In Response to the Blog Propellant Photo Prompt: Picture Prompt #15: Under/Over Water
It was her first day in nearly a year, that’s how long she had search for a job. Hundreds of interviews were going nowhere, she felt it was time to give up looking and instead go with a temp agency who can at least find her work to show she’s been doing something, anything to pay the bills.
Her heart pound, thinking, “maybe if they like me, I can get on full-time here.” It’s a start. She pinned on her contractor badge. “I wish I had gotten my haircut before they took this picture.” The grainy black and white was more hair than face, but who cares, so small no one was really going to see it but her.
Up to her cube. Her cube, one among many. Larger than many she’s seen but nonetheless, still 4 partial walls with a u-shaped workspace, a few drawers and a small vertical cabinet meant for hanging jackets. Sigh, bleak and oatmeal/grey colored, the entire floor.
“If I can just stay long enough,” she thought, “I’ll bring in some flowers or a plant.” Something, anything to bring some life to this floor. She looked around, others had silk flowers, pictures, assorted conference show tchotchkes.
Starting to flip through the hand book left for her to read, there it was. “This is a green building” It was built with recycled materials. A little further on down the page, her heart sank. “We do not allow flowers or plants to be left in the building over night.” What?!
This is crazy. I thought this was a green building “Psssst,” she whispered to another cube dweller, “why can’t we have flowers?”
The woman behind her, a tall, elegant black woman looked at her and rolled her eyes. “oh yeah, they just don’t want anyone to leave dead flowers on their desks and plants attract bugs. If you get flowers sent here, you have to take them home at the end of the day. Oh and absolutely no balloons. Balloons mess up the sprinkler system.”
Okay, this made some sense, but really? they are afraid of a few gnats and an unslightly flower that is past its prime? So much for being green. Her heart sank a little deeper about her chances of finding a home here.
After finishing the manual, her new manager called her into a quick chat. “You need to get me from my meetings for the next one. I missed my meeting with Bob! Didn’t you know? Also, I told you to print these pages and well, you just need to pay more attention to detail….look.”
She studied the pages. Looked fine to her.,,,,what was the problem?
“I’m sorry, I’ll be more careful next time.”
After that day, everyday in the office was pretty much like the last one, minor infractions responded, changing rules, all responded to with the all too oftern repeated phrase, “I’m sorry, I’ll be more careful next time.” It became her mantra.
She felt like she was treading water, suffocating. Truly, not much of a life, spent underwater, feeling the pressure that any day might be her last. Everyday she walked in saying to herself, “This is the day they fire me. This is the day I hear from my staffing company saying, ‘Don’t bother going back tomorrow.’.”
One day, she confided in another woman, a full time employee of 3 years with the company who has the same type of work and started off as a contractor, “I think every day here is my last.”
Her response, “Me too.”