It’s only two weeks, and I get called into the boss’s office. The blinds are shut, but I know they’re there, trying to catch a glimpse of what is really going on this stifling, dark room.
I wasn’t the first. There were two or three of us who went into that office determined, only to come out mute, shielding their eyes from the rest of us.
And so it was my turn. Let’s see what this is, I thought. What else is there?
Kevin sits sprawling in the executive chair. He took over the room and I didn’t the smile flashing across his face.
– You’ve been here, what, two weeks?
– True, like the rest of us.
– So you’ve had a chance to assess the situation.
He taps on the table in expectation.
– The situation?
– This place, where we are, where we are going. Your workmates, and how they are.
– Oh yes, I’m learning. A lot.
Kevin leans in from across the table.
– Joe, I’m going to be frank with you. When I got a bunch of you guys in, I knew there will those who go far and those who will get left behind. Because some of you are better than others. Do you understand?
My hands are sweating.
– I… I don’t think I do.
– Out of the eight, the three must go. The natural selection is going to decide. And you will tell me. Now.
What is going on?! Is he serious?
– You want me… To tell you who you’ll get rid of? But I’m not in that position. I can’t decide… I just work here!
Kevin stood up and leaned forward, towering over me. His voice is
– And I thought you were the smart one! I thought you get it!! There is nothing for you to worry about, no one will ever know.
– But… You’re the boss!
He thunders his fist on the table with a bang.
– Enough!! I will make it really simple for you: either you tell me the names right this instant, or it’s going to be you walking out of here without a job.
I thought of how hard I worked to get here and how there is nothing out there right now, not for at least a year, until things would start to pick up again. I’d go home empty handed, with nothing to fall back on.
And this isn’t even my decision to make, even if I tell him those names, the responsibility is on him, still. And a couple of the guys weren’t really up to scratch anyway…
– I’m sorry, but I… I just can’t. I can’t do this. You decide.
I walked out of the office and went back to my desk.
Funny how the mind works – I couldn’t remember the way things turned out then, but I did stay there for three years. There was no one to cheer me on and no one would ever know. But something has changed for me on that day…
I stood up for myself when it was so much easier to give in.
But then again, when is it ever easy?
When you are face to face with a person who is out to get you, what do you do? Is there a better way to deal with it that doesn’t sap you of energy and leave you true to yourself and your values? Let’s explore this in the this week’s episode of The Happy YOU:
If you are looking for a pick me up, check out my brand new book on thriving in times of uncertainty: