This is the story of the day i picked a fight with my Global head of marketing. I was 22. She was 62.
Her screaming rant raced around the office halls with my legs caught in her stirrups. To aid the imagination — she was blonde, blue eyed and weighed 200Kgs. Ok, maybe a touch less.
I had seemingly disobeyed her strict instructions on a task. In my defence, she was my first international boss and i did not like her tone.
My local boss came to my rescue and asked me to apologise which i did with complete sincerity but I could see she was really upset. I felt we had unfinished business.
Later that evening i was working away at my desk when i saw a shadow creep up behind me. I felt a hot large hand with black nail polish on my frail shoulders. I knew it was time…
Armed with a cup of black coffee in one hand and a freshly lit Marlboro in her lips, she slurred, “young man, come into my office.”
I hurriedly packed my bag, gave a last loving look at the heaps of soup design mock up packs that i was designing, switched off the lights (in a `for the last time’ way) and slowly marched to the thundering sound of the clock on the wall.
He room was in the corner next to the exit. How convenient!
In a way i was relieved to be fired like this. It was late. Most of the people had gone home. Would save me some embarrassment.
I knocked obediently.
She sat behind her large desk with her feet on the table looking out of the window at the twinkling city scrapers.
She was calm.
Without looking at me she said,
What’s your dream Andy ?
“To be good enough to do your job one day”, i replied with absolute honesty and unintended flattery. It was my dream job to have the top job in the business.
She turned around and broke into a bellowing laughter. She had a booming presence only outweighed by the gravity of her laughter.
She sighed.Got up and walked up to the coffee machine. As she woke up the machine for another cup she said, “You can apply for it. I just resigned.”
What! She said what!! My mind raced like a mouse between delight and shock. She quit! I am saved…but why…i am not going to be fired…but why did you quit and…why are you telling this to this little Mr. Nobody full of shit smart ass…me.
I thought this was my swan song moment. Instead i was hearing hers.
I think i tried to mumble something about being shocked to hear that or some cliched platitude when she cut me short and said,
But do you have a Dream in your drawer?
“No. What is that ?” i asked.
“Well, its the thing your heart wants but is too shy to ask” she replied as she stirred her black coffee with the back end of a black pencil.
I confessed i had not thought about it.
She told me she had bought a house in the hills and was moving there with her cat and new boyfriend. I still remember the order in which she said it.
I wished her well and apologised for my behaviour. She got up and shook my hands and patted my shoulder and said, “May the dreams you choose come true”
She left the office next day and i never saw her again. Her name was Jennie.