Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Status Quo

I complain about work a lot. That's basically all I do. Its the entire reason for this blog. But if you have been keeping up, I have a lot to complain about. I spend a lot of time wondering if this has all been some elaborate practical joke because this can't really be my working life. After all that work in university, all those books I read, all those papers I wrote and this is what it got me? My degree cost me more than this job pays! Depressing.

But it is what it is. Currently its a paycheque. And I can't complain (too much) about that.

In the time that I have been writing this blog (a very short time) I have complained about numerous things: John, my non-raise raise, pain, insensitivity (John), Veronica, policy-- pretty much everything. I feel like I never totally resolve the issues and some of you maybe wondering about where these issues currently stand. I don't know if you actually wonder, but I would if I were you, and I need something to write about so I thought why not a general update? Who doesn't love a general update? I know that when I get emails with the subject: Updates, I get really excited. And if you weren't reading that in sarcasm font maybe this blog isn't right for you.

So I am going to imagine some questions that you may be asking yourself and then I will answer them. If I leave something out and you still have questions, please leave a comment and I will answer it! (I don't think that I have my email address on here because it gives away too much of my name and should this blog ever fall into the wrong hands again I would prefer that less identifying information was available).

Did you have to make up the time yesterday when you were late? I did not. Although every time I think about it, or make eye contact with Amy I feel like she is magically going to remember this and chastize me in front of everyone. So best to leave that one alone.

What is going on with John? Thankfully, not much. I assume that he has returned from his cruise, I'm pretty sure that I have seen him a couple of times since (today I am told that his shirt needs ironing). But because he is a child and not actually appropriate management material he has decided not to acknowledge me. Which is great. He seems to actually have kept his word and has actually backed off of the department. Everyone is a lot more relaxed without him lurking around. I mean, did he not ever have any real work to do? If I'm him, with the new company coming in, I'm making sure I look like I have purpose. From my vantage point I can see a lot of salary budget that we can trim...

Hows that shoulder/hand pain? Some days are better than others. The shoulder pain isn't so bad anymore but I find that I have increasingly odd pain in my hand, from tingling and numbness to sharp pains in my fingers, and I still can't press my right hand down because it causes pain in my wrist. Clearly this is all my fault. Various explanations include: the wrong positioning of my arm and wrist, bad posture ( F you John), working too fast (I'll try to slow it down, Lord knows its such challenging work its a wonder I'm able to get it done at all), the way that I'm typing, or the keyboard I'm using. And before you ask, no I have not heard anything more about my fancy ergonomic keyboard that will change my life. I'm not really banking on hearing too much about it and I bet that I will never see it. Because it was management speak for "if-I-tell-you-what-I-think-you-want-to-hear-you-will-stop-complaining-about-it". They really don't know me do they?

How are you enjoying your raise? In a phrase? I'm not. So I got my tax form, saw that I should have had a raise, spent the next 6 months trying to get it to go through, only to be told that it had. And then a new company took over. They looked at what the original company had in the system for my salary and wouldn't you know it? It hadn't changed from what I was paid when I first started here. I'm still pretty bitter about it. I try not to think about it but when you don't get any verbal appreciation (as in "hey, good job today" or "thanks for your help on that thing, couldn't have done it without you") you're kind of hoping that appreciation will have a monetary value. And then you don't even get that. And they wonder why I can be so crusty.

How is Veronica doing supervising? Well yesterday afternoon she was bragging about how she wasn't like a regular supervisor (picture Amy Poehler in Mean Girls when she says that she's not a regular mom, she's a cool mom). She knows that she isn't supervisor material, and this makes her insecure. And her insecurities play out in scenes like this:

There are pages left in the printer from the day before. Veronica glances at them, is annoyed and decides that this is unacceptable.
Veronica: Hey guys (turning to Edna and Anna) if you see pages left in the printer can you please take care of them?

Edna: What do you mean?

Veronica: Look in the notes, check emails, find out where they belong.

Anna: (making a valid point) you want me to take time out to clean up after other people?

Veronica: I want you to just get rid of them and put them where they are supposed to go!

Edna: OK, I guess we can do that. (to Anna) When do you want to do it?

Veronica: This isn't that difficult! Just do it!
End Scene.

As you can maybe tell by this exchange, Veronica really has a way with words and is usually able to get people to do things just by exercising her naturally sweet and courteous manner. The newest temp (I don't know what he is doing here, he seems to have his s**t together and is even smart) actually called Veronica out on it yesterday. When she was bragging about being a cool supervisor he was like "Do you want to be in management?" and because she has no other career options ("Like, I want to go back to school, but like you wouldn't make any money doing it, and I spend too much money shopping") she said that she did and the new temp replied "Then maybe you should get in the habit of acting like one now"


I loved it. I could barely suppress my elation that someone had called her out. So thats where that stands.

Really everything is status quo. I hope that you enjoyed my one sided catch up. I'm so creative, imagining questions and answers.I'm still here, I still hate it, I'm still ruled by incompetence and I still look for something better.

Until next time, stay fit and have fun.

(maybe that's just local?).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


So this morning I was late. And not just "Oops-I'm-so-sorry-I'm-5-minutes-late-but-I'm-here-now-so-its-not-a-big-deal" kind of late either. I was a whole "s**t-I'm-35-minutes-late-I'm-going-to-get-it-for-this-but-there's-nothing-I-can-do-about-it" kind of late. I didn't sleep late. I didn't leave the house late. I caught the same bus.

Normally this bus drops me off around 8.20 (I start work at 8.30, I know-- its not technically a 9-5 existence, I'm a fake) and I have enough time to leisurely stroll into the office and login. Everyone is happy (except me really, because now I am of course, at work).

But this morning there was rain.

This in itself is not unsual. I live in a rainy city. We get 4 seasons, but each of them has a lot of rain. For whatever reason, even though it rains here 9 months out of 12, people are still incapable of driving in the rain. And so, for this first rain of the Fall, the first rainfall (he he he) people are realizing that "hey, Summer is over" and they choose to drive like grannies. As a result my bus was stuck in seriously slow moving traffic. A trip that usually takes 50 minutes, took an hour and a half.

You should know that I am never late, professionally or personally. In fact, there is nothing I hate more than being kept waiting. If you are going to be late, please call me and let me know. Or, here's a thought, how about we try to be on time. Unfortunately I live in a city that seems to think that being on time is uncool. Consequently I am usually the first one anywhere, waiting. Anyway, being late this morning caused me all sorts of distress.

I know how this will play out you see. I have been witness to (and even experienced it ONCE before) some pretty heinous management of this situation. Basically, if you are late, you will stay late. Or miss part of your lunch, or give up breaks. They want that time back. Getting you to do this will happen in one of the following ways (these really happened).

1. You will get an email, noting that you arrived at 8.07 when you are supposed to start at 8. In order to support the "oneness of the team" it would be best if you stayed til 4.07 so that everyone can see that you are making up the time. Nevermind that no one else is even here at 8, or notices if you leave at 4. The time must be made up.

2. Amy will arrive in your cubicle, seemingly for a nice chat to the start of your day, see what you are working on, what your plan is for the day. Starts off nice enough right? Wait for it. Amy will inevitably ask you how you plan to make up the time from when you were late this morning, and you will be completely blindsided. Do you want to give up a break? Stay an extra 15 minutes or have a shortened lunch? I guess the thought process is that she is giving you options so she isn't being a dictator but the bottom line is, its 15 minutes and its not a big deal (unless you are chronically late and only Veronica has that problem. But its ok, she's a Supervisor).

3. It will be announced in some kind of group setting (either in a meeting or loudly enough for everyone in the office to hear) that you were late. You will be made to feel like an a**hole while everyone tries not to make eye contact, feeling acute embarassment for you. You will then offer your soul to stay an extra 10 minutes so that this horrifying moment will end and everyone can get on with their day.

