She debated hitting the accept button with the green check or the decline button with the red x.
It wasn’t a mandatory meeting. Employees were “strongly encouraged” to attend. Even if it were mandatory, what would they do if she didn’t attend? Fire her? Yeah, right. It’s not like this were high school where she could get detention or demerits for not attending a function. This was work. The place she dragged herself to Monday through Friday so she could have health insurance, pay rent, buy food and eek out some fun activities with the leftover pennies.
Attending the quarterly all-employee meeting to look at PowerPoint slides of the company’s earnings and losses only exacerbated the fact that she–and others–were grossly underpaid and overworked. Was the company in the red? No? Then fuck you, pay me.
Knowing that strongly encouraging people to attend didn’t guarantee a full house of attendees, the big bosses enticed them by offering a buffet of finger foods, charcuterie trays, danishes, desserts and most importantly alcohol, afterwards to celebrate success and growth. The free goodies were set up during the meeting and immediately greeted the employees as they exited the seminar room.
After the meeting, during which she’d sat alone and let her mind wander, her cubiclemate sauntered over to her at the sliders table. He made a sweeping motion at the spread with the hand holding a plastic cup of dark red wine. The other held a plate of intermingling foods assembled in a mound. He knew a second trip to the tables might yield no results, better to load up on the first go-round. She was just getting started.
“This is even better than last quarter,” he said as crumbs escaped his mouth, a few clung to his bottom lip.
Adding a chicken slider next to a beef one on her plate, she replied, “Yeah, I know. I’m here for it.”