You know the saying “never judge a book by its cover”?  I do not judge people by their looks alone, I listen to what they say, I have a look at their mannerisms and after a few minutes I can already put someone into one of my “categories”.

When I was at my previous job a lady would phone me once a month and the conversation would always be short to the point about what she needed regarding their account. I mentioned her in a previous post so I shall continue as before and call her Loni. Loni is one of these women who talks so softly that you have to ask her 3 times to repeat what she is saying. Keep in mind I worked (and still do) in an industrial area where there is machinery and trucks moving about all the time making a lot of noise.

When I started at my new job I learned that Loni’s company had been taken over by my boss and after a month her branch was closed down to cut costs and all the staff joined us. I finally got to meet the softly spoken Loni in person.

First impressions were disappointing. Loni covers her whole face with a white foundation it looked like she was trying to look like a porcelain doll. Thick mascara on the lashes and her round fat cheeks covered only in a thick layer of foundation. Not a hint of blusher in sight. That should have tipped me off that she wants to seem like an angel because she is not. I was glad to finally meet her but she was not eager to meet me and I walked away disappointed with the whole episode.

A week later there was a meeting with the boss because another woman (Joey) was very upset about the merger and financial situation of the company, she was expressing her feelings to the boss in front of all of us. We were all called in to discuss why Joey’s work was so far behind … well that was the reason given.

Joey explained that she worked weekends and late at night and did all our work alone before we all arrived there and she never received any overtime pay.  Joey said that she refused to work after hours to catch up her work. Loni started heckling Joey and asked her in a patronisingly soft voice “But what do you really do over the weekends and why does it take you so long”? Joey then said “What do I do, what do I do? If you don’t know then it is best I go”.

There was a long silence I looked at the boss he was looking down on a sheet of paper which he had in his hands, I sensed he was leaving this to Loni because his English is not very good and he wants to be the nice guy in all of this. The obese financial manager sat back in her enormous chair and crossed her short arms across her chest only the tips of her fingers met. She looked very pleased with how the meeting was going.

Loni in her false soft voice said slowly “calm down Joey we can talk about this”. At this point I was ready to slap Loni’s fat cheek and I am not one prone to use violence.

The boss finally said something “Joey you get paid more than anyone in this company and your work which is not up to date is causing a delay with the merger.” Joey stood up and said “It is best that I leave then.” No one stopped her and I thought that someone would go and talk to her but Joey took everything that was in that building. The towels, everything that was used by staff in the kitchen except the kettle, it was all stuff she had brought from home that we were using.  Me being so new to the company was unaware of this.

Joey was manoeuvring her car out of the courtyard when Loni ran past me into Joey’s office and grabbed Joey’s chair, wheeled it to her office and announce “I want this chair”. The other staff members were like vultures each one dove into Joey’s office and each grabbed a piece of what they wanted. I was not interested, yes call me a snob.

Loni would now do everything that Joey had done. It wasn’t two days and she complained she was overloaded and one job was given to two junior clerks, a week later she asked if one of her other duties could be passed onto a guy in the sales department to free up more of her time. Another job was given to me.

I counted that now 7 people were doing what Joey had done on her own a year earlier when none of us were there and we were struggling to keep up, the merger was taking a lot of time. The documents of the company were not correct and my work was up to date so I had to pitch in and help the clerks.

Two months down the line, I hear that Loni is leaving the company. The reason: the boss apparently said that he did not want family working in the company. Loni is engaged to one of the directors of the company. The reason given seems to be a cover story, I am sure there is another reason.

So after two weeks Loni left. The clerk working with her is 3 months pregnant and grabbed Loni’s chair stating she was uncomfortable with hers. The clerk’s chair was grabbed by my office mate.

Me? I am left wondering if this is an elaborate game of musical chairs and if you land on the expensive chairman’s chair you are out the door.

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