My hope is that because John has stepped away from our department (currently the only interaction I have to have with him is if he says hi to me and then I usually respond with a grunt. I am so classtastic) none of these will occur. I can tell you that I am not offering to make up the time. I'm also hopeful that because we have become a new company, with new people (who are WAY more laid back (sorry, this implies that the old regime was laid back in some ways and they weren't so I guess I should say that these new people ARE laid back (oh man I love me some bracket thoughts))) they will ignore my transgression because it happens so rarely.

I am going to do everything I can to stay on their good side (except not write on my blog today). I have even put on a happy face, although perhaps I should reign this in a little, they might start to think something is wrong with me. I just really don't want to have to give up my little spots of sanity, or stay later.

I should have just called in sick.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mondays Suck

I don't know if you are aware of this, but today is Monday (don't you love how creative my blog title is today?). Monday. I don't think that Mondays would be so traumatic if I liked my job, but I am so far away from liking my job that Mondays will just continue to be a torturous exercise in how long I can go on without losing my mind and "going postal".

Its ironic that I was born on a Monday (fair of face, clearly) and have grown up to detest them so much. But I honestly can't help it. When I was in school, I enjoyed them. I looked forward to them. But now. Anything but a Monday!

So I was thinking about Mondays (because it is Monday, I don't think about Mondays on other days, unless its a Sunday and then sometimes I catch myself thinking about the impending Monday) and trying to pinpoint why exactly they suck, and I came up with the following.

People say things like "You have a Case of the Mondays" on Mondays. Not only is this extremely irritating, it does't make a whole lot of sense AND it just adds to the crapshoot that is a Monday. If you are a person that currently says this and thinks its clever and hilarious, please stop saying it. You are being humoured but secretly your co-worker wants to stab you.

Mondays just seem to bring out the worst in people and those that take the bus in the morning have got to be among the absolute worst. I understand- its tough to get out of bed on a cold Monday morning and have to stand crammed on a bus full of other, equally disgruntled commuters. However, there are still standards of courtesy to be observed. Hitting me in the head with your bag is not OK. An apology would be great. Sitting on the outer seat so that no one is sitting in the window seat, and then shifting your knees so another person basically has to crawl over you while balancing a starbucks in her hand-- this is not OK. Suck it up, try to be nice and everyone will have a much better start to their Mondays.

Its Monday. The day furthest from the weekend, when you have time to yourself, when you can do whatever you want, or whatever actually needs to be done. To add insult to serious injury Mondays also signal the end of the weekend.

Jon and Kate Plus 8 is on on Mondays. And while it used to be a guilty pleasure that I totally enjoyed, now its just sad. I still watch (I can't turn away) but its just depressing and I think I might need therapy. I mean you read about them all over the tabloids now, they don't have anything nice to say about each other, they sit on separate couches to talk--its sad. This is harder than when my own parents divorced! I don't know why TLC still has it on the air- especially when we could be watching the 100 times better Table For 12. Now that's a family.

Now for the reasons that make this Monday worse.

I was having a printer war with Maurice. I refused to fill up the printer with paper because we were both using it and he is the worst (could I say "worst" anymore today? Vocab refresher needed) about refilling it. So I just kept on printing, letting it all queue up in the printer's memory. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and loaded in the paper. When I was sorting through the pages that came out I noticed that there was nothing that belonged to Maurice. I had been having a printer war with myself.

One on One meetings are resuming today. Well this is what we were told, I have yet to see anyone actually going in for one. I don't like them. I find that they are a waste of time. I mean whatever you say in there is only going to be used against you. Its their way of trying to exert some kind of authority over us. I think I will just go in and lie. Everything is wonderful guys, don't even worry. I just want to say what they want to hear so that I can leave.

Anna has to work harder today- they want her to really push her numbers. Which means that she can't really talk to me. Which sucks.

My nails are chipped. I have lovely dark blue nail polish on (OPI's Play til Midnight) and its friggin' chipped. I hate when my nail polish is chipped.

John is back. He didn't drown. I don't think I need to go into further detail on that one.

Basically its Monday and I'm going to hate the day no matter what happens. Even if the office was suddenly overrun with puppies and we were given leave to play with them for the rest of the day.

OK no, you're right. If there were puppies to play with I would be happy it was Monday. But thats it!

Stay strong guys, Monday can't last forever.

Friday, September 25, 2009

She Probably Didn't Say That

Before I begin, it should be noted that my friend Anna is on a roll today. She has been making me laugh all morning and even came up with the subject matter for this post. So let's all raise our Friday glasses to Anna!

Now, I believe that I have mentioned before that I am a fan of The Office. I find it charming and hilarious and I roll my eyes at it weekly. I see so much of my working life in that show. But its less funny when it happens in real life. And come on, if Michael Scott really were your boss, you would never leave. Low standards, almost no work ethic, lively debates about the hotness (or notness) of Hilary Swank (where do you stand? Me: she doesn't do it for me) --whats not to love?

But this love for a fictitious office environment has had wholly unforseen consequences.

Turns out that Veronica is herself a big fan of the show (literally and figuratively, god I'm mean). It gets better.

She thinks she is Michael Scott.

Now those of you that have been faithfully reading my blog (and I thank you for that) will be familiar with Veronica's antics and know that in no way is she Michael Scott. She is not even close to Michael Scott. But she persists in thinking that she is. And when I say that I am a fan of the show, I mean that I watch it week to week, store away funny quotes and story lines and use them with friends.

Veronica spent last weekend watching all 5 seasons again. Back-to-back. While her boyfriend was out partying for his birthday at a strip club (a whole other story). So she is up on her Office quotes.

And even with all of this knowledge, there is one quote, one phrase that she cannot (or will not) stop saying:

"That's what she said".

Every day, without fail, there is at least one moment Veronica deems appropriate to use her pet phrase. I think it probably started innocently enough. She had watched an episode where they used it (it was an ongoing joke on the show), an opportunity came for her to flex her pop culture know-how and she jumped all over it. People laughed. She got a positive reaction for something that she did.

She was hooked.

For awhile, I will admit, we played along. I mean, its a funny joke. Someone says something vaguely insinuating something sexual and another person jumps all over it with "that's what she said!". Its funny.

But a big part of comedy is timing. And at some point, the greats know when to stop. Veronica is not one of the great ones. She has problems with limits and boundaries. I don't even know if she notices that the reaction has dwindled to a barely audible snort from one person. And its not a snort of laughter at the joke, its a snort of derision at Veronica, still using this joke.

Even The Office has kind of retired the line. Last night, in an attempt to patch things up Michael Scott uses it on Jim and it doesn't work. Jim is not impressed.

Anna and I are over it as well. And as a supervisor, Veronica should realize how inappropriate it is for her to be leading the "that's what she said" charge. But she doesn't.

And in that way, she truly is our very own Michael Scott.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Might Have ADD.

I am pretty bored at work today. I have the attention span of a gnat and can't seem to stop myself from obsessively checking my facebook, celebrity gossip sites, anything really. I don't know what my problem is today. Probably has something to do with the fact that I know that there is no one really in charge today. My frenemy supervisor Veronica is the only one here- John is on a cruise (I'm hoping he gets lost at sea) and Amy is dealing with some "personal matters", which I always find really ominous so I hope things are OK (see? I'm not a total a**hole).

So in honour of my non-focusing state of mind, I present you with a list of rambling thoughts. These are things that have been popping into my head today, or they could be things that I learned from my internet roaming.

This morning on the bus my ipod, on shuffle, started playing a Christmas song. Its all muddled in there (I am too technologically deficient to know how to remove them for January through November) and I didn't realize it until the song was half over (I think it was I'll Be Home for Christmas- you are so going to get that stuck in your head now. Don't you know its bad luck to sing Christmas carols when it isn't Christmas?) and I remember thinking to myself damn, now its going to think its OK to play Christmas songs all day.

