Jane leaned back in her desk chair and swung her legs back and forth. Her computer screen stared back at her, offering her zero entertainment. Instead, an Excel spreadsheet glared at her, the white boxes almost taunting her with their emptiness. Jane's glance kept veering toward the digital clock at the lower right hand corner of the screen, but those numbers were not moving at all this morning. It was still 9:12, and it felt like it had already been 8 hours and she should be able to go home.
Jane swiveled her chair to face her window, her one solace in this office of gray cubicles and orange walls. A spider hung out on his web in the upper corner, and past him the clear, blue sky almost pulled her outside. She could hear the sounds of typing and printers and footsteps behind her, but the blue sky was so tantalizing that those sounds faded into the background and Jane tried to become one with the white, wispy clouds.
Pulled out of her reverie, Jane whirled around, blushing. Her boss was standing at her desk, looking at her, one red, fuzzy eyebrow raised over a dark brown eye. Thank God she had Excel up on her computer and not Facebook, she thought to herself. She smiled at Bob.
"Oh, hi, Bob."
"Hello, Jane. I can see you're working really hard." Bob's attempts at sarcasm fell flat through his monotone voice.
"Oh, right, well, I was just taking a minute to get some motivation. Back to work, now!" She posed over her keyboard, fingertips at the ready.
He nodded curtly, then rambled his portly frame over to his office and closed the door. Jane sighed and slouched in front of her computer screen. The white Excel boxes were still glowing, longing to be filled with numbers.
This was not how Jane's life was supposed to go. She was almost thirty; she was hoping that by now she'd be in an exciting career path, on her way up the ladder, attending business parties and cocktails and hobnobbing with the elite. Instead, she was still stuck in the same cubicle doing the same work she'd been doing since she graduated college 6 years ago. How did her life end up on pause and where the heck did the fast forward button go?