Monday, January 26, 2009

Big Mistake

During the interviewing process for this position, I told them that with a drive that long, I needed the flexibility to be able to work from home once or twice a week. Both One-Woman HR and the boss said "we know what you look like; of course you can work from home a few days a week!" And I said great, because I can't take this job if that's not a possibility.

So I've been working from home one day a week for the past two weeks. On Friday, I decided to do so because my car has been acting funny (it ended up being a $1000 repair for my steering column/power steering fluid leak, but that's another story - actually that's the whole story). So I emailed everyone at work and my direct boss/coworker said "O.K. Well, it would be great if you could come in because we are putting together and mailing the reports for today, but if you can't that's really alright." I told her about my car and that I could come if she really wanted me to but i would have to borrow someone's car. She said "No, no that's alright; don't come in." She gave me things to work on from home and I worked until about 6.

Today, One-Woman HR came in to my office. She didn't say anything, she just closed the door. At this point, I was eating a peanut butter cookie and looking at her like "What are you doing here? I'm eating a peanut butter cookie." The first thing she said to me was, "It was a BIG MISTAKE not coming in on Friday."


I stopped chewing, put the cookie down, and listen. THIS was going to be good. She ranted for a while about how the boss has been very sick (but I gotta be honest with you here, I have no sympathy whatsoever for him. I'm all about believing what you want to believe in and stuff, but when Christian Science is your thing and you won't see a doctor when you're sick, I mean...). My coworker has been sick also, and apparently, they were both here for 15 hours on Friday and could have really used my help.

"But they told me not to come in..." I said.

"They shouldn't have to tell you to come in to your job," she said. What?! After they've explicitly told me NOT to, yes, they should have to tell me to come in! Ridiculous.

Then she continued. "You know how we said you could work from home? Yeah, I don't see that working out. You have to be here every day from now on." I expected it to be followed by "young lady," but she continued instead with, "That being said, I know it's hard driving all that way and the reality of it is, we won't be surprised or offended if you decide to look around for something closer. I mean, I wouldn't blame you; driving can really wear on you..."

At that point, I felt a little bit like they were trying to push me out of the company. When she left the room, I was irate. I went into my coworker's office and told her that if she needed me to come in, she should have said so. She said not to worry about it. She would have told me to come in, but by the time they realized they needed help, it was 6:30 and she didn't want to call me in at that point. A little Nancy Drewing tells me, then, that she was not the one who was upset about me not coming in on Friday; it was my boss. And did have have the communication skills to confront me about it or even get the correct information surrounding the situation? No. He had One-Woman HR, his wife, talk to me about it, parent-to-child style.

The lesson of the day is, once again, that I really REALLY need to get out of here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Since about 3pm yesterday, my boss has been coming into our offices every 15 minutes or so to ask us if we know why the office manager left. This has, needless to say, been annoying and has greatly impeded any progress on actual work that I had planned to get done today. As a result, I have been trying to avoid talking to him at all, often pretending to be on the phone with a client when I hear him meandering around out there.

But I couldn't avoid him just now, and he came in my office for another round of "why did she quit?" This time, I offered answers like "maybe she had something going on at home" and "maybe she's leaving the country post haste" and "I have no idea, really!" He stood there, pondering, and I saw a weird look cross his face. I knew something deliciously inappropriate was about to follow, and braced myself. Little did I know how deliciously inappropriate it would be...

"Do you think she left because she had a problem with" he asked.

I was torn between getting up and leaving and just laughing out loud at the ridiculous lack of social skills this man has. I wanted desperately to play it out; to ask him "what do you mean, 'lifestyle'? Because I like to eat healthy food and go biking - my healthy lifestyle? Or because I like to play sports and work out - my active lifestyle?" But I didn't....oh and I wish I had! I would have loved to watch him squirm and have no choice but to spell it out and say "no, because you're gay," sinking deeper in his pit of regrettable ineptness with each word.

But of course, I didn't. I said something like "Oh no, she always asked me how Jess was doing and seemed to be really comfortable with it. I am usually a pretty good judge of these things..." Bla bla bla. My answer came out of a can and made him feel that it was ok to ask me such a question. What if I said "yes, that's why she left?" What purpose would that serve? I just don't see the point behind the question.

Also, "lifestyle?" Really? Is it the '80's?

