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wanted to be thought of as friendly and nice. I could have easily gotten away with being bitchy or aloof because I was near the top of the corporate food chain, selling ad space for a trendy fashion magazine, and my clients weren’t locals but Fortune 500 movers and shakers. I traveled everywhere in the United States, and more than half the time I few frst class. I loved being the frst on the plane and the frst off. I also loved the white cotton tablecloths. The last time I few frst class was a few years ago, a month before my company downsized.

• • •

Being let go was unexpected. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was working at peak performance, but the company execs claimed they were bleeding money and had to downsize to survive. I felt it was cruel to punish me for their mismanagement, but their verdict was set in stone and I could do nothing about it. Having been successful and loyal was not enough.

It was a humid morning like this when my butch forty-year-old boss with her embossed initials on her sleeve came into my offce and shut the door. “Lena, can we talk?”

“Wait . . . I know what you are going to tell me,” I said, holding my hand up to stop her. “You do?”

“We won the Princess Cosmetic account!” “Thanks to you.”

I was so excited I jumped up from my chair, and she was so somber she sat down. Generally, she was upbeat and gossipy. I knew she wasn’t romantically involved with anyone, so it

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