It's Time To Edit It Out
By Jayshree Vj
“Yeah, you should know that there is someone to replace you as well,” he said sternly.
“What? Replace me? What do you mean? Are you looking for one already?” she raised her eyebrows surprisingly.
“No. No. I used the second-person narrative here to address the other employees,” he corrected.
“I see. Fine. Let’s tell them that if they underperform, they may have to quit any time.” she answered plainly.
“See, the current generation is different from us, and they operate differently. You can’t be an old school here,” he said sternly.
“Okay. Let’s try the new methods. Go ahead,” she said.
“I’ll take care of the newbies. You just take care of the existing editors. Mentor them as you wish,” he said plainly, adding a few more pieces of instruction about the reporting structure and details.
“Okay. You implement whatever you believe in,” she replied resolutely. She made it obvious that she was pissed off by what she heard.
“So, I will be mentoring only the senior editors hereafter…hmmm…okay, I get it,” she said and walked off the room.
She left the office a bit earlier than usual, and there was little traffic. She cruised through the less populated streets and stopped at a Korean Restaurant, and a bowl of Gamjatang filled her heart.
“This magical place sure cools my mind and soul,” She said to herself and silently sat there for a while. Who said practicing peace is difficult? People who don’t know how important food, peace of mind, and sleep are in their life must visit this place to decode the secret to a simply rich life. She relished each scoop of her food. Enjoying your food alone without anyone’s interference was a heavenly feeling.
She looked out of the window, watching busy-looking people on the street, and empathized with their busyness for a few seconds before snapping to reality.
Her smartphone vibrated silently. Her smile conveyed a loud message that she had regained her happiness so quickly.
Don’t you wonder how it is so easy for her?
She answered the phone call with a heartfelt smile. It was her husband, Kayden.
“How did it go, babe?” Kayden asked.
“As anticipated. No complaints,” she replied with a smile.
She was the Editor-in-chief of a Publishing company run by one of her friends from college days. She had been a part of the company for 18 years. There were only three members when they started off.
When Oscar approached Genelia with a business plan, she was clueless why did he even choose her to be a part of his new plan. She was pregnant then, and everything sounded Greek and Latin to her when he explained things about starting a publishing company. All she knew was how to write, proofread, and edit. She won a few writing contests, and all her friends and professors knew that she was good at what she did.
She worked as a sub-editor for a renowned Newspaper for quite a time, and she quit it as she could not write about anything she wanted to. She was good at using the internet when people then struggled to understand how things worked online even.
She took extra time to understand business, finance, organization, and structure. She didn’t need guidance but time. Few people knew about her strength, as most considered her inefficient before even she could look under the tip of the iceberg.
But Oscar knew about her very well. Many of his friends asked why he couldn’t ask her to marry him, and his reply always had been that he wasn’t her type.
He couldn’t even dream of a life with her, as all he felt was, “I can’t be someone so perfect to share a life with her. I couldn’t even dream of a life with her.”
Wonderment filled his mind always whenever he came across her and thought about her, and she never made it to affect his heart anywhere. He felt incapacitated even to think of her as girlfriend material because she was simply perfect in all senses. Regardless of gender, she was an ideal human being. So he hadn’t had any second thoughts about his friendship with her.
Even after completing college studies, he managed to connect with her as he valued her friendship so much. He felt proud to be her friend always. When she called him to say she was engaged to her soulmate boyfriend, Kayden, he was immensely happy and wanted to meet him at least once to congratulate him. Only to share his wishes but also to ask him to take good care of her.
She valued their friendship, too. She explained that all the financial, organizational, and technical details behind starting a publishing company went above her head during their first discussion. She knew he would not complain about her slow mind-processing trait. Even though she was unclear about its functionality and hierarchy, she took up the offer immediately, clarifying her role and responsibilities only as an Editor, Proofreader, and Mentor. That's what he exactly wanted from her, either.
With a handful of employees, all they managed to publish as their first book was her daughter’s storybook. It was kind of a trial run for them. Things began to fall into place slowly, and they started building a good team of budding professionals in a few months.
