There is always a moment at church on Sunday when the Pastor instructs the congregation to pray for their enemies. Pastor begins to run down a list of said enemies from family, to friends to ex-lovers and even co-workers and supervisors on the job. I always pray for that ex-boyfriend and what not, because 9 times out of 10, said ex-boyfriend may have been a little “touched” by evil, however, I had never experienced an enemy at a job, so I could not relate. Where does this enemy come in? You go to work, you do your job, you collect your pay, you go home! I have never been one to strike up meaningless conversation and/or entertain co-workers once off the clock, so I figured this message from Pastor just never has and never will apply to me. Of course that was until…
I worked for a law firm and was hired to manage their case load in a particular jurisdiction. I worked solo initially and then they hired a junior associate to come on-board to assist with the increase in work load. Things were going great, the associate was pleasant and a hard worker. I was offered a promotion and a raise, told that we would be moving offices and even went looking at bigger and better offices with the owner of the firm. I was told my salary was going to increase and that I would be stepping from behind the desk and away from the courtroom to attend business development meetings and luncheons with potential clients. How dope is that?!
I called my mother to tell her the good news, I emailed all of my friends to tell them the good news. Heck, I even think I booked a flight to Jamaica for a wedding I initially thought I would not be able to attend to say I was ecstatic is an understatement.
Everything was going well, however, once I began to ask about the raise, when would the move take place and when my requested input would be included in the firm’s materials, I was met with a bunch of excuses and resistance. This lasted for six months. Prior to leaving for my trip to Jamaica, my associate and I received a phone call from our Managing Partner informing us that a more senior attorney had been hired to come on-board at our location and that the firm would turn its efforts to another facet of law (as well as the other facets we would continue with) and that she would be spearheading this particular department.
The more he talked, the more I realized, “HOLD UP!!! THEY ARE GIVING HER THE POSITION THEY OFFERED ME!” After we got off the conference call, my Managing Partner called me personally to assure me that this decision had nothing to do with me, blah, blah, blah.
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The new senior attorney comes on-board and gives us hell! Pastor was right! I quickly had to pull up all of Pastor’s sermons from the net, printed out scripture and kept it within arms-reach when needed. I smiled when she would toss around untruths, I would go for a walk when she was confrontational, I prayed and I got fired. When they (yes, the man who offered me all these illusions of grandeur and this new enemy) called to fire me, I did one thing; I thanked them for letting me go because they were probably doing me a favor.
Fast forward years later–the man who fired me has emailed me several times to ask for my assistance on matters in New York. We have not had a discussion on what really happened years ago, and honestly I do not think it is necessary. His reaching out was enough to assure me that the firing in fact had nothing to do with me, and as a dear friend put it “Don’t let the past stunt your future. Cash those checks girl.” I learned a lot from that experience and the biggest lesson is that prayer goes a long way, and your enemies will ultimately bless you….even on the job.
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Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row, KinderJam, LLC and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.