Jul 18, 2012

Dear diary …the company director

Thursday the fourth day, and I am still scribbling notes in my diary every night. So far the week has been very interesting. Today, however is a big day for the company where I work on Thursdays as they have a launch every week and my duties will range anywhere from cleaning the toilets to helping with the catering to picking up burgers at The Frying Ban. The company director makes his appearance on Thursdays and everyone is subdued and on their best behavior.

The company director is a tall, refined looking man in his forties who looks older than his age. On Thursdays he is there to see that everything is working as it should, speaks to the staff, recommends new additions, promotes those who deserve it, and also has the ability to fire you on the spot. A lot of stories have been told about Jim Lewis Baker, and I have listened to them all. Why a man in such a high position would want to waste his time treating me with disdain or being curt or having nothing pleasant to say to me, I don’t know.

The previous Thursday when he’d come to the office he told the staff manager to tell me that he did not want to see me in jeans and sandals; he had an office, not a barn. I was so surprised, and a little hurt. I was a housemaid helping out with cleaning. What did I do to him that he should be so nasty? And why not tell me himself. After all, who is he? I took to avoiding him and kept looking at my watch to see what time it was. If he was in the conference room, I was packing boxes in the mail room. I hated going out in the cold, but to avoid running into him at the office, I even asked the staff manager if she wanted me to pick up anything for the launch. No, she said. It was all going well. “And thank you, Annie; you’re such a help.”

As rotten luck would have it, someone dropped the platter with the corned beef on rye with mustard sandwiches and it went crashing to the floor, corned beef and bread spilling all over the place. Jim Lewis Baker came silently forward, like a ghost appearing out of the dark. He stood at my heels looking down at the floor where the carpet was stained with mustard and pastrami. I was already reaching for the paper serviettes to wipe it up.
“Well, don’t just stand there,” he said.
“I’m not standing; I’m cleaning it up, sir.”
“My word,” he said. “Do we pay you a salary? Do you know who I am? I’m the person who pays you.”
“And I’m the person who makes your tea and cleans up after you,” I said quietly.
The room went silent. I glanced at the staff manager who had hired me. I felt bad that I had disappointed her.
“What is your name?” he asked.
“Annie,” I said, and pointed my finger at the little badge I wore on the front of my apron which listed my company name, Annie’s Cleaning.
He turned his head and told his staff manager to come with him. They went into the small office at the entrance where they received new clients. A few moments later they came out. I had packed up my cleaning materials and got ready to leave. The staff manager came up to me and said that Mr Baker wanted to see me. I was angry and hurt but went in nevertheless. I sat down, and waited. After some moments he spoke. “Annie. It’s a nice English name. Do you want a job, Annie? I’m going to need someone soon for my new offices, also here in Chelsea. It won’t be a cleaning job. I want a personal assistant, someone like you. No jeans, no sandals. Interested?”


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