67-year-old Margaret Guthrie worked at the hospital for 45 years, first as a nurse and later as a doctor. She loved her job – far more than she adored her family. But her employer unexpectedly fired her one day, leaving her upset, only to urge her to return two weeks later. Then Margaret made a shocking decision.
Margaret's fingers were quivering as she stood outside her boss Dr. Mayer's office. She was aware that she'd been forgetful recently, making minor errors such as failing to arrive at the hospital on time or forgetting her patients on occasion, but her most recent mistake had been severe.
Margaret was supposed to assist Dr. Mayer in surgery, and he'd reminded her several times how important it was for her to be present on the scene. But Margaret completely forgot about it, and she didn't turn up on time. Thankfully, another doctor assisted Dr. Mayer, and the surgery was successful. But later that day, Dr. Mayer called Margaret and asked her to meet him.
"We need to talk, Margaret," he had said. Margaret understood what it meant. She took a deep breath and walked into his office.
Margaret was devastated after losing her job. | Source: Shutterstock
"Good morning, Dr. Mayer," Margaret murmured softly. "You wanted to see me?"
"Oh, Margaret. Yes, please come in," Dr. Mayer stated sternly as she walked in. "Please have a seat." He paused for a bit and looked Margaret in the eye. She shifted in her seat.
"You know what, Margaret, you've been working at this hospital for almost 45 years. You started as a nurse and worked hard to become a doctor, thanks to your abilities. But I'd advise you to take a break from work now. You know, spend time with your children and grandchildren. In short, it's time to start thinking about retirement, Margaret."
"Retirement?" gasped Margaret. "Dr. Mayer, you know how much I like my job. I can't imagine myself not coming to this hospital even for one day. You know that after my husband died, my work helped me get over the grief. I DON'T WANT TO RETIRE! I want to keep working."
Dr. Mayer intended to fire Margaret. | Source: Pexels
"Well, Margaret," said Dr. Mayer. "We're both aware of the disaster that occurred last week; you just didn't turn up! The surgery was a sensitive one, Margaret. We would have been in trouble if Dr. Duncan hadn't been there. We can't afford such an error again. So, if you don't retire—"
"You can't do that, Dr. Mayer. I—"
"You got it right, Margaret. I'm sorry, but I have to fire you. Most doctors retire at the age of 60. You are 67. Go home to your family, Margaret. We will always be thankful to you for your service. You were the best we had, the most competent doctor I've ever seen, but it's time to give new talent a chance and you a break. Thank you very much!"
Margaret was heartbroken beyond words. She was crying as she walked out of Dr. Mayer's office, cursing herself for making a mistake. But it wasn't all her fault entirely.
Last week, she had forgotten her granddaughter Sharon's birthday owing to work, and her son Robert was so angry that he stopped speaking to her. She was upset and couldn't stop thinking about Robert and Sharon. And in the process, she made an error.
Margaret felt like she was worthless without her job. | Source: Pexels
Margaret couldn't stop crying when she got home, considering she was jobless now. She'd missed Sharon's birthday as a result of her work, and now she was fired. She looked around her house, empty and silent, and it came to bite her. She would be stuck there forever; she would never return to the hospital – to her tiny office where she attended to her patients.
She sobbed herself to sleep that night, and when she woke up the next morning, she hurriedly prepared to leave for the hospital — only to realize 10 minutes later that she would never go to the hospital again.
She felt terrible and began to cry. She dialed Robert and he realized right away that something was not right with her. "Mom, you okay?" he asked, concerned. "What's up?"
"I - I got fired from my job, Robert. They claimed I was working over my retirement age," she cried. "I feel so worthless right now. I don't feel like my life has any meaning anymore."
"I'm sorry to hear that, mom," he said. "But it's alright! You've always been so preoccupied with work that you've never been able to devote enough time to anything else. Now's your chance to live your life, to chill!"
Robert consoled Margaret when she told him she was retired from her job. | Source: Pexels
"My job was my life, Robert! You don't understand! Nobody understands!" she grumbled and hung up.
Hours later, her doorbell rang. It was Robert with her granddaughters Sharon and Beth.
"GRANDMA!" they cried in unison. "We brought you your favorite cake! Daddy told us you used to bake it when he was a child. Can we please come in? We're hungry!"
Margaret forgot about her anguish when she saw the kids. "Sure, come on in!" The girls dashed inside, and Robert apologized.
"Hey, mom," he said. "Sorry for being so insensitive. I should have understood you were in a bad mood. I've come to pick you up. How about you spend a week at my house? The kids and Linda would love to have you over."
"Huh, oh, okay," she said. "Come in."
Robert and his girls paid Margaret a visit to cheer her up. | Source: Pexels
Margaret had a lovely time with Robert and her daughters that day, and she couldn't believe how much she enjoyed it all. Later, she excused herself and returned with a present for Sharon — a Barbie doll from a neighboring toy store – and apologized for missing her birthday.
"It's okay, Gran," Sharon said, smiling. "We love you!"
Later that day, Margaret packed her stuff and left with Robert and his kids for their home, expecting to be back in a week. But that didn't happen. She fell in love with his children and wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. So when Linda and Robert proposed she sell her house and move in with them, she gladly accepted.
One day, though, her phone rang and the number that flashed across the screen was Dr. Mayer's. "Margaret!" he cried on the phone. "Please come back! I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have fired you. Good Lord, this young lad we hired for your position, he's so horrible at his job!"
Margaret overcame the grief of losing her job with Robert's help. | Source: Pexels
"I'm sorry, Dr. Mayer, but—"
"Please, Margaret. This hospital needs you. We need you. You know what, I've decided, we can hire an assistant for you, so he can double-check everything and make sure there aren't any errors. But please, come back."
Margaret thought about it for a while, and then she realized that Dr. Mayer was so self-centered that he didn't even bother to ask how she'd been all these weeks. All he cared about was the hospital. So Margaret made up her mind.
"Well, Dr. Mayer," she replied. "I appreciate the offer, but I'm afraid I'll have to decline. I discovered how much I missed my family in the weeks following my retirement. My family is my rock. It gave me the will to live when I was feeling hopeless. And, to be clear, I no longer feel useless just because I don't have a job.
"In reality, I've found a better and more lovable job: being a wonderful mother and adoring grandma. So, thank you for your offer, but I'm more than satisfied with my new position. Goodbye!" She finished and hung up the phone.
What can we learn from this story?
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