But Jack had big dreams, and soon he felt that his destiny lay outside of that provincial town. With the help of his forest animal friends, he packed up his knapsack and set out on his way.
The yellow-brick road to the city was treacherous at times. He narrowly escaped dangerous giants, sly wolves, and murderous thieves. At times it seemed that everyone and everything was against him. The tree branches seemed like arms ready to strike him down; the howl of the wind was like the breath of a ghost. But through the gloom of the deep, dark forest cut a beam of light. The light was a friend. The light was support, and compassion, and love. One light led to another and another until his path was illuminated and clear and he followed his feet to the glittering city full of possibilities.
Once within the walls of the great kingdom, he embraced the opportunities around him and soon found work with a local magician. Together they brewed potions and elixirs, selling them to those who craved love and beauty. Everything seemed to be going well for Jack, but unbeknownst to him, the evil witch Melificent was watching his every move. She hated everyone, but for some reason she hated the boy most of all. Perhaps she feared his magic would one day exceed her own. She seethed with rage as she spied through her crystal ball, and soon she set about on a plot to destroy him.
She had an army of loyal robotic clones. Every one of them talked like Melificent. Walked like Melificent. Worshipped Melificent. She placed these clones strategically, and soon, everyone around Jack was secretly working under her command. Together they bombarded him with hatred and loathing. He felt like he was back in that forest again. There was no one he could trust. All eyes were on him. His every move was scrutinized, criticized, and reprimanded.
The vile Melificent laughed from her throne as the boy broke before her eyes. He had no desire to continue his potions apprenticeship, and he fled from his duties. Melificent had won.
But upon reflection, the boy realized that he did not need magical potions. He did not miss them, and therefore he became content with his place in life. He remained friends with the Magician, and stayed nearby assisting with other things. He was content and happy.
Melificent was not. The boy was reduced to his common state, yet he was smiling. He would never become a powerful sorcerer, yet he seemed gleeful and charming as ever. How could this be? She could not stand to have this. The boy must leave her kingdom forever! So using her poisoned words and her most deadly threats, she convinced the Magician to throw the boy out of the kingdom forever. To push him away into exile. To banish him from all the land.
Heatrbroken, and feeling very trapped, the Magician did so. Jack was told to leave that very instant. No warning. No time to say goodbye.
Sometimes, there are no happy endings.
* * * * *
Work had become so stressful and so horrible, that I eventually stepped down from my role as Customer Sales Lead, but decided to stay on as a regular Sales Associate. The pay decrease didn't matter, because it was never worth the stress and aggravation that being a manager brought to my life. It just wasn't worth it, and I wanted to return to the simpler, happier times when connecting with my customers was all that mattered.
And although my boss thought the solution was perfect, her boss--the evil District Manager Mel--disagreed. "He failed as a Sales Lead. What makes you think he'll succeed as an Associate? He'll still be around to bring the store down," she said. So I was fired. Mel wanted me out, and Mel always gets what she wants.