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My heart pounded with anticipation. Excitement, nervousness and pride built with every step as I walked through the gold-trimmed plate-glass doors of the West Coast offices of Jacoby, Anderson and Cartwright. I was now the newest employee of this corporate giant. It was the opportunity I had prepared for. It was the break I had dreamed of. I somehow knew that walking through these doors today would change my life, but I had no idea by how much and how quickly.
“46 please,” I said confidently as I stepped into the crowded mirror-walled elevator with employees hurrying to get to their cubicles on time. Most were already busy at work, checking calendars and emails on their smart phones. After several stops, the doors opened with the sound of a chime marking the arrival of my floor and the first day of the rest of my life. I took a deep breath and stepped out.
I walked down the long plush hallway past several executive offices with lavish mahogany furniture and large windows overlooking spectacular views of the city. Secretaries in front of each office looked as if they had been chosen from New York modeling agencies, each already busy with their urgent morning routines. Most smiled back, some with winks as I offered polite “good mornings.” I couldn’t help thinking that I’m going to like it here.
The beauty of the serene lavish professional surroundings was interrupted by the sound of a man yelling as I moved closer to the office of my new boss, Sylvia Hernandez. I heard a door slam and the yelling stopped. I turned the corner at the end of the long hallway. I saw a short balding man stomp his way in the opposite direction, duck into an office two doors down and slam the door. I stopped at my boss’ door and double-checked the nameplate: “Sylvia Hernandez.” Ms. Hernandez was well known inside and outside the company for her innovative work. I took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
“Come in,” came the voice on the other side.
I opened the door and stepped in.
“Hi Carl. Welcome aboard,” she said. Her smile and welcome were genuine as she stood, stepped out from behind her desk to shake my hand. She was professional, but it was also apparent she was shaken and had been crying. Her veiled attempts to hide it were unsuccessful.
“Thank you Ms. Hernandez. Thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to getting started.” After a brief pause, I dared to ask, “Is everything OK?”
“Close the door please,” she asked as she returned to her chair behind her desk.
I closed the door, and pointing to the chair next to her desk asked, “may I?”
“Yes, of course,” she said. “I’m sorry,” she offered, “its been a bad morning, but I don’t want that to take away from your first day.”
“Not at all,” I answered. “Anything I can do to help.”
“Thank you for asking. It’s nothing you can do,” she said.
“I’d like to if I can,” I said reassuringly. “When you hired me you said you needed a right hand person to help handle the growing enormity of this division. You wanted open communication and absolute trust as necessary to take this to the next level. This sounds like the perfect time to set that bar. You can trust me, Ms. Hernandez. I am here to make your life better.”
“You’re right,” she said, with her confident voice uncharacteristically cracking with emotion. “Sometimes it’s hard to trust. I do need someone I can trust completely here Carl. You so much as think about breaking confidence, you’re gone. I hired you, because I believe great things can happen.”
The brief pregnant pause turned magical as our eyes locked with a bond of trust. We both made decisions in that moment that whatever was ahead, we would face it as committed colleagues, if not more.
“You can trust me,” I said breaking the silence with a confident tender tone.
She looked up and down at me, assessing the moment. She saw her new six two, 28-year-old blond, rugged athletic assistant staring back at her with honest translucent blue eyes. “You look older than 28,” she said, changing the subject. “More like 35.”
“I do a lot of outdoor extreme sports and have had some tough life experiences,” I answered back. “You look younger than 32,” I complimented back. The truth was Ms. Hernandez looked like she couldn’t be more than 26. She had large brown eyes, flowing black hair that fell down past her shoulders, and beautiful olive Latin skin. She was a tall slender 5’8″ dressed professionally in a red suit coat, starched white blouse and matching red skirt that fell to just above her knees. Her suit coat was open, with her button blouse exposed at the top, to show off her large round 36D distractions. Her long bare legs poured into bright fire engine red two-inch stilettos. It was clear Sylvia knew how to dress with the highest professionalism while at the same time, to command attention. Sylvia had my utmost professional respect, and whether right or wrong, had my admiration for her beauty. I came to a fleeting conclusion she probably knew how to command a boardroom and a kurtköy escort bedroom. My imagination couldn’t resist running into both.