Being a CEO of an organization was a cakewalk for Oscar, as he was a total brain in everything he chose. Genelia carried her responsibilities well and efficiently managed her team of editors and proofreaders.
Everything was going fine and smooth until one of Oscar’s new business partners started showing up in the office. Ben was talkative, full of energy, and loud, unlike Oscar.
It was a busy Monday. Genelia was stunned to see a new face barging into the conference hall when she was in the middle of her presentation. She gave him a perplexed look and continued her discussion with the team post-presentation.
“It was a good presentation,” said Ben.
“Thank you, and you are…?” said Genelia.
“I’m Ben Windward, Mrs. Greenwood,” he introduced himself.
“That’s surprising that you knew my last name?” Gen turned curious suddenly.
“How would I not know the company’s most senior employee?” he said and laughed unusually louder.
“Sorry if I’m overstepping. I found your presentation a bit old school,” he commented.
“Thanks for your comments, Mr. Windward. Excuse me for a moment,” she gave him a stern stare into his eyes and moved back to her team.
“Thank you, friends, for your time and patience. Let’s discuss the topic sooner with updates,” she sent off her team and strolled back to Ben.
“So, what was so old school about my presentation?” she questioned him in a dry voice.
“You treat your writers and editors as if they are god,” he commented matter-of-factly.
“They’re creators, and they deserve to be treated with respect,” she replied plainly.
“Writers are employees, so treat them not as owners of the company,” he replied so quickly.
“Who are you, first of all? Why do I even have a conversation with you?” she said furiously. Quickly she collected her belongings and returned to her seat.
After this unexpected interruption, it took her some extra minutes to return to her relaxed self.
She wanted to ask Oscar a hundred questions about the new face that surfaced unannounced. She received a text from Oscar when she was in the middle of thinking about what to do next.
“Met Ben?” asked Oscar.
“Meet me in Ten,” she replied real quick.
“Os, why is Mr. Windward here unannounced? Who is he?” she sounded tensed.
“Gen, what’s wrong? It’s great that you two met already,” Oscar sounded happy.
“You haven’t answered my question yet,” she stared at him questioningly.
He understood the seriousness of the situation and started answering quietly. She was surprised to learn that Ben is one of the new partners who invested in this company, intending for an international expansion.
“So what?” she asked loudly.
“It’s our next milestone: a long-awaited one, Gen,” he said thoughtfully.
“I’m not against it, Os. I just asked who he was,” said she, but she turned more curious now.
Oscar gave her a long speech about how they worked together to reach up to this point of national success and how important it is to take it international. He talked about Ben Windward’s role in the expansion and how he approached him with a detailed, solidified plan. He spoke about him in admiration, and suddenly his tone changed when he asked Gen about her opinion.
“I’m happy, Os. Don’t we have to recruit new editors and writers?” she enquired thoughtfully.
“We have to, Gen. It’s time to run an ad about the new job opening, and let’s do it soon. Be ready to interview rookies and experienced people,” he added enthusiastically.
His enthusiasm infected her, and she suddenly felt light. In the following weeks, she interviewed hundreds of aspirant editors and proofreaders. Only a few qualified to attend the final round of interviews. She was honestly disappointed about the level of seriousness and sincerity the new generation has shown about the job they are aspiring to take up.
She even took some extra time to motivate the applicants who didn’t make it to the next level of the interview. She gave them personal advice and tips to improve themselves for the next interviews. She even educated them about the job description they applied for and which areas they should work on to reapply here for the same job position. A few candidates were impressed by her interviewing approach. Some even wanted to stay connected with her just to get tips from her to develop their skills and personality. She happily said yes to them. And a few candidates who passed the interview agreed to take up the job for only one prime reason: Gen was their Editor-in-Chief.
The next week after the interview board finalized the selection process, the new employees were announced their onboarding date and time. Obviously, Gen was busy preparing training modules and programs to guide the newbies in their duties, responsibilities, and roles.
On the day the newbies showed up in the office, she received a call from Oscar.
“Gen, I have something to discuss with you regarding the new joiners,” he sounded blunt.
“Oh sure, I’m just planning to brief them about our reporting structure and hierarchy. That’s all. And I gotta introduce the newbies to our existing team. You can join us anytime,” she replied politely.
