Saturday, July 31, 2010

An Unexpected End

When they said August 13th what they really meant, for me, was yesterday.

Yesterday was my last day in the Cubicle. Hopefully my last day ever working in any cubicle--do a lot of offices use them?

Anyway, here's what happened.

After finding out that there was only enough work to sustain the department for another 2 week, until August 13th, I spent the majority of the morning trying to figure out how to modify my plans moving forward. I was also still trying to come to terms with the fact that the Temps were working their last day. I didn't think that I could make it through the day. I decided that Amy was right and I should just take Tuesday off as well- there was no point in saving my vacation days as I wouldn't have a job for the rest of the summer anyway. I sent her a calendar notification about it.

She had sent me a calendar invite for a one-on-one meeting, supposedly so that she could answer any questions I might have about what the new end date meant for me. She wanted to have it at 2 but I really couldn't stay that much longer, I needed to go home and digest the information we have been given in the morning. So I sent a message back asking if we could please reschedule, that I wasn't feeling well and needed to go home as soon as possible.

I should also mention that in one of my more charitable Cubicle moments, I had sent an email to Amy that morning telling her that I knew that she didn't want things to have happened this way (referring to all the drama with the Temps) and that I supported her completely. She would have received it after I was gone for the day.

So I didn't hear from her and before I knew it, it was pizza party time. I stood there, surrounded by my co-workers, listening to some dipsh*t corporate drone go on about how he was so appreciative of all our hard work, that he felt like he had made some friends yadda yadda yadda. I just wanted to leave.

If I had known it would be the last opportunity to talk to anyone at work, I probably would have taken some more time to say a proper good bye.

Instead as soon as the corporate drivel was over I walked out of the room, walked up to Amy and said that I needed to go home, that I would have liked to have been able to talk to her about everything before I left on vacation, that I wouldn't be in on Tuesday after all and that I would see her on the 9th.

She got all confused and said that I couldn't leave. Then the "Good-morning-everybody!!" woman walked up to me and said that they just needed 15 minutes of my time. I should have known something was up- this woman, didn't know my name until yesterday.

I walked to the boardroom with them where I was told that it would be my last day, that I had been "terminated without cause". I get paid until August 13th, my remaining vacation days will be paid out, so will my benefits and I still get the severance. I miss out on the tuition credit (which admittedly, is a bummer). They made up some sh*t about all the problems we had had (which had been resolved over a year ago and not had to be revisited but whatever) without actually giving me a straight answer. They wanted me to sign papers so that the money would be released, but for once I had the wherewithal to not do what they wanted. Good thing too because there were some discrepancies that needed to be addressed. We are in the middle of sorting all that out now.

They offered to call me a cab and told me that my desk was being packed up as we spoke. I was left alone in the room with Amy while the other woman went to get me some water and call the cab. I didn't say anything to Amy, I was in shock. I'm still in shock. Amy told me that I probably wouldn't believe her but she didn't want it to happen this way. I do believe her. She cried. I told her not to worry about me, that this is good (I mean I still get paid like everyone else, I just don't have to suffer through any more of that crap) and I wished her good luck.

All in all, I'm proud of myself for the way I handled it.

There's no point in being angry now. I'm finally out of there and I'm going on vacation this week. When I get back I have a plan. So really, I'm good.

The one thing that I really regret is not being allowed to say good bye to everyone. I was whisked out the back way to "avoid embarassment"--I'm not sure if they meant for me or for them. I was too stunned to argue. I know that I will see Anna and Gloria again. But there are others I probably won't see again and I'm sorry for the missed chance to say good bye and tell them that I enjoyed working with them. The others, the Veronicas and the Johns--I'm not sorry to have missed seeing them again. They were a toxic waste of my energy anyway and everyone is better off without them in their lives.

I guess I will have to find a new title for the blog, a new look. I will probably take the next week off, just kind of step away from everything Cubicle-related.

Anna, Gloria, Dustin, MK- you all were a joy to work with. Thanks for making it all worth it. We will see each other again. As Lauren said to Whitney (The Hills reference)"I expected to find a job, I didn't expect to find a friend.

The rest of you, thanks for sticking with me so far. Good things are coming. I can feel it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Perspective is Overrated

Two posts in one day. You know what this means. Something extraordinary.

If you haven't read the first post yet, please scroll down and come back. It will be way more fun to read about the serene state of mind I was in this morning and then come back to read the bile that I'm about to spew into the blogosphere after.

That 9am meeting wasn't to officially tell all of us about the Temp situation like I originally thought. It was to tell us that there isn't enough work and we will actually be laid off effective August 13th, not September 30th.

This is exactly the reason why I am a pessimist. When you get caught up in all the good things, when you tell yourself that things will work out, when you have a plan in place to deal with the eventualities of September 30th, yuo invariably get f*cked. The best laid plans and all that. Something about life messing up plans.

The Universe doesn't like plans. It likes to mess with plans.

So do the people I work for.

