Yolanda headed up the clerical department in the division where Riti, Lin and I worked after the staple pit was disbanded. I had transfered to this division as part of a larger strategy of getting a better job. Once, I stumbled upon Riti and Lin in the midst of a fevered discussion about how to best surprise Yolanda with flowers.
Yolanda had reached the highest promotable level of her career some years back. Someone had clearly run out of certificates because they had moved her from a cubicle in clerical to the office adjacent to the highest-level executive in the department. This was intended to reward her for her years of hard work. Physically, it was the farthest spot on the floor from the clerical department.
I think that that executive wanted a personal secretary and moving Yolanda next door was the only strategy he could come up with to get one. Being so far away from the people she managed effectively severed any sense of control Yolanda might have had over her team. Any anxiety this created in her could be relieved with presents.
When I interrupted them, Riti and Lin had just called Yolanda and summoned her to clerical. When Yolanda arrived, they would lead her around a corner, ostensibly to whatever fictitious emergency required her attention, and then present her with the bouquet of flowers they now flanked. My presence was about to ruin everything. The two of them stared daggers at me. “We’re waiting for Yolanda!” Lin hissed. “What’s the occasion?” I asked, wondering how I had missed the email.
“WE bought these for Yolanda,” Riti finally managed to say. Then I clued in that there was no occasion. This was their own private thing with Yolanda, likely to produce weeks of happy approval of whatever they did or didn’t do. I had no right to siphon off any of that goodwill by inserting myself into the exchange. God forbid, Yolanda might think I was involved and inadvertently misallocate credit. I got the hell out of there.
From my cube, I heard Yolanda’s happy thank yous and Lin and Riti’s explanations about how Yolanda was such a good boss and they just loved her so much they couldn’t help themselves but be moved to buy her flowers. I’ve seen children meet Santa with more dignity. It was impressive. I decided that Lin and Riti should offer a class or seminar on career advancement. And then everyone should get a certificate.