Getting critiques, especially the first few times, is always an overwhelming experience. You suddenly have several readers throwing their ideas at you. It is easy to feel it will be a major trial to rewrite it. But really, sometimes the fix is something small. Add a sentence here. Reverse a paragraph. First drafts are tender things. They need to be nourished and fed not tossed.
I read through your alternative chapter, but haven’t done a full crit. My response is that this 2nd version is a totally different story – one with a much slower, drawn out start. Which is fine.
But I don’t want you to abandon the first version. I think you have a great premise in the first version you sent. It had so much going for it. I liked that Sam had personality and spunk. There was lots of action, and we got to see her and her wobbly-boyfriend Liam meet and interact. There was strong emotion happening.
In terms of the firing – I made some suggestions as to how to up the ante in her firing to make it more realistic. All you need do is make it more dire for the boss. That’s a sentence or two. I think that was probably the major issue.
Lastly, I want to apologize as I realized I didn’t crit chapter 2. I will post that shortly, along with a read through of draft 2.