And as is so often the case, I was right.

I have now heard little bits of White Christmas, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, some themes from A Charlie Brown Christmas and I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas (classics). I guess its never too early to start planning for when one hemorrages money.

I had chocolate cake today (office birthday) and I shouldn't have. Not only is it calories that I don't need, its also kind of making me ill now. Its been too long since I have had proper sugar and my body wants me to know that it doesn't think its ok to just spring that on it. Now I am being punished.

Its fun to kick off on my wheely chair to the printer to pick up my printed pages. But I think that sooner or later I am going to kick off too hard and hit my head on the printer. I'm sure that Maurice will come to my aid. And by come to my aid I mean stare at me blankly.

I'm trying to understand why the Kardashians are so famous? I know that they are good looking, but have they done anything? That said, I am relieved to see that Kim has dyed her hair back dark (she looks so much better). I worry about the other 2 though: Khloe getting married after a month and Kourtney knocked up? Yeah that will end well. And while we're on it what the hell is with the K's? Khloe?? REALLY? has a headline about a dancing baby rocking out to "Single Ladies". So a couple of things: 1. Is this really CNN worthy? 2. must remember to look that video up later. If I find it, I will share. I know you want to see it too--although if its already made it to I'm probably the only person that hasn't seen it. CNN isn't exactly on top of things I find.

I just wheeled into my cubicle wall. Good thing its felt covered.Don't worry, I wasn't going that fast anyway.

Meatloaf: I Will Do Anything For Love. But then there is that one thing he won't do. Does anyone know what that one thing is? Maybe I need to listen to the song more?

The whole 9-5 thing, how does one get out of that? Is it this boring and awful for everyone? Are there really people out there that enjoy their jobs? How does one go about getting one of these mythical jobs? Is it largely dependent on the people that you work with? If so, how does one go about deciding who they work with?

How come people get married to other people with the same name? Like Michael and Michelle, Mario and Maria, Julia and Julio. Don't you kind of think to yourself when you are dating, well this guy is really nice but we can't both be called Lesley. You probably don't think that this happens that often, but I'm here to tell you that I see it all the time.

I totally forgot to take my break. Cake break earlier did not count. So I am going to go take care of that and hope that when I return I have more focus. Yeah, I'm not really holding out much hope either.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Moldy Relationships

Some days I swear that I work in a ghetto. Some third world office space that the powers that be totally turn their back on.

Be warned, I am going to jump all over the place this post. I am having one of those days where the boredom is creeping into my brain, slowly taking over all faculties of rational thought. But at least you have been warned.

So my office ghetto.

There are men walking around dressed in head to toe black, armed with massive flashlights. Its really strange but I assure you that they think they have a purpose. Last week, when it rained (did it rain last week? It must have) the roof started leaking for the bajillionth time. So what to do when the roof leaks? Well first you put a pail under it. When thats full you put a bucket in its place, to be replaced with a barrel etc. When the water continues to run down the walls, seeping into the carpet, you rip a large hole into the ceiling so that the water starts to gush forth.

Then there will be a dry day. As a contract employee (these guys must be contract employees, there is no other way to explain what they did) you flood the roof with water to see where the problem is and then you leave for the day.

Consequently, they had to do it again. Meanwhile, its been several days and the wetness is starting to mold. Which is so great for your health. It also smells really bad (as mold is apt to do) so its one big ol' party here! Of course, management doesn't want to deal with it. And basically ignores our entreaties to do something. Anything.

In other news, Veronica has started to read. I know, I know, I didn't know she could read either. But she has a book, with a bookmark and she is reading.

I started thinking about this yesterday (I was bored) and I think she is doing it to impress me. Before we all start shaking our heads at my high opinion of myself, let me lay this out for you.

I read. A lot. Every day. I read 2 or 3 books a week (except right now when I am working on this nearly 1,000 page mammoth Shantaram, which is so excellent and you must read it) and this is a well known fact at work. Its an escape mechanism really. If I have to work here, at least let me escape from it for small portions of time. Anyway. People are always asking me about what books to read (at work and in my personal life)-- personally I think this is another sign from the Universe that I'm meant to work in Publishing, but what do I know?

So, the relationship I have with Veronica is an odd one. On the one hand, she is my supervisor and has moments where she tries to exert her power over me. On the other hand, sometimes it feels like she desperately wants to be my friend and overshares about her relationship at home and gossips about things at work. This is all fine and good, if not a little bit confusing.

Now, you should know that I always wear nail polish. Its an odd thing (because I can't allow my nails to chip, it distresses me and I think about how long until I can redo them) I started doing in highschool and its been so long that my nails actually hurt when I don't wear nail polish. Its like removing 3 layers of skin in a way (gross visual right?). I have kind of a bad habit of OPI nail polish. Can't stop buying them, must have the newest colours, am always searching for new ones. So Veronica never used to wear nail polish. But then she started admiring my nails all the time. And then she started to do her nails. Which is not necessarily attributed to me- I notice a lot more women do their nails now, that never used to.

But she will only use OPI and always needs my approval before she wears any new colour.

And now she is reading.

And she says things to me like: I can' wait to go on my break because I have a book to read.
Or: This book I'm reading? Its so good.

But my favourite has to be: There are a lot of words in here that I don't understand.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my supervisor.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lame Lingo

You know how management has its own special language? Words and phrases used constantly to ensure maximum productivity? Well that's what they are taught is the reason for this new vocabulary, what it actually achieves is a high level of annoyance in your underlings. But can make for a rousing game of BINGO during a meeting. More on that later.

This morning I was eavesdropping (I do that fairly often in the office, its the only way to really learn anything) and I heard the most heinous manager expression ever. It was horrific. I am debating with myself if I should even post it here, I don't want to be responsible for spreading this around like the Plague or Ebola. Once its out there, its going to be pretty difficult to clean that up again.

OK in the interest of full disclosure this is what I heard:

Turd Fergason: Morning.

Underling: Oh hey, morning (this is a co-worker who has not fully realized yet what a tool Turd Fergason is so she is still pleasant to him, had it been me, there probably would not have been a verbal recognition of his presence)

T.F: Hows things going?

Underling: Um, I guess they are ok.

T.F: I just wanted to do a quick temperature check

The rest of the conversation doesn't really matter. Can you believe that he said that? A temperature check? Are you a doctor? Really? Did this just happen? I was horrified. Am still horrified. Its just such a lame expression, leave it to management to use it. There is no excuse for thisHe totally thought he was being all suave and cool about it too. I think its just the imagery that it evokes, that for me is just too too much!

So anyway, this little exchange got me thinking about other annoying little words and phrases that management likes to use. These are a few of my manager's favourites, feel free to add your own.

Challenging. This is one word that I have had to strike from my vocabulary. It evokes too many painful memories of my former never-to-be-named-again manager. He was such a tool (partially responsible for my having to move my blog to a new address) and I swear this was the only word he knew for something that was difficult. He used it for everything from work "challenges" to personal trials. There was nothing he wouldn't christen as being "challenging". I seriously hate this word. Weird right? To hate a word? But I do (when I was a kid I had a healthy abhorrence for the word "and", thats kind of an odd thing to admit. I still prefer not to use it). Its probably partly to do with who was using the word all the time, but I like variety too and he just used it for everything. Not everything is challenging you know? Learn new words!

This outside the box. I think that this is one that gets leftover from university days when professors are encouraging their students to be creative. I also think that it has no place in my office because this is not a creative space. This is an efficient space and creative thinking is regarded asdangerous. So why would we expend valuable resources thinking outside the proverbial box? It must be used to make themsleves feel better about the pathetic state of their professional careers. I'm safe because this isn't a career for me, its a paycheque.