The work ran out? The work ran out? After you spent weeks cracking the whip, telling us we needed to work harder and faster? That there was lots to do, the work just ran out? Thanks for all our hard work? Our hard work, at your hands, is the reason we are now moving up our exits.

I'm really confused you guys. I have no idea how to feel about this. I looked it up and they are totally within their rights to do what they did. I'm only entitled to 2 weeks' notice anyway and if they run out of work like they have, then they are totally allowed to change the "termination" date. FYI I really don't like that word, termination.

On the one hand, I'm thrilled that I don't have to wait until the end of September to walk away from this place forever. I at least have some kind of heads up, as opposed to the unfortunate Temps. On the other though, I had a plan that revolved around September 30th. I counted on regular income until then, and then counted on severance coming in. I haven't been unemployed in years. I just got a mortgage. So yeah, I'm a little bit terrified.

And can we also please talk about how they handled this? First thing on a Friday morning they tell us? On the Friday of a long weekend? Really? An excellent way to ruin my weekend since I am of the obsessive personality. Now everything I do all weekend is going to come back to this moment, will be tainted with what I feel right now.

Would be great if my hands would stop shaking too. I can feel that a migraine will most likely join me later today. Am bewildered. Bewildered is a good word for what I feel right now. I'm one of those people that stress like this manifests itself in physically. I need to leave this office. I can't get anything done today.

I need someone to talk me down.

A Little Perspective

Sometimes when you really need it (sometimes even when you really don't) the Universe sends some perspective your way.

Yesterday I got a very healthy does of it.

Obviously I complain about my job. A lot. All of it is true. But now that we are nearing the end, I have to face the fact that a) I'm getting severance and its actually pretty generous and b) apparently it could be a lot worse.

So today I'm going to share with you some perspective in the hopes that it will allow you to examine your own lives and maybe, be a little happier with the results.

I went for lunch with a friend yesterday. I used to work with her and she is one of the most awesome people you will ever meet. She's exceptionally brilliant, works hard and is hilarious. So it would follow that she would be wildly successful professionally, that people would be falling all over themselves to give her everything she could want to keep her.

But we would be wrong.

Long story short, I sat with my mouth open while she regaled me with stories of being thrown under the bus, tormented and generally f*cked over. She was called out in front of an entire department by her manager for a misunderstanding. She was hauled into an office and written up for something that she didn't do by people that she counted among her friends. And today she faces upwards of $50,000 in dental work that her current benefits plan is not going to put a dent in, after going through 4 month job interview cycles twice that would have solved her dental problems, only to be passed over. Oh, and she has to move because her roommate is getting married.

And she? Is still chipper. She knows that she will find something, is confident that a solution will find her.

So I came back from lunch thinking that, all things considered, I'm pretty damn lucky. Aside from all the sh*t I've had to put up with, outside of work, things are great. And I dont' have to stay here that much longer. I'm actually getting paid to find something else.

The Universe wasn't done yet. Yesterday afternoon They let 5 Temps go, including Gloria and Nathan. Officially I don't know about this yet. We have a meeting at 9 so that we can all find out. I'm not sure where They think we work-- They used the office right behind Anna to do it and like we're not going to know something is up when Nathan starts angrily shoving things into his bag.

The anger stems from the fact that the Temps were told that their end date would be August 31st. And although they are Temps and their very name suggests they are temporary, they had relied on the income, the job security, at least until the end of the summer. We're having a pizza party today. Its been planned for like 2 weeks. Now we find out that it was to "celebrate" the last day of the Temps.

I can't even blame Amy. She didn't know. She's the manager of the department and they didn't tell her until right before they made her tell them. I'm completely gutted for her (see what I mean about this perspective today? Its f*cked!), feel like she too was blind sided. She even cried. Stone-faced Amy cried.

Those of us that are left behind are devastated. Its such a short period of time to get used to the fact that Gloria won't be squawking around the office, that I won't have Nathan to mock anymore.

Let's take the time now to properly send off our favourite Temps.

Nathan: You really stepped up and filled Maurice's shoes when it was needed. I'm going to miss your accents, your assinine behaviour, the way you think you know everything. I'm going to miss helping you with Microsoft Word, your hats and jerseys. You were an inspiration to those that aspired to be 30 year old nothings, with no ideas of what you wanted to do ever. Thank you.

Gloria. What the hell? Just when I add you to the cast of characters on the blog, just when we had created a solid base on which to build a friendship, you leave. I will miss your daily non-PC comments, the squawking, your face and Your Mom. I'm sorry that it happened the way that it did but I'm glad that you don't even have the chance to stay here because you are so much better than this. You are destined for greatness, and this? Is not greatness. Its not even mediocrity. You have my phone number, I know where you live, this is just the beginning.

Perspective you guys. Amazing what it can do for you.

Have a great weekend. BC- enjoy the hell out of our well-deserved looooooooooooong weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Message For Thursday

In a haze of boredom yesterday afternoon, Anna decided to take it upon herself to calculate exactly how long I have been here.

She enjoyed it; it depressed me.

