My name is Tracy Reed and I live in Carson, California. Last year I finished my first novel and after doing the first round of edits, the characters had more to say. It turned into four books that I call it the Alex Chronicles. I am a graduate of Oral Roberts University with a BS in Telecommunications. I spent time in corporate America at A&M Records, BMG Records and GCI Group Public Relations as well a few local retail stores. I am single and a proud member of Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles, California where I really learned how to develop my faith. I am partners with my mother in an online store called the Pink Duchess and we sell women’s clothing, accessories, imported fragrance, gifts and vintage couture. Visit Tracy at her website: www.readtracyreed.com and her blog: www.readtracyreed.blogspot.com.
I had been wanting to quit my job for the past year and a half, but the timing was never right. But fortunately, that is no longer an issue. My boss was fired last week, and it seems likely that everyone on her team will be fired as well, leaving me, her assistant, or as she referred to me “The person she was forced to hire,” jobless.
I know God hears me when I pray, and I was trusting Him to show me what to do next. But in the meantime, I put on my favorite black Prada skirt and pumps, black cashmere sweater, and the floral print Hermes scarf my generous but scathing boss gave me for my last birthday, and grabbed my most recent Christmas gift from her, a black leather YSL Muse handbag. I figured mourning attire would be appropriate, since I was on my way to the funeral service for my dead career. I took one last look in the mirror, picked up my keys, and walked out the door, not quite sure how painful today’s meeting with Human Resources would be.
I treated every step of this morning’s walk to work like a funeral procession, absorbing everything in sight and unsure if I would travel down this street again. When I arrived at my office building, I rode the elevator with the rest of the people from my boss’s team, each of us quietly staring at the brass doors, trying not to look at one another. As the doors opened and we exited the elevator to our new futures, we were greeted by Marcy Gibbons, the head of Human Resources.
No greeting. No smile. Just her curt command: “Follow me.” Surely an omen of what was to come. She turned and led the way down the hall. We followed her into the conference room and took seats around the large oval mahogany table, waiting for the official word ending our time with the company. As we fidgeted in our seats, still avoiding eye contact, the door whooshed opened. Mr. Thomas, the head of the company, strode in. This was a first. In all the years I’ve worked here, I have never known him to personally fire anyone. He didn’t even fire my boss. He never lowered himself to deal with such menial tasks; he left those duties to Marcy.
He surveyed the room. “Good morning, everyone. As you know, Christina was let go, and after careful examination of your collective work, I have uncovered some rather interesting information.”
As his voice rumbled around the room, I looked over at Marcy, sitting as still as a statue.
“Marcy and I have come up with a plan to handle this unique situation.”
He cleared his voice and our eyes met. Instead of feeling nervous, I was very calm. Okay, God, hit me with it. I know whatever it is You have planned for me, You have also instilled in me everything I need to do it.
Marcy stood and walked around the table, handing everyone a packet with their names printed on the outside. When she came to me she walked past without giving me anything. Okay, I guess that means as Christina’s assistant I won’t be getting a severance package like every one else. I shifted a little in my seat and placed my hands in my lap. All eyes were on me, but I remained calm.
“Jillian Morgan.” A chill ran up my spine when Mr. Thomas called my name.
“Sir.” When senior level executives are fired, it’s customary to fire their assistants as well. And in extreme situations, their entire team is demoted.
“You worked for Christina for five years, giving you access and insight to every account her team handled. Is that correct?”
“And is it true that among your many duties, you assigned the territories to each manager, developed the team strategies, composed the quarterly reports for upper management, and did the team’s bonus reviews?”
“Yes, sir.” I needed a good review for my next job, so if ever there was a time to toot my own horn, it was now.
His eyes locked on to mine. “Tell me, Jillian, when exactly did you start doing Christina’s job?” Busted. I thought my duties for Christina were a secret. Now I know I’m getting fired . . . and without severance.
“Uhm, I-I . . .” I cleared my throat and looked around the room at all of the people on Christina’s team. They all thought she was a genius, generous, and a dynamic leader. After all, every year the strategies the team had employed worked; they exceeded their goals and got big fat bonuses. “She had me . . . I mean . . . for the past four years.”
“I see.” He nodded his head and looked over at Marcy before continuing. “Come here, please.” I got up and walked over and stood next to him. “I have reviewed every report this team has filed in the past three and a half years and discovered the change in productivity occurred when Jillian arrived. I know you all thought you were being fired, but there’s been a change in plans. No one is being fired.”
A collective sigh resonated around the room.
“However, Jillian, you will no longer be allowed to stay on as an executive assistant.”
No surprise there. My stomach clenched.
“Instead, I am promoting you to Senior Director for this team.”
“Excuse me?” I couldn’t keep my mouth from hanging open as he extended his hand to congratulate me. How had I gone from a lowly assistant to Senior Director? Thank you, God. I shook my head trying to process everything. I looked around the room and everyone was smiling.
“There is nothing wrong with this team. You all work well together. And I believe with Jillian at the helm, you will continue to do even better. Keep up the good work.”
“Thank you, Mr. Thomas. We won’t let you down.” He shook my hand as everyone jumped to their feet and applauded. All I could do was try not to faint.