Ever since my old boss left the company I have had an uneasy feeling about his replacement. Ms. Tucker was originally from the head office, got transferred to the L.A. office and three months later transferred here. It was rumored she made many changes in L.A. and quite a few people are no longer employed there. She is a died in the wool company person, known for her achieving results no matter how difficult they might seem to others.
The one rumor that I was worried about was the company now striving to have an all female workforce. A lot of reasons were offered on why that was important to the company. but nothing was substantiated. Since I was the last male in this office, it seemed logical that her transfer here might be to rid the office of me. That is if you were to believe any of the rumors circulating around the company.
I made a few inquiries into the L.A. office through a friend that used to work there, finding that all of the males now were gone, replaced with females. He saw the handwriting on the wall and quit early on in Ms. Tucker’s tenure there, before she could target him. There, the all female workforce assuring then better medical insurance rates, was the reason given for the purging of the male employees. I doubt that had anything to do with the changes in the workforce. I also found out that all of the male employees had resigned, and were not fired. That way the company could not be singled out for discrimination. The males quit, as the company filled the vacancies from the female applicants that applied for the vacant jobs. No reasons were available for the males quitting, at least, not divulged to me.
Ms. Tucker ignored me for the first week, concentrating on some procedural changes to improve paper flow. Then a memo was received in my inbox advising of a change in the company dress code. It was sent out to all members of this office, allowing a vote for the addition or elimination of any one item on the current dress code. We were to forward suggestions to her and she would post a list on Friday for the employees to vote on. On the surface this looked like the employees were able to vote on changes and not be subjected to what the executives believed best for them.
On Thursday I was invited to her office wanting to know why I hadn’t made any suggestions for changes to the dress code. I looked at her funny, the male dress code was simple dress shirt and suit pants, if a jacket is worn it is to be part of a suit and not a sports jacket.
I decided to play along promising her a suggestion in the next hour or two. She thanked me for agreeing to participate, since she felt it was important for all employees to be treated fairly and equally. I went back to my cubicle and tried to word a suggestion that shows I am a team player making my suggestion to appease her request.
As a suggestion for changes to the dress code I propose allowing each employee to wear more comfortable clothes at least three times a week. If the employees are more comfortable production and efficiency should improve significantly. This can include dresses, pants other than suit pants and blouses or casual shirts. Of course for times we are expecting visiting dignitaries a professional suit or dress should be worn creating the professional appearance needed for the office.
If I had known how that email could be distorted to what she had published on the list as my idea for the dress code revision I would have passed on participating entirely, better to be a non participant than what I ended up with.
The list was published on Friday as promised. Each employee’s suggestion was listed and we were to vote for our choices for the top five changes to the dress code. Ms. Tucker would then pick one or two of the ones receiving the most votes and make the changes to the dress code. That way the employees had some input in the dress code and what changes were decided on would apply to all equally. That word equally would come to haunt me in the weeks to come.
My suggestion when put on her list of suggestions to vote on morphed into something I hardly recognized. Next to my name of Petunia, was the following suggestion to the dress code.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are pant suits with blouses under the jacket or blazer. Of course heels to finish off the professional look we are striving for here. Tuesdays and Thursdays are dresses, with stockings and heels with a hem four to five inches above the knees.
I read the suggestion three times, then the name attached to the idea. How she came up with the name Petunia I will never know. At lunch everybody was talking about the suggestions and what ones they were going to vote for. In walks Ms. Turner and announces to the group that Petunia should be complimented on her tasteful idea, She is obviously an employee concerned about the way the company is perceived, making the suggestion to improve what our customers think of us, thus the company we work for. The gals all looked around trying to see who this Petunia person is.
Ms. Turner walked over to me, put her hands on my shoulder and introduced me to the group as Petunia. The gals snickered a little but managed to keep things from getting carried away. As soon as Ms. Turner left I was mobbed, all of them wanting to know when I became Petunia. They thought my suggestion was a little unfriendly for a female since wearing heels and stockings are not the most comfortable things for a female. We all had deduced that with what Ms. Turner had said that idea should be voted for by all. It was obvious that she had come to us to make sure her wishes were known, a subtle hint of what idea to vote for.
Sure enough my idea won hands down, Ms. Turner making the changes to the dress code. Then the memo to all employees of this branch effective on the following Monday all employees are to be in pant suits with white blouses. Heels are to be four inches or higher and matching the pantsuit. I know it is not necessary to remind the employees that no outfit is to be worn twice in the same month a common sense fact for any employee of the company.
There was a second memo to Petunia, reminding me that all employees are to be treated equally, the pant suit and dress requirement applies to all employees including Petunia. I immediately got up from my desk and approached her office. I knocked then she called me in. She immediately thanked me for the suggestion, showing her that I was indeed a company oriented employee.
To keep from getting into a discussion that might be seen as hostile I asked about the name that she has been calling me. She turned and withdrew a file from the filing cabinet behind her laying it on her desk. She read from it giving my social security number first and then the name Petunia Tunica. Then the worst part, in my file the gender was marked as being female. I sat down hard in the chair in front of her desk, shit what am I going to do now? I tried to hint that there might have been a mistake made here, but she was sure of her facts, even checking with home office for my original application of employment before she updated my file. I was shown a copy of that application sure enough her facts were confirmed by the information on that application.
I am sure you have some work to do, but I do appreciate your idea and can’t wait to see your outfit come Monday. I am sure you will want to set an example for the other ladies in this region, a truly responsible company oriented employee. I wandered back to my desk, suddenly my day going from okay to downright disastrous.
Story Incomplete At Present
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