“You know how to score points early,” she said, allowing a small vulnerable smile to break through for the first time in the conversation. “OK, all cards on the table from this point on in our working relationship. Complete trust, no secrets, no blindsides.”
“There is no other way I would rather have it. Hiring me is the best decision you will make for you and this company, Ms. Hernandez,” I said confidently. “You can count on me.”
“OK, then,” she said with some relief. “This day is already turning around. Here is the deal Carl, JAC is a great company to work for. You will find people here to be hard working, committed, friendly, and cooperative like a strong team. The same is expected of you.”
“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to work here, and for you,” I answered.
“One exception in my experience here is my boss, Clyde Claud. We were both hired into this division seven years ago and have been making our way through the company. Last year a job opened up that we both competed for. For whatever reason, and I have my suspicions, he was selected, and became my boss. He is an arrogant, selfish, chauvinist who tries to use his power to take advantage of others.”
“You sound bitter.”
“Not about the job. I’m all good with corporate competition where the best man or woman wins. What I can’t stand is his constant inappropriate sexual advances. He has been hitting on me since day one. Relentless. He can’t take no for an answer. His advances are completely inappropriate and degrading. For the last year he has ratcheted it up, harassing me, trying to use his power to force sexual favors. He’s done it with others. Some have given in, only to see he has no intention to use his influence to help them, only to help himself to them. He brashly asks why he would promote people out of positions where he has sexual access to them. There are even rumors he has videos he uses to blackmail women to keep them serving him, and from blowing the whistle.”
“That’s awful,” I said incensed.
“He routinely puts me in situations where if I do not oblige to his advances, he says he will give me poor reviews to his supervisors to make sure I am never promoted again. I have no doubt he would and does. I refuse to give in to him.”
“What he’s doing is so wrong on many different levels,” I said sympathetically. “I have dealt with jerks like that. Is that what happened this morning?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “More brashly than ever. I think he’s threatened by my recent success in this division, spoiling his attempts to sabotage my advancement. I’m not worried, because I will never give into him, but his behavior is humiliating.”
“Well, I’ve got your back now.”
“Look Carl, this isn’t your fight…”
“Yes it is, Ms. Hernandez. With all due respect, if it is your fight, it is mine. Plus, I have no patience for jerks like that. I’ll find a way take care of it.”
I could tell Ms. Hernandez felt some relief and admiration for my boldness on her behalf.
“I think I might like having you around Carl,” she said with an admiring smile. She relaxed back into her chair and looked up and down my physique again. “I don’t know how you would do it, but if you find a way to,” (putting her fingers up as parenthesis) “‘take care of it,'” there would be benefits for you in this job that go far beyond anything our personnel manual can offer.” She smiled with conviction and promise while crossing her legs in an almost seductive way.
Her words painted the room with a magical intensity.
“I didn’t know there were benefits available outside of policy?” I innocently asked, pushing for clarity.
“There are always benefits in any deal beyond the obvious, Carl,” she answered as a mentor and with daring promise. “You will learn that.”
Not afraid to miss an opportunity on my first day, I asked, “and, with this?”
“He has been the bane of my existence here for seven years, and I have yet to find a way to exterminate him. You find a way to rid this annoyance, and I will do anything you ask – within my power, of course.”
“There’s a lot of energy in that promise, Ms. Hernandez.”
“Yes there is, and you can take it to the bank Carl. As for me, you name it, and if it is in my personal power to deliver, I will not hesitate.” Sylvia uncrossed her legs and leaned forward to make her point. “Anything.” Sylvia’s meaning included an unapologetic sexual innuendo. “For that matter, I know I’m not alone. Every woman on this floor would be grateful. And please Carl, when meeting privately, call me Sylvia.”
“Ok,” I said surprised by her resolve. “Jerks like this are a blight to men everywhere. I would gladly find a way to take care of it without this promise. With that said, your promise makes me wonder what exactly ‘anything’ means.”
Sylvia locked her eyes onto mine with steely confident assertion. maltepe escort “If it is within my power Carl,” offering an inviting smile, “the only limit to ‘anything’ is your imagination.”
She delivered a bold unwavering promise, a bold unwavering invitation.
