Held – A Short Story

Through harsh winds, and pelted by cruel hailstones, she went to get into her car to drive to work. She didn’t want to go, knowing well that the day would bring much stress and strive, relentless at that. Still, she had little choice and just hoped she would get to the end alive.

On opening her email account she was hit by a wave of aggressive messages, demands, and a couple of ultimatums. What was she to do? After all, she had tried. Nauseous she ran to the bathroom and threw up and strangely felt a little better. “This is one way of venting, I guess, she thought to herself.” Nevertheless, this was hardly ideal so she proceeded to the cantine to get herself a cup of coffee.

“Another crap day ahead”, her colleague uttered. “That’s for sure”, she replied before trying to kill the taste of vomit in her mouth with a sup of vile black coffee.

The two women went on to discuss more trivial things, celeb gossip and the like, both breathing a little easier as the conversation progressed.

The company was leaking money and seemed on a fast slide to destruction. Nothing seemed to work anymore. Customers and suppliers were furious, while management and staff were scratching their heads and just about managing to hold on.

Desperate to turn fortunes around, innovation presented the only viable solution. Management and staff gathered in the boardroom, and, for the first time, put heads together. Strategies emerged and blood returned to the faces of the people in the room But it wasn’t as easy as that. Innovation requires resources, time and money.

At that point, many employees left to seek fortunes elsewhere, unable to endure cut salaries and longer working hours than before. She was one of the people who remained. It’s not that she hadn’t considered leaving the company too. Just that she couldn’t have coped with change. Plus, the people remaining mattered, and the work of the company was interesting as well as important.

Months of hard work ensued, everyone was broke and over-worked but strangely relieved. Over time, the management got a grip on company finances, improved customer and supplier relations by providing a better service at a lower cost. Gradually, the sun shone a little brighter.

Now, even when harsh winds blow in the morning when she gets into her car, the dread is gone. Looking back at what she now calls the “vomit morning”, she feels held, strangely. 

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