Based on a true story, this tale is about a screenwriter who quits her job to follow her dreams. She’s trying to use positive thinking to reach her goals. It doesn’t work out too well for her, and she feels lost, confused and hopeless.
Friday, February 2
A month ago I devised three resolutions for the new year—
I will try harder to prove myself worthy at Henderson Consulting.
I will do everything in my power to sell my screenplays and escape vile Henderson Consulting once and for all.
I will avoid using alcohol to make me feel better if neither of these seem to be working out.
I woke up with a real oinker of a hangover today. Oy vey! Hindenburg disaster in the head. I could fault my dear hubby, Jake, for letting me drink so much Pinot Noir at dinner last night, but I think the blame should really go to Ashley. As I like to say, Mommy Dearest meets The Wicked Witch of the west. What with her neck-high collars and thigh high black hose, she could scare Frankenstein into being a witless wimp.
But I digress. The year is dewy young, yet already I’m certain it will prove no better than the last. And why do I say this? JIT rooms. Where I’ve already perched my little butt three times in the past three weeks. J-I-T. Just-in-time.
Just in time to hear I’m still not meeting sterile standards at good old Henderson Consulting. Just in time to discover yet another project manager thinks I should change my tune or get off the stage quickly. Just in time to comprehend that my direct style of communication completely annoys people with lips worn thin from sucking up all day.
It all commenced yesterday morning, after my latest bitter battle with Ashley, whom I swear is more determined than a nun rushing off to prayer service to make me leave the firm. I completed the appropriate guidebook changes she’d requested on Monday and presented the whopping pile of pertinent pages to her.
She quickly scanned them with her narrow, evil eyes and spewed a stream of venom all over my work. Seems I cut thirteen vital pages she wanted to keep and kept thirteen pages she wanted to cut.
“Follow directions,” she snapped before shoving the pages back into my hands, which quivered like shivering legs on a cold January day. I attempted to apologize, though I wanted to attribute this mistake to the way she scribbles tiny, red arrows all over the friggin’ page and scrawls her messages like an attention starved actress on cocaine.
Figuring the problem lay fast behind me, since I could simply refer to the completed copies saved on my reliable computer and perform a race car fix, I dismissed her remark and began to breathe as easily as a patient on a respirator. Then came the irritating invitation to a meeting. JIT room time. Only need to hear JIT to know a fire is lit and I’m about to get spun on the rotisserie.
JIT rooms come with a small, round table and four uncomfortable, cushionless chairs. They often teem with the scent of fear and sweat. I sat on my side. Therese and Ashley huddled for the kill on the other. I struggled to keep a very straight face, which means I focused on a spot above their eyes and mentally recited Hail Marys.
“We’re very concerned, Gretta, because you’re consistently showing a lack of attention.” Ashley growled like a bear prepared to attack unarmed hunters. “We’ve noticed this during status meetings, as well as other times. It compromises your work and means you’re wasting our budget by spending extra time on the project.”
Blah, blah, blah.
I longed to say I spent only ten minutes fixing the vexing problem that morning, and I doubted, at my level of pay, it cost the firm much treasured coin. I kept my lips zipped, however. I’ve learned the best thing to do during one of these barbecues is simply nod and let managers talk until their egos feel fluffed and indestructible. That way you’ll escape the flame much sooner and be as protected as a lamb on Donald Trump’s farm.
The meeting didn’t last too long, only fifteen minutes, but the worst loomed on the horizon. You see, I always exit a JIT room feeling much like I did back in elementary school, when Sister Mary Fuglyface used to drag me up to the front of the class by my fragile, first grade ear. “Shame on you, Gretta Neuby. Horrible little creature. What are you thinking?”
I crawled back to my desk at Henderson like a lizard that has eaten too much dust, certain the eyes of every noble busybody are upon me.
They all know I’ve failed to get my shot over the net again. Managers are glad to see me walk through the garbled gates of Hell. Co-workers who resent my amazing ability to keep a smile on my fragile face rejoice in the fact I’m now grimacing.
I should have known yesterday would be a day for stinky sour notes. It kicked off wrong the minute I headed out for the dreamy dawn walk that keeps me a very sturdy size twelve. That was when I reached into my cozy pocket and found my blessed left mitten missing. Damn! I just bought these mittens. Searched weeks for just the right pair. Something warm and comforting⎯a gift for my hard working hands⎯in a color I could wear with anything. Frustrating as a lack of cream at Starbucks. But that’s how I knew a lousy day would come my way.
Oh, my. I can already hear what Lydia, my good friend and spiritual counselor, would say. I visualized jittery trials and that’s what I got. If I insist on repeatedly feeding the wrong messages to the Universe, what else can I expect?