Hitting the Fan

Sorry for the delay, everyone! Between getting ready for Christmas and taking off for a week’s vacation Christmas night, I got a bit behind. Will be posting again later this week to make up for it. Miss the comments? Come chat or comment to me on my Facebook page! :) 

It was 12:41 and already I had checked my email approximately 4,278 times, waiting to hear back from Randy on the house.

“A watched pot never boils!” I could almost hear my grandma’s voice in my head. I didn’t really get what she meant when I was 7 and waiting for the magical moment when Charlie and I could rip into Christmas presents, but now I got it.

Just then Minda came out of her office and I jumped up, looking guilty.

“What were you doing?” she asked me suspiciously.

“Nothing. I mean, umm, a report. You know. The one you asked me to do.” Finally, I managed to shut myself up. Shit, I thought to myself. Great job making a good impression. Idiot.

It was Tuesday, and what I had come to term as my 2 week sentencing period ended on Friday. So far I had tried to do everything on Minda’s ridiculous list, but it involved work that I didn’t even know how to do, like write a project proposal, quality assurance testing plan, and get feedback on a report from managers across the organization that I hadn’t even met. I worked all hours of the night, researched Google like it was my job, and even lowered my dignity and asked Mallory for help, and I still got pursed lips and a crisp nod from Minda every time I turned something into her. The situation was looking pretty hopeless.

Minda was eyeing me suspiciously. “How is it going? Will it be ready for review tomorrow?”

“Fine, good, I mean, I just need to run it past Joshua for his input on the numbers, and I’ll send it to you.” I smiled back at her, hoping she wouldn’t see past my lies. I hadn’t even been able to start it with all the other stuff she had me running around doing. I was planning on pulling an all-nighter and getting as much as I could done by tomorrow.

“NO!” Minda’s voice was so firm that I jumped. “Just send it to me, please,” she commanded in a slightly less severe tone.

“Huh?” I stared at her, confused. Joshua needed to provide the budgetary numbers for the department for me to even get anywhere. I don’t know how she expected me to get it done without that input.

“I don’t want it sent to Joshua. Is that clear?” Something in Minda’s voice made my mind whirl and suddenly before I knew it, a lie burst out of my mouth.

“I’m so sorry, Minda. I already sent it onto him this morning.”

Rage passed across her face quickly before she composed herself. “You know, Maddie, I thought you had more sense than that. The report isn’t finished, and you don’t need to be bothering someone in Joshua’s position with information that isn’t complete. This looks poorly on you. Very. I’ll see what kind of damage control I can do for you.”

With that, she gave me one more steely look and walked off.

I put my head in my hands for a minute, heart beating wildly and tears threatening to roll down my burning cheeks. I had no idea how to fix this situation, and what was worse, the email I was waiting for was to find out whether or not owner of the house I wanted was willing to accept my offer. Without a job, I had no way of buying a house. But then again, I had no way of paying rent on my current apartment either.

Blinking back tears, I surveyed the situation. I had a major report to do, had lied to my boss, I was on the verge of getting fired, and I still hadn’t heard back from Joshua on the information I had given him on Minda 3 weeks ago. Blowing out my breath, I decided to deal with the most urgent issue first. Getting that damn report done.

An hour later, I still had no idea what I was doing with it. I dug around previous reports, looked at old emails from Mallory, and hacked together something that seemed reasonable, but I still didn’t have the project budget. Thinking of my looming meeting with Minda and HR on Friday, I mustered up my courage and opened up my IM and typed on Joshua’s name.

Hi Joshua. Have a minute? I really hated bothering him, or any other exec in this way, especially after he hadn’t reached out to me after bringing the Minda details. Normally I’d email him or his admin and wait for my answer, but I was desperate.

Even though his icon showed he was busy, I got an answer back within minutes.

Of course!

I type out my question on the report and hit send, hoping he would respond quickly and I could get on with my work. Instead, I saw the pencil icon that showed that he was responding start and stop for almost a full, 10 agonizing minutes.

When it finally came through, it was one little sentence.

Why do you need that information?

Ready to scream, I quickly responded. Report for Minda. I need to turn it in soon. I attached what I had already done for good measure and crossed my fingers.

