Betty O’Donnell had been with the company for 27 years, planning to retire in three. After the merger, she and several other veteran staffers were handed pink slips. Betty walked away with six month’s severance, no health care, and no pension. She was devastated.
It was the holidays, but Betty tried to make the best of it. She put together a resume and registered with the Employment Bureau. With a college degree and accounting experience, she never imagined it would be hard to find a job. But it was. She couldn’t sleep. She barely ate. Several months passed and Betty realized it was time to find a job…any job.
There were several entry level positions available. One in particular, at the Burger Meister Restaurant, paid better than minimum wage and offered benefits. She printed a copy of her resume, completed the application, and delivered it in person.
After waiting 45 minutes, she was greeted by a Mr. Dan Sloan. He was around 30, clean-cut, wearing khaki pants, a company emblemed polo, and black rimmed trendy eyeglasses.
“Hello…Ms. O’Donnell? Can I call you Elizabeth? I’m Dan Sloan, the Manager.”
“Hello Mr. Sloan. Betty, is good,” she smiled, shaking his hand.
“Sorry for the wait. We had a few issues in the kitchen. My office is right here.”
The office walls were cluttered with cheesy motivational posters, food service guidelines and a framed portrait of the Burger Meister. One wall was glass allowing Sloan a full view of the kitchen.
“Please have a seat while I review your application. Can I get you some coffee, a soft drink, water?”
“Nothing for me thanks.”
“I see you attached your resume…”
“That’s fine. We have all the information we need from the company application. So tell me, Betty, what brought you to Burger Meister’s?”
Isn’t it obvious? You’re looking at my application! “Uh, well, I need a job. I saw the Hostess position in the paper…”
“Ah yes. Tell me, have you worked as a hostess before?”
“No, but I have managed several employees in my previous employment.” Certainly years of management experience should count for something.
“I see. What about restaurant experience?
“In college…I waitressed.” If you could call it that. I worked the snack bar at the bowling alley, but he’s looking for restaurant experience…
Mr. Sloan scanned her application and looked up at Betty over the rims of his glasses. “I see you were with your former employer 27 years. That’s a long time. May I ask why you left?”
Here it is. The dreaded “why did you leave” question. “Company acquisition, downsizing…I…” Why won’t he let me finish? I was laid off, not fired!
“Hmmm…seems to be a lot of that going on these days.”
“You do understand, the Hostess position requires long hours on your feet.”
“Yes.” Condescending twit! Suck it up Betty. You need this job.
“And there may be times when we would need you to pitch in with serving patrons or bussing the tables…”
“Yes, of course.”
“I am wondering why someone with your experience would want to work in food service.”
“Well, Mr. Sloan,” Betty forced a smile, “I’ll be honest with you. I got laid off over 4 months ago and I need a job. I’m a quick learner and a team player. I am certain that I could fulfill the responsibilities of the position.” Ugh! I hate feeling so vulnerable!
Mr. Sloan sat straight in his chair, letting out a sigh. “Well, thank you so much for coming in today, Ms. O’Donnell, but I’m not sure you would fit in at Burger Meister’s…” Betty glanced at the kitchen noticing the markedly younger staff.
What? Just like that? Wow! Betty was stunned.
Mr. Sloan stood up and opened the door. “Thank you again, Ms. O’Donnell, I wish you well in your job search. Please accept this Meister Money Card. It’s good for 2 free dinners. Goodbye.”
Betty took the money card without looking up and slipped it into her coat pocket. I won’t be back. The wind outside felt harsh. Colder still because of the tears streaming down her face.
“There are other jobs. He would have been an ass to work for. After all, tomorrow is another day.” she said to herself.
kat ~ 15 February 2016
A short story in response to Ronovan Writes Friday Fiction Challenge:
▪Word Count of 500. (SUGGESTED)
▪Take your favorite quote from a movie and use it as inspiration for your entry this week. If you want more direction, make it the last sentence in your piece. (REQUIRED)
As you can see, my movie quote is from Gone With the Wind, made famous by Miss Scarlett, “After all tomorrow is another day.” If you would like to participate or read other stories, click HERE.