*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My coworker wanted a promotion. I didn't want a promotion. To my surprise, the boss gave me the promotion instead of her. Here's how it happened, and here's what happened next.
I spent a single summer working at an ice cream stand. I didn't want to work at an ice cream stand. I didn't apply for a job at an ice cream stand. It just happened. I was not qualified to run an ice cream stand; I was barely qualified to scoop ice cream.
The man who owned the ice cream stand also owned the liquor store where I had applied for a job. When he hired me to work at the liquor store, I did not know he would ask me to fill in at the ice cream stand next door, but that's exactly what happened.
At the time, there was only one other person manning the ice cream stand. It was early in the season, and one person was usually enough to manage the line. The woman worked alone from opening until closing until I started showing up, per my boss's request.
We got along great at first. She told me how many hours she'd been working and how hard she'd been working, and she confided she thought the boss was going to make her the manager of the ice cream stand soon.
Now and then, I'd mention something she ought to do, or the way something ought to be done, and she'd reply with, "Are you the manager?" Obviously, I was not the manager.
"No," I replied. "I am not the manager."
She said it often enough that I grew annoyed and complained to the owner about it. "I was just telling her we ought to clean the parking lot instead of sitting around doing nothing, and she asked me if I was the manager. I told her I wasn't the manager, and she said, in that case, she wasn't going to help me clean the parking lot."
"The next time she asks you if you're the manager," the store owner said, "tell her you are the manager." And just like that, he made me the manager of an ice cream shop where I never even wanted to work.
Sure enough, it wasn't long before my coworker took umbrage at one of my suggestions at work. "Are you the manager?" she asked me.
"Yes," I replied. "I am."
Her eyes grew wide. She looked like she might cry. Within a week, she had quit.
I can't say I blamed her for quitting.
In retrospect, I wish I had quit, too. I don't know why she'd thought being the manager of a summer ice cream stand was such a desirable position, but as the person who got the position, I can attest that it was not. I lasted the entire season before being unceremoniously discharged from not only the ice cream stand but the liquor store next door as well.