“Oh no. Please, don’t do that, Gen. I have got a different plan, and don’t do anything with the new editors. Just leave them to me,” he spoke in a hurry.
“What do you mean? I don’t get it,” Gen sounded confused.
Oscar reached the office by then and rushed to Genelia’s office. When they met, it was so awkward for him to begin a conversation. They have worked together for 18 years, and this is the first time ever they have breathed different air in the same place.
“Ahem! Gen, I’m sorry that the new members we recruited will not work under your leadership. I’ll take care of them.”
Everything sounded different suddenly. They couldn’t face each other for a few seconds. Genelia suddenly turned clueless and doubtful about her role and responsibilities, but she intuitively felt that something wasn’t right. She loved to mentor the new joiners all the time. That’s the most exciting part of her job. Grooming the new members into fine editors and proofreaders made her feel complete.
Guiding a young mind at the right time right way is all this world requires at present. Giving them what they wanted made her feel extremely positive and purposeful. Oscar knew it certainly how much it meant to her. No matter how big her team is, mentoring the newcomers was something she took very seriously from the beginning.
Oscar knew it wasn’t right to take it away hastily. He seemed to be unsure of what he was doing.
“Things aren’t the same anymore, Gen. You need to change your working style. Just take care of the existing team, and that’s enough. The new team isn’t your burden hereafter,” He finally managed to finish his sentences, somehow meeting her eye to eye.
Genelia left the office a bit later that day. She reached home in confusion. When her daughters asked about her day, she didn’t remember if she answered them at all. She wanted to share and vent out everything she felt with Kayden as soon as he hit home.
When she did, he listened to her carefully and understood the gravity of the situation. He had very less things to say. He consoled her by asking her to take a few days off from work to reset her career goals and stuff. He advised her to have an off-office-hour conversation with Oscar to clear the air. Oscar wasn’t giving her straight-lined answers when she did, which muddled her even more.
She wondered if she was even wanted in the office. She self-doubted her ability to lead a team. As her husband advised her, she took leave for a week and started thinking about her work step and step. She wasn’t ready to step down from her job as it was helping their family financially in many ways.
When Kayden’s parents went bankrupt, losing a great deal of money in their family business unexpectedly, Gen came forward to help them with her bank balance. They were so grateful and promised her to pay back as soon as they gained a foothold in the business again. She wanted to be one of her family's breadwinners in every way possible.
And her daughters are still young and need at least ten more years to stand on their own. Also, Kayden had always supported her when she had problems in work life with technical stuff she had had time understand.
They were magically a great pair who lived a simple, quiet, and beautiful life. Their two daughters made their life even more complete for them. The tragic past she had in her life took a U-turn when they got married. Though they struggled financially at the beginning of their marriage, they managed to find a balance slowly and steadily.
Wherefore, she can’t quit her job just like that now. It’s not about pride and ego but about work-life balance. When new members weren’t assigned under her leadership, she felt left out but felt happy when she took care of the existing team.
Two months rolled by so quick. She forgot about the interviews and new editors and started concentrating on her new strategies for the next year. When Oscar called her for a quick meeting, she felt something fishy again. He wasn’t facing her eye to eye this time. Minutes passed by slowly. She cleared her throat and asked him if everything was okay.
“Gen, I’m sorry. I don’t know where to start,” he uttered every word carefully.
“Just don’t be, Os. You don’t want me to step down from the leader position, don’t you?” asked Gen playfully.
Oscar’s face turned pale when she asked him that with a smile. Genelia came back to her senses suddenly and turned serious this time.
“You want me to resign from my job?” said Gen in a shaky voice.
“Gen, it’s complicated. I don’t know how to start and where to start. But, I hope you will understand my situation as a friend.” he paused.
“So, is it something very serious?” she inquired.
“You aren’t quitting the job, but you must step down from your current leadership position and continue as an editor,” he stopped and hesitated to continue for a moment.
“Please, go on. I’m all ears,” she raised her voice suddenly and firmly.
“Gen, I hope you will understand me one day. Ben will be replacing you as the editor-in-chief from next month,” he paused again with concern.