Cover it off. Putting aside that this is not actually even physically possible, what the hell does that mean? Are you covering it? Or crossing it off a list? Its just confusing jargon, designed to make a manager feel smart and important (like we need more smug managers). Its also annoying because it is used when I am trying to get an answer to a question, or a solution to a problem I'm having and this is used to pawn me off: "yup, OK that is a valid point, let's cover it off later OK?" and then of course, its never visited again (I know, I know, I'm shocked too). Learn a new phrase that actually makes sense please. And while you're at it, please try and actually follow up when you say you will. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish when you don't pass the buck.

The peak of the crap. Yeah you read that right. I am positive that this is one unique to my office. Sadly. And I think that the only person that fully understands what it means, is its creator, John. We were really bogged down and behind and he came up with this analogy that had to do with tsunamis and riding waves? I think basically its supposed to be encouraging- that we have reached the top of this wave of stuff that we have to get done? Maybe? Yeah it doesn't make all that much sense. What is even more infuriating is that it is used in like every meeting that John heads up. AND he actually sent out certificates with a nauseatingly "adorable" surfer riding a huge wave and it said something like Surfer All Stars Award. The intent was to encourage but it might have backfired as we all looked at each other in silent wonderment, one thought between us "Who is this guy?". At the time, he was our manager and he was so proud of himself. The whole thing is horrific even now, months after our certificates of non- achievement were handed out. He has time to create certificates? He can't help us out at all? I know who gets my award for Manager of the Year.

So there you have it, my shortlist of the most annoying things that come out of management mouths. I'm sure that if I really gave it some time I could come up with more. Oh before I forget, I mentioned BINGO at the beginning. Its affectionately known as BullS**t BINGO. Basically you round up words and phrases that your manager says a lot and you make a BINGO-esque grid on your notepad in a meeting. Discuss with your colleagues and agree on a line or a blackout and then cross off the words or phrases as your manager says it. Extra points if you actually scream BullS**t in the meeting when you win.

I dare you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Case of the Mondays

The bright spot in my day so far? This joke:

Two hats are on a coat rack. One hat says to the other: you go on a head.

Yup. That's it. The one thing that has made me smile today, the only part of my day so far that has been worth while. Sad state of things really. I was thisclose to calling in sick but because I had Friday off, I thought I had better not risk it. Better save that for a day when I really can't face going in. I'm sure it will come up sooner or later. Who am I kidding- sooner.

I am one hour into the work day and I am already berating myself for being too chicken to just pull the trigger and call in sick. And by call in sick I mean get out of bed and send an email notifying Amy that I will not be coming in today. That's all it takes, I don't even need to put on a convincing sick voice (although if I did, I do find that its best to do so right when you wake up, before you have uttered a word to anyone, you get that sleepy-frog-in-throat-morning thing going on and it sounds like you are really sick with the distortion that the phone adds).

I am left wondering, had I called in sick, what would I have said? I mean inevitably there are questions upon one's return about how you are feeling. And if you are already 100% on your return, is that not suspicious? Can you call in a legitimate "case of the Mondays"? For a while I would tell them that I found that if I started to feel under the weather it was best to take a one-day time out to rest and hopefully head it off (I'm sure that this is actually true) and they seemed to buy that.

See, I don't actually get that sick all that often. Maybe once a year (wow did I ever just jinx myself or what?). So how come I get penalized for being healthy? Its not like I get to convert the leftover sick days to money. Or vacation days. So why would I give those up?

Well I clearly wouldn't.

(I think I just punctured my foot with the heel of my shoe. I don't want to look in case its bad, it doesn't feel good)

In past jobs, the ones where I felt motivated, validated and generally content, you would never have caught me skipping out on work. No sir. I would work with swollen limbs, sprained feet, violent colds, fevers, hangovers- whatever. But now? Hell no, not worth it. So these days, I try to plan ahead. I observe, see how others are feeling, try to determine if these colds around me are perceived as contagious. If so I try to play up symptoms, kind of give a heads up to management that I am coming down with something and I may not be coming in tomorrow. Hardly surprising really, what with that virus that is going around.

If there was no planning ahead I try to come up with some other kind of physical ailment that would prevent me from coming into work. Something like a sprained ankle, just a light sprain obviously, one that would benefit from an additional day of rest (and a couple of days in running shoes at work). The only thing with a sprained ankle is that you have to pretend to have a limp for a couple of days afterwards, and thats something that is easy to forget.

If you are me, its pretty easy to come up with some physical ailment, because I am both klutzy and prone to odd physical calamities. I fall down a lot. I go to 3rd world countries on holiday during influenza like outbreaks. One time I went out in the evening to watch the airplanes take off and land and came back with some odd bites on one leg. Which soon ballooned into an elephantitis-esque mess on my leg, causing extreme pain when standing. It was hot and itchy and burny and all that I needed to do was stay off of it. Turns out I'm kind of allergic to bug bites.Not deathly allergic, but enough to get some serious swelling and pain. I think that I have laid sufficient groundwork for this not to be questioned, should I decide to go with that one morning (it is of course seasonal).

In the end, I can be as honest (when I really am sick, but like I said, doesn't happen that often) or as creative as I like, it will still come back to bite me in the a**. I will still get questioned or made to feel guilty. And in the end, it will still have all been worth it for one glorious day of freedom and crap daytime television.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To Alfred: Silence is Golden

You know how there is that one guy, that used to work with you that moved on but always seems to come back like a bad dream (or a cockroach)? The one that is annoying in any number of ways?

That guy is here today.

I never actually even worked with him. Let's call him Alfred. I never worked with Alfred, he had moved on before I had even started working here. My first taste of Alfred came around the holidays my first year (oh God, I have to distinguish between which year!) when there were a bunch of people out of the office and we were desperately behind so he was called in to help us out.

Worst Christmas present ever.

He was loud, obnoxious, had a lame handshake (a firm handshake is important no?), smelled like really nasty strong cigarettes and only had 2 topics to discuss: video games and his new job. Those 2 weeks were unbearable.

He came back for another extended stay. People visibly recoil from his presence. I don't know how anyone can stomach him, let alone encourage him to share your breathing space.

I think he is here for training today. He showed up early so that he could chat. Ew. I guess I should be glad that for most of the day he will be kept in a room with a door (a room that I will not be in) that closes, but right now I'm just annoyed that I have to listen to his inane chatter. Where are the ever present managers to tell him to take a hike? If I was standing at Anna or Lily's desks chatting like he does, I'd probably get written up. They don't even have to be nice about it. I will condone any and all ill treatment of Alfred. I suspect that he's the kind of guy that can't take a hint anyway.

Why does he offend me so much? Well aside from the fairly long list of grievances already listed, he offends me because when he talks the entire office has no choice but to listen. And for the past 20 minutes I have had to listen to him rattle off all the excellent reasons for getting the new PSP (I think that's what he was talking about but not being particularly game savvy, or really caring at all I can't totally be sure): he was getting a good deal, something about it flipping open, quality. No idea. Just the sound of his voice makes me want go Incredible Hulk on his a**.

There are also the stories of what it was like to work with him. And although I'm not fond of everyone here, there are those that I feel protective of and one of them was constantly harassed by Alfred. And of course there was the truly creepy story that he put video cameras around his place to spy on his girlfriend. I don't totally believe that he has a girlfriend either, this must have been referring to some webcam on some kind of softcore site, but you get the idea. Either way, its creepy and we definitely do not need to discuss this at work.

This is all compounded today by the fact that I no longer have Dan Brown to comfort me or look forward to having finished that beast of a novel already (for those that want to know, it was pretty good, although I think that I might have been kind of disappointed with the end? Still not sure, still processing) and Anna is off today. So no workstation battleship (that was an excellent idea Anna), no constant dialogue of random thoughts running the gamut from puppies to coworkers, weekend plans to boyfriend trials-- just silence.