As of yesterday, I have been here for 912 days (including weekends and holidays), or 21,888 hours or 78,796,800 seconds. She went on to calculate how much of my life that is. Just about 10% of my life- 9.84562% to be more precise.

Like I wasn't already aware that I had wasted a lot of time here...

Anyway. Remember how I told you that Nathan had sprained his ankle coming to work? I should probably preface the following by saying that I'm not a very sympathetic person. Well my work persona isn't very sympathetic. Especially if I don't really care for you.

So this was on Friday. He came to work and spent a good hour telling people over and over about how he fell down on the way to work, wheeled himself around in his chair because he couldn't walk etc. Today, nearly a week later, its still a mess.

And by mess, I mean he's still going on about it.

Personally, if I actually sprained my ankle (as in sprained and not just twisted you know?) I would be taking a day or 2 off to put my foot up and let the swelling go down. Not having actually seen his foot (nor having any desire to) I don't know what the swelling situation is like. I'm also not a doctor but I think (having sprained my ankles in the past and twisted/injured them more times than I care to admit [alcohol causes loss of balance, did you know?]) that if there is a lack of swelling, its not really sprained.

Like I said, not sympathetic.

Take some ibuprofen and shut up already. He opens up with "dress shoes are so pretty but they hurt so much." Ladies, have we been there before? Exactly, this isn't news.

Also, how is it that he gets to work after me, but leaves before me? He takes breaks, he goes for lunch...WTF?

Turns out that Nathan has been a more interesting cubicle buddy than Maurice. And by interesting, I mean, more fun to mock. Maurice was dumb, but like Jessica Simpson, he just can't help it. Nathan is a dumba$$ but I suspect that if he really tried he wouldn't be such a weiner. Plus once Maurice started suspecting that I was mocking him (which took a good year and a half) he kind of stepped back. I'm positive that Nathan will just enjoy the attention.

Nathan just asked me how you change the font in Microsoft Word. How does he work in an office?? Even I know that.

Since John has been gone, we have all noticed that Amy seems to have become much more relaxed. She laughs and jokes, doesn't make a big stink if you want some vacation time (she actually asked me the other day why I didn't just take Tuesday off next week as well, then I get the whole week off), or someone is sick. Its a welcome change.

Yesterday she cemented this new phase in our relationship by sharing chocolate with me.

Yes, it was chocolate that she didn't like. But it was the act of sharing. The feeling of solidarity, community, and trust that the chocolate symbolized.

Also I was really jonesing for chocolate.

Even though I had Monday off, this still feels like a really long week. I thought it would go by fast, but because I have next week to look forward to (wine, lake and puppy- perfect storm!) Time has deliberately stopped. Time can be such an a-hole.

Let's collectively tell Thursday to f*ck off already and I'm sure it will listen. Thank you for your cooperation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goes Together Like Chicken and NKOTB

My interview yesterday went really well, thank you for asking.

It wasn't really an interview though was it? It was a meeting with someone that will help me look for a job and send me on interviews.

But it went well and I was really excited leaving her office because I actually felt like she understood what I was looking for and seemed confident that she would be able to find it for me. Plus her office had the most amazing views. I liked being there. It was all properly air conditioned too. And they had an aquarium!

Then it was back to reality. And by reality I mean this office, a really warped sense of reality. And messed up feet.

You know what's not a great idea? Walking 3 city blocks in new shoes. And then walking 3 more city blocks back in the same shoes. In summer heat. The silver lining is that today I have no choice but to wear flip flops (I'm missing a few layers of skin on my heel), despite the fact that I am in serious need of a pedicure. You have never seen feet more in need of some pedicure love.

But I have no shame.

So I parade them around in flip flops.

Nathan is singing If I Had a Million Dollars...he followed it up with "I really do want to win a million dollars though" Most original thought award right? Like the millions of people that religiously buy lottery tickets every week don't really want to win. They just like the ritual.

Don't worry, there's more.

Apparently money: you can't live with it, you can't live without it. But that might just be women? Or chicken.

Chicken. I'm just wondering what exactly chicken has done to make him want to live without it. Chicken is delicious. It goes with everything, its low in fat, you can get a whole box of it from M&M Meatshop. You can't go wrong with chicken, but Nathan wants to contemplate a life without it.

Yup, the whole morning is a write off. We have some New Kids on the Block going on now courtesy of Nathan's vocal stylings. Amy is all over this. She just admitted to having a NKOTB fanny pack. That she still has because she knows that "one day it will be worth a lot of money." I don't want to be the one to take that away from her but I feel like the NKOTB merchandise was fairly mass produced...Also apparently her whole room, ceiling included, was plastered in the likenesses of Joey and company. I preferred Leonardo I can get behind the concept. NKOTB just never did it for me.

One final thing I just overheard in the office (keep in mind that its only 9am right now): It tasted better once it exploded.

I'm not making this up you guys. I couldn't make this up. Now that we all know we're getting fired, no one cares. And its pretty amusing to witness.

