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The reject pile

When Olivia Gagan lost her job, her boyfriend and her flat, her self-esteem plummeted. Little did she know that those losses would mark a turning point in her life


Hammering away on my keyboard at work to hit a deadline, I had no idea I was about to face the biggest rejection of my life. The big boss called me into a meeting room. The job had been tough in the five or so months since I had started. There had been terse emails from my line manager, who was increasingly critical of my work. I was struggling with the office routine, which started at 7am and ended with late-night drinking sessions most nights.

Despite this, and the fact that I was still on probation, I wasn’t entirely sure what this talk was all about – until I realised that someone from HR was sitting in the room with a stack of paperwork, and the big boss was sliding a mug of tea across the desk to me with a grim face.

‘It’s not working’, he said. A ringing noise started in my head, and I could feel heat rise up through my face. Chest thudding, I managed to squeak out something along the lines of, ‘Please can I have a few more weeks to prove myself?’

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