“Enough of that.” Sylvia turned her chair and swung her long legs back under her desk. “Let’s get to work on something we can get done.” She picked up a folder filled with projects in anticipation of my first day. “Let me bring you up to speed on the most pressing work I need you to give attention to.
“Sounds good,” I said.
Sylvia had just begun to orient me to the most urgent work when a brash voice interrupted through the phone intercom system. I recognized it as the same voice that was yelling as I came in.
“Hernandez, I’m still waiting for that report. Where the hell is it?”
“Ah, I…” Sylvia began to respond, but was interrupted.
“I don’t have all day Chica. Either deliver the report on my desk immediately, or get on your knees under it and make yourself really useful. If I don’t get one or the other, your days are numbered.”
Sylvia’s face turned red with embarrassment. It is one thing to take this abuse alone, it’s another being humiliated in front of a new employee. Her eyes welled up with tears. She was speechless.
Claud knew his verbal assault through the intercom was landing as direct hits. Sylvia’s silence shouted uncharacteristic feelings of vulnerability. He launched another attack. “The option is yours. Either move your Latin ass and deliver the report, or come bend it over my desk, otherwise I will find a way to fire it by the end of the week.” Sylvia squirmed behind her desk.
My mind raced in shock at the exploitation I was hearing. Anger flowed through my veins. I quickly grabbed a pen from her desk and scribbled a note on the back of the paper I was holding: “Tell him to come and get it.”
Sylvia read it and shook her head “no,” mouthing the word with her lips.
I looked her in her big brown eyes and whispered back. “Do you trust me or not? Tell him to come and get it.”
Flustered, desperate and at a loss for words, Sylvia sheepishly answered, “Come and get it.”
“What?!” he yelled back. “What did you say?”
I gave her a reassuring look and mouthed the words: “Come and get it.”
“Come and get it,” she offered with a stronger voice. “If you want it, come and get it.”
“If I come back down there,” he yelled back, “the report is the least of what I getting from you, or you are history.”
Sylvia looked concerned. I reached over and pushed the speaker button to hang up on the conversation.
“You hung up on him!” she said with surprised fear in her voice. “No one does that to Claud. He is going to going to be livid and unleash his venom.”
A plan began to form in my mind. “It’s OK Sylvia. I’ve got this.”
The door to her office immediately flew open without a knock. The small man bolted through with a tirade of explicatives. Sylvia and I both immediately stood up out of natural reaction. He paused when he saw me. “Get rid of this loser. Break is over. You and I have personal business to attend to.
I took control by calmly putting my hand out for a handshake. “I’m sorry, I don’t think we have properly met,” I offered in a calm voice.
“Get lost,” he said. “I’m sure you have somewhere else you are supposed to be. I have a meeting with my employee.”
“My name is Scott Anderson,” I said, retaining my calm voice. Sylvia’s eyes opened wide, and cocked her head inquisitively. I could see the wheels of her mind turning, with her eyes desperately asking, “What are you doing? Your name isn’t Scott Anderson?”
“I don’t care who the hell you are,” Claud said continuing his rant. “I told you to beat it. Why are you are still here? Now get the hell…”
I boldly dared to interrupt his little tantrum. “Scott Anderson, Chief Operating Officer of Jacoby, Anderson and Cartwright. I flew in from the corporate office in Chicago this morning to check on operations here. I especially wanted to meet Ms. Hernandez to personally discuss her excellent work and recent successes. And your name is?”
I had taken the risk that Claud had never met the company’s executive officers. His face went sheet-white and his jaw dropped in shock. It was obvious he hadn’t. “Claud,” he whimpered. “Clyde Claud. I, I’m Ms. Hernandez supervisor.”
“Well, Mr. Claud, you don’t have a meeting with Ms. Hernandez here. I have a meeting with you in your office, right now.”
“Ye, yes sir,” he said. “Right this way.” Claud slithered out of Sylvia’s office in a way she had never seen him. I followed him out the door, looking back only to briefly offer a smile and a wink to Sylvia. She stood stunned and speechless.
Claud slunk behind his desk. I closed the door to his office behind me.
“Mr. Anderson, I can explain…” he began to stammer.
I put my hand up authoritatively. pendik escort “You have done enough talking Mr. Claud. How long have you worked for our company?” I asked assertively.