I leave you today with a quote from my quote-a-day calendar: If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning ~ Catherine Aird

PS Nathan just now: "I don't like these pants anymore"

Just one of those days. Perhaps there is a storm coming...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Randomousity (Is Too A Word)

Today is Tuesday and I can't type to save my life. Seriously. Problems. At least its Tuesday right? If it were Monday I don't think that I could cope. The boredom. Guys, the boredom is crushing.

On the bus today, I didn't even read. I couldn't. Knowing I was on my way to work, I got bored, lost my focus, starerd into space like all the other office drones on public transit.

Such a slap in the face to J.K. Rowling.

A positive side effect of the boredom: I'm much happier.

I don't think that this actually has anything to do with the boredom. More likely its the fact that I know this will all end, will all go away, will cease and desist in...65 days. That's including weekends and holidays you guys. Sixty-five more days of hanging my head in shame when I tell people where I work and then I can hold my head up high and tell people that I am currently "in between jobs".

I can't wait.

In the meantime, did you hear about Koreatown?? Apparently they are working on a Jersey Shore-esque show...but about Asians. They already have a "The Situ-asian". I know, I love it too. I texted Gloria about it last night, told her she should move to LA to represent. I wish that I had held onto this information until I could actually see her reaction though. It would have been so entertaining. You just don't get the same emotion from texts.

Also, there seems to be a hickey epidemic spreading through my office. Fine, epidemic might be kind of a strong word. But last week there was one (pointed out by Veronica, subtle and tactful as ever) and now today there is another. On 2 different girls. The first was a joke. The 2nd...not so much. The 2nd one is also on a 35+ year old woman. Gross.

I just had my first conversation with Veronica since her return. About...non-scented shampoos and deoderant. See she went to South Africa (what? I never mentioned that? Probably because she was so low-key about the whole thing) and in order not to get malaria she was all over the non-scented products.

I have mentioned in the past that I am a mosquito magnet. If I am around and there are mosquitos you will not get bit. I'm like the sacrificial lamb. The Boyfriend's mother actually called the other day and said I needed to go up there asap (I was all flattered thinking they must miss my awesomeness) because the mosquitos were getting out of hand and when I'm around no one else seems to get bit.


We're going up there next week and as much as I want to take the heat off everyone else, I don't. So I thought maybe Veronica could give me some mosquito-avoidance tips.

Predictably she wasn't that much help. But at least we got that first conversation out of the way. And it wasn't about South Africa. It was on my terms. About bugs.

Veronica 0. Me 1.

I was planning on being open and honest with Amy about my interview today (I did post yesterday...scroll down if you didn't catch it. Its awesome), let her know that I had an appointment (no other way to explain why I was going for lunch at 11) and if she asked what about I would let her know.

But then when she asked if it was about my new apartment, I said yes. The look on her face scared me. Plus apparently someone else quit yesterday, so that can't have put her in a good mood. I didn't want to add to that by saying I was going to see a rectruiter to see if she could find me a shiny new job that didn't suck.

Hopefully the interview goes well today. I on make up. On my face. So this better work out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect?

Question: Who goes on a job interview for a job they don't even want?

Answer: me.

Sorry about the late post today guys. A nice surprise for your 3 o'clock wall then (you know that time of day when you have lost all ability to focus and you need something to kill at least 5 minutes before you can go on with your afternoon? Exactly).

Job interview. Yup, this morning I went on an interview for a job I don't want.

I don't know how I always get myself into these situations--part of my charm I suppose.

The kicker? The job is working for the company that sold me last summer. It would be like going backwards. But a very good friend of mine said that they were looking for someone and I was so caught off guard and bewildered (it was an Amy-less Friday after all) that before I knew it I was making an appointment to meet with them first thing Monday morning.

Monday morning as in my day off (personal day- moving).

So on top of all the stresses of moving (like not knowing where anything is) I now needed to worry about interview attire and answering interview questions. I mean, I'm amazing at interviews, my track record is like 100% (meaning:I get an interview, you hire me), but its still added stress.

Moving? Turned out to not be stressful at all. I came home Friday to an empty apartment. The Boyfriend had moved everything by himself. Superhero award much? (He wanted to go to the track and gamble--as did I. I love betting on the ponies) The moving turned out a lot better than I thought. But not well enough to avoid a little closet melt down last night. I thought that I had an interview outfit planned out in my head, forgetting that the dress in question makes my boobs look square. Seriously, square. And uni-boobed. You know what's not attractive? A square uni-boob. So at the 11th hour, after a full day of unpacking and sweating and hanging things and bruising, I needed to have the presence of mind to choose a non-square-uni-boob-like outfit.

Mission accomplished but probably only because I didn't really care about getting the job (this interview will totally mess up my stats).

So I arrived early (like I do for everything) met with the interviewers (both of whom were really, really nice and almost made me want to work with them), went through the interview rigamarole (Can you think of a specific situation in which you had a conflict with a co-worker? much time do we have?), and was done in a half hour. I don't know what that says about me.