Well, silence punctured by the truly horrific sounds of Alfred.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dan Brown

I believe that yesterday I mentioned that my colleague and I were going to sprint up to the bookstore and purchase the newest Dan Brown novel?

Well we did. I think Anna might have underestimated my need to get to the bookstore now to get this book. And so I power walked her the whole way there and bought 2 copies (no I'm not that crazy that I need one to read and one to look at, the 2nd is a gift) and was straining to break into a full on sprint to get back to the office and start reading.

Dan Brown is currently the only man in my life. He is all that I think about, my one obsession. There is no room for anything else.

Needless to say, I have been extremely inattentive since about 1.40 yesterday afternoon.

This is the problem with Dan Brown. His books suck you in completely and for the length of time it takes you to devour it, you are MIA. There isn't room for anything else. Your head is way too full of Robert Langdon, symbols, history, words that have triple meanings, crazy villains and full on car chases. Your heart is constantly in your throat and this morning on the bus I even found myself short of breath.

I was reading a book! And I couldnt breathe.


So what's the problem? The problem is that I can't put the damn thing down. I have left him on my desk, to taunt me all day while I try to concentrate long enough to send an email or finish a thought (I'm failing pretty miserably). I keep opening it, looking around and wondering if I can read a page without getting caught. I can't wait until I get 15 minutes to throw myself back into this book. I don't even have room in my brain to make note that Veronica left an hour early yesterday to get her hair done. This doesn't matter to me until I find out what happens to Robert Langdon and his friends.

I can't even put a sentence or thought together that doesn't involve this book. It is all consuming. Dan Brown is a bastard. How dare he write such a book? One that takes me away from everything that is right and rational. I mean Veronica goes and gets her hair done, and is getting paid while it happens but the rest of us need to take vacation time to go see the doctor? On a normal day, this would enrage me. I would be spewing poisonous bile all over this blog.

But today, I have Dan Brown. And Dan Brown will make it all better.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crack Induced High

Today I am in a good mood. There are a number of reasons for this. I know I know, so out of character. Don't worry, I'm sure that someone will come around the corner, invade my cubicle space and say something that totally destroys these good vibrations but for now, let's embrace this uncharacteristic sunshine.

Today Amy is away. And when Amy is away- no one really feels the need to work. Veronica is in charge. And when Veronica is in charge...well it can really go one of two ways. 1. She is on a power trip, eager to stomp all over everyone in her attempts to show off that she can handle being in charge (she can't). 2. She throws in the towel just like everyone else, relieved that she can be in charge without anyone to answer to or compete with.

Today she has chosen the latter and I for one am grateful. I could do with the respite.

Since the mail girl left we have all had to pitch in and help fold the mail. Initially I was annoyed that I was relegated to such basic work. But now? I'm glad for the break. I am always looking for new ways to look busy without actually getting that much done and let me tell you, folding mail is the perfect way to do just that. I put my earphones in and just start folding. Slowly (so that it takes longer) and before I know it, its time for lunch. Brilliant.

There is a brownie on my desk. Enough said.

I told Amy and Veronica that there were lists of reminders that had been neglected for several weeks that we needed to get to. I volunteered to go through them (as long as they gave me the list that I asked for ). For a few days they ignored me and I thought it was just going to be another thing that I tried to tell them about, that they ignored and then blamed me for not doing. But yesterday, the list came my way. The list that I asked for. And I feel like I am actually getting things done for a change.

I have Friday off. Sure I had to give up a kidney, but I do have two! Four day week!

I have segmented my day into smaller chunks of manageable time so that the day doesn't seem so long. Yesterday it seemed to work out OK, today I think its having some trouble. Basically I try to get through til 11 when I get to have a snack. Sometimes this is also when I start to write my post (sometimes not, depends on when inspiration strikes, but it usually comes in the form of a chocolatey drizzled granola bar). Then I just need to wait until 11.45 which is when I go on my first break. Then its noon when I return and I need to make it to 1.30 (during which time I do some mail folding). I get back from lunch at 2.30 to go into a sort of sweatshop (kind of like reverse mailing, we take documents out of envelopes and staple them together, really challenging, requires 3 people) which takes about another hour. I go on another break at 4. Come back at 4.15, work on compiling a list of what I have done all day (a lot) and run out the door at 4.25.

Perhaps the biggest contribution to my happiness today is that finally, after months, years of waiting, the new Dan Brown book has been released. Anna and I have planned it so that we eat our lunches at our desks, and then run up to the book store at lunch, buy a copy, run back and spend the rest of our freedom blssfully immersed in the crack that is a Dan Brown book.

Yay crack!

He better not disappoint me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Breakfast Club

Steak dinner? Check.
Drinking substantial bodyweight? Done and done.
Touristed (What? Its a word. Its not? It should be) in my own city? You know it.
Got a good night's sleep on Sunday night. Yup.

By all accounts, I should be ready to tackle this week head on. At least get through the Monday. But there is something about this place with its beige-ness that just manages to f**k up the best intentions.

Do you know, that as I walked (ran) out of the office on Friday there was actually laughter in the office? I swear on my dog (he lives with my parents but he's mine) that there was. Actual laughter. From the stomach- you can't fake that. I actually caught myself thinking Maybe we have all turned a corner, these people aren't so bad after all.

Well there was something in the water this weekend and I reserve the right to change my mind!

It all started with a lack of milk. We decided to spend our weekend doing things like drinking our faces off, dressing up like Lady Gaga (not in that order sadly, but putting on fake eyelashes drunk is risky no?) and wandering around the local aquarium in a next day booze haze. No time for practicalities like grocery shopping. So this morning when I went to have my bowl of cereal there was no milk. I went to my toast back up only to find that there was no bread.

I started eating breakfast before leaving my place so that I would stop giving my hard earned money to Starbucks in exchange for a calorie laden chocolate croissant and a London Fog. And I have been working out so I didn't want to ruin it all by caving in today. Its a slippery slope right? On the bus, I made an executive decison to stop and get a healthy breakfast sandwich across the street from the office.

I got off the bus at 8.20. I had 10 minutes, its literally across the street. But I hadn't counted on it taking them 5 hours to make a sandwich out of egg, green peppers, tomatoes and onions. And ham maybe? It was hard to tell once it was all put together on whole wheat toast.

I rush into the office, late, terrified that John will be around to count the minutes and make me stay late. Thankfully he wasn't. In fact, up until this point I haven't even heard his voice in the halls. Which should make me happy, but in fact makes me very nervous. I feel like he is up to something.

So after all that-- my sandwich was gross. Inedible.

My croissant was delicious though. And my tea is keeping me warm as the air conditioning blows on my neck, while gale force winds whip the trees around outside. Clearly a warm day.

I have managed to haggle my first born child for a day off on Friday though. This is something to look forward to. But we have to do all our own mail and that of the people that are furthering their education to give us part time hours. Those bastards. How dare they try to better themselves to get out of here. Doesn't work though, heaven knows I tried.

Veronica's high pitched wail and Amy's lack of active management have already pushed me to the brink so the lack-of-milk-forcing-me-to-go-to-Starbucks-for-a-liquid-hug-on-a-cold-cold-day must have been the Universe's way of trying to comfort me. I get it Universe-- I will try to stay strong.

Friday, September 11, 2009


My boyfriend has Fridays off. He has one of those magical jobs that recognizes the need for adjusted schedules, and allows him almost free reign to designate his own schedule. So he works 4 day weeks. Normally I make him drive me to work on Fridays (so that I don't have to deal with the public on the bus, and to punish him for having a better job than me) but today he had an appointment so he couldn't.

Which left me dragging my butt out of my warm cozy bed to be assaulted by the cool air of the morning while he slept on. It took all of my self control (and admittedly I don't have that much) not to slam doors as I got ready. I just get really jealous of him sleeping away while I have to dress myself and go face the world. Pity me!

