Lisa scanned the resume of Cathy Johansen for the third time.
“She has the right background,” said Bruce, on arm resting on the opposite side of her desk.
Lisa sighed and set the stapled pages onto her blotter, face down. Leaning back in her chair, she tapped her ball point pen against the palm of her hand. “Sure, but I’m not convinced she’s right for the position.”
“What do you mean?” He frowned and adjusted the end of his tie.
“She’s always so…” Lisa waved the pen, searching to find the most tactful description. Instead, she hunched her shoulders and twisted her features into an apologetic expression.
“Ah,” said Bruce, seeming to catch on. “You mean the…”
A gentle tap sounded on her office door. Bruce closed his mouth with a wince. Lisa cocked a question eyebrow at him. He sat back and sighed, but nodded in assent.
Thanks, mouthed Lisa. “Come in,” she said.
The knob turned and Cathy stuck her neatly coiffed head into the room.
“I’m sorry,” she said with worried frown. “Am I early?”
Lisa glanced at her computer’s clock amidst the charts and updating graphs. The digits then ticked over to the top of the hour.
“No, not at all.”
Bruce angled his chair away from the desk, making room for the second one sitting empty.
“Have a seat.” Lisa leaned forward and pointed with her pen.
Cathy made sure to shut the door and then took the chair, scooping her skirt under her as she perched on the edge. Her fingers tugged at one another while her gaze swept over the mounds of paperwork arranged in neat piles.
“I’m sorry I didn’t bring anything with me to take notes.”
“Its fine,” said Bruce with a steady smile.
“We just wanted to talk with you,” added Lisa.
“Is this about the new position?” Cathy glanced between the two then her cheeks flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to jump in like that…”
Lisa folded her arms and laid them on the desk, pages crinkling beneath her suit’s crisp sleeves. With a settling breath she decided to go straight to the point.
“I’m afraid we’re going to go with Deborah to head the new overseas marketing division.”
Cathy’s shoulders curved and she set her hands down into her lap as if they suddenly weighed a ton. “I see.” Her head tilted to the side, like a rabbit listening for danger. Her smooth forehead frowned. “I don’t mean to pry, but…could you tell me why?”
“It’s not a reflection on your work,” said Lisa, softening her tone. “On the contrary, you’re knowledge of market dynamics is a tremendous asset to the department. We simply thought she would have more success dealing with the clients on a personal level.”
“They can be really difficult sometimes,” continued Bruce.
Lisa nodded. “Deborah’s been in the field, if you can call it that, for a number of years and knows how to wheel and deal. She’s got the thick skin for rough negotiations. Your experience is more academic and while substantial, doesn’t really fit the demands of the position.”
Cathy’s head bobbed slowly. “Thanks for telling me,” she said after a moment of silence. Standing, she patted the sides of her skirt with her hands as if confirming the existence of her own legs. “Sorry, was there anything else?”
“Not really, but if you’re willing I’d like to have you working with her once she’s settled in and get you some additional firsthand experience. See if we can’t expand your own skills.”
Cathy solemn face brightened. “I’d like that.”
“It would be a great addition to your resume,” said Bruce.
“More than that, it’d be great for me to have you two working as a team. Your brains behind her charm would be a knock out combination.”
Lisa smiled at the young woman’s innocent surprise. “Definitely. Now, please, be honest with me. Are you going to be ok with this?”
Cathy tugged at her hands again and chewed at her lip, giving the question adequate thought. “Yeah, thanks.”
“Great,” said Lisa. “I am still expecting those numbers on my desk in the morning.”
“Sure thing.” Cathy thumbed at the door. “I just have a few more statistics to crunch if you want it sooner.”
Lisa raised a calming hand. “I don’t need them until tomorrow.”
“Right, sorry.” She blushed and stepped toward the door. “I should probably get back though. I was waiting on some reports to come in on the London exchange.”
Lisa gave her a dismissive nod. “Thanks, Cathy.”
Cathy slipped through the door and closed it behind her.
Bruce let out a slow exhale.
“That went better than I expected.”
Lisa shrugged. “She’s smart and eager, overeager,” she corrected. “Deborah should be a good influence.”
“Who knows, perhaps one day she’ll have mine job.”
“Are you kidding me?” Lisa snorted and tucked away the resumes on her desk into their respective folders. “One day she’ll have mine.”