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After nine years of marriage, Jim and Virginia Fry are settled into comfortable, affectionate domesticity. One morning, Jim looks forward to the potential business opportunities brought about by the merger of his firm, Lynden Company, with Associate Industries. Jim is startled, however, when Ginny announces that she believes that she is pregnant. Ecstatic at the thought of their first child, Jim hurries to work and confides the news to best friend Steve Heyward. Celebrating in the men's room with cigars provided by the proud father-to-be, Jim's co-workers discuss the merger and speculate about changes. News soon spreads that a luncheon is being held in a few days with Associate board members and Jim, Steve and the others anticipate their personal invitations. The day passes and Jim grows increasingly despondent when he realizes that he is the only executive not to receive an invitation. He hides the fact from Steve, who has already told his wife Syd of the luncheon. Confident that the invitation portends a promotion, Syd telephones Ginny with the news. Ginny manages to tell the garrulous Syd about the baby, then leaves her job at a boutique early for a doctor's appointment. That evening over martinis with Jim, Ginny details the numerous tests she took at the doctor's, which she is certain will confirm her pregnancy. When Ginny asks Jim about the luncheon and expresses her enthusiasm about their new personal and professional prospects, Jim cannot bring himself to tell her that he has been overlooked. The next day at Lynden, new president Eli Cave meets with the department heads to go over personnel. Cave declares that he has no intention of disrupting smooth-running departments, but adds that anyone not progressing should be terminated. Herb Zorn, the new executive chief of operations, agrees with Cave and announces that the head of personnel will interview each worker individually. Each department head then describes the merit of his workers and Jim's manager, Charles Blake, gives Jim a strong recommendation. Despite Blake's support, Harry Lessing of the Controller's Office, criticizes Jim for being inefficient. After the meeting, Blake runs into Mr. Cady from shipping and, recalling an order he forgot to place, makes it directly with Cady, then advises him to tell Jim in purchasing. When Jim hears Cady's offhand message from Blake, he worries that this unusual action and his exclusion from the luncheon have serious implications. A little later, Jim is summoned to personnel to meet with its new director, Joseph Jessup. At their meeting, Jim is unnerved when he hears Jessup mention termination papers to his secretary and behaves awkwardly. Convinced that after fifteen years of loyalty and hard work, he is about to be fired, Jim writes a furious letter to Cave, then reconsiders and throws it away. That evening, Ginny mistakes Jim's brooding moodiness as an indication that he does not want to have a child. Jim apologizes, then admits his fear that the company intends to discharge him. Stunned, Ginny nevertheless helps Jim consider other options and together they recall that Paul Mason, head of a competing firm, once expressed interest in Jim. Enthused, Jim telephones Mason at home and Mason agrees to meet him the following morning. The next day, Mason welcomes Jim warmly, but admits that there are no openings in his company at the moment. Mason cautions Jim to remain at Lynden, stating that most corporations are hesitant to take on middle-aged employees. Returning to Lynden, Jim discovers Zorn waiting for him. Upon learning Zorn is the new head of operations, Jim is initially guarded, but under Zorn's questioning, Jim forthrightly discusses his development in his job, changes that he advocates and his concerns about not feeling essential. Zorn counsels Jim on the importance of taking risks, then departs. Zorn then returns to Cave with his recommendation that despite Lessing's reservations, Jim should be promoted. Cave orders the promotion effective immediately and requests that Jim be seated next to him at the luncheon. When Cave's secretary discovers that Jim has inadvertently been left off the luncheon list, Cave promises to make the invitation personally the next day. Meanwhile, Steve discovers Jim packing up his office in a growing rage over his impending termination. After Jim wildly declares his intention to confront Cave and storms out of his office, Steve stops him and begs him to reconsider. Agreeing, Jim despondently returns to his office where Ginny telephones with the news that her pregnancy test is positive. Delighted, Jim agrees to have dinner with Ginny, Steve and Syd that night. Although Steve has asked Syd not to discuss work, she nevertheless chats effusively about the luncheon until Jim reveals his certain dismissal. That evening at home, Jim and Ginny examine their debts only to discover that they do not actually own anything. The next morning, before the luncheon, when Jim wishes that he could afford to tell off the Lynden executives, Ginny encourages him to do so with her full support. Encouraged, Jim decides to face Cave, but upon finding his name being removed from his office door, Jim is furious and writes an irate letter of resignation. On his way to Cave's office, Jim does not see his new office being prepared across the hall, with his new title on the door. Finding that Cave has not arrived yet, Jim gives his resignation letter to the secretary, but as he departs, Cave and Zorn arrive and enthusiastically usher Jim into Cave's office. Cave immediately apologizes for the mix-up regarding the luncheon, then announces that Blake is being moved up to a vice presidency and Jim is being made the head of purchasing. Stunned, Jim accepts. As Jim is leaving, Cave praises Jim for taking the apparent luncheon snub so well, and Jim is forced to ask Cave to return the letter he has written. That evening, Jim happily relates the successful luncheon to Ginny and the couple celebrate their good fortune and promising future together.