She was tall and statuesque, her hair in a bun. I had seen her type before, trying to appear strong and domineering by flexing their Executive muscle.
Management change was nothing new for me. I had watched new department heads come and go with regularity. I didn't fear a new boss like the other employees did ... I knew the company needed me because I was their biggest producer. I made them money ... lots of money. And, as long as I was one of their best sales people, I felt bullet proof, secure in my job.
When Marlene Nelson called me into her office for a cursory introduction, my haughty attitude was apparent. It initially had the desired effect ... it clearly unnerved her.
It didn't take long, however, for her to regain her composure. Leaning back in her chair, I took notice of her physical looks. There was little doubt she was attractive with a voluptuous body under her conservative business suit. She was also relatively young for an Executive, early thirties I guessed. And I sensed she wasn't intimidated by me, not like the last two managers who sat at her desk.
I was, however, equally confident of my stature within the firm. both as a producer and a looker. Nothing conservative about me ... I liked the constant attention from the men and I dressed for it. I was all business though. I never dated anyone I worked with. I was aware I was thought of as a prick teaser ... well deserved I suppose.
"I understand you're the biggest producer in the department, Sandra," she said. "Is it Sandra or Sandi?"
"Sandra," I answered. "I don't like being called Sandi. And yes, I am the biggest producer and have been for the past three years. I make a lot of money for this firm. You should take that into consideration when you read my request for a raise. I don't feel I'm fairly compensated for my performance here."
"I see," she said. "And if you're not compensated as fairly as you think you should be, what is the alternative?"
I didn't understand her question. There wasn't an alternative. She had to give me the raise. That's the way the game was played. The bitch shouldn't be putting me on the spot. In fact, she should be groveling, giving in to my demands. I wondered ... did she really think there was an alternative?
My ego was as big as the raise I was requesting. Without thinking I boldly blurted out: "I guess I would have to consider taking my talents elsewhere."
I'm sorry you feel that way," she said.calmly. "I'm sure you'll be missed around here."
I was stunned. "What ... what do you mean?" I asked nervously. "You ... you mean you're willing to let me go just like that. You can't be serious. I make more money for this company than the rest of this department combined. I also know the head of this division personally and he would never allow you to let me go over a meager raise..."
"I just did, Sandeee," she said sarcastically. "You can finish out the day if you like or you can leave right now. It's up to you."
Suddenly I wasn't so full of myself any more. I made a hundred and fifty thousand a year. Was I being too greedy with my raise request?
She interrupted my thoughts. "Was there anything else?" she asked.
"Uh ... I don't understand," I said, my voice quivering. "I didn't say I was quitting. I like my job here. I have friends here. And Mr Pyle, the division vice president told me that..."
"I don't care what Mr Pyle told you," she quipped. "No one makes demands of me. No one is indispensable."
"Forget my raise request," I said, trying to retreat. "I love my job here. Really, I'm satisfied with my present salary. I'm sorry if I mislead you about my intentions."
She leaned back in her chair and smiled. "Tell you what I'll do, Sandee. I'll think about it over night and let you know tomorrow whether you still have a job here. That's all ... get back to work."
I stumbled to my feet, grimacing from the pain in the pit of my stomach. She was dismissing me like I was a teenage school girl.
"Oh, by the way," she said just as I reached the door. "I rather like the way you dress. You like to flaunt it don't you. Are you the office slut?"
She was adding insult to injury."No ... no I'm not," I muttered.
"Then you must be the office prick teaser," she snickered. "Well, I won't hold that against you in my decision. Now get the fuck out of here and back to work."
Back in my office I tried to compose myself. I was shaking like a leaf ... tears falling on my expensive silk blouse. Then I became mad ... mad at my lack of backbone ... mad at the new bitch boss and her total lack of respect for me.
I picked up the phone and called Kyra, a friend and client in a firm downtown. I'd show that bitch, I thought to myself.
"Kyra, this is Sandra. How are you today?"