I already told you the job was with the company that sold us last summer. Want to hear the best part? The department is working on a project to get rid of things like micromanaging, and working towards creating more clearly defined roles and boundaries. All the things that I complain about on this blog? They are addressing. The not knowing who to talk to when stuff goes wrong, the unnecessarily long approval processes that make it impossible to get things done, the too-many-chiefs-not-enough-indians problems...all of the corporate bulsh*t they are looking to get rid of.

Which I am loving. In a small way I feel responsible.

In many ways, I am too perfect for the job. But in so many others I know its not the job for me. I guess I just chalk it up to a practice interview, something to shake off the nerves, warm up for the real interviews. I have one with a recruiter tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lonely Friday

When you hate your job (a la me) you have to come up with a bunch of non-work related reasons to come to work. Every day this is a battle because inevitably every day starts out with some variation on I really don't want to go to work today. And then you have to talk yourself into going anyway.

So did you click on it and see all the reasons I have for coming to work? Ok, think of those, picture them in your head and now, picture me today with none of those things. Well I still have number one --self preservation is always a consideration-- and if you are reading this then I have number five as well.

But I miss my peeps.

Anna, having taken all of her allotted vacation days already (the Olympics were worth it), has decided to be sick today. Its for a good cause: wine drinking and sunshine. I think we can all get behind that. What we can't all get behind, what we can't excuse (yes I'm including you in my self righteousness) is her leaving me behind to suffer alone. B*tch.

The Record is away being all active and stuff. She plays on a softball team and they are all good and are away competing (and kicking a$$ no doubt) at provincials. Which is really exciting, lots of fun and will probably culminate in a gaggle of girls drunk, clutching a trophy, making new friends as they weave in and out of capital city bars. But it leaves me alone on a Friday, with no email hussy to distract me.

I have nothing planned for after work. Social life has kind of taken a dive the past 2 weeks what with the moving and such. Turns out that moving takes a lot of time and hard work and you don't really have time for other stuff. Not to mention that you are so completely exhausted that even if you had the time, you would probably use it to sleep instead of choosing to put yourself in a social situation in which you would have to use words to form sentences out loud.

Gloria is here today but despite her South Korea fandom, her potty mouth and squawky laugh, she does actually work kind of hard. So I can't keep her from that and pull her over to the dark side (meaning doing the bare minimum). Also, she spends at least some of her time looking for a new job. Temps are out by August 31st. Of course they are.

So to Anna (and Marshall since he sometimes entertains me with emails and he has gone with Anna) and the Record, I say: I hope it rains.

It is Friday and I do move tomorrow, both of which are good things. But Veronica is in charge today. Which is bad. Amy has been really nice to me for 2 weeks and without her protection I fear Veronica's management "skills". She's extra pissy this week after having been told that she would actually have to go through the process of applying for a position with the company just like everybody else. So now that she has to earn a job, she's really stepping it up. And by stepping it up I mean wearing flip flops, showing the top of her bra and being a little b*tch to everyone.

Yesterday before she left Amy told me what she wanted me to do. This is not the same thing as what Veronica just assigned me to do. Being the a-hole that I am I can't help pointing this out to Veronica, the new Veronica that is trying her hardest to show everyone that she is management material (she isn't). The new Veronica isn't impressed. She strong arms me. I don't really care what I spend my day doing, its pretty all the same sh*t. I just don't care to be told on Tuesday (when I return) that I didn't do what I was supposed to. Veronica's solution? Make me do everything- the things that she wants done and the stuff I'm supposed to do according to Amy.

Because the day magically extended by 8 hours and now I have all this time to fill.

It could be worse I suppose. I could be Nathan, who sprained his ankle on the way to work. Apparently he fell in the street, stayed down for a bit and no one came over to see if he was OK. I didn't want to point out that maybe it was because he was dressed like a hobo, he was already in pain.

Friday kids! Let's get 'er done! And by "get 'er done" I mean drink.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Overshare Files: Wedding Drama

This one comes to you from the Overshare Files. Angela, I know that you have been waiting for more of this for a while. I hope it lives up to your expectations.

I was sitting in the lunchroom with Anna and Gloria, the Wiccan and a few other people. We were reading our horoscopes (which we do every day at lunch) and the Wiccan's horoscope said something about having to deal with something that she hadn't dealt with months ago. I said that it didn't sound very good, to which she replied "well last night the bride did ask one of her bridesmaids not to be a bridesmaid anymore".

We played along for 5 seconds- Anna and I simultaneously said "ooooooh drama!" but the Wiccan throws out these stories like we know all the characters and have been following along with the story for a while when actually, I had no idea she was someone's maid of honour.

Don't worry it gets better.

Turns out the bridesmaid in question wants to have a sex change operation.

She waited to start the process until after the wedding so that she could still be a bridesmaid. And the bride doesn't want her to be a bridesmaid now.

I'm not going to analyze the situation- I think its a really sh*tty thing this supposed friend is doing to the bridesmaid. I'm just not sure that it needs to discussed amongst your co-workers during lunch. We're not that close.