“Seven years, sir.”
“Seven years. Have you read our personnel and management manuals Mr. Claud?”
“Yes sir, I have,” he quickly responded.
The content of the manuals were fresh in my mind having read them in preparation for my first day. I continued with my charade. “I wrote those manuals, Mr. Claud. I spared no effort to communicate the culture that defines this fine company. I took great care particularly regarding the respect we afford all people inside and outside our firm. Does any of that sound familiar to you Mr. Claud?”
“Yes sir,” he offered sheepishly. “And I…”
“Have arrogantly treated your finest employee in exactly the opposite manner, unleashing a tirade of sexual harassment at a level I have never heard in all my corporate experience.”
Claud was silenced.
“I have zero tolerance for this kind of outright harassment and disrespect, even when it comes from someone trying to overcompensate for their size — and I imagine that to be true in every measurement of you as a man, Mr. Claud.”
Claud wanted to climb under a rock.
“From your tirade over the intercom to Ms. Hernandez, I gather you like to give your employees options. Because I had a good flight in this morning, and am by nature a kind and generous man, Mr. Claud, not like yourself, I want to offer you two choices. Your first choice is to be fired immediately. I have already called corporate security and they are on their way to secure your office, box up your personal possessions and ship them to you.
“What is my second option,” he said almost in tears.
“Your second option is generous, Mr. Claud. I will allow you ten minutes to accomplish three tasks. The first is to write a brief, succinct letter of resignation to the company, effectively immediately. You are to recommend Ms. Hernandez as the obvious choice to succeed you in this position due to her outstanding work and success for the company. The second task is to write a letter of apology to Ms. Hernandez for the sexual harassment you have assaulted her and others in this company throughout the seven years of your employment. You will indicate it was completely inappropriate and should not be allowed to work for this company again. I will ensure Ms. Hernandez will keep this letter private, unless you ever attempt to be hired by or take any action against this company. On the upside, if you choose this option, then my official position will be that you and I have never had this conversation nor have I witnessed your heinous actions today. Your supervisors will not know of it, allowing for you to access them as references for your future employment searches.
“What then is my third task?”
“Whatever remaining time you have after writing these two letters, Mr. Claud, you will have to collect your personal possessions and leave the building.”
Clyde swallowed deeply.
“What is your choice, Mr. Claud?” I asked firmly. “Any delay in an answer will result in your immediate firing.”
“The second option,” Clyde said, visibly shaken.
“You have ten minutes, Mr. Claud. Starting now. Not a second more.”
Claud immediately began pecking his keyboard to craft a simple letter of resignation. His strong recommendation in the letter for Ms. Hernandez to succeed him was laced with flowery compliments. Tears began to flow down his cheeks. Within two minutes the letter poured out of the printer adjacent to his desk. I handed him a pen. “Sign it.” He slid the signed letter across his desk toward me. He immediately went to work crafting a letter of remorse outlining his flagrant sexual harassment unleashed on Sylvia and other women throughout the office. He acknowledged the unethical inappropriateness of his actions and politely closed the letter by wishing her the best in her career. Again, the printer hummed with accomplishment. He signed the letter without being asked.
“You have four minutes to clear your personal belongings Mr. Claud. Please don’t feel any need to take all that time.”
Claud quickly emptied his personal belongings into his briefcase and walked toward the door.
“May I have your keys and identification access card please?”
Claud reached into his pockets and handed me the items in defeat.
“Now, Mr. Claud, for your sake and for the possibility of future references by your supervisors, we have never had this conversation. Your supervisors will only know that you chose to resign for your own reasons, according to your letter. If you ever attempt to step foot on company property or speak of this conversation, I will launch the fiercest of legal assaults for sexual harassment that will crush you. I promise you it will not only lead to huge damages that will bankrupt you and your family, but will bring criminal charges that will land you in prison – where the practices of sexual harassment have been perfected by fellow inmates. Do we have an understanding, Mr. Claud?”
“Yes, Mr. Anderson. I’m, I’m so sorry. Please communicate my genuine regret to Ms. Hernandez.” Clyde Claud walked out of the offices of Jacoby, Anderson and Cartwright for the last time, and never looked back.
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