The Next Step (1)

‘In that case, I quit’, Laura was glaring at her manager. Was this really how they would treat her, after so many years of working here? Her bright blue eyes were fixed on the Professor’s face that was starting to turn into an awkward expression. He coughed and looked Laura in the eye, but his cheeks were starting to turn read. His greying hair was sticking out from behind his brown glasses, as he fumbled with his blue shirt.
‘I am very sorry, but we have no funding coming in….’, his voice trailed off. Suddenly he looked even smaller and shorter than his 5 foot 6 height. ‘It is extremely hard to get funding for educational research in this God awful economy. Everyone is suffering. I know that you have been a great asset to our research team over the past five years, and I was confident that we could keep you on on a full-time basis, but I don’t know…’
But Laura knew.
She knew that the other two researchers who were always trying to please the Professor by taking his dog out, making him endless cups of tea, and who knows what, were the ones who would be kept on. She understood that the university was short of funding since the Government was no longer as able to support its research activities, but really? They would just chuck people out just like that, while the Director and the Professors continue to have their luxurious conference trips to the Barbados, staying in five star luxury hotels? Was this really how they treated their loyal employees?
‘Don’t worry about’, Laura said as she flicked her long and curly brown hair behind her shoulder. ‘I have other options.’
Although she didn’t. Not yet, anyway. But she was confident that she could have other options; she just needed to start looking for them.
The Professor looked even more uncomfortable. Laura knew that he was a control freak of sorts and that this situation must be very hard for him to deal with.
‘Do keep in touch’, he attempted before drifting off and starting to gaze at his computer.
He must be eager to get on his email and check through the hundreds that he got every single day, Laura thought.
‘Yes, of course’, Laura said as she smiled and got up, ready to go, ready to leave this place. Deep down she knew that she would never come into this office, ever, again.


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