Its just a really weird thing to bring up. Dress shopping- sure. Bridezilla- absolutely. Bachelorette party- definitely. Bridesmaid sex change- maybe doesn't need to be brought up at work.

So that took up a lot of our lunch hour, discussing the ramifications of a sex change operation this stranger is going to have.

Last night The Boyfriend and I went over to the new apartment to clean it. The place was pretty filthy. I cleaned one window and the cloth was black. This was on the inside I cleaned some of the windows on the outside and they weren't nearly as dirty. Also, lesson learned- after you clean a window, sneeze away from it or you might have to redo some of your work. Just some hard earned wisdom I thought I'd pass along.

One more item of interest in the worst put together post in a long time (even that sentence is crap)- they fired someone this morning. Don't worry- no one good. That guy that was all "Spain's gonna win" right after he went with me to watch Holland beat Uruguay? When Spain hadn't even qualified for the final yet? Yeah, big loss right?

So why do I mention it if I'm glad I don't have to stare at his various football jerseys on Friday? Or his Spanish flag desktop picture? Or talk to him ever again? Because this situation is unusual, dare I say, a first for this office. They got rid of someone that was deserving of losing their job!

I'm not sure that this has ever happened here before. We keep a lot of dead weight. The temps are expendable, and even then, its hard to get rid of them. This guy? A real employee. With benefits and vacation days and everything. Guess who got him the job? His daddy. He thought he was untouchable and therein lay his downfall.

They actually had a meeting with the "team" about it this morning, letting everyone know that they terminated him. I missed the first one, but Amy told me about it privately (although I already knew because my spy Anna was in here early and basically witnessed it). I'm glad that they told everyone, even though its probably kind of unusual and awkward. But what with the layoffs, it could have induced widespread panic.

Oh man, Veronica needs to get a clue. I just heard the second "so-and-so has been terminated" meeting. Amy's all serious, lets them know if they have any questions to please ask her and then Veronica is all bright and cheery with "Have a great day everyone!"

What an a-hole.

And no we are not speaking yet.

The silence is nice.

Thursday! Two more sleeps until I move! And its weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


My morning started off with a discussion about the merits of a Kit-Kat cereal.

Its going to be one of those days. Fingers crossed.

Are we even sure that they don't already have a Kit-Kat cereal? Seems like something they would already have done no?

A nice thing happened to me the other day. It started by me doing a nice thing. A nice thing that had nothing to do with any electronic devices I own. Nathan had seen The Lion King the weekend before I went and his girlfriend had her eye on a Lion King towel but didn't buy it. So then she's all regretting it, lamenting the fact that she doesn't have this perfect beach towel for our lovely beach weather. When Nathan heard that I was going he asked if I wouldn't mind picking up a towel for him.

So being the awesome co-worker that I am, I did.

When I triumphantly returned to the office, towel in hand expecting him to fall at my feet in gratitude I was met with a decidedly flat reception.

I think I just stunned him- maybe he didn't think that I would actually do it. I was kind of disappointed. If you knew what it had been like standing at that merchandise counter, getting pushed aside by older women gunning for t-shirts and stuffed would be disappointed to not get a thank you too.

But I said that this was a good story.

The next morning there was an email waiting for me. A very nice thank you email. That included the offer to buy me lunch for doing that for him. Which was completely unnecessary because I'm happy to help people out. The thank you was really more than enough.

So there you have it. A "maybe people aren't complete a-holes" story for you on a Hump Day. I did say maybe though. I'm still not 100% convinced about it.

Yesterday afternoon I got to sit at my desk while Amy got laughed at for being a hoarder. She does have a lot of stuff on her desk- apparently she collects chocolate boxes. As in, the boxes that chocolates come in. Classic hoarder sign yes? Well I would still never bring it up with her. Mostly because we don't have that kind of relationship. But it was still fun to watch. Yeah, there's really not a lot more to this story, except that at the time I thought to myself yes, I will mention this in tomorrow's post and it will be hilarious.

Also, the person doing the laughing promised me to angle for a more casual dress code for the remainder of our time here since they are effectively firing most of us. Seriously, the accounting and IT departments (all 3 people) get to wear jeans whenever they want to, while the rest of us get dress code reminder emails. Last time I checked we all still worked for the same company...

If you are in the market for some more irritating corporate jargon, I might be able to help you out. Excellent examples no? I especially like the part where Ally comes up with solutions to these corporatespeak viruses. In general Ally is hilarious so if you don't follow her now and you end up following her, you're welcome.

Finally, today is Veronica's 3rd day back and I have yet to speak to her. She hasn't spoken to me, so I have elected to return the favour. I guess its my bad- I didn't fawn all over her trip enough. Because I actually don't care. I did hear that she went to at least one Holland game though. The semi-final. When they won. But she didn't care to keep the magic alive by going to the final. In summary- its Veronica's fault that Holland lost the World Cup.

Its so going on my list.

