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 Category:  Commentary and Philosophy Fiction
  Posted: August 7, 2020      Views: 45

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I recently retired, for the 4th time, from a Tribal school, working with middle schoolers in reading and writing, math (which is not my forte), etc. I spent a career in Fla, working as a consultant in Voc Rehab and in social work and non-profit agenc - more...

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Stereotypes at work
"Charlie's Legacy" by Beverly A McBride

The last time I saw Charlie he looked like his sassy old self, happy, joking, he even kicked up his heels as he sauntered jauntily out of the conference room. Now you tell me he croaked on his way home? No way, it can't be. How can someone so full of life, so bright and cheerful be lost to the world, in the snap of a finger? I can't believe it!

I first met Charlie on the first day I worked here. He let me know right away what a dog of a place to work this was, and that he'd look after me, and not let anyone take advantage of me. At first, I didn't much appreciate his paternal attitude. Yes, I was younger, without much experience. But I was willing to learn, just wanted it to be from someone else, not a Charlie. There's always one stereotype in every workplace, I gathered. Along with the other office stereotypes, like the overzealous clerical person who lived for procedures and deadlines, and the office playboy, who perceived himself as a gift to womankind. And there was a Charlie, paternalistic, a gatekeeper of sorts, who thought himself a mentor to the young people, grabbing them before they were "corrupted," just starting their career, to show them the ropes, although be they old ropes, old models, old routines. But it seems I would be stuck with this company's version of a Charlie.

As it turned out, meeting Charlie was the best thing that happened to me. Although not so much the clerical maven, or the playboy, both of whom surfaced eventually. More subtly, this Charlie really did share his contacts and knowledge, and showed me how to actually blossom into my career. He was unselfish. He indefatigably served his customers and employer. He was kind to everyone, and loyal. He became my favorite co worker and I even invited him over for Thanksgiving with my family, every year. I guess he won't be there this year.

I found myself resenting the snide remarks that tumbled around the break room regarding Charlie. I was his loyal mentee. These other people were fine to his face, but when he wasn't there, they'd turned vicious. What did that kind old man ever do to them? Ungrateful clods. I would have told them all off if I could have. I still had to make nice, for I'd be there a while yet, and preferred a non-hostile environment. I think upper management was starting to take notice.

Yet still, I am going to miss old Charlie. As his living legacy, I will carry on, with all the best of his knowledge and experience tucked away in my brain right next to my own. Time for me to step up to mentor the next ones coming along. I'll become the new Charlie in the office. I had a good example.

Charlie writing prompt entry

Writing Prompt
Write a story that begins with the line: The last time I saw Charlie ... (continue the sentence and story)

Author Notes
There's all sort of people in the workplace, that impact us in various ways. Charlie was one of the good ones, and deserved respect and appreciation. RIP, Charlie.
Pays one point and 2 member cents. Artwork by VMarguarite at

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