If I can't have a new boss, at least I can take comfort in the fact that we have a new president! Maybe he can pull the economy out of the crapper sooner rather than later so that I can get out of this place. Then I will finally be able to fulfill my dream of quitting by leaving a post-it note on his computer screen that says "I quit because of your lifestyle."

Monday, January 19, 2009

The office manager quit...schadenfreude!

The office manager quit.

Apparently, my boss received a status email from her on Friday night, saying all was well and to check his desk for the folder of stuff she usually leaves for him when he gets in on Monday. He figured everything was fantastic, had a good weekend, and returned to work Monday. Just now, he finally got to the folder, and from the other room, I hear "What the f***?!" (Didn't I mention how professional he is?)

15 minutes later, he explained to the 3 of us the reason for his outburst: In the folder was our OM's letter of resignation. Basically, from the parts that he was willing to share, it says "I quit. I'm not coming in anymore. Don't contact me." Everyone around here is expressing their surprise and outrage, both sentiments that I fully support and can get behind. I mean, who doesn't even give 2 weeks notice? And leaves in a letter? And says not to contact them?

Furthermore, my boss revealed that now we are in deep financial trouble because we don't know where she left off, what has paid, what hasn't been paid, or even if we're in the red or not. So yes, surprise and outrage are warranted.

But in addition to the surprise and outrage, I am also laughing uncontrollably inside. I think I've come down with schadenfreude. There's part of me that's thinking: You trusted this person to be in charge of your financials and never checked up on that? She was only here for less than five months and you just said "here's complete financial responsibility?" Really?! I mean, you kind of had the shit storm coming, don't you think?

Also, how much do I just want to follow in her footsteps? Ohhhh I think you know how much.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday is away-from-work time, capisce?

I know you're supposed to be uber-reachable for work these days. I know that people, at least in the US, don't have a clear enough line between home and work time. I know that bosses have contacted people at home before.

But on a Saturday night for something as stupid as this?

My coworker just called me and told me that our boss just called her home number to inquire about the whereabouts of a particular, non-urgent document.

He started the conversation asking if it was a good time to talk. She said no, she was hosting a family party, and he said "oh...well let me just ask you this quick..." continuing anyway. Apparently, he was in the office and could not find this document she had prepared for him. He had searched both his desk and hers to no avail.

First of all, she left it right on his desk.
Second, he routed around her desk?
Third, he called her at home for this?

She told him that it should be on his desk, but even if it wasn't, he could easily find it on the company server. He seemed very wary of this suggestion over the phone, however, and suggested that maybe she should come in and help him look for it.

Quick! What words pop into your mind describing my boss when you hear that story?
Was "helpless" one of them? Yeah! Or "inappropriate?" Definitely inappropriate. What about "creepy?" I sure landed on "creepy" at one point.

For those of you playing the home game in Italian, we would have also accepted "ciuccio."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bring Your Dog to Work Day

My office allows you to bring your dog in to work with you. I thought this was a great idea, and decided to spice up office life a little by bringing in one of my little idiots.

I have two little idiots to choose from:
A 14 year old Jack Russell Terrier with bad teeth, inclassifiable old man lumps, a genetically defective hip, and a bad knee. He loves people, and would probably lick a robber to death, but because of his traumatic puppyhood, he hates all dogs. That is, all dogs except...

A 2 year old Rat Terrier with limitless energy, the ears of a fruit bat, and a mildly sensitive stomach. She is the product of Jess's sister's unspayed dog's one night stand with a stray of indeterminate breed. She's shy around new people and dogs and sometimes hides behind me or Jess, like a four year old would hide behind their father as he talks to strangers in the hardware store.

It was a hard decision. On one hand, I shouldn't bring Emma because she hates riding in the car. On the other, Sparki shouldn't come because he would attack the other dogs there, and there was a big boxer down the hall. The latter could be more trouble, so I decided to bring Emma.

Luckily, there was no vomit during the car ride. That was a huge plus. When we arrived, she was eager to get out of the car. In the building, however, she was extremely cautious. She slowed down before turning every corner, and if anyone was walking in the hallway, she barked at them as if to say, "Where am I and who the hell are you?!" Already, it was going well.

