Caryn Elizabeth Chapter Two - Part One The Contract
Copyright 2020 Robert H. Politz IBAX
Caryn’s observant guest flew back to his own country satisfied he had found the right people for his newest flagship resort. Only weeks remained before its opening and, for certain key positions, he wanted only the best and brightest and would offer whatever it took to get them. The epitome of luxury in accommodations was his new direction. It would be showcased with the latest technology and the most effective operations the hospitality industry had ever seen. The entire complex would be energy efficient, environmentally friendly, sumptuously appointed, unique in design, extremely profitable and, above all, the most desirable place to stay. Shark fin or bird’s nest soup, obscenely expensive wines, large bowls of imperial caviar from Black Sea sturgeons; these and other rare delicacies would be served by a staff of formally trained butlers on sterling silver and gold-trimmed china as routine fare. Guests at this level of wealth had a common standard. If the service impressed their friends and satisfied their whims, cost was not a consideration. It would take a very special individual to be able to satisfy such demands and time was of the essence. The list of names for key employees was short. Time was even shorter. Mr. Stanwick –– Caryn’s observant guest –– looked at his calendar and pressed the intercom button on his desk. “Barbara, have Collins come see me please.” “Yes sir, I’ll call him right now.” Stanwick was gazing out the window when Collins arrived. “You wanted to see me sir?” “Ah, yes. Afternoon Collins. I have an important task I’d like you to handle. I’ve had the boys do a background check on these employee candidates and I want you to personally interview them. Here is the list.” –– It displayed each position Stanwick wanted filled with a numbered list of candidate names. –– “As you can see, they’re in order of my preference. If you can’t hire the first choice, go to the second one and so on and so forth. Any questions?” “This one sir. There’s only one name next to it. Who’s your second choice?” “Ah yes. That one is a very special person for a very important position. There is no second choice. She’s the one who managed to fix all the problems at our executive party in America. I want her.” “Oh yes sir. I remember. Incredible that she was able to do what she did. Terrible hotel service, except for her efforts of course. I can see why you want her.” “Very good. Now we only have about three weeks. Lots to do, so let’s get this moving directly. Any conflicts? Can you get started today?” “No conflicts sir.” Collins looked at the calendar. “Hmm, the weekend, it may be difficult to get immediate flights. If I could take ––” “Absolutely. Take a company jet and anything else you need to get this done. I have too much riding on this opening to cut corners at this late date. After all, we do have only one chance to make a first impression. Right?” “Yes sir.” Collins turned and hurried to his office. “Lori, here’s a list of information on each new-hire candidate. This is a top priority so ring them up and schedule appointments for next week please. And pay particular attention to this one.” He pointed to the position of Manager of Butler Services with a single name next to it. “Special case that one is. Book my room and keep my reservations open-ended. I’ve been ordered to come back only if I have a signed contract from her. That may take a day or two of convincing. Not quite sure yet. The rest seem pretty straight-forward.” “Yes Mr. Collins, I’ll take care of it immediately. When will you be leaving?” “As quickly as possible…, yesterday…, now if that’s feasible. How long will it take to ready one of our jets?” “I’ll check right now sir.” Lori called their hangar, then for a car. “They’ll be ready for you in twenty minutes. Do you have all of your ––” “Twenty minutes?” he gasped. “Well, I’ll just make do with what I have. No time to waste. Have to get moving. Thank you. And let me know if there’s anything else I need. Now you know why I keep that valise in my office ready to go at a moment’s notice.” With valise and briefcase in hand, Collins hurried out the door and Lori began dialing. The number highlighted in yellow was first. Glad I don’t have to run all over the world like that she mused. When Caryn heard her telephone ringing and ringing and ringing, she rinsed the soap from her eyes and jumped out of the shower sputtering, “Oh fudge face. I must have forgotten to turn the answering machine back on.” She wrapped herself in a towel and ran to pick it up. “Butler services. This is Caryn.” She had gotten so used to answering that way at work it became a habit, even at home. “Hello Caryn, my name is Lori. Mr. Collins asked me to call. He would like to meet with you to discuss hiring you for our company.” “Mr. Collins, hiring me for what? I already have a job. What company are you talking about?” Caryn was slightly irritated at the interruption in her busy schedule but intrigued at the word, ‘hiring’. “All I can say Caryn, is that Mr. Stanwick was quite insistent that we find a convenient time for you and Mr. Collins to meet for an hour or so. You remember Mr. Stanwick don’t you? He said you did a dinner party for the company’s executives in your suites recently, and he was very impressed. Apparently, your supervisor, Mr. Dempsey, failed to let anyone know about the menu, or even that there was a party scheduled. And you, as Mr. Stanwick put it, pulled quite a few rabbits out of your hat. He told our Vice President, Mr. Collins, that anyone who could put on the dinner you did, with no advance notice, was someone he wanted working for us.” Caryn wasn’t sure which party Lori was talking about. “Oh, I see, well…, thank you. That’s quite a compliment. But what job are you talking about?” “Mr. Collins will explain all the details himself. Let’s see, I show that you're working a two to ten p.m. schedule this week. Would a Thursday lunch be okay, say…, about twelve-thirty?” That statement immediately got Caryn’s attention. “You know my schedule? How did you get my schedule?” “Mr. Stanwick gave it to us. I can set you up for lunch at the Rain Tree right next to your work. Will that be convenient for you? Mr. Collins promises he won’t make you late. Oh, and don’t be concerned about wearing your work uniform. He understands you’re on a tight schedule.” It sounded legitimate and any opportunity to escape Dempsey’s incompetence was certainly worth investigating. “Oh. Thursday, um, well, I guess that’s…. At the Rain Tree you say? All right. But how will I know Mr. Collins?” “Just give the host your name and they’ll take you right to his table. Thursday at twelve-thirty then. Thank you Caryn. It was a pleasure speaking with you.” She stood for a moment looking at the telephone wondering if the call was real or someone’s prank. Why would someone call and offer me a job? Humph, better check it out though. She leaned over to jot the appointment down on a notepad. Oh fudge-bananas, I’m dripping all over the place. She wiped up the puddles, ran back to the bathroom and finished getting ready for work. The next day, she looked up the company and found that it was a well- established chain with properties all over the world. She called one of the larger locations and spoke to a waiter, a front desk clerk and a maintenance person. Every one of them said it was a “good place to work”. Even a chef who worked at another location seemed genuinely happy with his job. As Thursday approached, her excitement rose. “Leaving early today” asked her aunt? “Yup, I have a lunch appointment before work. Do I look okay for a business meeting?” Her aunt nodded approval. “Don’t’ worry. I’ll get those invoices done for you tomorrow. See you sometime tonight.” Traffic was the usual stop-and-go but, on this day, Caryn didn’t mind. It gave her a chance to mentally prepare for this potentially important interview. She parked in her usual spot, checked her appearance, and walked next door to the restaurant. It was impressive, and she was about to have a gourmet lunch. Today, she would be served instead of the other way around. I hope the offer is for a place close by she thought as she entered the front door. Schedule, what kind of schedule do they want me to work, what department…, do they have butler service? “Hello, my name is Caryn. I’m meeting a ––” “Oh yes Caryn. We’ve been expecting you. Please follow me. Right this way.” So, this is where the executives meet when they’re off property. I hope no one recognizes me and asks why I’m here. “Pleasure to see you Caryn," said a well-dressed man holding out his hand. "Glad you could make it for lunch.” “Thank you Mr. Collins. It is Mr. Collins isn’t it?” She shook his hand and sat down. “Yes Caryn, I am Mr. Collins and it’s good to see you once again. I was at the party last month, the one where your hotel lost all our information. Lots of people there so I’m sure you don’t remember me. But I do remember you, quite well in fact. Excellent recovery. Well done.” It was embarrassing to not remember him. Then the host draped a napkin on her lap and suggested some wines before reciting that day’s specials. “No wine for me. I think, um, the roasted chicken salad. No tomatoes, and please put the dressing on the side.” “No wine with lunch?” “Not for me. Drinks are for after work.” Collins smiled and gave his order sans the wine. “You served quite a dinner at our party last month Caryn. Mr. Stanwick saw how frazzled you were and did some investigating whilst playing golf with a few senior executives from your hotel. Frankly, he was astounded at their lackadaisical attitude toward employees.” She wanted to cheer at that statement. “My assistant sent all the details and menus for that party weeks ahead of time, even called to confirm. But when we arrived, we found that your supervisor, a Mr. Dempsey I believe, had not ordered any of the supplies we requested nor had he even alerted anyone on your floor that we would be having such a function. Astoundingly