by Jessica Hannam
“So you’re telling me that you know I haven’t actually done anything wrong, you’re just waiting for me to say the wrong thing so you can trip me up?”
I quickly sat on my hands so he couldn’t see them shaking. It had been 20 minutes of talking in circles and I was beginning to accept my obvious fate. My manager stared at me without answering with a giant smirk on his face, leaning so far off his chair he could face plant any moment. Oh, how I wished he would.
“Is that what you’re doing? Because that’s essentially what you just said to her.”
My best friend has never had any issues speaking her mind, a skill I am slowly but surely cultivating through ridiculously uncomfortable situations.
Like this one.
“Well, yeah. We’re not happy with your professionalism towards the job.”
“Okay, but what does that mean? What rules have I broken? You still haven’t told me why you’ve brought me into this disciplinary meeting.”
His smirk faltered a moment, giving me a boost of courage. I could do this. He was just trying to intimidate me, and it wasn’t going to work.
“Your attitude” he finally managed to reply after an uncomfortable amount of time had passed.
“I signed a contract for a full-time job and was rostered for seven hours this week. All I did was ask about it.”
“Oh and the till thing. We just can’t trust you now, your integrity has come under question.”
“What?!” Okay, now I was livid. Where the heck had this come from? He was clearly getting desperate. My friend was shaking her head in disbelief and biting her tongue to prevent a less than polite response.
There’s something weirdly comforting in someone else being angry on my behalf. I remember thinking that this would have been a nice bonding moment for the two of us if I wasn’t being fired for theft. Apparently the till was off $2.00 the day before, and although they had no way of proving it, it was probably me. Cool.
I walked out that day exhausted and close to tears (okay fine I was full blown crying), but with my integrity intact and my best friend by my side.
This was all new for me. Being fired from a job, standing up to a bully twice the size of me, and not regretting one moment of it. Except for maybe not bringing a recording device to the ambush, but who is expecting such a ruthless, dirty attack within two weeks of starting a new job?
So back to applying for jobs I went. Back to writing cover letters in coffee shops and feeling like a burden on society, but this time with a backbone of steel and the memory of my furious friend and her massive face standing up for me.
Jessica is the kind of person who learns all her lessons the hard away and drinks way too much coffee, so apparently this makes her a writer. After one and half underwhelming and expensive years in Auckland, she’s back in the Tron to write in cafes, walk around the lake, and pay half the rent.