If that wasn't enough to make you pity me, maybe this will. I just got off the phone with the boyfriend, who called to let me know that he would be spending the day rollerblading in the park, by the ocean, in the sunshine with MY Swede!


I definitely get a steak dinner tonight.

Anyway, I'm left to fend for myself on this glorious sunny Friday. I got dressed like I didn't care (because I don't) and took the bus to work. Arrived in one piece but arrived in one piece (so I have to work. Here). Its September right? Its a beautiful sunny day so it must be 40 degrees outside right (for those of you that live in the States, that's celsius because I am Canadian)? I swear that children are running this place-- the same children that are allowed to dress themselves for school and on sunny days choose shorts and a t-shirt because, well the sun is shining, it must be warm!


Sometimes the sun shines and it is not, in fact, warm. You know, like in the winter? When it snows and its sunny? Its not warm then is it? No, because then the snow would melt.

So why then is the friggin' air conditioning on?? I spent the better par t of the morning with my sweater hood on, huddling to conserve heat, with hobo gloves (the ones without fingers?) on my rapidly typing fingers. And for some reason, this compelled everyone to ask me "Are you cold?"

No a**hole, I'm making a fashion statement. OF COURSE I'M COLD!

I also had to endure some really messed up noises emanating from John today. First he snuck up on me while I had my hood on (and thus had cut off my peripheral vision) and made some low gutteral sound. And later he did the same thing to Veronica. I'm just left wondering how he was the one chosen to be in charge. And I thought he was not going to be involved in our department too. But he's always here.

I wish that this post made more sense. I wish that there was some sense of fluidity of motion, that each paragraph just naturally led into the next. But I'm very cold and this affects my ability to think properly. Maybe some inspiration will strike me when I am doing the mail.

Oh whats that? You didn't know that I did the mail? I don't. But the mail girl quit this week (lucky girl) so we all have to "pitch in". Veronica told Amy that I wanted to help with the mail.

This is complete nonsense of course, no one wants to help with the mail. Its mind numblingly boring. But Veronica was just farming out some work, kissing some a**. Just another work day for her.

Enjoy your weekend guys! I know I will!
(really any time that's spent away from here is glorious).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happily Ever After

Once upon a time there was a princess named Veronica. Only unlike most fairytale princesses, Princess Veronica wasn't good or kind, smart or thoughtful. She didn't have furry woodland creatures do her bidding and no fairies smiled sweetly on her when she was christened in front of the whole kingdom. No no, Princess Veronica had the misfortune to be the third daughter born to the King and Queen and the older Princesses were not pleased.

As Princess Veronica grew, she became mean and spoiled, selfish and spiteful. Her older sisters alternatively taunted her and treated her like a baby. Her parents, desperate to make up for the ill treatment by her sisters, treated Princess Veronica like a little angel, even moving out of their own royal bedroom so that their darling could have more space.

Despite having the personality of a grizzly bear, Veronica managed to find a young man to half heartedly love her. He wasn't a Prince, but a stable boy called Carlos. Carlos belched at mealtimes, wore dirty clothes and preferred to use his hands when eating a meal. But Princess Veronica loved him and from the beginning tried to get him to marry her.

This went on for some years when the King and Queen, in an effort to make a sensible princess out of their youngest daughter, gave her her own court to rule over. There was to be one older lady-in-waiting that was actually in charge, but Princess Veronica was to believe that she was in charge at all times. To further establish an independent Princess, the King and Queen moved Veronica's court some ways from the castle, hoping that it would force their daughter to figure out her own mode of transportation.

In the beginning it seemed to work. Princess Veronica initially enjoyed her new 'job', revelling in her power and almost enjoying the trip to her own court every day. But she soon grew weary of actually getting anything done and most especially of the travelling to and fro on the public carriages. She began pulling her father, the King, out of bed early mornings to get him to take her to work. And she would always send a messenger to get him to get her at the end of the day. Her royal mother was charged with making her lunch every day, complete with 2 apple juiceboxes. The ladies of her court also noticed that she was beginning to get weary of her court. She still enjoyed being in charge, but as for doing any actual work, that was not the job of a Princess.

One day the Princess wasn't feeling well. Her ladies-in-waiting, tired of her games and not up to the task of pretending to care that she was feeling under the weather, pretended not to notice. The Princess took it a step further, by vocalizing her discomfort. One lady half heartedly offered her concerns, the rest did not look up from their work. The Princess discarded the Queen's homemade lunch and went to Olde McDonald's, which she declared would make her feel better.

Olde McDonald's did not do the trick. So she messengered her father the King to come and pick her up. From her own court. While she waited, she went down the hall and started laughing and joking with a group of pageboys waiting outside her court to announce her father's arrival. Miraculously, Princess Veronica had mustered the strength to enjoy herself.

The next morning, the Princess returned to her court. Her ladies-in-waiting were not thrilled to see her after yesterday's performance. But work carried on.

The whole court adjourned for lunch and were walking along the outside of the smaller castle's walls. All of a sudden, there was shouting and a group of villagers ran towards the group. When they saw the Princess they all yelled at once but none of the ladies or the Princess could understand them. Finally one villager made himself heard and told the group that a dragon was heading in this direction, breathing fire on everything it saw, destroying homes and fields in its path.

Everyone look at the Princess Veronica to see what should be done. The Princess yawned, said she was tired and would head back into the secure stone castle, the peasants could stay outside. The Princess' ladies were mortified and the villagers were furious, after all the service they had provided for the royal family, to be turned away at this moment.

There wasn't much time for arguing, the dragon could be seen climbing the hill. The villagers quickly huddled and came up with a plan. They surged together as a mob, towards the Princess and her ladies. Princess Veronica screamed and tried to run towards the castle but her ladies stood in the way. They grabbed her by the arms and pulled her towards the mob. The mob grabbed onto the Princess, heaving her up above their heads and racing in the direction of the dragon.

They offered the Princess to the dragon. The dragon accepted their sacrifice.

The dragon and the Princess were never heard from again. Although the dragon did have a nasty case of heartburn after his meal.

Everyone else lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

5 Habits of Highly "Effective" Managers

Its no secret that I find managers annoying. Its probably because I have so many-- 3 to be exact. Each believing that they are in charge of me. None of them willing to take any kind of responsibility.

Its a Manager's Paradise out here.

Over the past 4 years (my adult working life) I have had the opportunity to work with a few different managers. And I have never had a problem. I had heard horror stories about managers that were incompetent, irritating, mean etc but I had never experienced it, and quite frankly I assumed that my unfortunate friends were exaggerating.

Today, I know that they probably weren't. In all likelihood, it was worse than it sounded because one can never quite capture for another what its like to be under the tyranny of a power hungry incompetent snake. To those friends, I apologize for my lack of empathy and beg forgiveness for what has been an unending tirade of stories of my own horrible managers.

Now that I have apologized, I figure that I have carte blanche to continue whining about it for at least another 6 months.

This morning I took the time (3 minutes) to compile a list of the Management habits I find particularly offensive and annoying. They are in no particular order, but they do manage to irritate me an obscene amount of times during a day. So here is my list of annoying Managerial habits:

Hovering. I hate when they hover behind you. There is only one reason that they do it: to spy on you. And they can't even be honest about it. They always come up with excuses for it. "I just want to make sure that your arm is supported". " I wanted to see if you were having problems with the system". "I came over to ask you a question but now I have forgotten it." Don't hover! Go back to your desk and sort through the non-work on your desk before someone realizes that you are not necessary and gets rid of you. On second though, keep hovering (by someone else) so that the powers that be realize that you are superfluous and get rid of you.

