Linda worked her entire life as an accountant for a major firm, and she was still the best employee at her age. But she wanted to retire, something the director refused. She asked for an extended vacation, which was denied, and that’s when she finally decided to quit. However, the director showed up at her doorstep with a shocking suggestion.
“Mr. Salinger, I’ve been working for over 40 years. I think I have earned my retirement by now,” Linda told her boss in the accountant firm she had dedicated her life to.
“No, Linda. We can’t do that yet. You can’t do that to us. You can’t leave the company without a proper replacement for you. It’s just not possible,” Mr. Salinger replied, shaking his head at her suggestion.
Although Linda was the best employee in the firm, she truly needed to retire now. It was harder for her to learn all the advanced computer programs coming out now, and focusing on a screen was damaging her eyesight. She had headaches all the time and tired quickly. It was time for her to rest, especially because she had missed so much of her life working there.
Her firm demanded the most out of everybody that worked there. Linda was a hugely ambitious woman who wanted the very best for her family. Therefore, she invested double the hours and worked to become the number one employee in the company. And she had kept that spot for decades.
But now, the director, Mr. Salinger, told her to stay, and she complied again with his orders.
Unfortunately, Linda was overwhelmed with work and sad that Mr. Salinger had not supported her retirement. Her children and husband, Thomas, noticed this and decided to plan several weekend outings.
Linda spent time with her grandchildren at barbecues, the Richmond County fair in their hometown in Staten Island, and they even spent some time in New York visiting touristy spots.
One weekend, her husband surprised her with several tickets for a planned trip to Europe in the summer. They were interchangeable, so all she needed was to arrange her vacation time at work to enjoy it fully.
That was the perfect solution. If Mr. Salinger wouldn’t let her retire, he had to give her a decent vacation time this year. After all, she had not taken a long break for many years. She was due.
“Absolutely not! That’s too much time. We need you here, Linda. I thought we had already discussed this,” Mr. Salinger stated, throwing some papers on his desk and looking at Linda in disappointment.
“Mr. Salinger, I’m due for a long vacation after all my years of hard work. We talked about retiring and you told me you couldn’t allow it. A vacation is only a month. That’s nothing,” Linda countered, her hands together in a begging gesture.
“I already told you my answer. It’s final!” her boss said and started typing on his computer, which was usually her cue to leave. But Linda had had enough. She looked at her boss’s face and felt a deep sadness. After all these years, this was how he treated her.
“Fine. I quit then. Effective immediately,” Linda said in the calmest voice possible. She didn’t have time to enjoy watching Mr. Salinger’s jaw hit the floor as she stormed out of his office. She went straight to her desk and picked up a few of her trinkets, photo frames, and purse. She was done.
“Linda! You can’t leave! You can’t quit!” Mr. Salinger yelled as she approached the elevator. The entire office turned to look at them in curiosity.
“Goodbye, everyone!” Linda waved to her co-workers. “I’m officially retiring today!”
“FINE! GO THEN! WE CAN HIRE ANYONE TO DO YOUR JOB! IT’S THE EASIEST IN THE COMPANY! GO! YOU UNGRATEFUL OLD WOMAN!”
Linda’s co-workers had started to applaud but stopped when Mr. Salinger began yelling. She paid him no mind. She got in that elevator and left with a smile. She was free.
A month later, Linda was busy in her room trying to decide what to pack for Europe. She and her husband were leaving in a few days and would be traveling for at least two months. It was going to be amazing, but she needed to have wardrobe choices.
The doorbell rang. She walked to the door and was surprised to be greeted by Mr. Salinger’s saddened eyes.
“Mr. Salinger, what are you doing here?” she asked, shocked by his visit.
“Linda, I’m here because we need you. The company needs you. We hired a younger person, and she doesn’t know how to do anything. We’re desperate without you,” Mr. Salinger begged, his face showing his anguish.
“I thought anyone could do my job,” Linda quipped.
“Please! Don’t make me beg. We need you back. I can offer you a raise and that vacation time you asked for,” Mr. Salinger insisted, looking like he was about to bend to his knees.
But Linda shook her head. “There’s no money in the world that will make me go back to work, Mr. Salinger. I asked for very little from you over these decades. I was the best employee, and you still treated me like trash. I wasted so much time and missed many milestones in my family’s life. Now, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I now know that work doesn’t matter. Spending time with your loved ones does. Goodbye, Mr. Salinger, and good luck,” she added calmly.
Mr. Salinger’s shoulders hunched, and Linda closed the door on his face.
What can we learn from this story?
Don’t waste your whole life on a job. The truth is that a company will replace you easily if something happens, so don’t dedicate your life to it.
Treat your employees well. Some employers don’t learn how valuable their employees are until it’s too late.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.