Samantha Williams opened the door to her oversized walk in closet. She scanned the guest room sized closet staging her arsenal. As a middle aged woman she was slowly losing the battle with her physical decline. She had always prided herself with her legs. Every free moment in her life, which was few as the VP of Marketing, was spent on a treadmill, set at 5% incline to avoid an avalanche on her legs and backside. Today was an important day and the wardrobe choice had to be perfect. One by one she eliminated pieces that didn’t cloak her insecurities. She chose a blue skirt and white top. It was her standby costume. In it, she felt confident, vibrant and in her view, showed off her legs, barley covering half of her thigh. She slide the dress over her calves and adjusted it until it rested snugly on her hips. In private thoughts she knew that this dress would capture the attention of her Senior VP, Jonathan Brood.
Samantha had progressed through the ranks quickly, although most never knew why. She had long hair, too long for her age, dried out from curling irons and stress. She was tall, attractive, had nice legs, but did not seem to possess any leadership traits expected of a VP. When she spoke, her words were bland, cautiously spoken almost as if to conceal a minor speech impediment that no one her upbringing admitted to. It was a nervous voice, the type to hide uncertainty. It was annoying to listen to as well. Checking her phone as she left the room there was a text. It was from Jonathan.
Looking forward to a productive trip 🙂 it said.
Samantha slide the keyboard on her phone, her long nails precluding her from most touch screen electronics, and replied.
I think we can accomplish a lot. See you there! 🙂
Professional encryption. She knew exactly what was on the agenda. Most of the activities would be after the day time meetings. Looking back at the mirror for a final assessment, her image now reflected reassurance from her morning text. She had been validated. Samantha made her final preparations to leave for the airport.
Jonathan Brood put down the phone and smiled, cautiously searching the room for his wife of 35 years. He would carry with him this morning the anticipation of Samantha‘s company during the day and night.
Jonathan Brood was the Senior VP of Marketing and Sales. He was a bald man in his 60’s. He was not blessed with a nicely shaped head, his baldness unveiling several imperfections in his skull. He was not particularly handsome either, a crooked face that lacked any symmetry with eyes that squinted from his refusal to wear reading glasses. He religiously visited the gym for confidence. His self-worth also came from Samantha, a woman 12 years his junior. But realizing his visual limitation early in life, he worked tirelessly to rise in the organization to salvage his identity. He was known as an outspoken tyrant, thrashing at his lead team with every word. Except Samantha.
The 3 day meeting was scheduled in Sanibel Florida. Jonathan was in charge of the logistics. The beach and hotel swimming pool would prove ground cover for swimming and swimsuits. Samantha packed three swimsuits. Nothing went unplanned. Two other VPs would attend. One was Kimberly Dawkins, an older seasoned female who despised Samantha for all she exemplified and her lack of performance and results, at least during the daytime. Kimberly was a confident, outgoing person, but quick to take an idea and claim it as her own. Jonathan liked and respected her, and often expected more from her than the others. A role she enjoyed. The final VP was Curt Johnson. He was a very religious man in his private life, but surrounded himself with corporate gorillas to buffer himself from the messy side of running the business. His small gang of loyal followers who were willing to do the dirty work earned him the nickname the Godfather among his closet allies. The perfect name to mix religion and underhandedness. He was fit from running and had full arctic gray hair. He had a nervous twitch that made any onlooker uneasy. Perhaps it was the internal dual between religion and corporate callings that overloaded his senses. Jonathan respected Curt, but always had a stern reminder of who was the boss, especially if Samantha was in the room.
The business purpose for the meeting was to discuss upcoming budget challenges and layoffs. A task very familiar to all four of them as the Energy industry was heavily regulated, extremely competitive and the company had made several billion dollar blunders in failed mergers, investments, executive compensation that left the company without a safety net, at least for the non-executives. Despite disrupting lives, marriages, families and employee’s personal security, the VPs all developed a cost saving plan like they were allocating life boats for the Titanic, but were already safely in theirs. To those in the boats, the water did not seem so cold and no one understood why such a fuss. They would employ that cold demeanor again as they met the latest budget challenge and headcount reductions. Although not a pleasant exercise, there would be time for fun on the beach at least.