The entire Office Duties series in one complete package!
Samantha Olsen aims higher on the corporate ladder when she takes on the job as one of the many assistants to the board. What she doesn’t know is the head of the board has his eyes on her for more than just a promotion.
“So is this your first day?”
The question was addressed to a young woman about twenty-five years old in a blue blouse and simple black, knee-length skirt. She had dark brown hair and an unusual set of hazel eyes. Her plain name was Samantha Olsen, resident a small town a few years back and trying to make her way in the big city. She smiled in answer to the question and shook her head.
“No, I was working in the copy room before I got this job.”
The woman who asked the question, her direct supervisor, jerked to a stop as she was leading Samantha through the cubicle corridors. The older woman turned to her with a raised eyebrow.
“How did you get promoted so quickly?” Going from errand girl to assistant to the board members was a little quick, and she hadn’t been told the girl was going to be that inexperienced. The woman would have to have a chat with HR to see how they chose this girl.
“I just applied for the job and got an interview.
They called me back and said I got the job.” Samantha didn’t really know how she managed to claw her way to the top of the interview pile to being with but she wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. All she knew was she had to do the best she could to keep the job because the pay was too great to miss out on. She’d be able to get a better apartment now
“Interesting.” She didn’t sound interested. Mrs. Vanessa Winkle was never impressed by anyone who’s name wasn’t fixed on some fancy door leading to a high-priced office. She’d been at the job of secretary manager for too long to be impressed by any new girl.
The two women walked down a long hall full of silver, sterilized cubicles. The company they worked for was housed in a twenty story office building newly renovated for a more spacious design. The workers, trapped in their squares, would have begged to differ about the space but the bathrooms had been overhauled and they now had a break room. It was separate from the higher end lounge offered to the high position staff, but it was still better than the water cooler they’d had before. There were three halls separating two rows of cubicles. The outer walls of the building were lined with offices for the managers, stairwells, elevators and storage rooms, along with the aforementioned break and bathrooms.
The pair stopped in front of a cubicle placed a few spots down from where the hallway turned the corner to head toward the elevators. The newly promoted employee looked down the row of doors along the wall with their name plates and shuttered windows. It was intimidating being so close to so many of the big names in the company.
“This will be your space, Miss Olsen.”
“Please, call me Sam. All my friends do.” Samantha didn’t really roll off the tongue all too well.
“As I was saying, this is your space, Miss Olsen.” There was a distinct warning in Mrs. Winkle’s tone. She was all business with those beneath her. “Please refrain from idle chit chat with your coworkers.” Sam noticed the other woman’s eyes darted to the cubicle next to hers. Mrs. Winkle then pointed at her desk and the short cabinet which was used to support it. “There is a pager in the top drawer. Be warned the board may call on you at any time for dictation, scheduling, or even a cup of coffee. You are to be prompt and ready to assist them by any means necessary.”
“Yes, Mrs. Winkle.” For someone who looked only about forty, she acted like she was sixty.
“Do you have any questions?” She was daring Sam to ask. Any stupid questions or ones she deemed inappropriate would be dealt with through harsh and demeaning answers.
“No, I think I got it.” Sam slid down into her chair and smiled for her new boss. She didn’t really know what to do but she didn’t want this woman helping her. It would be as torturous as listening to nails on a chalkboard.
“Good. If you will excuse me I’ll leave you to find your way.”
Sam was both relieved and frightened at the prospect of being left alone. She wasn’t sure what her first task was and the desk was a blank slate. There was only a computer tower, monitor, printer and a chair. There wasn’t even a welcome balloon or a card. Sam managed to get her computer on and find that the desktop was as clean as her desk top. She searched for any clues to start her new job in the file and email folders, such as a list of tasks or emailed instructions, but both were bare. Just as she was about to stand and get Mrs. Winkle’s attention, there was an almost imperceptible whisper from the next cubicle.
“Is she gone?” Sam stood and looked over into the next cubicle. The occupant was another woman a few years older than her with red hair and a mischievous twinkle in her eye. She was crawling out from beneath her desk. Sam could see why she’d been hiding. The stranger was wearing a wrinkled Hawaiian shirt with khaki pants that didn’t match and sandals that showed off her hot pink-painted toenails. She looked like the last person anyone would find in an office building as posh as this one.
“Is who gone?” Sam couldn’t get passed how outrageous the woman looked.
“The old hag. You know, the one you were just talking to.”
“Oh, well, yeah, I think so.” Sam stuck her head out her cubicle entrance and looked both ways down the hall just to make sure. “Yep, she’s gone.
“Good, she hasn’t seen my new outfit yet.” The woman stood up and brushed off her dirty shirt. She stood on her tiptoes and gave Sam the once over. “So you must be the new girl, eh?”
