Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Late For Work -- Episode 10

Late For

Late For Work
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Late For Work

Late for Work is an interactive Choose Your Own Path story. Each episode, readers vote for the path they would like to take. Together, we will follow the path with the most votes.

Late For Work

Dr. Mike is looking at you expectantly. How should you answer him?

  • Sure. I’d love to help you this weekend.
  • I don’t think we know each other well enough yet. Maybe we should have dinner together again first?
  • I’d love to help, but I think we should wait and see if your dad signs the contract.

Dr. Mike nods. “Yeah, no. I was just kidding, anyway.” He glances at his phone. “It’s, uh, getting late. I’ll call you tomorrow and we can schedule that second date.”

Before you can process what just happened, he’s standing at the front door. Grabbing your things, you nod. “Yeah, sure.”

It’s not until you’re in the elevator that you realize he never asked for your number. He isn’t going to call you, is he?

You spend the walk home replaying the evening in your head. Everything seemed to go so well. He even invited you back to his apartment. You thought for sure he was going to ask you to spend the night.

Not that you would have said yes. Never on a first date. Especially when it wasn’t even a date. But, still. It would have been nice to be invited.

Instead, he kicks you out when you don’t agree to help him unpack boxes? What kind of guy does that?

One that’s definitely not worth the trouble. Good thing you learned this about him now before you became too emotionally involved.

Although it would have been nice if you could spend more time with him. Disappointed, you return to your apartment, crawl into bed, and try to forget this disaster of a day.

When the alarm on your phone wakes you in the morning, you silence it with a frown. Did you actually meet Dr. Mike yesterday, or was it just a dream? You glance at the readout. It’s Tuesday. Yesterday definitely happened.

With a sigh, you get ready for your day. Today will definitely be better than yesterday. You will find a way to get the Mitchell lawyers to understand they are spending more than he is earning. You will finish calculating mid-year bonuses for the Cromwell account. And you will land the Yeager account.

That would make Dr. Mike your client. Maybe it’s better that you left things the way you did last night.

When you reach the coffee shop, you have no problem finding a parking space. Yes, today is definitely going to be better than yesterday.

Unfortunately, Dr. Mike isn’t waiting for you inside. While in line to order, you scan the room, but he’s not there. Waiting for the barista to make your coffee, you stare at the doorway until your eyes hurt. But he never appears.

A short time later, you arrive at work not only early, but before your boss. You even finished your coffee without spilling a single drop. Definitely signs that things will go well today.

Until you check your email. There are four emails from the Mitchell lawyers, two from each of the founders. As promised, you provided them with a spreadsheet, highlighting their income and spending in two different colors. You even created additional charts, sorting their spending into categories and suggesting ways they could save money. Apparently, they didn’t appreciate your effort and are threatening to find a new accounting firm. And, of course, they copy your boss on all of them.

With a sigh, you send a message to Karen asking if you can discuss this with her before you respond. She immediately sends you a meeting request. You note the time as you accept. You have an hour. Maybe if you can finish the Cromwell account, your job will be in less jeopardy.

About five minutes before your appointment, Karen sends you a new meeting request. She now wants to see you in the conference room. As soon as possible.

Swallowing hard, save your work and gather your two active projects. The Cromwell bonuses are finished. Sure, they’re not as much as last year’s, but the advertising agency had a difficult year. You’ve printed the Mitchell spreadsheet, highlights and all.

As you head to the conference room, you practice your speech. You’ve triple-checked the account. You thought your suggestions were helpful and didn’t realize the lawyers would be so opposed to them. This is the first time you’ve dealt with clients who were so unreasonable and—

No. You probably shouldn’t use the word unreasonable. Stubborn? Obstinate? Adamant. That might work.

This is the first time you’ve dealt with clients who were so adamantly opposed to your suggestions and—

You stop abruptly in the doorway to the conference room, forgetting everything you were about to say. Now you understand why Karen rescheduled the meeting here. Your boss is sitting at the table, but she’s not alone. Who is with her?

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