Work Ethics

“I need your help with a file.”
Sabine left the file on her desk and moved on. Helen picked it up; it was fairly easy. In about 10 minutes she was done. She gave a buzz to Sabine who came back, thanked her and left again. Her mailbox pinged. An email from Sebastian in groups; he needed her to verify a couple of files because there seemed to be mistakes in the confirmations sent to the clients.

“Helen, it’s Jen from reception. Mr. Johnson asked to meet you.”
“Hi Jen. Mr. Johnson should be speaking with Ted. He’s his advisor.”
“I know Helen. But he claims Mr. Farsee said to discuss with you his current situation. And Mr. Farsee doesn’t pick up.”
She sighed. Mr. Johnson was an extremely good client. He couldn’t be made to wait.
“Can you call Ted and ensure he comes to meet Mr. Johnson? I’ll see him but I may not be able to help. Have him sit in room #3.”
“Will do. Thank you Helen.”
“No problem.”
She sent a quick email to Ted to advise him Mr. Johnson was here and he should meet them in room #3. She then pulled Mr. Johnson’s file and looked into his current contract. Nothing out of the ordinary, why would Ted not try to deal with it? She printed some of the information and met with Mr. Johnson. It took an hour during which Ted didn’t show up at all. The issue was solved.

“It’s always a pleasure dealing with you Ms. Carter.”
“Likewise Mr. Johnson but you’re Mr. Farsee’s client now so he should be meeting you.”
The man snorted but made no comment.
“Thank you for your help Ms. Carter. Have a good day.”
“And you Sir.”
She went back up and got caught by her boss.

“Helen where are you on the Philips’ order?”
“Hi Lisa. Which Philips’ order are you talking about?”
“The one I sent you via email.”
Helen mentally went through all the emails she’d received for the past two days; she usually flagged the most important and Philips would be flagged red.
“I’m not sure I’ve seen it yet. When did you send it?”
“I sent it half an hour ago. It needs to be dealt with before 1pm.”
“Well I was with Mr. Johnson.”
“Why would you be? He’s Ted’s client. You can’t be stealing people’s clients.”
“I wasn’t. I actually…” She hesitated. She didn’t want to put Jen or Ted in a bad position. “Ted wasn’t available so I met Mr. Johnson.”
“Well I need you to deal with the Philips’ order by 1pm.”

Ok, so that meant no lunch Helen figured. She went back to her desk, where two of her team members were waiting.
“Helen,” Heather said. “My daughter’s school just called. She’s sick. I have to leave now. Can I leave the Granger’s file with you. He needs a follow-up call this afternoon on his order; everything’s in the file. Text me if you need anything. Thanks you’re a dear.”
“Er… ok. I hope your daughter’s ok. Yes Delia?”
“Well I have a problem.”
“There’s no such thing as a problem, only solutions.” She answered with a smile. “Tell me.”
“I have this client Mr. Porsche. Yes I know like the cars. Except he’s not as funny or interesting. He’s asking if we can delay the payment for his order and I don’t know how to deal with it because he only wants to pay 5% of the price instead of the 30% downpayment.”
“Ok… so when’s he thinking of paying the remainder of the downpayment.”
“He doesn’t know.”
“Ok. And have you offered him to pay in instalments?”
“Not yet, I thought we couldn’t without the downpayment.”
“Well… let see whether he’s willing to commit to an instalment. That will validate the sale and everyone will be good.”
“What if he isn’t?”
“We’ll see then.”
“Ok, Thanks Helen.”

Helen re-opened her computer and saw the Philips’ order waiting for her. And another email from Sebastian who wanted an answer to his question. That would wait.
By 1pm the Philips’ order was treated; she’d called the client, confirmed the order and validated everything. At 12:55pm her boss sent an email to know if she had an answer for her; the directors needed to know that the Philips order had gone through. She confirmed. A quick lunch later, she was treating Sebastian’s request while dealing with her own deadlines.

The best moment of the day was Ted’s visit to her desk though. He made a show of being upset that she’d met Mr. Johnson without him. Demanded a meeting with her boss. While she was being chastised, Helen said nothing. Ted and Lisa essentially indicated this would lead to a warning officially recorded with HR. With a smile, Helen looked at them.
“I would like to call Mr. Johnson if you please. Oh and Jen. I’d also like for the phone logs to be pulled out from reception. I will also print the email I sent Ted.”
“We can’t disturb Mr. Johnson.” Ted said.
“Why? Maybe he can shed some light on why I met him instead of you.”
Ted flustered and sputtered. But left the office saying to forget it.

“Helen you can’t put your colleagues in a situation like that.”
She watched her boss incredulously.
“Excuse me? He can tell you I stole a client and get me fired but I can’t show that he actually told Mr. Johnson to ask for me in my defence? How does that make sense? I’ll go back to my desk. There’s still some fine tuning to do on the Philips’ order. He emailed me to adjust some things.”
“Yes go. Philips is important.”

Back at her desk Helen sighed. She looked up at her computer: five emails from colleagues from different departments asking for help. To each and every single one of them, she answered she unfortunately didn’t have the time to help. She usually didn’t mind being overworked; she thrived on helping others. And her work ethics was what it was. At the end of the day, they served the clients. But not anymore. Let the others deal with their own mess.


In response to the Daily Post writing prompt Overworked

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