“I’m going to be a senior editor,” she said politely and continued, “Hope what I earn out of my current position doesn’t change even if I come down from my position,” she asked him squeakily, which broke his heart. He knew she couldn’t lose her job at that time.
“Your pay scale remains the same, I promise,” he replied.
She wanted to meet Kayden as soon as she could. She couldn’t stand there even for one more minute. She rushed home sooner. When Kayden listened to her story from the beginning, he advised her only one thing.
“Quit your job,” he said in a concerned tone.
“Why should I,” she asked in a puzzled voice.
“You want to become a best-selling writer. When are you going to become one?” he asked her with a slight smile.
“You want me to quit my job to do that?” she grinned awkwardly.
It had been her dream since her childhood to become a popular writer. She lived a very tough past to be in the place where she is at present. Her dreams remained as dreams for a very long time. Kayden wanted to remind her every time he found a chance.
He gave her a small tricky tip for the first time, which she couldn’t resist. He asked her to publish a book before quitting her job. He promised to take care of all the family obligations for a while.
“You finish your book first,” he said sternly.
“Kay, why do you sound so simple, yet serious? You are such a package of contradictions,” she commented.
“Geny, you never knew how important you are. You are not a good luck charm to anyone or any place. You are a whole different world, and one needs to be a great-minded person to understand you. People undervalue your personality. So, it’s time for you to wake up. I can’t see my girl getting crippled by insignificant things,” he added every word carefully with a slight sense of pride.
Her eyes welled up when she listened to his words. She suddenly felt determined and opened her laptop to start writing right away.
She was relieved of her duties as an editor-in-chief in the following month. She had very less editing work to do. She finished her work in time and fled home to continue writing her story.
It took her only two months to finish her first draft. When Kayden gave his sincere review as her first reader, she carefully worked on the problematic areas. It took her another month to finish her final version. She felt contended and complete.
Her anxiety level increased when she submitted her book to an international publisher. It just took three weeks to get a reply from them. When she received a positive reply from them, her happiness hit the sky and back. Kayden took her out on a special dinner, leaving the kids at his sister’s place.
She texted Oscar about her new book, and he was shocked to know that she chose an outside publication for her first book. His Congratulations said it all. She kind of understood what he was thinking.
Within a month, 1000 copies of her book sold out. 5 and 4-star reviews started showing up on international platforms to increase her popularity. One day, a TV channel approached their company with a request to interview Genelia. When the news reached Oscar, he stood immobile for a few minutes before giving a green signal.
The Interviewing team from the TV channel visited their company the very next morning. When her interview was aired, everything sounded perfect and in place. She knew what she was doing all along. Her answers were so inspiring. Anyone would want to be a writer if their writing would reach the hands of editors like her.
Fifty thousand copies sold out in three months. And she turned into one of the best sellers in a short time. She hugged Kayden tight every time she was in disbelief. She thanked him by kissing him unconditionally for nudging her to do the right thing at the right time.
“Hey Kay, what if this book didn’t sell well?” she asked him curiously.
“I would’ve nudged you to write one more and one more until you turn into a best-selling author,” he replied lovingly.
“I’m out of words,” she turned emotional suddenly.
At Office, Oscar was scrolling through the internet taken aback by the responses Genelia’s book received on social media. Only then he decided to buy a copy of Gen’s book. He downloaded an eBook version and started reading. From the title and tagline to the post-face, she did a great job writing about the Life of an Editor. Only very few writers add a post-face to their books. She did it in an exceptional style, adding a great end to the book. It took him a whole night to finish the book.
He understood that the writer in her had been sleeping for a long and Ben Windward’s entry had brought in all the changes in their lives. Not only Genelia but Oscar had also gone through a hard phase of life, making decisions against his will and beliefs as well.
Now it’s time for him to submit Gen’s book as a valid proof to prove her ability to hold her previous position back in the company. He wished that she wouldn’t think otherwise.
He slowly walked back to his office, holding the book tightly.
A white rectangle envelope waited for him on the table that read,
‘Letter of Resignation.’
By Jayshree Vj