Mary lost the promotion again. This time she lost to Jessica, who won the promotion by sleeping with their boss Jerry, and with Jerry’s boss Rob just for good measure. Last time, she lost the promotion to John, not a year out of college but whose dad was Vice President of Operations. The time before that, she had lost it to Zach, who had spread rumors around the fourth floor and gonorrhea around the fifth.
Mary had always done things the right way, and that’s how she approached her career. She wanted a promotion based on skill and loyalty. When Jessica’s promotion was announced, she walked briskly to the bathroom because that’s where she goes when she has a panic attack. She locked the stall door behind her before noticing the unflushed tampon floating in the toilet.
“No one gives a shit!”
Mary burst out of the stall and noticed that Executive Vice President Cherie Miller walking through the door. Mary blushed and gingerly stepped into the next stall. This one had pee on the seat, but she had to stay for bathroom social etiquette reasons.
With embarrassment now layered on top of anxiety piled on top of anger, she really needed a moment. She also had to at least wipe the pee off the seat so that no one thought it was her that left it. She pulled down some toilet paper, wiped the yellow droplets, and threw the waste into the toilet. She heard a plop in the stall next to her. Miller was pooping and so Mary would not be able to wait her out. She would have to leave the bathroom having not given full release to her emotions.
Mary went back to her cube and sat at her desk. The phone rang. She didn’t answer it. She had never done that before. It felt good. She stared at her inbox. It was full of messages requesting her assistance. She had taken on so much extra work in order to prove her loyalty and skill in order to get the promotion that never came. She deleted all the messages. Inbox zero.
Mary left for lunch early. Just before she reached her car, Mary dropped her purse on the pavement. When she kneeled down to pick it up, her right hand loosened the valve cap on Jerry’s back right tire.
After lunch, Jessica stopped by Mary’s desk. She wanted to know why Mary didn’t make the copies she requested earlier that day.
“It’s not my job,” said Mary.
In fact, lots of copies were not being made. Incoming calls were going unanswered. PowerPoint presentations were not being created. Mary only did the work that was listed in the job description when she was hired nine years ago.
At 4pm, a new email popped into her inbox. She was about to delete it when she noticed it was from Cherie Miller. There was a job opening in her department and would Mary be interested in interviewing for it.
Mary clicked reply.