Edward was as minimalistic as his black coffee. His black suit reflected the flavourless coffee. And Samantha was milk and sugar blends in with the bitter coffee.
Edward sat in his cabin. He looked like a natural born leader, sipping his black coffee. This morning shot of caffeine propelled him into action. He had worked and played very hard to get there.
But somewhere on the road to success, he lost the positivity within. That made him the incorrigible boss – the nightmare residing in every organisation, big or small, irrespective of the country. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? You will find them in any part of the world!
He never took a step to think or even consider how his behaviour affected or hurt the employees. But the good news was, even thought he was incompetent, a life-changing crisis could reform him.
Why? Because he was certainly not incorrigible person, he just acted like one.
He sat browsing through his emails with a stern look on his face.
The door slammed open. Samantha walked in leisurely like milk and sugar when stirred gently into the coffee makes foam. She was not so simple as it sounds. There’s an intricate technique involved in making those foams juggling between the air bubbles in the black coffee that was much like Edward.
Edward looked at his watch, “It’s 9.05 am”
Samantha (casually): “That’s right, sir”
Edward: “I have not hired you to tell me what’s right. It’s your first day and you’re already 5 mins late. As my Personal Assistant, time and daily management is what is expected of you. Not showing up late!”
Samantha frowned as she stood there.
“How ruthless,” she thought. ‘He didn’t even bother to see me limp. Let alone ask about it. Oh that damn auto had to bump into the bus today! Thank God I am alive, but my leg hurts!’
Edward looked at her and said, “What are you standing here for and gaping at me? Get to your workstation and check your mailbox. With the to-do list and training manual you will be up and running.”
Samantha walked out. As she sat on her seat, she looked across. She could see her boss sitting opposite her. The glass partition looked like it was deliberately made so he could peek into her activities.
As his personal assistant, she acted as his first point of contact, dealing with correspondence and phone calls. She managed his diaries and organised meetings and appointments. And even controlled access to her boss.
Edward introduced her to everyone. “From now on, Samantha will be acting as the first point of contact. My new Personal Assistant.”
She heard someone in the crowd saying,”King Edward’s new scapegoat.”
Samantha did her job so well that her boss did not get a chance to demean her, being the incorrigible boss that he was. Yet, he would to get his way out.
On the one hand, she was organised and put-together. On the other, she loved to cut loose and get a little messy. Each day, she would find herself trying to strike the perfect balance between the logical and creative sides of her brain. And each day, she was ready to have a fun-filled yet a productive day.
Unlike her, Edward was as minimalistic as his black coffee. His black suit pretty much reflected the flavourless coffee. Serious, pragmatic and prone to mood swings, was him in a nutshell. Very straightforward, rather brutally blunt.
Much like his bitter coffee, he would look at her with those merciless eyes. She would strut down his cabin in confidence, just like milk and sugar blends in with the bitter coffee. She was like a brilliant concoction, perking him up and tickling his taste buds.
And one day, she heard Edward passing by someone’s desk and saying, “Remove that double space between those words and that apostrophe else go back to school, jackass.”
“What an overbearing style!” Samantha exclaimed.
Edward heard that, but did not react.
He went into his cabin where he thought a lot and then called Samantha in.
Edward: “Why did you call me overbearing? You’re not here to call me names.”
Samantha: “Well! You’re not here to label me or anyone with names like stupid, idiot and jackass.”
Edward (feeling insulted): “If you have an issue, why don’t you speak up?”
That’s when an employee knocked and came in. He needed to speak to Edward urgently over some issue. But Edward waved at him in a very discouraging manner and shooed him away.
Samantha: “Look at what you just did. And you say I should speak up? Is this the open door policy that the organisation brags about?”
Edward (feeling cornered): “If you are so unhappy with your job, please leave.”
Samantha: “No wonder so many employees have left and I am the scapegoat”
Edward: “You’ll be the next”.
Samantha: “You didn’t get what I am saying, didn’t you? Employees have not left this organisation. They have left you.”
There was silence.
Now this was something for Edward to ponder on. Nobody had ever spoken to him like that before. He slowly figured out how his behavior was derailing careers.
She continued, “Imagine how painful it is for an employee when you keep peering over their shoulder for yet another update on the task. This makes them finish their project in a mad dash.”
Not sure about the employees, but Edward looked pained now.
Samantha: “Not to forget your favourite pastime of publicly speaking to an employee and reminding him or her that they are working under you. That kind of an overly harsh feedback is so deconstructive. The fault-finder in you is so insensitive. You don’t even wear a smile and you talk about having happy employees around. If you want me to leave, so be it. You’re just breaking what you built.”
And with that, Samantha left.
The next day Edward sat in his cabin. There was so much to do. Samantha used to handle everything so well, he thought. Never did he appreciate her. Moreover, if he found her laughing or joking around, he would criticise her for being so social.
He missed the laughter and the jokes Samantha would crack amidst all the work that she did. Although he never laughed at them, it was a stress buster for him.
Work was in total chaos today for him. Samantha used to align everything for him so well. He felt like his right hand was missing and regretted letting her go.
As he stirred his black coffee, he mixed milk and sugar in it causing a stiff quiff of foam on the surface and totally converting its strata of colour. He sipped it. There was a dramatic change in the taste of his coffee. Much sweeter and flavoured. That was so symbolic he thought.
Today, work felt like scaling a mountain. Samantha had a great impact on his work, just like the milk and sugar in his coffee. With his take-charge attitude, he didn’t have time for pettiness or drama. He called up Samantha and asked her to join back.
The next day, Samantha sat at her workstation. She looked through the glass partition. Edward sat smiling at her.
‘What a transformation,’ she muttered and smiled back. He made a sign to check her mailbox.
She opened her mailbox. There was an email from Edward which read:
“Welcome back Samantha. We are happy to have you. Your work and attitude is commendable. Need many more like you with us. You know why? Because, coffee never knew it would taste so nice and sweet, until it met milk and sugar. You’re the right one to blend with!”
Picture credits: Still from web series Adutling
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