Gone in a Heartbeat
I hadn’t slept all night worrying about my work appraisal today, I shouldn’t really be worried, I have these every six months, with a tidy share of the annual profits.
I had been in the job for eighteen months now and everything seemed to be going really well. It was a new company, actually a new branch of the firm I had worked for for going on eight years. I had been asked to head up the new branch, starting from scratch and knew I was doing a good job, profits were up, up a lot, I was pleased with how it was going.
Sitting on the bus for my half hour commute to work, leaning on the glass window, taking care not to get my hair stuck in someone else’s hair gel that was all shiny and sticky on the glass, I allowed myself to think of what I would do with the bonus that I had been looking forward to.
Six months ago I had been given fifteen thousand, nice tidy sum, especially considering that the firm had only been going for a year at that time. I had to pinch myself that I had been given this opportunity. My bosses seemed happy with what I had been doing so that was the main thing.
Jumping off the bus and running into the local travel agent to get a cruise brochure, I hadn’t told the kids or Simon that I was going to take them all on a once in a lifetime cruise. Money had been tight for so long now, what with Simon being a builder in the current market, he had struggled getting regular work and I knew that he felt like he wasn’t able to provide properly for his family, but all the worrying of how we were going to pay the mortgage and the ever increasing bills was a thing of the past. We had seemed to have turned a corner thankfully and things were looking up, a holiday was just what we all needed, it had been years since we had a real family holiday and I was going to blow my bonus on an all expenses, money being no object, once in a lifetime experience for us all.
The office was a real hive of activity this morning as usual. Grabbing a coffee before sitting at my desk and firing up my work computer I began to go through the endless emails that I received. One from Nick my Director caught my eye immediately, informing me that we were having the meeting at lunchtime in the other office. I wondered why we were going over there when we could have it in our own meeting room which as far as I could see was free most of the day.
The morning passed by in a flash, after lunch I made my way over to Devonshire Row to our old offices for my appraisal.
Nick was at the reception as I entered
“Hi Lucy, take a seat, be with you in a tic, okay?”
“No probs Nick, thanks”
Grabbing myself a glass of water, Nick sticks his head out of the conference room
“Lucy, do you want to come in now please”
As I entered the room, I was surprised to see all of the directors sitting on one side of the conference room table.
“Hi Lucy, have a seat”
“Thanks for coming. Tell me how do you think the last six months have gone for you?”
“Really well, sales are up, we are all being kept really busy. I think things are going really well. I hope you are happy with what I have been doing, are you?”
“Well to be honest Lucy, no we are not. Hamish has brought to our attention over the last few weeks that he does not feel that you have been pulling your weight here over the last six months at all”
Hamish was the Director that was based in the same offices as myself. He very obviously did not like me, but I figured if I did my job well, then I could win him round.
“Em, I’m sorry, what?” I whispered, shocked to the core.
“We are rather disappointed to note that your time keeping is terrible, you have taken a lot of days off in the last couple of months. Your interest seems to have waned off, and we are not at all happy with your performance” Nick continued.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I knew Hamish didn’t like me, I did not however realise that his dislike for me ran this deep.
“Late? I am never late”
“You are never, I repeat never at your desk before 9am” Hamish retorted, not even looking at me.
“I don’t start until 9am!”
“You are CEO of that branch Lucy. You should be setting an example to the other staff”
I could not believe what I was hearing, I had no idea that this was how they felt, I was under the impression that all was going well.
“Why, if I have been under performing to such an extent has nobody said anything to me?”
“I am telling you now. In light of this, we have looked into this further and believe that maybe we were too hasty to give you the promotion that we did. I am sorry to telly this Lucy, but we are going to have to let you go”
My head was spinning, let me go, let me go! Three hours ago I was planning a family holiday with the family, I felt sick.
“Obviously you cannot stay on. We are going to put you on gardening leave. We will pay you your salary tax free for four months and we will also be giving you a one off payment of twenty thousand pounds, and a good reference. This of course is only payable if you go quietly and without any fuss. I am sorry Lucy, I realise that I have bombarded you with a lot of information this morning. Go away and have a think about what I have said to you. Obviously, if you decide not to take our offer, well, we will cross that bridge when, and if we come to it, 0kay?”
My head was swirling.
“I am sorry that it hasn’t worked out, we have had some paperwork drawn up which my secretary will be bringing in for you in a moment.”
With this, the Directors all stood up, the screeching of their chairs on the floor, pounding my head which was struggling to keep up with how fast this had all happened.
“Take care and please look over the paperwork at your earliest convenience. I hate loose ends and well, the sooner we can all move on and draw a line under this, well, the better in my experience”.
With that the Directors all walked out.
I suddenly felt sick, what the hell had just happened?
Natalie, Nick’s PA entered the room with her beaming smile.
“Here is the paperwork Nick asked me to prepare Lucy. Nick asked that you please look over this as soon as you can. Take care and look after yourself. Here, let me get your coat”.