“The Position” by Dahlia Salvatore
Dylan Farrow puts on his pants every morning one leg at a time, just like everyone else at the Kerrigan Advertising Agency. He handles high-pressure projects with a fast turnaround. He’s prized for his keen intellect and admirable performance. But how did he get where he is today—to the level of Junior Executive of Design Production?
Well, that involves how he takes his pants off…
and for whom…
Hoping to break through the glass ceiling under which she’s been trapped for years, Valerie Caplan picks up her life and moves to Seattle. After hearing about the position of Senior Executive of Design Production from an art director at Kerrigan, she decides to apply. When she lands the big interview, she never thinks for a minute that she’ll have any serious competition. She assumes that she has the job in the bag…until she discovers that the only competition has something she doesn’t have—the willingness to go outside the office to impress Danica Stewart, their uptight female boss.
THE WIND RUSHED around me as I stood on the balcony and looked out at downtown Seattle. From my apartment on the sixteenth floor, I could see the space needle and the lights glittering on as the sun set over the Puget Sound. I’d always wanted to live by water. I took in a lungful of air. It was different than the mountain air I was used to in Denver. In this breath, I could taste the sea.
I smiled. I’d never set foot in the city before today, but I could already tell I was going to love it. The opportunities seemed endless and I felt freer than ever before to pursue them. That was especially true because I wasn’t working and had a ton of time on my hands. Unfortunately, I’d given up on most of my hobbies and extra-curricular activities in order to climb the ladder. I was a self-professed workaholic, and, so far, I liked it that way.
Being that I’d given up most social obligations, I didn’t have many friends. There were maybe two or three in Denver, but they had families and their own lives, so we didn’t see each other often. In Seattle, I had one friend—one—and I’d only known him for two months, and only because of my job connections.
In Denver, I’d worked for Trinity Advertising Corp. They were a medium-sized company, but slowly gaining popularity and clout. My problem had been that I wasn’t gaining enough ground for comfort. I was too ambitious to enjoy a stagnant life. This move was about climbing further and becoming more than I’d been before. At Trinity, I’d hit the dreaded glass ceiling and moving on became my top priority. That’s why I had gone to Seattle, on the recommendation of a man who barely knew me.
Chuck had recommended me to his boss for a position as Senior Executive of Design Production. That meant I was going to be overseeing several Art Directors, who in turn oversaw the teams which produced the company’s biggest projects. I badly wanted the job and I damned sure deserved it. Because I’d put so much of myself into making every line on my resume count, I was confident. Maybe overly so, since I’d moved to Seattle before I even landed the position. My plan-b was to apply at the other ad agencies if that job fell through. Anything was better than Trinity, right?
I turned back into the apartment and slid the glass door closed. The emptiness seemed bigger than any sound I could possibly make, but nevertheless, I found the box labeled “sound system” and unpacked my iPod docking station and set it up on the floor. I looked up my eighties mix and suddenly the apartment was filled with Billy Idol’s voice, from the hardwoods to the beams of the vaulted ceiling.
I smiled, dropped onto my butt in the middle of the boxes and began making the empty rooms into a home. After just a few hours, the kitchen and bathroom were completely unpacked. I estimated that if I kept going through the night, I’d be done by morning.
Break time, I thought, wandering into the kitchen. I rinsed out a dusty wineglass and uncorked a year-old bottle of Prosecco. While I leaned on the high granite-top breakfast bar, I felt the evil stab of loneliness convict me of sucking at life. I wished I had someone who I could share this experience with. It would be fun to listen to Madonna and drink with a friend.
It could have been the wine hitting my empty stomach, but I was called to action by a voice in my head saying ‘That’s enough!’ The voice was right. It was time to branch out, meet new people, form relationships—and maybe even find a man. God, I need to get laid, I thought, refilling my glass. I clutched the drink with both hands, bringing it to my lips—Oh, yes, my friend wine. … Reveal to me what I should do with my life.
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About author Dahlia Salvatore: Dahlia Salvatore is a thirty-two-year-old female author living in Seattle, Washington with her husband. She comes from Coos Bay, Oregon and moved to Seattle six years ago. She loves the west coast and doesn’t see herself anywhere else.
Her influences include contemporary writers J.K. Rowling, Mary Balogh, Christina Dodd, Stephanie Laurens, Laurell K. Hamilton, Anne Rice, Stephen King, and many many others.
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