. They would enjoy having me as their new boss.
Julie had been nothing but a bitch to everyone and Colleen too. They were glad that the two of them were gone. I looked at the time it was six pm. David thanked me and said that I did a wonderful job. Everyone left and I began to put my things back into my briefcase.
Michael asked, “Are you’re keeping Bryson now?”
I nodded, “There is too much technical information and he’s a valuable asset, hopefully he will learn to keep his mouth shut in the future. It will take some time to replace him. I cannot just let him go. He is the backbone of this company, but thankfully he’s not aware of it.”
Michael smiled then asked, “Do you have time for a quick bite to eat before you go to Hawaii?”
I said, “Sure, I have time for soup and a sandwich. I still need to get home and make sure that Tom has packed everything for me. Our flight leaves at ten pm.”
Michael looked startled for a minute then asked, “Is Tom your boyfriend?”
I laughed, “No he’s my personal assistant and friend. He handles things when I am not around. I couldn’t function without him.”
Michael seemed relieved.
I looked at him for a minute and smiled, “Let’s go eat and yes I am single.”
He kind of blushed and mumbled something about me being a freak of nature and reading his mind.
I looked at him and grinned, “Men are easy to figure out, I can usually read their minds if I choose too. They are all on the same wave length.”
Michael grinned, “I’ll have to be careful what I think about then.”
We went down the elevator and crossed the street. This time I avoided walking over any grates. Michael was amused as I zigzagged my way over the sidewalk. We walked into Caruso’s Deli and sat down. I ordered a toasted turkey sandwich with chicken rice soup. Michael ordered the Italian Wedding Soup and a Meatball Sub with cheese.
Michael said, “Your presentation was quite impressive. How did you manage to compile all that information into one weekend?”
I grinned, “I didn’t. I wrote it down in my idea book a year ago. I typed it up and made a presentation with some of my key ideas. I have two idea books, one for when I am at work, another beside my bed at home. Any dreams or ideas, I jot them down right away.”
Michael said, “That’s amazing.”
I said, “I have based some of my ideas on past experience. I was involved in sales and marketing for ten years at my other jobs. I watched my father closely over the years. He taught me everything that I know.”
Michael said, “He sounds like a very wise man, where is your Mother?”
I paused for a moment and said, “She’s busy with the kids.”
Michael said, “Oh you have siblings?”
I nodded, “Yes I have one sister, and the rest are foster kids.” I looked at my watch. “I need to get going now.”
Michael said, “Listen I’ll take care of the bill, you hurry along. I will see you soon at the ranch.”
I grinned at him and said, “Thanks again, I can’t wait!”
I hurried out the door and straight to my car…