Clara is a pretty girl who is used to getting what she wants because of her appearance. But beauty isn’t everything -- it takes more than that to be successful. So she sets up her colleague but gets what she deserves.
Clara and Megan have been working together for two years now. They don’t have much in common, but because they spend most of their waking hours working together, they became closer. You wouldn’t call them friends, though, more like “friends for convenience.”
Megan is 10 years older than Clara. She’s a plain Jane, who had to stop working for a while due to family issues, and now that her husband is ill, she’s been working hard to get a promotion to finance his treatment.
Picture from an office and people working | Source: Shutterstock.com
Their boss hears them talking. “Ladies, ladies, ladies,” says the man named Stefano, 6 feet tall, robust-looking, wearing a blue linen suit. He has a strong Italian accent and you could recognize by his stance that this guy is a workaholic.
“I’m not paying you money for some stupid chitchat, okay? Now, get back to work. These documents need to be delivered by tomorrow. You’ll have to work until late, maybe until midnight, but,” he continues, “there’s a reward for you…”
Clara smiles at the boss with a malicious look. “Thank you, Mr. Grimaldi. Everything will be done.”
He leans towards her, “My dear, I always knew that you wouldn’t let me down, and my God,” Stefano takes her left hand and kisses it, “you look unbelievable today.” He turns to Megan, “Megan, you should pay more attention to your appearance.”
Before leaving, he turns to both of them, “By the way, I’m going to choose a new head of department. So your chances heavily depend on this assignment. So, let’s get it done! Chop chop!”
Two women talking and looking at the computer | Source: Unsplash / KOBU Agency
“Clara,” says Megan with a desperate look, “could you let me do this assignment on my own? I really need it… I need the money to save my husband’s life.”
“Sure, I understand,” replies Clara, apathetic, “of course, you certainly deserve this…”
“Thank you, Clara! You’re the best friend in the whole world!”
“Oh yeah,” Clara looks with scorn to Megan, “you and I are definitely best friends…”
The time goes by. Clara leaves at 7 pm, the time she often leaves work, and Megan stays into the night. She finishes the report at 3 am but it is too late to go home, so she decides to sleep at her desk.
Stefano is one of the first to arrive -- as he always does -- and sees Megan sleeping, hunched over her desk. She’s a mess. “Megan!” says the man, “God, what’s wrong with you? Have you… have you looked in the mirror?”
Picture of a sad woman wearing a gray jumper | Source: Unsplash / Anh Nguyen
“I’m sorry Mr. Grimaldi, I’ve been working until almost this morning.”
“Of course you were… You should take after Clara. I mean, look at her, she’s glowing! Now please tell me, which one of you has finished the report I asked?”
Megan starts to look at her desk, “Of course, Mr. Grimaldi,” but the report isn’t there. She looks everywhere at her tiny desk. “Where is it? I swear I put it on my desk this morning!”
“What? Are you kidding me?” Stefano is furious. “The clients will be here any minute! How could you be so stupid?!”
“Here, Mr. Grimaldi,” Clara stands up with a crooked smile, “it’s a good thing I decided to cover for Megan.”
“Oh my God, Clara, you don’t even know what hole you just pulled me out of! Well, I guess now I know which one of you deserves the position of head of the department.”
Person typing on a computer | Source: Unsplash / Glenn Carstens-Peters
“But Mr. Grimaldi,” Megan says in desperation, “I’ve been showing excellent performance for a whole year! I deserve to get promoted!”
“How can I trust someone who cannot even take care of her looks?”
“But I did all the work, she clearly stole these papers from me!”
“Oh, shame on you to blame your colleague, Megan. Clara, I suggest you come into my office and we can talk in detail about your promotion.”
Clara joins Stefano, but before leaving her cubicle, she looks with pity at Megan and says, “I understand your situation Megan,” she continues, “but I couldn’t miss this chance..."
Person in front of an open book | Source: Unsplash / Lubomyr Myronyuk
After a few weeks as the head of the department, Clara brings a pile of paperwork to Megan’s cubicle. “Megan, I have an assignment for you. These papers need to be done before lunch. Ah, and make my coffee, please.”
“I don’t think so. You’re a cheat, Clara. You got promoted dishonestly, and Stefano only treats you well because of you… your beauty.”
Clara raises one eyebrow and takes a deep breath. “Poor Megan, you’re too stupid to realize that beauty is all it takes. Why should I work hard if you can do it for me?"
“Because you knew I needed the money. I could’ve lost my husband because of you!”
“It’s nothing personal,” replies Clara, “but if you want to move up the career ladder, you should grow sharp teeth. Or, in your case, lose a couple of pounds…”
“Well, I have something better, Clara, something you don’t have. I have a brain and honesty.”
“You can’t buy a Mercedes with brain and honesty, honey.” Clara turns around and disappears.
Woman bitting a pencil | Source: Unsplash /Jeshoots.com
A month later, a huge opportunity knocks at the company’s door. A prospect they’ve been trying to close a deal with for years has finally agreed on attending a meeting.
“Clara,” says Stefano, “you know how important this opportunity is. Are you ready for the negotiation?”
“Sure, Mr. Grimaldi, It’s a good thing I wore a new dress and went to the hair salon yesterday.”
“What? Forget about the dress! Where’s the presentation? What’s your pitch?”
“It won’t be necessary, my charm will be enough…”
Stefano is about to lose his mind. “I’m sorry but… are you out of your mind? They want numbers, statistics! A consistent pitch and an excellent negotiation is the only thing we… you know what? Get the hell out of here!”
A laptop with graphs on the screen | Source: Unsplash / Lukas Blazek
“What is that now, Mr. Grimaldi? You promoted me because you thought my beauty would add up…”
He interrupts her, “Oh my God Clara, shut up! You’re fired, okay? Get out of here! Now!” The man is desperate, “I need to think of something…”
“Mr. Grimaldi,” says Megan, who is also present in the room. “I have all the data we need. We can close this deal. Together. I can help you.”
“If you do, you’ll save me. You are the new head of the department. I’m gonna get you a new office and a bonus. And… I’m sorry for before. I should’ve appreciated your brains. Besides, this is the most important thing in a professional environment, right? Skills, not beauty.”
“Thank you, Mr. Grimaldi. I won’t let you down.”
“No Megan, thank you.”
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