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Story listed as: Fiction For Adults | Theme: Survival / Success | Subject: Revenge | Published here : 01/11/2018
The New Office Manager 
By Annie Cooper
Born 1956, F, from Manchester, United Kingdom
The New Office Manager
Amelia hardly recognized the woman looking at her. Her mousey-brown waves that had grown uncontrollably for too long were now neatly cut short and given an overall tint of natural golden blonde. Her carefully applied make up was just enough to accentuate her high cheek bones and at the same time added a touch of daytime glamour. She smiled at the slightly familiar woman, then using the same mirror; she inserted her new earrings to complete the look.
“Looking good Amelia” she told her reflection.
“You’re not kidding!” Jenny exclaimed from the doorway. Amelia jumped; she had not heard her daughter coming into the room.
“You frightened me” she replied.
“I think it’s you that’s going to be frightening people today mum.”
“That’s not my intention” Amelia wagged her finger in mock-reproach.
“Come on mum, not even one person?” Jenny asked mischievously.
Amelia shook her head smiling at her spirited young daughter. Sometimes Amelia wondered how she had produced such a sensible daughter; at the same age, Amelia was already pregnant and rushing into a doomed marriage. Jenny, however, had her whole future mapped out. In just a few short weeks she would be starting her law degree at University; the first step in her journey towards becoming a barrister and her dogged determination would definitely get her there.

Having put her own career plans and university degree on hold when she became pregnant with Jenny, Amelia had spent the past four years catching up. A first class honours degree later, plus a master’s in business management, she was about to start a new job at Dawes and Co., a large manufacturing company. Amelia was nervous but was trying her best not to show it. She wanted to walk into her new position holding her head high and full of confidence. The journey to her new job gave her time to reflect. She smiled as she recalled the countless boring jobs she had taken up to firstly fit around Jenny and then eventually to fit around her studies also. The last one had been the worst. The job itself was fine, she was a canteen assistant from midday until 3pm and then she joined the office cleaners for a further three hours, emptying bins, vacuuming, dusting and general cleaning duties. Amelia loved the canteen and cleaning staff; they were a great bunch, always game for a good old giggle but never at the expense of the job. They took pride in their work, sometimes doing more than was expected. Maud, the supervisor once took all the blinds from the boardroom windows and washed them at home and at her own expense. They had yellowed with age and grime from traffic outside but when Maud put them back up again everyone was amazed at their brightness. Some of the office staff even commented on the new blinds!

However, there were a few members of the office who were not so impressed by any of the cleaners’ efforts to keep the place spick and span; Brenda the receptionist in particular. Brenda could be very cutting towards anyone she deemed lower in status to her and her usual targets were the cleaners and the canteen staff. There was always something not quite right.
“The bread is not fresh”, “the mayonnaise tastes off”, “the coffee tastes disgusting” were just some of her frequent derisory comments. Most of the time her victims would laugh it off and then have great fun mimicking her pinched features and high pitched voice. New staff was always an easy target for the fractious Brenda and some had left the job because of her constant ridicule. Amelia had also suffered the scorn of Brenda and on more than one occasion. Just before leaving her little job Amelia was the source of Brenda’s derision once again, which involved some very loud and disparaging remarks regards Amelia’s intelligence. Having overheard John in HR congratulating Amelia on passing some kind of exam, Brenda enquired in her usual high-pitched voice, “What’s this then? Passed her GCSE in charring has she?” Just as John was about to reproach Brenda, Amelia shook her head, mouthing “just leave it John, not worth it” as Brenda sauntered arrogantly away, sniggering to herself. Amelia had kept her studies a secret from most of the other staff, but because John was HR she had to explain absences to him for exams.

Thankfully that was one of the last times that Amelia was subjected to Brenda’s ridicule and here she was, on her way to her new job; a little nervous but really excited to be starting anew, doing something that she had worked hard for over the last few years. She arrived at Dawes & Co and remembering what she had been told, she entered the building through the back taking the staff lift up to the 3rd floor and made her way along the corridor to her new office. The Managing director was waiting for her and he gave her a big smile and warm hand shake, welcoming her on board. After a short briefing he suggested that she was now taken on a tour of the building so she could be introduced to the staff. “Someone from HR will accompany you” he told her, “let’s keep it professional eh?” he added.
Amelia nodded in agreement.

Her introduction raised a few eyebrows in parts of the building; Amelia assumed that some of the staff members were expecting a male business manager. Her quick tour ended at reception. The receptionist was sitting with her back to them holding a conversation with someone else in the office behind. Amelia’s guide made a coughing sound to attract the receptionist’s attention.
“May I introduce our new business manager” he said to the red faced woman, “This is…”
"That’s ok” Amelia cut in, “Brenda and I have already met” she added, grinning widely.
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