bad show, especially for a five- star establishment.” “Oh yes, that party, I remember. I had to call in a few favors to get your food ready in time. I really do apologize for that. We aren’t normally so unprepared. I hope we didn’t ruin your event.” “Oh no, quite the contrary, it turned out to be one of the better parties we’ve ever had. When you managed to get almost everything Lori had ordered –– and on a moment’s notice it seemed –– Mr. Stanwick told me that you should be working for us.” Then his forehead furrowed and he tilted his head. “Does that sort of thing happen often?” “Well, it’s just something that’s unavoidable once in a while. But we don’t want the guests to see the problems we’re having in the back of the house. I guess we didn’t do as well as we should have.” “Quite the contrary Caryn. You did very well. And, I have to say, I admire your loyalty. To not throw someone else right into the fire is admirable. I’m not sure I’d be able to shield your supervisor the way you just did. Stanwick was right, but then, he usually is.” “Right…? Right about what?” “Let me just say that he’s a fantastic judge of people. The day we played golf Mr. Stanwick said employees should never be treated like that. Later he said the attitudes of your hotel’s executives have opened the door for us to steal you away. We don’t usually recruit people from other companies but he said that someone of your caliber should not have to put up with, um, well, with that sort of treatment. It’s almost as if this Dempsey bloke is trying to sabotage your floor. Incredible that your CEO has allowed it to go on this long.” He tore off a piece of bread and pointed it at Caryn before it reached his mouth. “Oh, and yes Caryn, we checked, and he will probably continue operating that way, and they will probably keep him on. How have you put up with him for all this time?” He leaned back in his chair. “Ah well, but that will soon be history I hope. Yum, good bread this.” Caryn was astounded that anyone outside her hotel would know, or even care, about the problems they’d been having. It felt good that someone, knowledgeable in the business, actually noticed. “Okay, you know a great deal about me, much more than I expected. But how did we get to this meeting? Your assistant mentioned hiring, for what and where?” Collins smiled and pulled out a folded document. “I love it when someone gets right to the point.” “Caryn, we want you to set up and run the butler department in our newest hotel. Our opening is just a few weeks away and this” –– He handed her the contract –– “will be a great opportunity for you. Take a look. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” Caryn reached for it trying to not let Collins see her hand shaking in nervous excitement. “Well, it seems that the competition is offering me a job. Are you talking about the property that was just in the news? I’ve heard about it but it’s so far away.” “Yes, from here it is, but this really is a wonderful opportunity and you’ll love the area. It’s quite beautiful and a very good place to live. Besides, it’s obvious your current company doesn’t care about its employees very much. Bit of an understatement I think. But no mind, we’re different. We know our people are the life blood of our business and we support and treat them with the respect they deserve. Can you say that about your present position? You really should accept you know. And I’m sure you’ll like working for us. So…. What do you think?” Caryn scanned the first page of the contract. “I’m flattered that you’re offering me such a position but, the foreign location, I don’t know. My daughters just got settled here and it was very difficult for them. Another move? I’m just not sure I can do this to them again.” Collins looked obviously disappointed but he was also determined. “Well, I understand. Such a move is quite a decision. Give it some thought. Read the offer and compare it to your present job. I think you’ll see that this would be an excellent position and we’d love to have you in our family. Just let me know on Monday. But for now, let’s forget about business and enjoy lunch.” Their drinks arrived; tall iced-teas with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon. “Umm, delicious. Now tell me about your daughters. How old are they?” Caryn’s face lit up as she pulled out her photos. “This is Julie and this is Amy. They both play softball and are finally starting to settle in here.” Collins had a daughter about the same age so they compared many enjoyable stories before discussing the fiercely competitive hospitality industry. Collins explained how they encouraged employee ideas and how an occasional one had changed a management policy or two. Caryn silently wished her supervisors would think in the same manner but knew they never would. When they were finished, she put the contract into her bag and went to work thinking it would be difficult to understand the usual legalese found in such documents. But later, at home, she discovered that it was fairly straightforward. She