Fresh faced, despite the craziness of the day before, Julep arrived early for her new job. She wanted to make a good impression and knew that there was a lot riding on this opportunity. Her thesis got her foot in the door and now it was time to dig in and really show them what she was capable of.
Head Up. Deep Breaths.
First item for the day, time on the analyzer. She wanted to run a few tests on the plant samples she had gotten from Ivy. She was curious as to what made them award winners from a scientific perspective.
While the tests were running she moved to the Invention Constructor. She had read about this particular model and was seriously impressed that this facility was able to receive one of the first produced. That truly was a testament to the quality of work they were doing here.
Most impressively, it was easier to use than the machine she had used in college. She had a Momentum Conserver built in no time!
As she stood admiring her new invention, she heard whispers behind her.
“Honestly Sophia, how are we supposed to take her seriously with that ridiculous hair? I give her a week, nothing more”
Julep turned her head slightly and saw her new co-workers Sophia and Joaquin huddled next to the microscope and rolled her eyes. He wasn’t the first to judge her based on her brightly colored hair. She had known he would be a problem. Every time she had made eye contact and smiled he would just turn up his nose or go the opposite direction. Him, she didn’t care about. Sophia, on the other hand, was her idol and looking bad in front of her was not an option.
“Excuse me, Dr. Larson? I’m Julep Soto. I don’t meant to sound like an airheaded fangirl,” she stated, glancing at Joaquin at the word airhead, “but I’ve read every paper you’ve ever written. Your research article on Molecular Nanotechnology is one of the reasons I’m here today. I used your research as a building block for my thesis that earned me the Pioneer Award. I thanked you in my speech.” Hearing Joaquin’s snort of derision and realizing how childish she must sound, Julep was tempted to look at the ground in embarrassment. Instead she looked into the kind eyes of her idol.
“Julep. Have you had lunch yet? I have some dessert I made that you really must try,” Sophia offered. Joaquin’s mouth fell open, clearly surprised by the turn of events. As Julep turned to follow Sophia to the breakroom she had to fight back her urge to stick her tongue out at him.
Higher ground, Julep. Higher Ground…for now.
“Oh Dr. Larson, this is divine!”
“Please, call me Sophia – and thank you. I love to bake and I have so much more at home. Can I give you some advice?”
Julep quickly swallowed her bite of cake. “Yes, please!”
“When I started in this career there weren’t many women, certainly not at our level. I hope I’ve done a reasonable job at paving the way for your generation to excel, but there are still going to be a lot of Joaquin’s in this line of work. Don’t let them get to you. Dye your hair, get tattoos, wear mini-skirts – just be yourself and get the job done. Eventually, as you are publishing your research and they gather cobwebs in their own judgemental lack of activity, perhaps the world will change and how you look won’t have one bit of importance when it comes to your worth. I, for one, love your hair. I think I would actually love to see Joaquin’s face if I came in tomorrow with something bright to match – purple perhaps.” Sophia rose out of her chair and took her plate to the trash. She turned and dealt Julep a shock she wasn’t expecting. “Julep, did you know I was on the judging panel for the Pioneer Award? I’ve read your work too, Ms. Soto and I am also a fan. You are brilliant. You are going to do great things and blow the whole scientific community away.” She ended her statement by patting Julep on the shoulder and smiling before heading back down to the lab.
Julep had forgotten that she had cake in her mouth. She had forgotten how to breathe.
Did she just….brilliant? Holy Crap!
Finally the sounds of the Invention Constructor made its way into her brain and she remembered where she was. Going back to work seemed a little surreal at this point, but work she must. She had a special serum she wanted to work on before her shift was over for the day. She would have to wait and process all this tonight when she was alone and could squeal like a little girl in private.
Feeling confident, and perhaps a bit cocky, Julep made her way to the Chemistry Station and quickly made a mess of things.
Looking around to make sure her new nemesis Joaquin was nowhere in sight, she gave a sigh of relief. She was also grateful that Sophia seemed to have already left for the day.
She said I was brilliant.