His response was quick this time. What’s this, Maddie?

With horror, I realized that I had attached my so-called 2 week development plan instead of the report I worked on. Fuckshitdamnnononononooooooooo. Every swear word I had ever heard of and then some ran through my head as I quickly responded.

Just a few things I need to work on for Minda. No need to open it! Here is the real report you need. I attached the actual report and prayed with everything I had that Joshua hadn’t opened the first attachment.

Another 15 agonizing minutes went by before I finally received a response. I have to run to another meeting now, but I’ll take care of this. Thanks.

Open mouthed, I stared at my screen. What in the hell did that mean? He’ll take care of it? Take care of what? I still didn’t have my info for the report Minda was expecting tomorrow, and now I had no way of getting it to her in time. I was basically fucked.

The next morning, I walked in, ready to throw up. I had 2 days to prove myself to Minda before I got fired, and I didn’t feel confident at all. My meeting was at 10am, and by the looks of it, it wasn’t going to be pretty.

“Maddie. Do you have that report?” Minda’s voice cut across my desk at 8:30.

“Not all of it, no….” I mumbled.

With that, she gave me a incredulous look. “Maddie, I have a feeling you haven’t been taking this 2 week trial seriously. I really expected more out of you, you know. Do we even need to wait until Friday to meet with HR?”

“No! I mean, yes!” Once again, I found myself babbling and on the verge of tears. Getting fired would be my worst nightmare. I’d have no way to pay my car insurance, buy food, and not to mention that Randy, my real estate agent, just called me this morning on the way to work and told me my counter offer was accepted and the house was mine if I wanted it. I was so excited that I had jumped in the air and screamed “YES!” much to Randy’s amusement. What started out as such an awesome day was quickly turning into complete crap.

Just then I heard an accented voice come from around my bookcase, which was just out of sight. “Meeting with HR? What meeting with HR?”

I was wrong. My real worst nightmare wasn’t getting fired. It was having Joshua, the nicest guy in the world, father of my ex boyfriend, father of a condescending bitchy enemy of mine, overhearing me get fired.

“Minda, what’s going on here?” Joshua stood in front of my desk and looked straight at Minda, who was giving me what could only be described as a death glare.

“Just a little performance issue here, Joshua. I was attempting to help Maddie get up to speed, but I’m not sure this role is the right fit for her. Don’t worry, I have it under control.” Minda’s voice was calm, too calm. Joshua looked at me. I gulped and looked down at my desk.

I saw Joshua nod out of the corner of my eye. Theo and Nikki aside, I didn’t want to let Joshua down. He was such a nice guy who gave me so many chances.

“Right. I see what’s going on here.” Joshua’s voice floated over my head and my heart sank. “Maddie, can you leave please?”

With that, my head shot up. Was I getting fired already? By Joshua?

“Sure, I’ll get my stuff…” I said in a weak voice. Minda looked surprised, but pleased.

“No, sorry, I mean just for a while. Please meet me upstairs in my office at 1 o’clock.” Shocked for what seemed like the hundredth time today, I nodded and stood up to get my wallet.

“Joshua, what’s going on here?” Minda burst out. “Maddie is my employee, and while I understand you helped her find this job, I’m still responsible for her.”

“Minda. I need to speak to you in your office. Now.” Joshua’s voice was commanding yet quiet.

Just then, I saw Julie, our HR rep, come down the hall. Joshua looked over and gave a little nod of recognition to her. Minda saw her at the same time.

“What? What is this about? Maddie, what did you do? If you went above my head, I’m going to…..” Minda’s voice was getting louder and louder, and I saw at least 2 heads pop up from neighboring cubicles and look around curiously.

I seized my opportunity. “Uhhh gotta go! Talk to everyone soon!” I mumbled as I pretty much ran around my desk, wondering what in the hell was happening. I hadn’t seen so much drama at work since the last time I watched 2 Broke Girls and even then it was funny. This was anything but.

“1 o’clock, Maddie!” Joshua’s voice called behind me. I gave a little nod and hit the elevator buttons as fast as I could. Peering out from the corner of my eye, I saw Joshua, Minda, and Julie, our HR rep, enter Minda’s office together.

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