Everyone was on tenterhooks. It was like something out of Prada. As she sat and watched signals given quickly and quietly from one section to another and one room to another. Sudden panic ensued and people were racing back and forth straightening clearing heads flopped down and there were messy buns everywhere and men nervously straightened ties. It was literally bonkers!
From her vantage point, Melinda was, in turn, stunned surprised and shocked while watching in amazement. What the hell was going on? Who were they expecting? The Queen of England? The relaxed atmosphere became tense and stringent as the joy and humour were sucked out of the building. Faces became non-de-script, smiles vanished and a nervousness permeated the air.
She’d arrived and was seated but no one knew who she was which at the moment gave her decisive insight into the situation and perhaps a sneak peek at why so many were leaving the company, in droves. Talented people who’d made their mark and were responsible for monumental growth in the company were taking leaves of absence, taking sick days, just not turning up and were quitting. She’d been sent to find out why.
Within minutes they were all practically standing at attention, eyes straining to watch the outer door. The ping of the elevator had many offering nervous coughs or in one instance, a young thing began hiccuping.
Deirdre Hammond sailed off the elevator head held high a sneer on her face and promptly stopped at the door and inspected every desk and person in sight. Seconds ticked by, then a full minute. “As you were!” she announced loudly. A collective sigh escaped from several that had her head-turning immediately to scan the room.
She entered her office and closed the door. Everyone sank into their seats then rose to get on with the day. Melinda had been sent to rectify the situation and she thought it would take several days to figure out where the fly in the ointment was, but it hadn’t taken more than a few seconds.
Alex asked she phone upon arrival and notify him the second she knew what was going on and she quickly tapped his picture and within seconds he answered. “You’ve arrived safely. You wouldn’t have called this quickly if you hadn’t spotted a problem. How long have you been there, five minutes?”
“Yes. and I know who the problem is.”
Melinda detailed exactly what had happened from the moment she’d entered to the moment she’d called. “Then fire her!”
“You don’t think we should give her a chance?”
“She’d had all the chances she’s due. Her behaviour is despotic controlling and destroying my company. The constant decline and loss of incredibly talented employees have been consistent and won’t change until she’s gone, quite obviously. Undoubtedly the others won’t return until she’s gone.”
Melinda hung up, rose and headed to the nearest woman and introduced herself. “Is there a private place where we can talk?”
The young woman was edgy and nervous. “Shouldn’t we tell her your here?”
“That won’t be necessary. Please lead on and take a seat.”
Melinda asked for her honest take on the current situation how long it had been going on and whether the entire staff felt the same. At first, the pretty young woman was uncomfortable, obviously harbouring some loyalty to the woman, but at Melinda’s encouragement, she settled and explained the daily routine, the atmosphere and outlook of staff.
Melinda interviewed several other key women and men and found each and every one told basically the same story.
Straightening he shoulders, she knocked on the door marked Deirdre Hammond and entered. The woman looked askanced and rising asked furiously, “Who are you and what do you think you’re doing entering my office without an appointment?”
Melinda squared her shoulders and told her, watching her pale. The woman sputtered something unintelligible but Melinda cut her off explaining her bosses concern regarding the decline of invaluable staff members, some of whom had been with the company for several years and explained what she herself had observed while sitting in the waiting area. She summarily fired her on the spot. “You can’t do this to me, you have no authority here!”
“Indeed I do, and I have. Leave now, quietly, or I’ll have you escorted out by security.”
She grabbed her things and slithered past Melinda. “Leave your identity card and everything else belonging to Fielding and Company on the reception desk.” Melinda spoke loudly uncaring who heard her voice. Every head turned and watched as mouths dropped open and stunned expressions popped up everywhere.
“You will hear from my lawyer.”
“Certainly, wouldn’t have it any other way.” Melinda knew they were on solid ground, the contract was up and renewable and it wouldn’t be.
When she was in the elevator, Melinda called security to make sure she left the building and did so from the reception desk. All eyes were on her as she turned toward the others.
“I should introduce myself.” After doing so, she explained she’d be using Deirdre’s office for the time being and asked the receptionist to escort each member of the staff individually into her office so she could meet them all.
Sitting behind the vacant desk Melinda thought, ‘This is good, a fresh start.’ She asked the receptionist Molly in first and gave her a list of duties, the first of which was contacting those key and very valuable employees who’d left and asking them to set up appointments so she could speak with them individually. Hopefully, some would return if they hadn’t found positions elsewhere, but if they had restructuring would be required. She smiled, as always, Alex had been correct. It wasn’t about money, position, power, it was unhappiness within the workplace. That was about to change forever.