Do or Die

By Kit Goldman, President of Workplace Training Network, Inc.


David: a newly appointed manager at a fictional company
Sheila: an employee, formerly David’s peer, now his subordinate

SCENE: a local restaurant/bar. Sheila’s at a table waiting for David. He enters.


S: David! Over here! I was getting worried.

D: Hey, sorry. Meeting went over. It’s bumper to bumper. Cell phone’s dead. What a day. And it’s only half over. I never do this during the work day, but I’m having a beer. Want one?

S: You’re the boss now, so sure. (David orders beers) Anything I can do to help relieve that stress?

D: I wish it were that simple.

S: What’s so complicated? Oh, speaking of complications, I called the travel office this morning like you told me to, to get booked for the Vegas conference. They questioned why I was going. I said you’d give them a call, straighten it out.

D: Right. You know, Sheila, that’s actually… one of the things I wanted to talk to you about today. It’s probably….. not appropriate…. for you to come to Vegas.

S: Really? You said you needed me there. (Subtly suggestive) You know. For staff support.

D: Right. Like I said, that’s one of the things I want to talk about. I thought it would be better to talk away from the office. This is a little tough to say, but, that… little encounter… we had. After happy hour. I’ve been thinking about it….

S: ….me too. In fact, I can’t stop thinking about it.

D: Right. To be honest, I’m worried about it.

S: Worried? Why? You were great.

D: That’s not what I… but thanks. So were you. But that’s not what I’m talking about. The thing is, Sheila…I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to have… personal encounters.

S: It’s a little late for that. We already did.

D: I mean any more. Now that I’m a supervisor. Besides, it was only one time … and only a little bit personal.

S: Is that like a “little bit pregnant”?

D: Could you please not even use that word?

S: (laughs) Don’t worry! If that happens, you’ll see the 3 wise men coming across the 28th Street Bridge! That’s one of the great things about messing around with someone my age. (More serious) My age. That’s the problem, right?

D: No, no, no. Not at all….,

S: Ok. Not attractive enough, then?

D: Yes… I mean no… not too old. Yes, you’re very attractive. Believe me, Sheila, if it wasn’t at work and I wasn’t your boss, I could see us having one of the best affairs I ever had… I mean… that came out wrong, but you know what I mean. Bottom line is, it is at work and I am your supervisor now.

S: I hear you. But look…David… it’s no biggie. What’s wrong with enjoying some of life’s pleasures when they come your way? If we mess around a little outside of work, who’s going to know or care?

D: Actually, that’s kind of how I was looking at it. ‘Til I hit the restroom this morning.

S: Excuse me?

D: This morning, I come in early, like always, and head for the men’s room. I’m in the stall, OK? No one knows I’m there. In comes Larry, who was there at happy hour with us that night, gossiping like an old lady at the Laundromat to Marcus, who’s not only my boss but who everyone knows is taking over the Division when JoAnn leaves next month. So, I go like this (lifts up feet). They don’t know I’m in there, right? Larry’s talking about this particular supervisor who’s about to mess up big time, getting up close and personal with someone on the staff, trying to include her on an upcoming conference, putting his career and maybe the company at risk, etc., etc. I’m sitting there, thinking, “Who can this ignorant bozo be?”

S: Wow. Juicy. So, who is it?

D: Who? Me, that’s who!

S: You’re kidding! Well, that dirt bag! Larry’s going to get some hate email from me!

D: No, no, no! Sheila, leave it alone. Let it go. No hate mail. No love mail. No mail. No nothing. I don’t want this mentioned, to anyone. It’s bad enough Larry knows. And now Marcus. I don’t have a clue how Larry knows anything. I didn’t think he was there when we left that night, was he? And you didn’t mention anything to anyone, right? We agreed what happened between us stays between us. Right? (Waits for her to answer. She doesn’t) Right? Hello?

S: The only person at work I said anything to was Cherisse. Only because she asked. I can’t lie to her. She’s one of my best friends.

D: Oh man! (Pause) How about outside of work?

S: If it’s outside of work, who cares?

D: It’s a small world, Sheila. News travels fast in the industry. The Rumor mill’s our most advanced technology. My reputation’s all I’ve got.

S: I see. I’m bad for your reputation? That’s a little ugly.

D: Not you. The situation. You’re wonderful. Look, we agreed right before we had our…special moment…that whatever happened, either one of us could call it quits, any time, no questions, no bitterness, no complications. Remember? I just can’t risk my career, Sheila. Hearing Larry talk about this moron who turned out to be me was a real wake up call. Right now it’s a one-time thing that didn’t go all that far. But if I get you a slot at the conference when there are others more qualified, it’s a whole different thing. That’s favoritism. I’d be waiting for the moment another employee goes running into H.R., asking what or who they have to do to get some perks around here and look right at me! That’s sexual harassment Sheila. I’ve got my whole career ahead of me. And it’s not just about me. What about you? You’re a great employee. Do you want your abilities or credibility questioned? Huh?

S: OK. So you’re saying Vegas is off for me. I’m going to be so humiliated.

D: What? Why?

S: Because I already told everyone I was going.

D: What? Everyone who?

S. Everyone in the department.

D: Tell me you’re kidding, Sheila. This is a nightmare, I can’t believe you did that.

S: I thought it was just as important to you as it was to me. David, please. Just let me go to Vegas and I’ll never ask for another thing. I swear! This whole thing is painful enough without being a laughing stock. Please don’t embarrass me like this. Let me go to this one time….

D: … Sheila, I… let me get you another beer… I’ll be right back


This script is the copyrighted intellectual property of Workplace Training Network and may not be utilized for any purpose without the express permission of WTN La Mesa CA