When you care just enough . . .

The wood veneer on the countertop represented of the business where he had worked for nearly 20 years. Showing a veneer of authenticity while consisting of nothing but falsehoods underneath. More than a few times Andrew wondered how he could stage a freak fire to burn the whole place down. Some people fantasize about traveling to far off places, doing great things, or maybe cheating on a spouse. Not Andrew. Andrew wanted to erase his workplace from existence.

Thanks to nepotism his new boss was also the original owner’s daughter, Harriet. Whenever she spoke, her words were like the sound of a dental drill in his ears. “Why don’t you post some of those new photos on our Instagram and delete the old ones.”

 Andrew replied, “Why would I delete the old ones? It’s Instagram—”

 “Because they’re old and because I told you to,” came the reply.

Andrew had been working there long enough to know how to pick his battles. For a split second he thought about explaining that wasn’t how Instagram worked, but then decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

“Sounds good. I’ll get right on it,” he said, deciding on the path of least resistance.

Andrew was hired to be a retail manager for the company years ago. Over time, the company added responsibilities to his plate without adding dollars to his paycheck. He did them willingly at first, thinking it would result in a promotion. Instead, it just became clear he had been used as “cheap labor.”

But Harriet wasn’t done just yet. “Also, while you’re on there, do something about us getting higher on Google. We aren’t on top, Andrew. We aren’t even on the first page.”

Andrew’s jaw clenched and his temperature climbed as he struggled to keep his composure. “I’m sorry. I don’t know how to get our page higher than it is right now. I’ve done everything I know how to do.”

Harriet chuckled and her voice raised a notch. “Well I don’t know how to either, so I need you to look it up and fix it. You’re smart; you can figure it out.”

“No,” Andrew said, not taking the bait.

“No? What do you mean, no?” she said as she raised her hand out over his laptop, palm down. “That’s your job. I say it, you do it.”

Andrew slapped the screen of his laptop down, missing her hand by centimeters. “That isn’t my job!” he said, rising to his feet. “My job isn’t to do what you say, Harriet. My job is to run this store, buy for this store, and sell for this store.”

Harriet blinked a few times, as if to understand Andrew’s sudden outburst, then responded, “You’ll do it if you want to keep your job, Andrew!”

He took a deep breath, his six-foot frame towering over her five-foot nothing figure and in a calm voice replied, “And what if I don’t want to keep this job?”

Harriet’s eyes grew wide and her mouth opened though no words came out.
 
“If you’ll excuse me, I have pictures to delete off your Instagram,” Andrew said as he resumed his seat and opened his laptop.