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Where We Begin

Where We Begin

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Published by Andrew Clausen
We all find our place somehow, sometimes it takes a setback to get you there. Jim will soon discover that he's not the only one searching for a better future, but will he discover the reason she's intertwined in his journey before it's too late?
We all find our place somehow, sometimes it takes a setback to get you there. Jim will soon discover that he's not the only one searching for a better future, but will he discover the reason she's intertwined in his journey before it's too late?

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Published by: Andrew Clausen on Dec 28, 2013
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12/28/2013

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 1 “Where We Begin” By Andrew Clausen
What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. - T.S. Elliot
n a sunny Friday morning in an apartment on the eastside of Charlotte, North Carolina, at 6:35 a.m., an alarm didn’t go off. Three loud bangs came on the door of one of the bedrooms, “Dude! Wake up; you’re late for  work! Jim, get the hell out of bed!” yelled the roommate. He woke furiously and snapped his neck toward the alarm clock to see it hadn’t gone off; he should have been up at six. He swore under his breath and  jumped out of bed and into the closest clothes he could find. Unfortunately, what he found was a neon-green shirt and a blue tie. Not the greatest choice, by any means; however, there was no time to be stylish, he had to get to work fast. He ran out of the room with one shoe on and the other in his hand, his roommate, who was sitting on the couch watching morning cartoons and eating Fruity Pebbles cereal, was seeing this disaster in the making. “What in the actual hell are you wearing? You don’t match at all,” his roommate laughed. “Shut up man, I don’t have time to change.” “Well hang on one second, at least,” he sat his breakfast down and went over to his friend to fix his bedhead into something half-stylish. “There, now it’s professional bedhead.” “Thanks. Alright, I gotta run, I’ve already missed the bus!” “Go make that money man!” his friend slammed the door as he returned to  watching cartoons and eating cereal. He didn’t have to go to work for several more hours, but had kept this routine since he was in college and was an immense creature of habit. here are certain jobs that are truly monotonous to their core. Investment  banking was one of those jobs if you weren’t a top dog. Jim had a cubical  with pictures of friends, a tiny printer, and a calendar that was bleeding it had so many appointments. Only by the grace of God did it not have full walls and he could see other people and out the windows of the floor. He was not a top dog. He was, however, the assistant to a top dog. “From you’re favorite place on Elm Street,” Julie said as she came around the corner with two coffees, an assistant of another dog. “I hope you got my email last night?”
O
T
 
 2 “Oh, I got that little present you left in my inbox, I’m surprised you didn’t light it on fire as well,” Jim took the coffee and sipped. “Oh this
is
 good. Thanks for this.” “Yeah, I am really sorry, but Michael didn’t give his counteroffer until literally fifteen seconds before I sent it to you,” Julie said. “I guess the guy doesn’t  believe 12:30 in the morning is too late to be sending stuff marked ‘important.’” “Dick,” they said together and laughed. “Yeah, I figured,” Jim said as he began printing something out. “I had already had three or seven beers so I decided that I was in no mental state to be  working on something of this importance to the company.” “So you did it anyway?” “Oh, most definitely,” he handed her the report. “That’s why I’m late this morning. I forgot to set my alarm and I overslept.” “Jesus Christ, you wrote all of this up drunk?” she flipped through the thirty-eight page report. “Yeah, had to run it through spell-check here at the office one time just to make sure there was nothing too crazy, but it should be what they need, not that they will even read it.” “Well, I guess that explains the shirt-tie combo from hell you’re rocking today,” she laughed. “Yeah, with any luck I’ll just hang in my cube until lunch and then go home and change.” “How have you not been promoted?” She asked still puzzled by the report. “It would take me a full day to do something like this and that’s totally sober!” “Because this place is a hellhole,” he laughed. “Once you’re an assistant, there’s not really anywhere else to go. Robert knows I make his life easier but their ego prohibits them from giving anyone else a shot at the inner circle.” “Oh, you mean the Divorced Men’s Club?” they laughed. “Exactly,” his phone rang. “Hello? Oh, yes Robert. Yes she is. Yeah, we’ll be there,” he hung up. “What was that about?” “Conference room in fifteen minutes. We’re presenting this to the ‘Club.’” “Umm, what? We have to present something you wrote intoxicated to the execs?” she almost fell back. “Yeah, but don’t worry. Just go through it and make sure it includes at least four of Michael’s ten ‘must-haves’ and then make sure the other six are in line with the last meetings compromises and we’ll have ourselves a deal. Promise.” “Wait, are we really—” “Did you not hear fifteen minutes? We’re now working with only ten, now go, go, go!” She ran off to her desk and Jim went to the bathroom. He splashed
 
 3 cold water on his face and once again straightened his hair. He tried to think positive thoughts but he kept only being able to imagine being laughed out of the conference room and subsequently laughed out of the building. Several minutes had passed by in a blink of an eye when the door opened. “Jesus, there you are,” Julie was sweating a bit with a stack of spiral-bound reports in her hands. “Just a few changes I had to make, we’re good to go. You ready?” “For sure,” he lied. The next twenty-five minutes went by quickly as they presented the reports to the executives of the company on behalf of Robert. Everyone present looked over their packets and agreed that this was the agreement that they would all sign. They all shook hands and said the usual round of “good job” to each other, even to the ones who just sat there half asleep. Jim and Julie met back up at his desk, “Congratulations Mr. Robinson,  you seem to be on your way toward making a difference in the job you will always have.” Just as they raised their water bottles to the air, Robert came by and motioned for Jim to come to his office. He expected praise. “What the hell have you done?” Robert threw his bag onto the desk and fell  back into his chair. “How could you think this deal was what I wanted?” “This is what we usually compromise with, it’s the same every time,” Jim couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Did you even read what I gave you? We’re in the middle of a goddamn recession and you’re making deals like we just have unlimited money! Like
 I’ve
 got unlimited money!” “I’m sorry, I guess I missed something. I honestly thought this was what  you wanted,” by this time, those outside had heard the yelling and were discretely listening in. “We made these types of deals when we were 55% more profitable. Now,
 I’ve
 got to call another meeting and explain that we can’t afford a deal like this!  And all thanks to my great assistant!” “I don’t know what to say.” “I can’t call a meeting until Monday, so you have until then to get me a proposal to go to them with that doesn’t cut us off at the knees!” “Yes sir, I’ll get on it right away,” he started heading toward the door. “And don’t even think about getting overtime because of this!” He couldn’t even think straight. It’s like everything was a dream that had gone from decent to nightmare in a snap. He walked wide-eyed back to his cube  where Julie was waiting. She had heard the yelling and was worried. “What happened?” she asked as she saw him.

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