contemplated the offer over the next few days. But, when Monday came, she refused it. Collins reported her answer to Stanwick, who became rather upset. “Get her. She’s the one I want. I don’t care what the cost is. Make her a better offer and just get her.” Another offer was presented and again refused, albeit reluctantly. As much as she wanted to escape Dempsey’s tyranny, she found it difficult to threaten her daughters’ quality of life just to alleviate her emotional and financial straits. She knew their futures were at stake but, in the end, the new offer was still not good enough to put them through such trauma again. Her answer was still “no”. Determined to carry out Stanwick’s order, Collins presented a better offer and received another “no”. This cycle continued until Caryn could not possibly refuse. It was time to talk to her daughters. They had just finished tidying up from dinner and Amy was anxious to watch a popular show on television. “Girls” said Caryn thoughtfully as she put the last dish away and slowly folded a towel. “I need your help.” They both stopped and waited for the bad news. It was always bad news when their mother got that serious look on her face. She clasped her hands and sighed. “I’ve been offered a new job but it’s in another place a long ways away. In fact, it’s a very long way from here. And, it ––” “Move to another place, again?” whined Amy. “But, Mom, we just got a decent softball team going. We can’t leave now. We just got here last year.” “I know. But they have sports over there, too. And this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us. Look girls, ––” “No way” interrupted Julie defiantly. It took us all year to get those idiots from seventh grade to stop picking on us. And now you want us to start all over again? No way. I won’t do it!” She folded her arms and frowned, pouting. Amy slapped her sister’s shoulder. “Oh cut it out Sis. Mom’s serious.” Then she whispered into Julie’s ear, “We have to stick together. Remember?” “I’m really sorry girls. But this way, we won’t have to have the car fixed every other week and you might learn to like something besides macaroni and cheese.” She tried to lighten the mood but the girls would have none of it. “Mom…, what’s wrong with mac and cheese? Come-on, please” cried Julie. “Yeah mom, you can’t do this. Move, again. Really? Oh, never mind. She’s going to do it anyway Julie. Let’s go watch the show while we still can. They probably don’t even have TV wherever we’re going.”
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Caryn Elizabeth Chapter Two - Part One The Contract
Caryn’s observant guest flew back to his own country satisfied he had found the right people for his newest flagship resort. Only weeks remained before its opening and, for certain key positions, he wanted only the best and brightest and would offer whatever it took to get them. The epitome of luxury in accommodations was his new direction. It would be showcased with the latest technology and the most effective operations the hospitality industry had ever seen. The entire complex would be energy efficient, environmentally friendly, sumptuously appointed, unique in design, extremely profitable and, above all, the most desirable place to stay. Shark fin or bird’s nest soup, obscenely expensive wines, large bowls of imperial caviar from Black Sea sturgeons; these and other rare delicacies would be served by a staff of formally trained butlers on sterling silver and gold-trimmed china as routine fare. Guests at this level of wealth had a common standard. If the service impressed their friends and satisfied their whims, cost was not a consideration. It would take a very special individual to be able to satisfy such demands and time was of the essence. The list of names for key employees was short. Time was even shorter. Mr. Stanwick –– Caryn’s observant guest –– looked at his calendar and pressed the intercom button on his desk. “Barbara, have Collins come see me please.” “Yes sir, I’ll call him right now.” Stanwick was gazing out the window when Collins arrived. “You wanted to see me sir?” “Ah, yes. Afternoon Collins. I have an important task I’d like you to handle. I’ve had the boys do a background check on these employee candidates and I want you to personally interview them. Here is the list.” –– It displayed each position Stanwick wanted filled with a numbered list of candidate names. –– “As you can see, they’re in order of my preference. If you can’t hire the first choice, go to the second one and so on and so forth. Any questions?” “This one sir. There’s only one name next to it. Who’s your second choice?” “Ah yes. That one is a very special person for a very important position. There is no second choice. She’s the one who managed to fix all the problems at our executive party in America. I want her.” “Oh yes sir. I remember. Incredible that she was able to do what she did. Terrible hotel service, except for her efforts of course. I can see why you want her.” “Very good. Now we only have about three