“What you fail to understand, Hailey, is that we’re just worker ants in this scenario. And we’re going to continue to be just worker ants, unless we aspire to be more.” Annette flipped her hair over her shoulder and shook her head, causing her blonde tresses to shimmer like sun hitting water in a stream. She dipped her chin and looked at me over the rim of her glasses, “I’m aiming to be queen of the hill. Where does that leave you?”
I was quiet for a moment. A wave of irritation washed over me at her revelation, and I tried my best to push it aside. Ambition was a double edged sword, and I was certain Annette had no clue which side did what. She struck me as the type of person who just lashed out blindly, hoping any slice she made got her closer to her goal. The mask she wore was crafted by layers of designer makeup, which she no doubt lost sleep over to apply each morning. As I stared at the empty, relentless vessel before me, I considered where I might be in five years if I held her position.
I stood abruptly, pulling my coat from the chair next to me and sliding into it. I glanced at Annette, her eyebrows were raised, nearly meeting her hairline. Anger simmered behind her dark eyes, she probably hadn’t experienced blatant disrespect from an underling since she’d climbed the corporate ladder and settled so near the top. My chance for observation was fleeting, she quickly donned her fake smile and regained her composure. Any semblance of humanity was gone.
“Did I say something that upset you? Really, Hailey, if you want to succeed in life, you have to accept that we aren’t all meant for the top. Your support position in the middle helps those above you succeed. You’re helping to create the bigger picture. Sure, you might not be in the spotlight,” she paused to adjust her glasses and grinned through her words, “but those of us that are, truly appreciate your efforts.”
“Well, I quit. So I hope your remaining support keeps the stage level for you,” I snipped.
Annette let out a bark of a laugh then said, “I knew you weren’t meant for this lifestyle. Some people just don’t have it in them. I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself, not everyone is meant to succeed. Just remind yourself that it’s always a competition, and maybe you’ll do better at something else.”
I took a step towards the door and stopped, turning to look at the villain behind the embellished desk, “You know, when you asked me where I wanted to be when the queen position was taken, I realized something.”
Annette waved her hand impatiently, rolling her eyes at my words, “And?”
“I realized that I don’t want to be an ant. I want to be the kid with the magnifying glass that’s roasting them in the sun or gathering them in jars.”
Annette’s mouth fell open and her brow furrowed. My words had caught her off guard and she was at a loss for words. I smiled to myself, wondering if her high perch in this obnoxious tower had compromised her air supply and dulled her brain functions.
Making my way towards the elevator, I considered the skewed interpretations of my statement. It was possible Annette might consider it a death and/or kidnapping threat, or a declaration that I aspired to become some sort of holy being. Hopefully I could claim the lack of oxygen in the room as my own defense.