An Anger That Got Her In Trouble - A Short Story
The Friday promised to be a good one. It was the final work day for a co-worker despised by the staff.
It was unclear why the woman was back working at the very small newspaper office. She had quit because she was diagnosed with cancer and was just exhausted. It had been understood and she was wished well and for a speedy recovery. However, she told many people in the community that she had been forced out by the management, because she had cancer. A complete lie.
It was unclear how she actually got the job back and what she would be doing.
The entire three months she was back after quitting was miserable for everyone. She insisted on telling anyone that listened that she had cancer, that she had been forced out, but got her job back, and could often be seen at the desk fiddling with money she had to get to the bank each day by a certain time. This was a job she never completed until past the bank's closing time and would have to deposit the next day.
Earlier in the week, it was learned that the employee hadn't been keeping up with some very important documentation for the paper. She had told management that she would get that done in a snap and was asked to complete it by her work day. She actually had no idea what she was suppose to do and told management she would do it, all while sitting at her table ... fumbling with change.
Emma was fed up and knew that whoever was coming in next week would be stuck with a task they would definitely had no idea how to fix. It didn't seem fair to put a new employee in that situation.
The past three months had been completely draining for Emma. She was doing her job, which consisted of five separate positions at her previous newspaper job including reporter, sports reporter, photographer, page designer and delivery. Plus, she was a graduate student at the local college. Her days were often long and stressful. She rarely had anytime to breathe or relax.All of this while dealing with the drama from her disgruntled co-worker.
During several occasions those three months, management would call Emma and other co-workers to find out what was going on with the troubled co-worker. Emma was quite honest regarding everything that was going on at the paper, detailing all the significant events.
That Friday, she called management to let them know that the co-worker was not going to complete the required task before she left. Emma told exactly what had been going on. Emma was out taking photos and delivering magazines to a customer.
Emma picked up lunch and went back to the paper, hoping the co-worker was actually doing her job and was at the bank. Not so much. Emma arrived to a co-worker more angry than her usual angry self.
One minute she was flipping through newspapers and throwing them around. The next she was fiddling with change. The whole time, she was yelling at Emma for calling management about her. She said she was going to do it and Emma reminded her that she had zero intention of doing it and that she had been bragging about it for two days.
She yelled that Emma, a daughter of a cancer survivor, didn't like her because she had cancer. Emma let her know that she was being ridiculous. The yelling continued about everything Emma had talked to management about, as if management told her word for word what she said. The co-worker even eluded to that.
It upset Emma to know that her bosses would ask her about what was going on in confidence but would go and tell everything she said. It wasn't right. Right?
Emma took her lunch and left, waiting for the co-worker to leave, so she could finish her work for the afternoon.
The entire time she was out Emma became increasingly more upset by the situation. She was shaking and crying. Once she composed herself and got back to the office, she was there by herself.
She called one of her bosses to tell him about what happened that afternoon. He was shocked and apologized that it had happened to her. He insisted that his wife, his co-manager, did not tell the disgruntled co-worker what Emma had said and said that maybe she had hacked her computer or was listening in on her phone calls. Emma knew this was ridiculous. The co-worker couldn't operate her own computer enough to check her own email and the phone hacking was just not possible.
Emma calmed and was looking forward to speaking with the other manager on Monday just to set things straight.
That Monday arrived. Emma asked the manager about what happened. She didn't get an apology for what had happened. Nothing like that. The woman told Emma that she was going to have to move on, get over it and do her job.
Seriously? Emma was stunned and speechless and really didn't know what to do.
She continued doing her job but didn't feel confident in her manager. She didn't trust the woman at all.
A new semester of graduate school began for Emma and she was really stressed from it. Doing her job, plus school, plus one day per week having to drive to another community, due to financial concerns, to help put together the newspaper was taking its toll on Emma.
She'd been looking for another job but wasn't finding much success finding something that would work with her school schedule and be rewarding.
Three weeks later, that didn't matter much anymore. She was told by those managers that she was no longer a good employ, that her work ethic wasn't that great and that she wasn't getting to work at the other site at a proper time, even though she'd already talked with the woman she worked with at the other site about what was going on with school. She said it was ok because she had other work she needed to do plus, the other manager never got the copy to her in a timely manner.
It was all pretty ridiculous to hear for Emma.
Emma was being fired. She was being given some ridiculous excuses to why she was being fired. And then, the manager let slip what was actually the reason. He told Emma, you just haven't been the same employee since that incident a couple of months ago.
"We ... (his wife side eyes him) I apologized for what happened but (looks at his wife) ... I guess this just isn't working out anymore," he said.
Emma was floored. She was being fired over being upset and voicing that upset about the incident where she gets yelled at for something she told in confidence. It was all surreal.
Emma was pretty much devastated. At 31, this was the first time she'd been fired. She'd been working since she was 16 years old. This had never happened. She had never been talked about that way.
She went home. Devastated. And talked to her mother. That night it was decided she would take the time to finish her masters degree and find work when she could. Her parents would help her and she would collect unemployment.
It took a little over a year to finish the degree. In that time, Emma became so paralyzingly anxious that she had to get on medication for it.
She took on freelancing jobs as well as a social media coordinator position. Nothing paid particularly well and she couldn't find a stable full time job due to the economy.
Emma continued to work hard. She healed her anxiety to a manageable point. She spent time with her loving family and gained friendships that will last a lifetime.
She knew she never wanted to work in a newspaper office again. She loved writing but she could do that on her own or via freelance and be more happy. She just had to find a full time job.
She takes a new job, starting tomorrow. She is excited. She doesn't know how she will feel about working in chat support customer service job, but believes it will be exciting and rewarding work. That it could lead to a good career. She will be able to continue her writing. She will be able to get back into working out and running, and other things she loves to do but it's hard to do without an income ... like travel, visiting family and friends and more.
Even if this new job doesn't work out, she will be able to save money and maybe become a teacher or something else.
Her life is getting back on track. And for that, Emma is grateful and accepting of the lessons learned. She knows she will be a different co-worker now. She will be friendly but very guarded. She won't be willing to share her opinions so openly.
Lessons learned. New experiences begin. .