O.K. I’m not proud of this but since this blog always tells the truth in its stories, here is what happened.
Every office has someone who is just plain nasty for no reason. In our office it was Nancy. She was an older woman who for some reason the boss put up with. In addition, it was as if her job functions had been specifically designed so that she could cause the maximum number of problems for everyone else.She was the Office Manager so you just could not avoid her.
For example, one of her responsibilities was to backup the data on the computer system . Now there are a lot of ways and a lot of times you can do that without interfering with other people’s work. But Nancy really didn’t care about the other people. When she thought it was a convenient time for her to back up the system she would simply shut it down without warning and do the backup. If you happened to be half way through a project at that exact moment, you got kicked out of the system and your data was lost. It was always easy to tell when Nancy had decided to do the backup. If you suddenly heard one or more people in the office start swearing about having lost everything they just worked on for the last hour you knew Nancy had struck again.
The boss was very big on having a little get together whenever anyone left or retired. He thought of us as one big happy family. We thought of ourselves as one big dysfunctional family. Nancy was in charge of getting a special gift for whoever was leaving. She always chose the most inappropriate item possible. It was obvious to everyone but the boss she was doing it on purpose. For Sally the diabetic, Nancy got a huge box of chocolates. John the recovering alcoholic got a bottle of scotch.
Yes, Nancy put real effort into her meanness, but for some reason the boss kept her. We were all convinced that she had something on him. Either she had proof he was embezzling, or maybe she had an affair with him many years ago. Considering the fact that the boss and Nancy were both ancient and extremely unattractive, none of us wanted to picture the affair.
Then the happy day came. It was time for Nancy to retire. Of course, the boss planned a little celebration at lunch time in the office. He did not know what kind of gift to get, so he got a card with a big envelope. He told us to pass it around in the office. We were all to sign the card and put cash in the envelope for Nancy. He started off the cash donation by putting $50 in small bills of his own money into the envelope.
When the card and envelope came to me, the first thing I did was to take it back to my cubicle and make sure no one was looking. Then I signed the card and took $5K out of the envelope. Then I brought the card to the next person.
At lunchtime we all gathered in the cafeteria. On the table was a cake, the card and the envelope. When Nancy opened the envelope and pulled out the money, I was close enough to see there was about $12 in total. Apparently I was not the only one in the office going home with a little extra cash that day.
The cake looked very odd. Nancy had one of those rare allergies to blueberries and somehow whoever had ordered the cake had managed to get a bakery to make a blueberry cake. The writing on the cake said, “It won’t be the same without you”.
The ironic part is that Nancy actually gave a weird sort of crooked smile when she saw the blueberry cake and the message on it. As a professional nasty person herself, perhaps she appreciated that we had all gone the extra mile for her.