TRANSPARENCY – Flash Fiction

Posted on 3 min read

I walk in, gently sliding the heavy glass door behind me, and sit down at the table.

“Oh. Could you open the door?” he asks.

I look behind me at the glass walls and door. Everything translucent. I look back at his smiling face.

“Sure.” I stand up and slide open the door.

“Thank you Stephanie. Well, should we jump in? Great. Here were your quarterly goals.”

He pulls up my goals on a large screen television mounted against the only non-glass wall in the room, strategically visible to everyone outside of our glass box.

“You did a great job on these two.” He circles Q1 Tax Prep and Saratoga PMI. “Really, you killed it.”

“Thank you.”

“But we came up a little short on this one.” He circles, Transition to Full API Fulfillment.

He expects me to jump in and start justifying his perceived failings. I wait.

“Any thoughts?”

That’s better.

 “I think we made some solid progress. We were able to integrate with 80% of our fulfillment partners.”

“And it’s been a huge operational help. Do you think it’s realistic to finish the rest in the next quarter?”

I sigh. “Honestly, I don’t know. It’s the 80/20 rule. The 20% that’s left will take 80% of the time.”

That should buy me some time. Whether or not it’s true, it’s hard to argue with Pareto, a trick I learned in business school.

“I spoke to Andrew. Even though we didn’t hit all three of the goals, he agreed to release your full bonus.”

“Thank you.”

“He just wanted to get your commitment that we’ll get the rest of the integrations done this quarter.”

“We can do it. If he can throw another body at it, that’ll help.”

“Sure. No problem.”

“Thank you.”

“Well Stephanie, that’s it. Congratulations on a good start to the year.”

He stands up and holds out his hand. I stare at it. Then push out my chair and shake his hand, careful not to break eye contact. After, he sits back down and looks behind his screen, preparing for the next review.

I walk out and slide the large glass door closed behind me.

“Stephanie,” someone says.

I look over at her.

“How’d it go?” she asks.

“Easy,” I say. “Hey, do you have a sec?”

She nods.

We nonchalantly walk down the hallway and into a glass call booth that is partially covered in corporate decals.

“Did you know they’re doing the reviews with the door open now?”

“Oh yeah, after what happened with Sarah. It’s like a corporate directive.”

“The sexual harassment ordeal?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh. I assumed they were adding an element of public shaming to the reviews.”

“I heard everyone’s running scared. All the male execs refuse to do one-on-one’s without the door open anymore.”

“They act like women have nothing better to do then accuse them of sexual harassment.”

“Because it’s so good for our career.”

“In a month it’ll probably be group reviews,” I say.

“I hope so.” She pushes open the door. “Ok. I’ve gotta go.”

“Good luck.”

She winks.

I head back to my desk in the bullpen. It’s about seven down from Andrew, our departmental VP. The epicenter. He’s working with his headphones on, swaying back and forth.

If I can finish the API integration this quarter, I’ll most likely be in striking distance in the next office reorg.

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