I’ve been up since 5am. I am so tired and so uncomfortable. There’s a change of clothes in my little carry-on suitcase, but I know that if I change into them now, I’ll sweat all over them and have nothing to wear to work tomorrow.
It always seems to be a few degrees hotter than comfortable in Sydney. Humid, even in the colder months. My discomfort is only heightened by the stress of having to stay the night at the CEO’s house.
I know this isn’t really a normal thing for companies to allow, but, anything to save a couple of hundred dollars I guess.
She owns a really nice apartment on the wharf in Woolloomooloo. I’m fairly certain it’s partly owned by the company… but let’s not get into the politics!
The point is, I’m standing here in smelly, uncomfortable clothes and my only real option is to put my pyjamas on. I don’t have a bedroom to disappear to and hide in because I’ll be sleeping on the couch tonight. So I’m feeling a bit stressed. I’m the kind of person who really, really needs down time. If I don’t get it, I get irritable and emotional. I’m on my way there now. But, I’m aware that there’s no such thing as down time on these work trips.
I make a call, for the sake of my comfort.
“I’m going to get into something comfy,” I announce.
Two of my colleagues are sitting awkwardly upright on the edge of a sofa, while the CEO bustles around the kitchen making people drinks. Discomfort is so thick in the air you can taste it.
“That’s a good idea,” she says, not stopping to look up at me.
I turn and click up the stairs in my small, practical black heels. I wheel my suitcase into the bathroom and fumble around, trying to find a lock. There isn’t one. So weird. I’ll have to change with one eye on the door at all times, lest I am caught in the nude by a colleague.
The bathroom is tidy and bright, lit by soft, twinkling lights, an array of expensive soaps and lotions lined up on the basin. There’s a generous sized shower that the CEO probably uses herself – but I force my mind to shut down that thought before it registers.
For some reason, my eyes scan the corners of the room to make sure there aren’t security cameras. I don’t know! I’m never in such fancy bathrooms, I don’t know what rich people do.
Then, as quick as lightning, I kick off my heels, pull on some thick, comfy socks and replace the stiff corporate dress with my pyjamas. Luckily they aren’t anything too indecent. Flowy yoga pants and a white t-shirt.
Feeling fresher already, I pack up my bag and exit the bathroom feeling pleased with myself. As I pad quietly down the stairs in my plush socks, I hear deep male voices.
I emerge sheepishly to see the company’s chairman with a man I don’t recognise, shaking hands with my appropriately business-attired colleagues. As I place my bag down, the whole living room of people stop and look at me. I wish I could melt into the carpet. The chairman takes a step towards me.
“Steph, this is John, the CEO of…” let’s just say a billion dollar international enterprise.
And there I am, in my pyjamas.