Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Office Fails

I love when newspaper articles back up what I have been trying to say all along. Today will be more of an anthropological look at my workplace as compared to what a workplace ought to be. Click here if you want to get the guidelines. What follows is a deconstruction of how my workplace is nothing like that.

Also, if this worked, can we all rejoice in the fact that I managed to learn how to set up fancy blue links to other pages?

Ok. So What Comes First? The article stresses that you should never be unable to put your job responsibilities before your social obligations. So if you have friends at work, you should be able to tell them when they have done something wrong without breaking a sweat. I find that Veronica has two extreme settings on this point. She will either write you sickly sweet notes asking you to please do this for her as it wasn't done totally correctly. Or she will come over and smile broadly and in her tiniest baby voice will ask you if you could do her a huge favour and please complete this. So we have nauseatingly sweet OR she is annoyed with you for doing it wrong and can't believe that you would betray her friendship like that. Although I think that Veronica is fairly ambitious, I don't think that she has yet grasped the delicate balance of work friendships. And its more complicated by the fact that she is in a position of power. She is one of those supervisors that blatantly favours some over others and makes no secret of her preferences, allowing the golden co-workers to glide in and do all the easy, fun (can't believe that I am using that word in relation to this place) tasks. I'm not sure how she gets away with it. Probably the same reason that she is able to flit around the office being social, laughing, telling inappropriate jokes and being a general distraction without any kind of reprimand. Oh no, she got a promotion. So I think that in terms of this article, Veronica is a failure.

And I enjoy saying that. Even to myself.

Be Selective. People in this office definitely learned that the hard way. Turns out you have to be able to trust the people you work with more than the people that you hang out with outside of work. Who knew? And apparently managers look at who you are friends with at work to determine how hard you work. Which is unfair. I should be evaluated based on my performance, not on someone that I talk to's performance. I know that John is super guilty of this. And so was his still unnamed predecessor. Hence the rounds of meetings after the Lily incident (when I was hauled in and reamed out for having a conversation). Also, there is the whole gossip thing. Offices are like small towns- rife with gossip. Any time anyone gets pulled into a meeting there are whispers about why they might be getting hauled in. Its rarely good and sends a ripple of fear down the lines into the rest of our hearts. But I can always count on Veronica to tell me exactly what is going down. Because like any self respecting supervisor, Veronica lives to gossip. I spend about an hour with Veronica in the afternoons and she always fills me in on the latest gossip. Who did what wrong, who had a meeting that didn't go too well, who might possibly be dating a regional manager, who's getting promoted and so on. I love that she keeps me in the loop. But I make damn sure that she doesn't find out anything about me that she can pass along. Keep your friends closer and all that.

Finally (and I think that this might be my favourite one) Zip the Lip. This means that you keep your boyfriend stories, inapppropriate drug use and family drama to yourself. It means that I don't want to know that you were high for 3 days the first time you used cocaine, that your sister's dad doesn't like you, or that you and your boyfriend have been together for 9 years and he doesn't want to get married. All of these things can be classified as TMI. I don't need to know that you used to be a stripper, don't tell me about your desire to have a baby to fix your relationship and please don't mention your wiccan rituals. I don't want to get into a heart to heart about your messed up family dynamic during my lunch break. You don't think I have a messed up family? Everyone's family is at least a little bit crazy and I don't feel the need to compare notes. Its unprofessional, its way too much information and I use up all my energy pretending to care when I'm sitting at my own desk. I got nothing left. Here's what I don't mind knowing: if you have a pet, if you have brothers and or sisters and any charming and hilarious stories about when you were a kid doing fun stuff or maybe some vacation stories. If we are actually good friends, none of the guidelines apply. But if I don't talk to you unless its work related, I probably don't want to know about your cat's funeral. Harsh, but overall I would say, fair.

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