Young Pup

New to my first “real job” out of college, I have no idea how much there is to learn. I naively assume being on time and doing a good job is the be-all and end-all. Am I wet behind the ears or what?

Myra is queen bee in this office. Her title may be secretary, but she reigns supreme…in the unofficial power structure, that is. It’s imperative to stay on her good side. And I stray on to her bad side…seemingly just by breathing!

(I AM a young pup, you know!) For the sake of peace in the office, not to mention my career, I’ve got to redeem myself. I vacate my chair for her the minute she joins the office coffee klatch. I eat lunch with her. I listen attentively to her stories. Of course, nothing works! And the harder I try, the worse it gets.

April 15 is nearing. Minnesota’s winter may officially be over, but our accounting office is a blizzard of tax returns. And Myra’s snowed with appointments, photocopies etc. She complains bitterly that “no one understands” how difficult her job is!

We’re closed on April 15th, but on April 14th, Myra gets a drop-dead gorgeous floral arrangement. “Myra, you’re the greatest!” proclaims the card accompanying peach roses with the works; ribbon, baby’s breath, leather leaf etc. She lights up like a Christmas tree and immediately calls the florist.

Those roses stay on her desk ’til they’re dead and dried. She takes the entire arrangement home…doesn’t even throw away the dead brown fern. And it’s THE hot topic of the coffee klatch ’til I’m laid off next fall.

She asks her boyfriend, “all her friends” and “all the guys at the office” who sent it. Of course everyone tells her they’d love to take credit, but they can’t. And the florist? Sworn to secrecy!

Myra…it’s been 20 years, but I remain eternally grateful to you for that lesson. At the time, I could only afford $20 for half a dozen roses, and I wish I could have sent you a truckload! Those roses were much cheaper than a college degree and far more valuable than a CPA certificate. You taught me that each one of us really needs concrete acknowledgment that we’re valued and recognition that our efforts are appreciated.

by Ruth Ellen Billion


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