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Class, settle down, get out your textbooks, and turn to page 43. After we're done reading, we can have show-and-tell for thirty minutes. No, Virginia, you can't go first -- we'll go in alphabetical order like always. Sit down, Virginia; you can tell us about your trip when it's your turn. I'm sorry we ran out of time before we got to you and Billy last show-and-tell, but you still have to wait your turn. Now, everyone, turn to page 43.

You're a good player, Virginia, but Joseph is two grades ahead of you. He's had private lessons, and he's got a much better instrument. It's his turn to be first chair. You have to blend with his sound; don't draw attention to yourself. He's first chair, so he gets the solo.

Oh, Ginny, you're not going to wear that dress to the party, are you? It's far too loud; don't you want to wear a nice beige instead? You don't want the boys to get the wrong idea, do you? Now, remember, you mustn't be too forward; if a boy wants to dance with you, he'll ask. Remember to smile. Boys like girls who smile, but don't talk about yourself.

He's out of your league, Gin. You're no cheerleader. No, you shouldn't even try to talk to him. Just hang out with us at the dance; we're your real friends. He's out of your league.

Hey, Gin, why are you wasting your time in front of the computer? Come to the party with us! You don't want to be a nerd, do you?

Ginny, I'm really proud that you got into MIT, but we just can't afford it now that your father's retired. I'm sorry, honey, but the scholarship just isn't big enough. I know we sent your brother, but that's different. He's going to be an engineer; you just want to major in literature, right? You can do that just as well at the local school. And Boston is so far away ... and big cities are terribly dangerous. Now, honey, be reasonable! The local university is perfectly decent. That's better. I knew we could count on you to be a good girl.

Ms. Wilson, you did a very nice job in fiction class, so your "A" was well-deserved. What? No, I'm afraid I can't let you take my upper-level workshop. Yes, I know there's room according to the Registrar, but as much as I like you and your work I'm going to have to stick to my rule. I simply can't allow non-MFAs into the MFA-only workshop. The chances are slim you'd be accepted here; the undergraduate program is one thing, but our graduate school is quite exclusive. We prefer students who are not local. Your fiction is very competent, but I doubt you can compete with writers from larger schools.

Ms. Wilson, I realize you've been working here longer than Mr. Jones, but he's got a degree from Harvard and a family to support. He's got the go-getter attitude that we want to see in our managers. I understand your frustration, but I can't promote every deserving employee. Be a good team player; we might be able to find a secretarial position for you in a year or two.

Hey, Gin, what's up? Haven't seen you in years. What? You wrote a book? Oh. That's cool, I suppose. I could write one too, you know. If I wanted. Been working on my golf game, you know? Golf's hard.

Ms. Wilson, I'd appreciate it if you didn't have your book cover on display in your cubicle. It's not conducive to a productive work environment. Yes, I know the others have football and baseball posters up, but sports are ... normal. Some of the others think you're ... overstepping yourself. After all, anyone can self-publish ... what? You mean someone paid you to write that? Who on Earth would want to read a book written by a secretary? Well, then, the cover's a commercial, and employees are forbidden to use company resources for personal gain. The cube wall is a company resource. Take the cover down.

 

The world is full of people who want to keep you in your place.
Stand up. Promote yourself. If you don't, who will?

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