Delegating. I have written about delegation before. I understand that one person is unable to do everything and that tasks need to be farmed out so that they get done. I don't have a problem with being given work when you are overwhelmed, on a temporary basis, its all good. But when you don't actually seem to do any work yourself, are constanly chatting with your favourites and talking on the phone after you read your emails out loud while simultaneously texting--I'm probably going to get annoyed doing your work.

Discussing Me in Front of Me. I'm right here. I'm a grown up. Please don't talk about me and what I will be doing today in front of me like I'm not sitting right in front of you. That's rude. I expect better of someone that makes more money than me. Seems backwards that I'm the one with standards and you're the one in charge doesn't it?

The Runaround. Don't you love when you have a question and you ask your direct supervisor, who asks your manager, who asks her manger what the answer is? Double points if your manager's manager asks someone else. Triple points if that someone else is your supervisor. Next time, grow a pair and make a decision. I don't have time to be standing around while you hum and haw and try to shirk responsibility. I'd take the responsibility but I don't get paid to. You do, man up.

Trying to be My Friend. We are not friends. I don't have friends that are a**holes. I get paid to come here every day, thats the only reason that I'm here. Maybe you like it here and you feel like you want to be everyone's friend. Tough noogies (oh yeah, noogies. I'm bringing it back). You can't be my friend. Why? Because you make my life hell, you nauseate me, I can't stand the sight of you and I kind of hope that you meet an unfortunate end. Not exactly a solid base for friendship. You are my manger (unfortunately) and I am your underling. There will be no contact when I leave and I'm hoping to keep contact to a minimum while I am still here.

So there you have it. Habits of Management that annoy me. I should add one more: breathing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The boyfriend is not going to like this post. He already loathes John. Never having met him but having been fed a steady diet of John-is-the-devil stories for months he maintains that he hopes that he never meets John becuase he would be apt to punch John in the head.

Like I would stop that.

I was ready for a non-event "Monday" (I know its Tuesday, but its the first day after a Long Weekend and it might as well be Monday because it still sucks), just going through backlogged emails and stacks of paper. But as is so often the case in my beige cubicle world, things didn't go the way I planned.

After a few daily visits last week to "check" on my shoulder situation, John mercifully decided to leave me alone. I try to be courteous to him-- I do believe that life would be easier if I could master this skill. But my disdain and my abhorrence of the man that has made my life so miserable for so long just seeps out in venomous sentences and hateful looks. Anyway, today of all days (after my Long Weekend "hangover"-- my term for that first day back to work after a Long Weekend when everything just seems so much worse) he decides to resume these visits.

He came out of nowhere and with a shit eating grin plastered on his face started asking me questions about my arm, which I answered in typical non-plussed fashion. I mean, just because you are pretending to care about my shoulder now, doesn't mean I'm going to forget about all the s**t you have put me through. We're not friends, I don't trust you, and I'm not going to make this easy for you.

So he's going through the motions, and then...he touched me.

His hand touched my arm. I seriously almost hit him in the face. There was no permission asking (Hello? HR? Help?), no warning, just contact. I'll never be clean again. Anna says she won't have lunch with me. I'm ruined. And just as an aside, I'm reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson about America's first serial killer H. H. Holmes? And he touched women in the same creepy way- arm touching. And then he killed them. I'm just saying...

He kept going on about how my elbow should be straight at all times (this is the one thing he seems to be the most concerned about), he repositioned my monitors (yes, thats right, monitorS plural, so I can do twice as much work for less) and all the while he is touching my arm, or my hand. And I am repulsed. Then my wall buddy, Betty comes to my window (my cubicle "window", its basically a void of beige felt wall that is accesible from the cubicle next door) and exclaims that John is such a good boss, that he's taking care of me.

I'm pretty sure that my eyes almost bugged out of my face with the effort it took not to laugh. I hope that I arranged my face into a pleasant neutral expression but I can never be sure. Betty will have to be forgiven (although I think I will always look at her with some amount of distrust now) as she has only been in this office for about a month and she doesn't work for John.

After what seems like an eternity, John finally realizes that he might have an actual job to do and merrily skips off. But not before this ominous warning:

"I'll be watching you all day..."

I should clarify that it is to check to my elbow is always straight and supported but given my current reading material, you will forgive my allowing my imagination to get the better of me. He's already come back once and the man is sneaky! His feet make no noise at all and you don't realize he's there until he says "HEY!".

That I even managed to write this without getting caught is a small miracle.

Even my shiny new shoes won't make up for this day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sour Grapes

This morning started out OK. I even thought to myself Wow things are going smoothly today, people are in a good mood, I'm not going to have anything to post about!

Wrong. So so wrong.

We had a meeting this morning. There were doughnuts. There was laughter. Joking. Comraderie. I looked around the room and thought if things were like this all the time, it wouldn't be so bad to work here. Luckily for you all, moments like that never last long here.

After our jolly meeting and a hint of a sugar rush (I might have caved and eaten a doughnut. A sugary, shiny krispy kreme doughnut- who could say no to that?) we all settled into our desks, looking forward to a Long Weekend. There was excited chatter as we all compared weekend plans, more laughter, happy thoughts.

But soon I started to feel unwell. I am definitely getting sick. I can feel that sick haze descending on me and I am begging the Long Weekend Gods to let me have this Long Weekend. I need this Long Weekend. I need it to rejuvenate and refresh so that I can tackle this place for another week. Please Long Weekend Gods, don't let me get sick til Monday night!

Then I overheard Veronica. She already had 3 monitors. THREE! What can one person possibly need 3 monitors for (in an administrative role)? But Greedy Guts wasn't satisfied with 3. She wanted 4. And they gave her another one. Why? So that she can do less work by farming out more now that she has more monitors? Its just a physical reminder to herself that she matters. Not sure to whom, but she matters.

After she gets her 4th monitor she finally starts to do some work. Her job is to kind of do a onceover of all the work that was done yesterday to make sure that there aren't any major errors.

I heard her before I knew what she was talking about.

As you may know, we recently changed over to a new company. But we are all still doing the same work. We have letters that just automatically fill in the person's name and the rest is standard. But we had to change the email addresses and the name of the company to reflect the change. So they made a new letter.

Do you think that they mentioned this? No. Was an email sent to make us aware? No. Did I ask if there was a new letter? Yes. Did they tell me where to find it? No. They told me to keep using the same letter. They lied. Or they didn't know. Either way- I had done 72 letters yesterday.

And today I get to redo them.

The 72 plus the 30 odd that I had already done today.

Yay rework! There is nothing I like better than redoing work that I already did. There is such a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of doing the same thing over again.

Now I'm stressed. And annoyed. Bitter. Cynical.

I am definitely getting sick this weekend. Good bye Long Weekend. You were nice to look forward to. I enjoyed planning you. But now we must go our separate ways.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Horse of a Different Colour

This morning, due to a lack of supervision, I was able to claim a small moment of happiness at work. For approximately 15 glorious minutes, I remembered what it used to feel like to enjoy work. At every job in my past I have had what they call Fun. Over the past year I have not had many occasions to use this word, but am told that it does still exist in the workplace.

It all started with a chocolate rum cake. I am convinced that this distracted Veronica long enough for us to have our bit of fun. Even though there has been a insane amount of cake in the office recently (I for one, am caked out), Veronica cannot stop shoving huge slices in her face. For once I'm not disgusted (I didn't watch her), and to be fair her gluttony did give us a reprieve from her eagle eyed supervision.

Shortly after Veronica settled into her cake eating glory (maybe it was a meeting that kept her occupied, I just think that it seems like a big coincidence that there is this chocolately cake in the lunchroom and she disappears for a half hour) the Fun began.

A few days ago, barn yard animal stress toys showed up on our desks. Well I say barnyard animals...there were horses and lobsters. Odd right? But they have provided minutes of fun. And today one went missing.