weeks. Lots to do, so let’s get this moving directly. Any conflicts? Can you get started today?” “No conflicts sir.” Collins looked at the calendar. “Hmm, the weekend, it may be difficult to get immediate flights. If I could take ––” “Absolutely. Take a company jet and anything else you need to get this done. I have too much riding on this opening to cut corners at this late date. After all, we do have only one chance to make a first impression. Right?” “Yes sir.” Collins turned and hurried to his office. “Lori, here’s a list of information on each new-hire candidate. This is a top priority so ring them up and schedule appointments for next week please. And pay particular attention to this one.” He pointed to the position of Manager of Butler Services with a single name next to it. “Special case that one is. Book my room and keep my reservations open- ended. I’ve been ordered to come back only if I have a signed contract from her. That may take a day or two of convincing. Not quite sure yet. The rest seem pretty straight-forward.” “Yes Mr. Collins, I’ll take care of it immediately. When will you be leaving?” “As quickly as possible…, yesterday…, now if that’s feasible. How long will it take to ready one of our jets?” “I’ll check right now sir.” Lori called their hangar, then for a car. “They’ll be ready for you in twenty minutes. Do you have all of your ––” “Twenty minutes?” he gasped. “Well, I’ll just make do with what I have. No time to waste. Have to get moving. Thank you. And let me know if there’s anything else I need. Now you know why I keep that valise in my office ready to go at a moment’s notice.” With valise and briefcase in hand, Collins hurried out the door and Lori began dialing. The number highlighted in yellow was first. Glad I don’t have to run all over the world like that she mused. When Caryn heard her telephone ringing and ringing and ringing, she rinsed the soap from her eyes and jumped out of the shower sputtering, “Oh fudge face. I must have forgotten to turn the answering machine back on.” She wrapped herself in a towel and ran to pick it up. “Butler services. This is Caryn.” She had gotten so used to answering that way at work it became a habit, even at home. “Hello Caryn, my name is Lori. Mr. Collins asked me to call. He would like to meet with you to discuss hiring you for our company.” “Mr. Collins, hiring me for what? I already have a job. What company are you talking about?” Caryn was slightly irritated at the interruption in her busy schedule but intrigued at the word, ‘hiring’. “All I can say Caryn, is that Mr. Stanwick was quite insistent that we find a convenient time for you and Mr. Collins to meet for an hour or so. You remember Mr. Stanwick don’t you? He said you did a dinner party for the company’s executives in your suites recently, and he was very impressed. Apparently, your supervisor, Mr. Dempsey, failed to let anyone know about the menu, or even that there was a party scheduled. And you, as Mr. Stanwick put it, pulled quite a few rabbits out of your hat. He told our Vice President, Mr. Collins, that anyone who could put on the dinner you did, with no advance notice, was someone he wanted working for us.” Caryn wasn’t sure which party Lori was talking about. “Oh, I see, well…, thank you. That’s quite a compliment. But what job are you talking about?” “Mr. Collins will explain all the details himself. Let’s see, I show that you're working a two to ten p.m. schedule this week. Would a Thursday lunch be okay, say…, about twelve-thirty?” That statement immediately got Caryn’s attention. “You know my schedule? How did you get my schedule?” “Mr. Stanwick gave it to us. I can set you up for lunch at the Rain Tree right next to your work. Will that be convenient for you? Mr. Collins promises he won’t make you late. Oh, and don’t be concerned about wearing your work uniform. He understands you’re on a tight schedule.” It sounded legitimate and any opportunity to escape Dempsey’s incompetence was certainly worth investigating. “Oh. Thursday, um, well, I guess that’s…. At the Rain Tree you say? All right. But how will I know Mr. Collins?” “Just give the host your name and they’ll take you right to his table. Thursday at twelve-thirty then. Thank you Caryn. It was a pleasure speaking with you.” She stood for a moment looking at the telephone wondering if the call was real or someone’s prank. Why would someone call and offer me a job? Humph, better check it out though. She leaned over to jot the appointment down on a notepad. Oh fudge-bananas, I’m dripping all over the place. She wiped up the puddles, ran back to the bathroom and finished getting ready for work. The next day, she looked up the company and found that it was a well-established chain with properties all over the world. She called one of the larger locations and spoke to a waiter, a front desk clerk and a maintenance person. Every one of them said it was a “good place to work”. Even a chef who worked at another location seemed genuinely happy with his job. As Thursday approached, her