Cath sat down.
Jim walked behind his desk. His eyes flicking at the emails arriving on screen. He pulled his eyes away and smiled at Cath.
"Great quarter you guys have had in New Zealand. The best you have ever had." He sat down.
Cath smiled and was about to reply when Jim's phone rang.
"Hang on a minute." He looked away, the phone to his ear.
Cath glanced at the papers all over his desk. Attempting to the read the contents upside down. The ones on the top were to do with New Zealand. She could see one of her own reports. She began to feel uneasy.
Jim put his phone down and smiled again. "Look this is going to take awhile. Go have some lunch, I'll call you back when I'm free."
Cath got up, nodded and walked out. She was only here for one day. She went off to find her main friend in the office, Helen. She wondered if she knew anything.
The two them went across the road to the sandwich place. Cath fiddling with her coins, she still wasn't used to the opposite sizes in Australia. She thought two countries so close could have at least have standardised on which coin should be bigger the one or two dollar. She was forever wasting money.
Helen thought she had heard a rumour they were going to close the New Zealand office. Cath nearly choked on her salad roll. "That is crazy!" She said "We'll lose all our customers! No offence but you are a different time zone and...well Australian. We market ourselves on being local."
Helen shrugged. "I know we don't really want to deal with the extra work, we can't cope at the moment to be honest, but that is what I've heard."
Cath chewed silently. This is not what she had expected to hear today. Helen needed to get back to work and Jim still wasn't free. Cath hooked up her computer, cleared emails and waited. She was having a hard time concentrating. The afternoon was disappearing. Her early start was catching up with her as a fog began to settle in her brain. She would have to leave soon. She walked down the corridor past Jim's office again, in the pretence of an errand.
Thirty minutes before the taxi was due to pick her up, Jim finally opened his door and called her in apologetically.
"I have to go soon." Cath said without sitting down.
"Yes. I'm sorry about that. Emergency situation down in Adelaide, I had to placate the customer, he is one of our best. Now what I wanted to say was you have had a wonderful quarter but..." There was a tap at the door. It was Jenny, Jim's secretary.
"Taxi's here Cath."
"Thanks, tell him to wait." Cath turned to Jim.
"We are restructuring and basically it means we are pulling things back to the office here. We can provide much better service will all the people and back up here. I want you to transfer here to head it up. In fact if you continue to do a good job. I can see you being in charge of sales for both Australia and New Zealand in the future."
Cath's mind felt like was simultaneously running through a million different scenarios and not moving at all. All she could say was "But we have done the best we have ever done. We are a profitable organisation over there."
Jim nodded. "I know and this decision is nothing to do with how well you have run the business. It is a new approach worldwide."
"It's a stupid one" Cath blurted out before she could stop herself.
Jenny was back tapping on the door "Cath you really have to go."
"I am coming over next week. Keep it under your hat until then. We will discuss it with the team. I think you will find it enormously rewarding and challenging over here. It would be a great step in your career." Jim smiled.
Cath said nothing. She stood up and smoothed her skirt.
"I'll see you next week then. I'm not sure about the move over here. I need to think about it."
Jim waved his hand "Sure, sure. It is a lot to take in. Have a good flight and I think you will see it is big opportunity for you."
Cath marched down the corridor, gathered up her computer and checked she had her passport and flight details. She swung around Helen's office doorway. "You were right." She said.
As Cath went down in the lift she felt the pricks of tears forming. She was mad. It always made her cry. She was mad that Jim had made her wait all day - to tell her that. She was mad she had come over on an early flight, that always messed up her thinking and put her on the back foot, to be told her job as she knew it was gone. She was mad he seemed to think it was okay not to tell the others until next week. The lift binged. She marched out and flung the glass reception doors open. She freed herself from the building. Maybe she would come and work here but right now it was the last thing she wanted to do.
She was mad. She barely looked at the taxi driver as she got in the back. She stared out the window as they headed out onto the main road. Her fingers stroked the keypad on her phone. What to do. As the distance from the office grew and the simmering anger began to cool, plans started forming in her mind.
Paper clips and string
5 hours ago