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‘I do not pay you to think’ he blared.  ‘When I tell you to do something, you do it.’

I stood, frozen entirely from my head down to my toes. I couldn’t help thinking to myself; who does this man take me for? Despite my goodwill and teachable spirit while working for him, he dares to insult me so much? When did I become his puppet and not the independent mind that I am? All these questions and more kept running through my head.

Earlier that morning, a client had come by the office and he needed some work to be done on his car or so I thought. So as the administrator I was required to draft a quotation which I did until the client started to tell me to inflate the costs. Being the person I was, I refused to do this and he went directly to my boss to lodge in his complaint.

In all my naivety, I expected my boss to correct him and tell him we would do no such thing. My boss called me into his office and gave me a piece of paper that had inflated costs for each of the components that were to be added to the client’s car. I took the piece of paper, looked at it said ‘I cannot transfer these prices onto the quotation because they are inflated and my conscience will not allow it.’

And that right there is when my boss saw it fit to let me know that he does not pay me to think. For a moment I really could not think. I did not know how to process the fact that someone I respected had just poured cold water on my attempt to do the right thing. In that moment I knew I had one of two options; either to swallow my conscience and go do exactly what he commanded me to or put my foot down and listen to my conscience.

I went back to my desk and I knew exactly what I needed to do. I opened my desk drawer, took a seat and took my various belongings that it contained and put them into a black kaveera. I composed myself for about thirty minutes; I then stood up and knocked at his office door. When he invited me in, I turned the door handle and entered into his office. He offered me a seat but I declined it.

‘I cannot work for you anymore’ I told him. ‘So, here are the keys to the doors and the front desk.’
I then walked out of his office, picked my polythene bag and walked away not looking back even once.

I did not have a clue what I was doing but I did it. I did not have a fall back job plan but still I walked away. Many times I have been asked by the people around me what happened, however they never get my explanation. Many of them told me I am not serious and I should have been realistic. But between you and I; what would have been realistic? Would you rather be the person who draws a clear line between right and wrong or who does not mind as long as your pay check arrives at the end of the month? I leave it to you to think about.


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