"Fine, I'm fine," Kyra answered, her voice sounding strained
"Listen, Kyra. You know how you are always asking me to come to work for you. Well this is your lucky day. I'm ready to take you up on your offer."
The phone line became eerily silent. I didn't understand. "Kyra, are you still there?" I asked. "Did you understand what I said? I'm ready to take you up on your offer."
"I heard you," she said. "I can't help you. I received a call from your new boss this morning. She informed me in no uncertain terms that if any of her employees tried to defect over to us and we hired them she would stop doing business with us. You know your company is our biggest supplier. I can't afford to call her bluff. If she cut us off..."
I couldn't believe it. "She ... she can't do that Kyra," I cried. "Isn't that illegal or something. You can't blackball someone in this day and age. Who the hell does she think she is?"
"I don't know if it's illegal or not," Kyra said. "It certainly is effective though. And I wouldn't bother to call any of the other firms where you have contacts. I think she's put the word out to everyone. From what I understand she apparently doesn't have to answer to Mr Pyle either. He may be your division Vice President but apparently she doesn't have to answer to him. I think she's for real."
I hung up the phone feeling thoroughly dejected. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I was making more than a hundred fifty thousand dollars a year. Now there was a possibility I might not have a job. What the hell would I do. I didn't have any investments or savings. I had spent it as fast as I made it.
I muddled through the remainder of the day, I couldn't concentrate ... It was like my own personal nightmare.
Later that night, while trying to relax in my comfortable, luxurious Condo, I slowly became overwhelmed by the possibility of losing it all. I began crying uncontrollably.
Picking up the phone, I dialed Mr Pyle's number at home. It was hard for me to believe that a man in his position with the company would not have a say in a matter like this. He answered the phone.
"Mr Pyle, this is Sandra. I need to talk to you about something important. I don't know if you are aware of it but..."
"Yes, I'm aware of what happened to you today, Sandra," he said. "Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it. Your new boss Miss Nelson was sent here by the President of the company to cut cost. I was instructed not to interfere."
"But doesn't my track record mean anything?" I ask tearfully. "My sales surpass everyone. Doesn't that mean anything?"
"The company is appreciative of what you have done but the raises I approved for you in the past are apparently a liability now. I'm sorry ... there is nothing I can do."
I hung up the phone feeling more dejected than ever. I could see my nightmare coming true.
When I arrived at work the following morning there was a note on my desk to report to Miss Nelson's office. I poured myself a cup of coffee, my hands trembling from fear and stress.
Trying to act as casual as possible, I entered her office. "Good morning, Sandee," she said sarcastically. "You look sexy this morning."
I thought it odd she would call me sexy. I wondered if she was one of those lesbians. She wasn't manly though, like those dykes who were always whistling at me on the streets.
"I've thought about your situation and this is what I've decided," she began. "Your money making skills are impressive. But, for me to allow you to stay, I need to add to your responsibilities. Are you willing to take on additional task.?"
"God yes," I said exuberantly.
I didn't care what she wanted me to do. Just knowing I wasn't going to lose that fat paycheck every month was a total relief.
"You might change your mind when I tell you what I need for you to do," she said.
I didn't care. Whatever it was it couldn't be as bad as being broke, unemployed and possibly homeless.
"Okay, here it is. Every Saturday, from eight in the morning until I dismiss you, you'll be my personal maid. You'll come to my apartment and clean it, wash my linens and personal items. You will also be responsible for my dry cleaning. Do you think you can handle that?"
I thought she was joking. I waited for the punch line,,, it never came. She was serious as I was humiliated. My pride told me to walk out, not to succumb to her insane demand. But the fear of going broke, losing my expensive condo I worked so hard to buy was a great motivator. I tried to think of a way out of her selfish demands.
"Every Saturday? I mumbled humbly. "Be your maid? How can you ask me to do this? Maybe I should talk to Mr Wylie first."
.... There is more of this story ...