Last Time …

Amelia doesn’t know it but big changes are afoot. Her boss, Zoe, has been given a promotion, and Zoe’s boss, Declan, has suggested to her that Amelia and Christina are the top contenders to replace her.

Zoe is struggling to decide between them. She’s recently received complaints about Amelia from Christina and another colleague, Chantal. Uncertain whether these complaints are valid, or are simply jealousy, she’s contemplating appointing someone from outside the department.

What will Zoe decide?

Zoe shutterstock_229724566Zoe sat at her desk mulling over her decision. I haven’t seen any evidence of the capability issues or behaviour that Christina raised regarding Amelia, she thought. Her tone was full of animosity when she’d spoken to her, so it seemed personal. They’re supposed to be close friends. Come to think of it, when Chantal spoke to me she used almost exactly the same words as Christina … as if they’d compared notes. Hmm …

If I don’t go for someone from outside, who would I choose between Christina and Amelia? Well, there’s no doubt in my mind.

Done! I’ll let Declan know. Zoe felt relieved.

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Amelia looked at Christina anxiously. ‘Hey, what d’ya think’s going on?’ Amelia asked her.

‘Dunno Melia, but Declan looked pretty happy and relaxed when he left Zoe’s office. Maybe it’s good news?’

‘Yeah, I bloody hope so. The stress is making me feel sick.’

‘Me too.’

shutterstock_175797839Just then Zoe came up from behind them. Amelia flushes with embarrassment when she says hello. Christina doesn’t bat an eye, she merely smiles charmingly.

‘I didn’t mean to surprise you two! Good to see you’re both absorbed in your work.’

‘You know Amelia and me always have our noses to the grindstone,’ Christina answered, before Amelia even had time to take in a breath. ‘What’s up, Zoe?’

Zoe lowered her voice slightly. ‘Declan and I’d like to have a word with both of you. Are you free at 1?’

After exchanging sidelong glances, they both said yes.

‘Great! See you in Declan’s office then.’

As Zoe walked away they turned to look at each other, mouths open and eyes wide.

‘Shit! What’s that about, Melia?’ Christina whispered.

‘Whatever it is, I’m glad we’re in it together.’

‘Yeah … right.’

But Christina’s answer didn’t reflect what she was thinking: ‘Together’? You believe that if you want, sister, but I’m gonna look out for number one. I’ve forgiven, but I haven’t forgotten.

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Christina and Amelia got into the lift and headed up to the executive floor for their 1 o’clock meeting. Their teeth were clean, their hair brushed and their makeup freshened. Christina checked herself in the polished steel interior just as Amelia broke the tense silence.

‘Have you been in Declan’s office before?’

shutterstock_82832608‘No. You?’

‘Yeah, but just a couple of times. It’s amazing; some people don’t have apartments that big. Wait until you see the views!’

Huh, so I was right, Christina thought. She’s been sucking up to Declan. Noted and filed for later.

They’re not usually seen on the executive floor, so a few heads turned as they walked over to check in with Declan’s assistant, Cathy.

‘Thanks for coming up, ladies,’ Declan said, as they sat down in his office. ‘As you know, Zoe and I are impressed with your work and we see you both as leaders among your peers, so we wanted to tell you both this news at the same time. First of all, I’ve offered Zoe the role of Divisional VP, and she’s accepted.’

They both congratulated Zoe, but Amelia thought that Christina did so a little too enthusiastically.

‘I’m very pleased she accepted,’ Declan continued. ‘Now, the second thing is this: Zoe’s replacement.’ His eyes darted between them.

Amelia’s stomach flipped. She’s really been enjoying working for Zoe, but now she just hopes that her replacement will be as good to work for.

Christina, on the other hand, is having very different thoughts. So that’s why we’re both here. This is it! This is my vindication for being passed over at my last job. I know what Declan’s about to say, and I hope Melia takes it okay. After all, I’ve been here longer and I taught her all she knows. But I’ve got to keep her on side because she’s going to be valuable to me. Performance reviews. Incentives. Profile. She’ll keep the team performing well for me. Concentrate girl! Zoe’s speaking!

‘I just want to stress what a hard decision this was to make,’ Zoe said with a deep frown. ‘You’re both so talented … but unfortunately there’s only one position.’

Declan interjected, ‘I want to reinforce what Zoe said. You’re both highly valued members of the Global team. That’s why, Christina, we’ve decided to promote you …’

Yes! I knew it!! Christina thought in a flash, her heart pounding with excitement. It’s gonna be heaps of Billecart-Salmon tonight, either with Melia or not!

‘… to Senior Manager.’ Delcan’s eyes shifted warmly to Amelia as Christina’s heart fluttered. ‘And Amelia, there’s particular congratulations to you because we’re making you the new Head of Marketing!’

An awkward silence filled the room before Christina turned to Amelia with a forced smile and offered her a congratulatory handshake. As Amelia accepted the gesture, the penny suddenly dropped. A look of shock crept across her face.

shutterstock_216249316‘Oh, thank you … did you just say that I’m the new Head of Marketing?’

Declan smiled benevolently. ‘Yes I did, Amelia. We know you’ll do a great job.’

‘Oh … thank you, thank you very much.’

Behind her smile Christina’s mind was racing. Bitch! Bitch! That bloody bitch! Robbed again! This time by my friend! Shit, did I say that? Smile … smile. Get the last word in.

Christina extended her handshake to Declan and Zoe. ‘I want to thank you both. I appreciate what you’ve done for me.’

What impact do you think this could have on Amelia’s personal and professional relationship with Christina?

Have you experienced a situation where a female has been promoted to lead her peer group? How did her female colleagues respond?

Please share your thoughts and any constructive comments in the section below.