excitement rose. “Leaving early today” asked her aunt? “Yup, I have a lunch appointment before work. Do I look okay for a business meeting?” Her aunt nodded approval. “Don’t’ worry. I’ll get those invoices done for you tomorrow. See you sometime tonight.” Traffic was the usual stop-and-go but, on this day, Caryn didn’t mind. It gave her a chance to mentally prepare for this potentially important interview. She parked in her usual spot, checked her appearance, and walked next door to the restaurant. It was impressive, and she was about to have a gourmet lunch. Today, she would be served instead of the other way around. I hope the offer is for a place close by she thought as she entered the front door. Schedule, what kind of schedule do they want me to work, what department…, do they have butler service? “Hello, my name is Caryn. I’m meeting a ––” “Oh yes Caryn. We’ve been expecting you. Please follow me. Right this way.” So, this is where the executives meet when they’re off property. I hope no one recognizes me and asks why I’m here. “Pleasure to see you Caryn," said a well- dressed man holding out his hand. "Glad you could make it for lunch.” “Thank you Mr. Collins. It is Mr. Collins isn’t it?” She shook his hand and sat down. “Yes Caryn, I am Mr. Collins and it’s good to see you once again. I was at the party last month, the one where your hotel lost all our information. Lots of people there so I’m sure you don’t remember me. But I do remember you, quite well in fact. Excellent recovery. Well done.” It was embarrassing to not remember him. Then the host draped a napkin on her lap and suggested some wines before reciting that day’s specials. “No wine for me. I think, um, the roasted chicken salad. No tomatoes, and please put the dressing on the side.” “No wine with lunch?” “Not for me. Drinks are for after work.” Collins smiled and gave his order sans the wine. “You served quite a dinner at our party last month Caryn. Mr. Stanwick saw how frazzled you were and did some investigating whilst playing golf with a few senior executives from your hotel. Frankly, he was astounded at their lackadaisical attitude toward employees.” She wanted to cheer at that statement. “My assistant sent all the details and menus for that party weeks ahead of time, even called to confirm. But when we arrived, we found that your supervisor, a Mr. Dempsey I believe, had not ordered any of the supplies we requested nor had he even alerted anyone on your floor that we would be having such a function. Astoundingly bad show, especially for a five-star establishment.” “Oh yes, that party, I remember. I had to call in a few favors to get your food ready in time. I really do apologize for that. We aren’t normally so unprepared. I hope we didn’t ruin your event.” “Oh no, quite the contrary, it turned out to be one of the better parties we’ve ever had. When you managed to get almost everything Lori had ordered –– and on a moment’s notice it seemed –– Mr. Stanwick told me that you should be working for us.” Then his forehead furrowed and he tilted his head. “Does that sort of thing happen often?” “Well, it’s just something that’s unavoidable once in a while. But we don’t want the guests to see the problems we’re having in the back of the house. I guess we didn’t do as well as we should have.” “Quite the contrary Caryn. You did very well. And, I have to say, I admire your loyalty. To not throw someone else right into the fire is admirable. I’m not sure I’d be able to shield your supervisor the way you just did. Stanwick was right, but then, he usually is.” “Right…? Right about what?” “Let me just say that he’s a fantastic judge of people. The day we played golf Mr. Stanwick said employees should never be treated like that. Later he said the attitudes of your hotel’s executives have opened the door for us to steal you away. We don’t usually recruit people from other companies but he said that someone of your caliber should not have to put up with, um, well, with that sort of treatment. It’s almost as if this Dempsey bloke is trying to sabotage your floor. Incredible that your CEO has allowed it to go on this long.” He tore off a piece of bread and pointed it at Caryn before it reached his mouth. “Oh, and yes Caryn, we checked, and he will probably continue operating that way, and they will probably keep him on. How have you put up with him for all this time?” He leaned back in his chair. “Ah well, but that will soon be history I hope. Yum, good bread this.” Caryn was astounded that anyone outside her hotel would know, or even care, about the problems they’d been having. It felt good that someone, knowledgeable in the business, actually noticed. “Okay, you know a great deal about me, much more than I expected. But how did we get to this meeting? Your assistant mentioned hiring, for what and where?” Collins smiled and pulled out a folded document. “I love it when someone gets right to the point.” “Caryn, we want you to set up and run the butler department in our newest hotel. Our opening is just a few weeks away and this” –– He handed her the contract –– “will be a great opportunity for you. Take a look. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” Caryn reached for it trying to not let Collins see her hand shaking in nervous excitement. “Well, it seems that the competition is offering me a job. Are you talking about the property that was just in the news? I’ve heard about it but it’s so far away.” “Yes, from here it is, but this really is a wonderful opportunity and you’ll love the area. It’s quite beautiful and a very good place to live. Besides, it’s obvious your current company doesn’t care about its employees very much. Bit of an understatement I think. But no mind, we’re different. We know our people are the life blood of our business and we support and treat them with the respect they deserve. Can you say that about your present position? You really should accept you know. And I’m sure you’ll like working for us. So…. What do you think?” Caryn scanned the first page of the contract. “I’m flattered that you’re offering me such a position but, the foreign location, I don’t know. My daughters just got settled here and it was very difficult for them. Another move? I’m just not sure I can do this to them again.” Collins looked obviously disappointed but he was also determined. “Well, I understand. Such a move is quite a decision. Give it some thought. Read the offer and compare it to your present job. I think you’ll see that this would be an excellent position and we’d love to have you in our family. Just let me know on Monday. But for now, let’s forget about business and enjoy lunch.” Their drinks arrived; tall iced-teas with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon. “Umm, delicious. Now tell me about your daughters. How old are they?” Caryn’s face lit up as she pulled out her photos. “This is Julie and this is Amy. They both play softball and are finally starting to settle in here.” Collins had a daughter about the same age so they compared many enjoyable stories before discussing the fiercely competitive hospitality industry. Collins explained how they encouraged employee ideas and how an occasional one had changed a management policy or two. Caryn silently wished her supervisors would think in the same manner but knew they never would. When they were finished, she put the contract into her bag and went to work thinking it would be difficult to understand the usual legalese found in such documents. But later, at home, she discovered that it was fairly straightforward. She contemplated the offer over the next few days. But, when Monday came, she refused it. Collins reported her answer to Stanwick, who became rather upset. “Get her. She’s the one I want. I don’t care what the cost is. Make her a better offer and just get her.” Another offer was presented and again refused, albeit reluctantly. As much as she wanted to escape Dempsey’s tyranny, she found it difficult to threaten her daughters’ quality of life just to alleviate her emotional and financial straits. She knew their futures were at stake but, in the end, the new offer was still not good enough to put them through such trauma again. Her answer was still “no”. Determined to carry out Stanwick’s order, Collins presented a better offer and received another “no”. This cycle continued until Caryn could not possibly refuse. It was time to talk to her daughters. They had just finished tidying up from dinner and Amy was anxious to watch a popular show on television. “Girls” said Caryn thoughtfully as she put the last dish away and slowly folded a towel. “I need your help.” They both stopped and waited for the bad news. It was always bad news when their mother got that serious look on her face. She clasped her hands and sighed. “I’ve been offered a new job but it’s in another place a long ways away. In fact, it’s a very long way from here. And, it ––” “Move to another place, again?” whined Amy. “But, Mom, we just got a decent softball team going. We can’t leave now. We just got here last year.” “I know. But they have sports over there, too. And this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us. Look girls, ––” “No way” interrupted Julie defiantly. It took us all year to get those idiots from seventh grade to stop picking on us. And now you want us to start all over again? No way. I won’t do it!” She folded her arms and frowned, pouting. Amy slapped her sister’s shoulder. “Oh cut it out Sis. Mom’s serious.” Then she whispered into Julie’s ear, “We have to stick together. Remember?” “I’m really sorry girls. But this way, we won’t have to have the car fixed every other week and you might learn to like something besides macaroni and cheese.” She tried to lighten the mood but the girls would have none of it. “Mom…, what’s wrong with mac and cheese? Come-on, please” cried Julie. “Yeah mom, you can’t do this. Move, again. Really? Oh, never mind. She’s going to do it anyway Julie. Let’s go watch the show while we still can. They probably don’t even have TV wherever we’re going.”
Caryn Elizabeth Story