This a short post and I'm torn between adding to it and just leaving it here. If I add to it there is a good chance that it will be with the kind of stuff that no one cares to read (like this right here). But if I don't add to it, it will be short, a permanent eyesore out there on the internets, a flashing sign of my incompetence on this particular morning.

Meh, why mess with it? Most mornings are like this.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Bought More Books

I got my ipod back yesterday. The battery was completely dead, but I got it back. I charged it last night and today its good as new. Sure its already frustrated me several times by playing Christmas music. And there seems to be a little too much Shaggy on it...but I have it back and thats all that matters.

All is right with the Universe.

More or less.

But now that Veronica is back and my ipod has been returned I am at a loss as to what I'm supposed to write about today.

So this probably means that what follows is a random collection of thoughts as I think them.

I'm not alone in my inability to think clear thoughts today. Anna has been at work for hours already and she's bored. So she's been looking into "This Day in History" kind of stuff. Bruce Lee died today in 1973. BC joined Confederation on this day in 1871. And of course July 20th was the day that Operation Valkyrie tried to assassinate Hitler in 1944. Did you see Valkyrie? With Tom Cruise? Don't judge it based on Tom Cruise, its actually pretty good. There's also a documentary about it thats amazing. Its really sad but worth checking out.

I had an overwhelming urge to buy books yesterday. I've been really good. Like really good about not buying books because we just bought an apartment (*sqealing noises!!*) and books are heavy to move. But yesterday I just couldn't hold out anymore. I made a deal with The Boyfriend- I had to get rid of half my Vogue magazines (they are art) but I could buy new books. It crushed me to have to do it- I love my Vogues. But my love of books won out.

I came out with So Much For That which promises to be very depressing- but its for a book club that my friend is starting. And this means I can cross "Join Book Club" off the bucket list. Not that I really have an official bucket list. Nonetheless, thats one less thing to do when I start one.

Don't judge my next selections. They are replacements. Harry Potters 5 and 6. I used to have them. But then my little brother and sisters read them, and the books became theirs. So replacements were required. Must re-read before the movie comes out in the fall (yes Anna, the fall, not 2 weeks from now like you had me believing in the lunchroom yesterday).

Finally, I was torn between Furious Love (about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) and a Coco Chanel biography so I did the only thing I could and went with the paperback. I will come back to Furious Love. There is no way I am not reading that.

Clearly the office is being boring. I blame this 100% on the fact that we know we only have a certain amount of days left (72). Have you ever worked in an office where you know you are being let go? Did you also already hate your job? Because thats whats happening here. We pretty well all already don't like it here. Knowing that we only have to put up with this, that we only need to hang on, do the minimum to get the severance, means that we spend a lot of our days bored out of our minds.

The boredom is complicated by the fact that we are not actually allowed to talk to each other, or look like we are having any kind of fun. So we sit and read about the Seven Wonders of the World, or German Shepherds, This Day in History, or famous dead people. Wikipedia becomes your friend, Google your ally. You hope for mind blowing news (thank you Mel and Lindsay), because it will give you something to think about besides the monotonous existence you currently find yourself in.

Also, someone just handed out Riesens. Is it too early to eat it now? Maybe this morning won't suck after all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Painting, Pain and Veronica

Its back. Its standing at Amy's desk. Right now. Fawning over itself. Ignoring me.

I'm kind of OK with that. I really have no energy left to fawn over anyone, let alone someone that gets paid enough to take a once in a lifetime trip to South Africa for the World Cup, someone that didn't even know about Robben Island. Or Apartheid. I wonder if she learned anything.

Probably not.

So instead of dedicating a post to its return, how about we run through a Monday morning injury report?

Let's start with that time this morning when Anna was enjoying a healthy snack of carrots and dip. And I snuck up beside her and almost made her choke on it. That was good fun. She made a little tiny squealing noise right before she choked too. It was awesome.

This presented Anna with the opportunity to show me her bruised and broken-looking toe. Its pretty graphic. Apparently she was playing some game with a child and there was a door and a patio and running and she smashed her toe into the wall. I assume that there was drinking involved. If there wasn't, according to the new story, there was. This is what comes of trying to scare a child, Anna. Pain.

My injuries are two-fold.

I spent the weekend painting my pretty new apartment. I've painted before, many times, but never a whole apartment (more or less). Turns out I wasn't made for hard labour. I'm dainty. After the first day of painting my hands were swollen from holding the rollers, I couldn't grip anything and my legs! My legs! Were so stiff and sore, moving off the couch long enough to make some KD for dinner (which never tasted so good) was agony. The worst part was we still had to do a second coat.

The next day...oh the next day was hard. At first. Once we really got started we forgot about the pain. But we felt it when we finished. The pain was slightly less when we looked around at our new, freshly painted apartment. But still, it was there.

So then last night I went to go see The Lion King. Which was amazing. There are not enough superlatives to describe the mind-blowing awesomeness that is The Lion King on stage. Anyway, I wore heels. I wore heels, not understanding that there would be some walking around before the show. You know how you have fancy shoes for dancing and fancy shoes for dinner things where you will mostly be sitting? I wore mostly sitting kind of shoes.

