Boss walked to the entrance to my cubicle, standing there in his $2,000 suit, hands on hips, stating I needed to come to his office immediately.
“Just let me finish this e-mail to admin, and I’ll be right there.”
“I guess you don’t understand the word immediately?”
Click, I hit send on the email and stood up to follow him. Down the narrow hall between the row of cubicles and the outside wall of the building we walked, until we reached his corner office.
He sat behind his heavy oak desk and I sat in one of the row of plastic chairs for his underlings. As he was putting a small pile of papers in order, I was looking out of the window at the magnificent view of city center. His phone rang. He looked at it, looked at me, then looked at the phone again and answered it. He jib-jabbed with who I’m guessing was his wife or his mistress for at least 10 minutes, covering important topics such as what was for dinner that night, what items he needed to pick up from the store on the way home, who was going to pick up the dry cleaning the next day, etc. etc. etc. Laughing and joking with his significant other as if he didn’t have a care in the world, I sat there thinking what a pompous ass he was.
Finally he wrapped up the conversation with a series of gushy endearments, a care-free look on his face. Then, he turned to me, face back to that of the narcissistic, condescending supervisor I’d come to know and despise.
“OK, now Lisa, I’m sure you are wondering what all this is about. Oh, would you mind shutting the door?”
Ah, the “shutting of the door”. Clear signal I’m in for a real heart-to-heart teaching moment from the designated overlord of my employment.
I get up and shut the door. As my back is turned to him, my face lights up like a Christmas tree, which is so inappropriate for the sensitivity of Boss, so I take a moment to get my face composed back into the blank, clueless, slightly confused automaton that he is expecting.
“Now don’t worry, hon, no need to worry, OK? You know I always have your back. I was able to convince the [Over Overlords] that you and I would have this little conversation so we could get things straight and nothing needs to go into your permanent file.”
I have my role to play, so I begin to act a little squirmy and anxious. Oh Oh I’m “in trouble”.
“Hon, just hear me out and then we can talk about it, ok?”
Our eyes meet and I can tell he thinks he has me just where he wants me. Anxious, uncertain, afraid.
“Someone who doesn’t want to be known came and told me that you were less than friendly to them when they asked for help the other day. They said you didn’t smile when they told you something funny. They said it took you an hour to answer their email question. Also, another person from another agency said you told a client something that made them seem unprofessional. The [Over Overlords] wanted you written up for it, but I said we could come up with a remedial plan. What I’m proposing is that you and I meet once a week, after everyone else on the floor has gone home, in my office. I’m sure we can figure something out.”
I stand up and he gets a puzzled look on his face.
“Wait now, where do you think you’re going?”
My eyes are bright and piercing as I look down on him in his cushy leather chair. I lay a sheet of paper down and push it over to him, across the desk. It’s a copy of a Personal Protection Order, stating he’s unable to be within 500 feet of me.
“You might want to pack up your things before you leave,” I say flippantly.
I turn around and open the door. Two of the [Over Overlords] are standing there, with two deputies, to escort Boss out of the building.