Person A: She smiled a little. “You’re a manipulator.”
Person B: “I like to think of myself as an outcome engineer.”
This is going to be a short one this week. I’m too far behind with everything I need to finish by the end of the week.
Byron sighed and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his desk. “I don’t know… It just seems like you don’t care.”
“I’m confused.” Candice uncrossed and recrossed her legs. She didn’t want her boss to think she was fidgeting, but she had no idea what he was talking about, and she was tired of being called in there to discuss vagaries. “What does it seem like I don’t care about?”
He shook his head, mouth turned down. “Your job. Your co-workers. The company. Me.”
Her mouth dropped open. “I’ve been here past midnight every night this week trying to get this project finished. Everyone else is out of here by six-thirty at the latest. And I’m back in by seven am. How does that seem like I don’t care?”
He folded his hands in front of him. “Look, you’re still relatively new here.”
Addie nodded and waited for him to continue while anxiety dampened her palms.
“And I know you want to make a good impression, but there are some people on the team who are feeling a little threatened by the number of hours you’re putting in and how much of the work is being logged from your account.”
Her brow furrowed. “Sooooo…you want me to put in fewer hours and just not worry about whether or not the project is complete by the deadline?”
“You’re not listening.” He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.
He cut her off. “Look, I know you don’t intend to come off like you are.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean.”
“Glory hound. Brown noser.” He ticked off the jabs on his fingers. “You have a savior complex.”
She just stared at him. Did people even use brown noser any more?
“I know this sort of thing is hard to hear–which is why I wanted to pull you aside and discuss it with you privately.”
“If I’m not supposed to put in extra work, I’m not sure the project will be finished in time for the client.”
“I want to help you, Addie. I want to see you do well here.”
Unease slithered through her, but she waited for him to say more.
“I’d like to propose an idea that might help.”
She continued to wait, muscles tensed.
“You continue to keep whatever hours you need to keep to finish on schedule.”
“But use my login profile.”
A quiet alarm bell began clanging in the back of her mind. “So, then all my work will be attributed to you, then?”
For the briefest moment, his mask of concern slipped and she glimpsed the flat, hard anger in his eyes. And just as quickly, it vanished and he was smiling. “You don’t need to worry about that. I’ll attribute credit where it’s due.”
The tension seeped out of her limbs and she settled back in her chair. “Then why not just let me continue as I have been?”
“I’m not sure why you can’t understand how much this will lower tension in the office.”
“You mean lower your tension because you’ll be getting credit for my work.” She smiled a little. “You’re a manipulator.”
He was quiet for a minute, then finally said, “I like to think of myself as an outcome engineer.”
“I see.” She stood up. “Well, good luck with your outcome.”
He looked puzzled. “Where are you going?”
“It’s wine o’clock. I’m going home.”