“Why does this always happen to me? Life just isn’t fair!” Dorothy bursts into my kitchen again, her face smothered in tears. I immediately put the kettle on. Everything gets better with a cup of tea.
“What happened?” I’m pouring out the tea in two comfort mugs.
“I lost the damn court case. You know, the one against Tatyana. It’s so unfair.” Her tears start rolling again.
“Yes it is unfair. Especially as she was using your business for her own means. But hey, win some lose some.” I’m trying to make it less dramatic. Nobody likes losing.
“I mean, I caught the woman red-handed. Prostituting herself and her friends during business hours! Using her company email, her company car and her company phone. She didn’t even have the courtesy to use an alias. She did all this in her own name.” Her face turns deep red. “If the federal police had raided my business, I would have been done for being her madam pimp. No way explaining I didn’t know when she’s using all tools I had put at her disposal.”
“Yes and you were too nice not to put that explicitly on her letter of notice. I told you to be as detailed and as descriptive as you could be.” I do hope she starts doing things differently from now on. “How much do you owe the porn star?”
“It’s a huge amount! It’s huge! At least twelve.” She’s now veering dangerously to a deep purple colour. I think chocolate is going to be in need.
“Twelve hunderd?” I ask her sheepishly, dreading to get another answer.
“Nooo, twelve grand darling. Twelve fudging thousand euros!” Dorothy’s starting to use obscene language and that’s never a good sign.
“That is a lot of money. Get a bank loan or sell off your diamonds.”
“I don’t have any diamonds.” Dorothy sounds wounded.
“Sure you do. You told me so the other day.” Aha, she’s caught the mischief in my eye. I can bring her back into reality now.
“Haha, the diamond studded pussy! Darling you’re so bad.” She’s slowly perking up now, slowly sipping her tea. “But it’s still not fair.”
“You’re right, Dorothy, it isn’t fair. Time to start doing things differently.”
She starts sipping her tea. Think we’re on the brink of a breakthrough here.
What did we learn here ?
I think a lot of women (including myself) have an initial knee-jerk reaction to prostitution: ew. Wondering whether your man has ever visited a prostitute may feel dirty, and also weirdly, like he was cheating on you before he even knew you. Here’s the thing: many, many men behave like this. And in our society, that’s acceptable. But for a woman to prostitute herself, that’s a whole other ball game. Yet lucky we have these sex workers to keep our streets safe.
Just to steer this conversation away from the oldest job in human history and back to Dorothy: what does Dorothy need to do differently? “What?” I hear you cry, “Now it’s Dorothy’s fault?” Yes and no. Bear with me.
- Dorothy needs to learn to hire people based on a “want” more than making decisions to suit her “needs”. This means you don’t just hire somebody because you have a vacancy and your nail artist happens to have a daughter who’s looking for a job. Initial screening to find a good match is important here.
- Stop being politically correct and make your demands clear. Dorothy should have been more clear and more upfront about what she expected Tatyana to do in her job. Set performance targets and then evaluate.
- People get just one second chance. Just one official warning. After that, they are free to leave. When it comes to business, don’t try to be too kind or save the world. Nobody will thank you for it anyway.
- Be specific if you ever have to fire somebody. Both verbally and in writing. Also make sure you are informed of all social laws and protocols. The best advice here is “think before you act”. Just call your lawyer to make sure you’re signing the right documents and doing things accordingly.
- If you do incur a loss, that’s not good. But I’m sure you’ll be able to make up for it in a year or so. Lick your wounds and move on.
What do you think? How can Dorothy gain twelve thousand euros to make up for her loss? Let me know in the comments below.
* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.