Are you scared to make JOB change? Maybe my story will give you some hope…

I had a really crap job as a dog’s body at an insurance company in Rosebank many years ago. It was right upstairs from Fournos — a fast-food-style deli and bakery. 

One of my jobs was to archive old claim files. From my spot on the dirty grey carpet, the faces of the happy people who had just bought their takeaway coffee and croissants were not really visible, but I saw the way they walked and that’s what I wanted! Freedom. 

I remembered this chapter of my life this morning while sitting at the very Fournos. I’d say it’s about 18 years later. I can still picture the unsure girl that used to hate her job and the grey carpet. 

My dream was to move into my own office at the insurance company but life took me in another direction. One morning, I took the risk of meeting a recruiter at Fournos. She offered me a temp position at a new IT firm for triple the salary. The only catch was that it was not permanent. I would stand in for someone going on maternity leave. 

My instinct is always to say YES. So, I did. 

The next thing I had to do was talk to my boss. I was sure I could catch him before his “secret” (not so secret since she told everyone) lover closed the door for their daily meeting.  

“Can I be honest with you?”, he said.  Ah, those famous words I hate so much; usually a pre-cursor to some bullshit. 

“Sure,” I replied. 

“I would not hire you. You are too young and…well, you are not good enough.” 

I prepared a resignation letter the next day and asked HR to let me use my leave in lieu of notice. 

“That won’t be necessary,” HR told me. “Here are the calculations for your retrenchment package.” 

 I did not know it was coming. 

I used the cash to buy a new car and drove into my new job like a mother-bleep.

xoxo Lee

Sitting at the same coffee shop 20 years later

I used to work in a first floor office as a secretary a long time ago.

Each time I went to the loo, I had to ask someone to “relieve” me.  The “relief” was always brief as I had to rush back to my desk in case the boss called my name. And he did. Often.

Just below my feet, on the ground floor of my office, was a bakery.


They made fresh croissants each morning and although that memory is still as fresh as their scones, it is the smell of the coffee that I recall called my name. Often.

Today, nearly 20 years later, I am sitting in that very bakery.  I am having that very coffee. I can go to the loo whenever I want, for however long I want. Gosh, I don’t even have to tell anyone. Would you believe it? And, I am “WORKING” while all this happens.

The scones are still fresh, the croissants still smell amazingly buttery but today I am different.

And, I am so grateful!  Grateful the coffee, grateful for the change of pace, grateful that as I allow my life to CHANGE, so too do I.

A Heart Full of Stories ©

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#reflections #change #gratitude #20yearslater #shortstory

Shit Happens

It was a beautiful morning.  My husband’s birthday always is.

He doesn’t like me to make a big deal of it.  I always do.

Shit happens.

He shares his birthday with an old friend who is an orchestra conductor with a love for the cello.   This lovely friend has a lovely wife who loves birthdays too.

So, each year we try and get them together for a bite somewhere during the day.

They tell the same stories over and over again.  The famous one is about a thief who stole the cello but abandoned it halfway because it was too heavy.  They have also told the stories of their travels into East Africa many times.  Another favourite is about a guy who followed them for days, turning up just when they thought they had shaken him.

We always laugh lots.

This magical day, we were planning to have lunch together, as usual.

I spent the morning at my office.  I got in early, had a couple of meetings and when I looked at the time, I nearly died!  I literally had 7 minutes to get my ass from the office to collect my husband, and to the lunch before anyone called him and spoiled the surprise.

I ran down two flights of stairs, jumped into my car and put it into gear. That’s when shit happened.

I looked down to the floor to reach into my handbag and then heard a loud bang!

I drove straight into a parked car!

No big deal, right?  Wrong.  It was a very big deal. 

The car was one of a kind.  An antique.  A collectors item. A family heirloom.  There were no spare parts for it. The car belonged to one of my colleagues.  It was a special gift from his dad who had passed on.  Everyone knew the car. Connoisseurs travelled from exotic corners of the world to marvel at its beauty.   It had never ever had a single scratch on it.  And, in a matter of seconds, I managed to take off the whole front bumper and kill two lights.

Before I could decide what to do next, there was a swarm of security surrounding my car!  They all looked very worried as they waited for their boss to arrive and take charge.  He called a couple of people and they debated who would tell the owner the terrible news.

The head of security suggested that I not move.  He said “Just wait here.  We will call someone to come and check”.  I could NOT just wait. 

So, I ran up two flights of stairs.  They assumed I was running away.

I ran straight into the car owner’s PA, with her beautiful curly hair. In a split second and with just a nod, she gave me the green light.  I walked straight into his office.  I saw six people listening at the door.  I could have sugar coated it, but I was not fast enough with the creative stuff.  I said “I was in a hurry. My concentration was somewhere else! I lost focus for 1 second and bloody bashed your one-of-a-kind car”. 

The owner of the car was calm.  I think he was dying inside because when he heard the news, all he managed to say was two words. He said “Shit happens” and shrugged his shoulders.

He was right!  Shit does indeed happen.I was late. I spilled my makeup all over my black dress and the surprise was ruined. I felt dreadful.

I chose not to share the story with the birthday boys over lunch.  Instead, I drank lots of bubbly and laughed at the stories of the stolen cello and the weird Kenyan stalker.

My insurance company had a shock when I submitted the claim.  I think it must have nearly bankrupted them.  But hey, shit happens right?

Perhaps I will share the story over lunch this year and perhaps it will displace the other two stories from their thrones.  If not, hey…bigger shit has been known to happen.  

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lord, bless our weekend (AGAIN)

Yay! It’s the weekend

2015-02-09 12.09.02

Here’s a thought :  What are the things that YOU do again and again?  Are they good things?  Do they make your heart smile?  How about the things you wish for again and again? Things that make you sad or mad again and again? Is there a theme there?

While you digest that over a glass or six of Chardonnay, allow me to wish you:

A mirror that reflects back to you God’s image again and again

A lover that notices your new hair colour again and again

A teacher that corrects you gently again and again

A dream that is blindingly colourful and crops up again and again

A friend that allows you to digress again and again

A stranger that reminds you how funny you are again and again

A career that showcases your unique talents again and again

A family that makes you feel secure again and again

A heart that trusts its own direction again and again