The distraught owner, hoping for a swift and safe return, sent out the following email:

Will the thief who buglarized my desk, return my horse immediately? [...] Questions will not be asked if it appears on my desk within the next hour or so.
Description: Brown horse, black hair, logo in its back, a few inches high and a widespread thirst for knowledge.
Last Seen: On my desk yesterday afternoon.

This email incited a storm of smarta** responses. Everyone was very concerned for the safety of the horse. Except me? Naturally I wanted to taunt the horse owner. So I took my own stress horse (I call him Dante, I'm reading George Eliot and she has a thing with Dante) and brought him to the photocopier. My original intent was to scan the horse with a mail opener against his neck...but the picture didn't turn out very well.

A couple of co-workers that sit near the scanner started getting involved. Although Anna will tell you that she had no part in it, that her hands are clean, she did in fact egg me on and came up with all sorts of twisted things to scan- a glue stick for example (the insinuation being that it was too late to save the horse, he had already been made into glue). Edna was the one that took charge though. With several elastics she managed to hog tie the horse. Then she took a post-it, coloured it black and created a hood for the horse's head. We scanned it and sent it to the owner.

Unfortunately the scanner took so long to scan it to my email that by the time it got sent out, the horse had already been restored to its owner.

But we did manage to waste a little time and have some Fun at work, which I think is the important part. Although by the time we had all settled back to work it was only 10.20 so I guess we didn't really accomplish that much after all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Three Stooges

We are on Day 2 of working for the new company. The people are all very nice. But the systems are s**t. Nothing works the way that it should. I have spent an inordinate amount of time just sitting in front of my computer, pulling my hair out in frustration, swearing and putting my poor horse shaped stress toy through the wringer. I am trying to do my job while working off of 2 different systems, 2 separate screens- that can't talk to each other in any way. The email systems are not compatible, there is no copy and pasting-- it feels like I am doing everything twice.

But more than the technical difficulties, all these changes seem to be too much for the management team (I use both terms very loosely) to handle.

Remember in Office Space when Peter has to have a meeting with the Bobs and he tells them that he has 8 different bosses crawling all over his a**? I know exactly how he feels. I have three different people that think that they are in charge of me. Three. And, in the time honoured tradition of management, none of them seems to talk to the others. Its all very confusing at the best of times, but today when things are messed up and confusing and broken, its downright aggravating.

Let's take a closer look at the management styles of the Three Stooges shall we?

The lowest of the Stooges is Veronica. As a person, away from the office, she is not that offensive. She's definitely not the brightest bulb but she is cheerful and wants to have fun. But as a supervisor, she could not be a worse choice. She is a Lifer for sure, but I'm pretty sure that being down in the pit with the rest of us should have been as far as she was allowed to go. I'm not sure who thought it would be a good idea to promote her above everyone else...she spends her time "working" by getting everyone else to do it for her. She also shows blatant favouritism, has a nasty temper, is impatient and thinks out loud. Today's thought of the day "There are too many passwords in my head", although I also enjoy listening to her try and spell simple words out loud: "how do you spell receipt?".Yesterday she actually yelled at someone else when they couldn't understand how the new system worked. She yelled at them. Not OK. She's also a crappy dresser. The worst kind of crappy dresser though- she clearly likes to buy high quality pieces, nice pieces even. But she buys them too small and none of them flatter her body type. We're supposed to take her seriously though. When it all gets to be too much she shoves food in her face like there's a famine on the way. But like a spoiled child she will not eat any vegetables. Anna and I have decided that she is a glutton, pure and simple.

The person that is supposed to be in charge of things around here, Amy, is constantly being challenged by Veronica and second guessed by John. As a result, it is impossible to read her. She walks around stone faced all the time, never showing her cards. I don't know anything about her (except that she likes cake for breakfast and always watches cartoons before she comes to work...) and can never quite be sure who's side she is on. Some days she is all sunshine and light, cheerful even. But then, like a sudden storm, she can turn nasty quickly. She has been known to snap at you unprovoked and will always side with John over those that report to her. In the middle of all of this, she has remained characteristically stoic, giving nothing away, but not being super helpful either. I think that her way to deal with all of this is to keep her distance. Just get through the day, make some kind of progress. I feel that.

Which brings me to John. The Head Stooge. I don't even know where to begin. If you have read this blog before, you will know that my loathing of John runs deep. Once upon a time he used to actually read this blog like the filthy, lying, 2 faced piece of scum that he is. These days he sticks to hauling me into meetings to you know? I don't even know what we are supposed to be discussing anymore. Over the past week he has been giddy with excitement about this change (having worked on it for well over 3 months). His excitement is just short of skipping down the halls singing a song, but is not contagious. Since I told him about my shoulder (against my better judgment, as soon as the words were coming out of my mouth I regretted saying them) he has been a thorn in my side. For some reason, the pain in my shoulder is an excuse to come have a morning pow wow with me and impart all of his wisdom on me. Should be a short meeting right? It probably is in real time, but in Cubicle time its an eternity. The man just will not stop. The last thing I wanted was more one on one time with John. Like if you were getting me a Christmas present, that wouldn't even be on my list. The opposite of that (less time with John, period) would be on my list.

So what did I do to deserve this? I must have been really bad in a past life. Last week he announced to the department that once the changeover was official, he would be stepping back and allowing Amy to take full control of everything. Yet he is a constant presence, meddling, interfering, adding in his 2 cents (which is all his opinion is worth if you ask me)-- and for what? Its not like he gets anything done, its not like his words are life changing or meaningful. He just needs to feel like he still matters, like he is still needed.

If it were up to me, I'd be trimming the fat. But its not up to me. All of it is up to the Three Stooges. And the Three Stooges each have their own ideas.

Help. Me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You Kill More Flies With Honey...

Today, before I even got to work, I got a text warning me about the state of affairs at the office. Anna, who starts work a an half hour earlier, told me that I would vomit on sight, that it looked like a cheerleader threw up in here.

The office was covered in blue and white streamers. Blue and white streamers tucked into the ceiling tiles, taped to cubicle walls, draped on anything that would stay still long enough. And our new employers were standing on the steps, extending their hands in friendship, welcoming us on board.

There might also have been a cake.

All very nice isn't it?

Well i think that they did it to distract us from all the things that would go wrong in the course of the morning. Veronica is cracking under the pressure of all our questions, actually yelling at some unfortunate lackey (but had 2 pieces of cake this morning and is currently devouring several slices of pizza to make it better), John is gleefully popping in and out of our cubicles and Amy seems happy. Which freaks me out. Our emails don't work properly, we have to toggle between 2 separate and completely different systems and my shoulder hurts.

Last night I was in so much pain that my Swedish friend offered to give me a massage. That's right folks, I got me a Swedish massage. She was appalled at the state of of my shoulder. After that I decided that one of those heating bags thrown on my shoulder might help loosen things up, at least enough to sleep soundly.

It didn't.

This morning John sweeps into my cubicle and asks me how things are. Things are fan-f**king-tastic John. He then surprises the hell out of me by announcing that because my shoulder is bothering me so much I will be taken off my work for the time being. They will find some task for me to do that won't aggravate it and tells me that I should go and get some physio to work out the rest. He tells me to sit tight and wait for Amy to get in so that they can find something for me to do.

I dutifully wait. And distract other people while I am at it. Obviously.

So no one ever comes and I start to realize that once again John was only paying lip service. Both John and Amy see that I am working. Have been all day. But neither of them does anything about it. Colour me surprised. John did come up with the answer though. Apparently the pain that I have is my own fault becuase of the way that I use the numbers on the keyboard. No joke, thats the problem. Guess how this can be fixed? An ergonomic keyboard.

So the way that I see it, there are 2 problems with that. 1) I'm not convinced that that will do anything to lessen the pain. and 2) I doubt that I will ever see this magic keyboard.

Welcome to the new company. New name, same old dips**ts running things.