“I guess I am.” She wasn’t that new, she’d been in the copy room for almost two years.
“You look a lot better than the last one she hired.” She looked at Sam’s hands. “And no hubby this time. You got a boyfriend?”
“Not right now, but who was supposed to hire me? Mrs. Winkle?” Her new acquaintance nodded, and Sam was puzzled. “That’s funny, she didn’t hire me.”
“She didn’t?” The woman frowned and she sat back down in her polka dotted-covered chair. She’d made her cubicle her own home-away-from-home with posters, calendars, plants, and even a little cappuccino machine. “She always has a say in hiring people.”
“Then how did you get hired?” Sam could tell her new neighbor and their supervisor weren’t on speaking terms.
“My dad’s on the board, so he pulled some strings for me.” Her new acquaintance smirked and spun around in her chair. She stopped when she put her feet up on the desk. “I can do whatever I want. Well, except sleep with the bosses, that is.”
“Um, that’s neat.” Sam wanted to slink down and start playing with her computer. Maybe there were some instructions on that thing hidden in the bowels of the bios.
“Hey, don’t go.” Her neighbor noticed her slowly disappearing behind the wall. She held out her hand for a shake. “The name’s Melissa Slink. Everyone here calls me Slinky.”
“I’m Samantha Olsen, but you can just call me Sam.” She had a feeling, whether she liked it or not, that this fellow employee was going to become a friend.
“Cool name,” Slinky complimented after they’d shaken hands. “So how’d you get the job? Worked at some big office before?” Sam’s new friend was incredibly blunt and curious.
“I worked in the copy room downstairs for a few years, and when I heard this job was open my supervisor, Mr. Jackson, told me to apply. He said it couldn’t hurt to try.”
Slinky’s mouth dropped open and she tilted her head to one side. “Is that it? I know Mr. Jackson’s a cool guy, but he couldn’t have pulled off you getting this job. You got some sort of magical powers or something?”
“I don’t know, maybe?”
Slinky leaned in close and carefully examined Sam. “What I’m trying to say is no one gets in here without Mrs. Stick-Up-Her-Ass having a say-so.”
“I just don’t know.” Sam shrugged, but she was nervous. She didn’t realize how important this job was. The description hadn’t said anything about prior experience being a must. “Is this job hard to do?”
“Not really, just running errands and being their whipping boy everyone now and then.” Slinky stuck out her tongue and wrinkled her nose. “Sometimes we have to clean the bathroom, but that’s only when someone’s puked or something.”
“So how come it’s a hard job to get?” It didn’t sound important. Anyone with a mediocre amount of training could do it.
“Because we’re the only lowly employees in the company who get to deal with the President and Vice.” She pointed up at the ceiling. “They’re pretty much hermits on the top floor right above us. Not even the board members have rooms up there.” She nodded at the rows of rooms along their hall. “They get those rooms with a view. No one even sees the Pres and Vice leave, so I think they’re like that one teacher I had. I swear she never left her classroom, and slept under the desk.” She let a wide smirk cross her lips. “I hear they’re real devils to work with when they call you up.”
“Maybe they just like their privacy?” Sam suggested. She was really wishing for some privacy right now. Her stomach was full of butterflies duking it out with an angry grizzly bear. Then her stomach rumbled. “Heh, sorry.” Her cheeks reddened.
“Wow, you eat anything the last few days?” Slinky asked with a smile. She nodded toward the wall that led toward the elevators. “How about we get something from the break room?”
“Is that all right?” The copy room had had a rigid schedule for all personnel. Everyone had their designated times when they could leave so they could rotate positions. Besides, it was only thirty minutes into the work day and they hadn’t gotten anything done. Hell, she hadn’t even figured out what she was supposed to do when she wasn’t needed by the board. “Don’t we have to wait for a break or something?”
“Nah, we just need to have these on at all times.” Slinky pulled out a small pager. Sam remembered that hers was located in the top drawer, and she pulled it out. It was blocky and heavy like a brick. “I know it’s old fashioned but the big guys don’t want to spend any money on us.” She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Especially my cheapskate dad.”
“I’m fine, I just want to get started on my, um, my stuff.” She felt completely lost in this new, bare environment. Slinky leaned over the cubicle wall and smiled at her new, young, frightened protege.
“You have no idea what you’re doing, do you?” Sam slumped over and dejectedly nodded her head. “Well, stick with me, kid. I can show you the ropes when we get back with some cream cheese covered bagels.” Now that got Sam’s attention.
“Did you say cream cheese?”
Slinky laughed. “I thought I found a weak spot. We can even toast it in the little oven in there.” Sam’s large eyes pleaded while her common sense told her to get to work. Food won out and so did Slinky as she walked around and pulled her out of her chair. “Come on, I’ll show you around.”