We got to the office and I set up her bed, food, and water. I let her explore a little, figuring she would settle down in her bed after a thorough sniff. After all, she usually sleeps all morning. But no, she did not settle down. I didn't want her roaming around the office and getting into trouble, so I used a giant white board that had yet to be nailed to the wall to gate off my office. That was when she started to whine...

...and also when my boss came in.

"Where's your dog, I don't see him," he said, looking right at her. Clearly, he's one of those people that a) assumes all dogs are male, and b) thinks that dogs under 45lbs are not real dogs.

"Her name is Emma - she's in her bed," I said, already peeved.

"Ohhh," he said with a look of snarky bemusement. He followed it up with, "You know, if you moved out here, you could have the space for a real dog." Awesome. I didn't even know how to respond to that, so I kind of just rolled my eyes as if to say, "oh you, you kidder you!" He left my office doorway, mumbling something like "small dogs are ridiculous" and I imagined Emma's stuffed anteater hitting him square in the ass with a "honk." (I don't know why the stuffed anteater honks. I don't even know what noise, if any, an anteater makes, but I'm pretty sure it's not "honk").

After my boss left, Emma desperately wanted to play. I hadn't even started my work day yet, so unfortunately, playing with honking anteaters were not on my list of things to do. I gave her a rawhide bone so she'd have something to keep her busy, but the poor thing just looked at me like "why are were here, mom? This place sucks!" I returned her gaze in complete agreement and sighed.

The day continued, and Emma was bored out of her mind. She behaved - there was no more whining - but I could tell she was...well...troubled by her temporary location. What did we learn today? I will not bring either dog to work again because:
  1. My boss is a douche.
  2. Flutopia is deathly boring to most living things. Furthermore, I should find another job.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Si, Italiano!

Thanks to Christmas, I'm not only listening to NPR during my drive, I'm learning Italian too! I got this wonderful time-passing set of CDs from my parents for xmas called "Drive Time: Italian" and I have already learned so much...

la machina e grande
(the car is big)
la caza e piccola
(the house is small)
il mio motorino e veloche
(my motorbike is fast)

These are all VERY useful things!

I love it when I get in repeat mode and repeat something I'm not supposed to. For example:
CD lady: Ascoltati e ripeteti (listen and repeat). Snack- il spuntino
Me: eel spoontino
CD lady: small pizza- una pizzeta
Me: una pete's eta
CD lady: sandwiches- i panini
Me: ee panini...wait that's sandwiches plural! Wow, I never knew---
CD lady: cheese- il formaggio
Me: oh right, eel for-ma-joe
CD lady: lesson seven
Me: lesson seven...doh!

I also love it when CD lady throws me for a looper.
We'll be doing our listen and repeat thing, and everything will be going alright. But then she'll say something like "devo fare una prenotazione al ristorante per favore" and I'm supposed to repeat this. I try, I really do, but it comes out like "devo na prezoni...a...ante...per favore." I know my per favore's when I hear them, thought, you gotta give me points for that.

I can't wait to learn how to say "You are the worst boss ever! I quit!" in Italiano!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sanity Sheets

I'm trying desperately not to hate my job. After all, even if I feel like I am trapped under something heavy at times, at least I have a job, right?

So, for my new year's resolution, I've decided to try and remember to be grateful for this job. Or at least, to try to not hate it so much. For this, I've devised some "Sanity Sheets" that will help keep me sane when things like the "wow you smell good" incident start happening to me.

Here's what I have so far:
  • It could always be worse.
  • One day, eventually, you will have found a new job and will no longer be working here.
  • One day, you'll be able to look back on this and laugh!
  • Remember to breathe. No, really, stop holding your breath; you're turning blue.
  • Keep on smilin'!
  • You're making more money than you would on unemployment checks.
  • You're smart, pretty, and you tell good jokes.
  • Your fiancee likes you a whole lot, and so do your two dogs.
  • You don't care, so you don't have to care.
That last one is Yogi Berra-ish, and it's my favorite. I don't care about this job anymore. I have essentially checked out. Therefore, I don't have to care about whether I'm doing an awesome job or not, I just have to do my job. This is a big shift in thinking for me - I like to do things so well that my bosses are notably impressed. But now, I don't have to do that because I know I won't be working here forever. I just have to complete each task and I'm good to go!

So hopefully, when I go back to work next week, my Sanity Sheets will help keep things in perspective...