And then was forced to walk. I think I held up pretty well. But this morning my battered, crippled feet disagree with me.

Naturally I put on heels for work too.


This morning I'm still really sore from the painting (its all the convoluted positions you find yourself in to reach those corners). On the bus down the hill, when the bus was shaking like mad, my thighs were crying.

Pathetic aren't I?

So now you know the physical state I'm in and why I can't bring myself to act like I care that Veronica's back.

We got another email sometime late last week about dress code. About how just because its summer doesn't mean that we can relax on the business casual dress code. How we're lucky we even got that since the new company had wanted us all to be full business.

Which brings me to a F*ck You . I'm not sure if the executive team realizes this but you're laying pretty much all of us off. Which means that thanks to you we will not have jobs. Sure, most of us don't like our jobs, but you have taken away the opportunity to leave on our own terms. So how about you take your dress code and shove it up your a$$? I'm sure that Amy was forced to send the email because of something the executive team said to her- God knows that Veronica loves to lord around the place in flip flops- but that she still doesn't have the backbone to stand up to them and say "You know what? Its summer, the air conditioning barely works, and they will only be here for another 2 months, can we cut them some slack?" really gets to me.

I wish that you all could be here to witness all the fawning over Veronica. Its like the prodigal son has returned. I'm hearing things like "On a scale of 1 to 10 how awesome was it?" "15 million!" and "OMG you're baaaaaaaaack! How was it!?" and "They use elephants to find the fruits" or "They don't wear dashikis there". I thought that I had mentally prepared myself for all the story-telling and the falling all over each other to get to her first, but I so wasn't. Its so much worse than I ever could have imagined it would be.

It fancies itself an expert on South Africa now. Probably celebrated Nelson Mandela Day yesterday. Watched Louis Oosthuizen win the British Open yesterday (although seriously, how fantastic was it that he won on Nelson Mandela Day? Pretty good time to be South African! Especially now that Veronica has left the country).

She does sound like she has a cold, which is great. Probably caught it from stale, recycled airplane air. But it doesn't sound like malaria...

I could drown this out if only I had my ipod back.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Waiting Game

I'm coming to you (sort of) live from my apartment today. Not the shiny new one, the crappy old cave-like one I've been forced to live in for 2 years, but even a cave-like home beats the Cubicle I should be sitting in.

We are actually waiting to get the keys this morning which is why I didn't go to work. The whole apartment-buying process went so smoothly that if this is the only hiccup we encounter, I'm pretty sure we're not allowed to complain. Basically the sellers waited to empty their apartment until this week, were still in there late last night cleaning (have I mentioned that we live across the street from our new place and can see it from our balcony?) and this morning they are getting someone in to fix the stuff that we need fixed as per the contract.

This morning.


Anyway, I found this out at about 2.30 yesterday. So I had to ask Amy if I could start later or take the day off. I felt bad because it was last minute and I had already asked to work an adjusted schedule that started at 6 (she had already loaded me up with work for the morning) and now I was effectively bailing.

Amy must be getting laid or something because she told me to just take the day off, that I have lots of vacation days and it wasn't a big deal.

I know.

Lest I leave you hanging on the ipod Bandit front, here is what happened.

I spent a good chunk of the morning mulling over all your words of wisdom, actually walked up to her a couple of times before turning back to my own desk. Finally Gloria emailed me telling me to just f*cking do it already. So I did.

The ipod Bandit glared at me (looked up innocently) and in a growly voice asked me what the hell I wanted (brightly said "Hey! What's up!") so I nervously asked about my ipod (that part's true, I felt really awkward).

An evil little smirk crossed her face (she blanched), gave a little chuckle (a nervous chuckle) and said my ipod was gone ("omg can I tell you something? I was charging it and left it at home!").

I was completely deflated. After Gloria had told me that she is the a-hole for keeping my ipod for 3 weeks I was now confronted with a truly contrite ipod Bandit. Then she carried on by telling me that she knows she kept it for a long time but she just loved my music, such a good mix of everything.

Since I'm often mocked for my "taste" in music (books I'm flawless, music...I have a Miley Cyrus song...) this was refreshing and I was quick to forgive her for keeping my ipod for 3 weeks while I drained my iphone battery every day.

Of course, if she does bring it in today I won't be there. So. It will probably be 4 weeks before I get it back.

Not a success then. But at least she was charging it. That was decent of her. I mean, there's no way the battery would last for 3 weeks but at least she was sort of taking care of it.

Did I mention that the fridge in our old place needed to be fixed today? Of all days, today it needs to be fixed. Guess who was supposed to be here at 8.30. Guess who we're still waiting for.

I hate waiting for people. I feel like I'm always waiting for someone. If you take away one thing from this blog today, please let it be "punctuality is important".

I'm off. Shiny new apartment awaits.

Yay apartment!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What Just Happened?

The weirdest thing happened yesterday. Totally unexpected, completely unheard of. I never thought that I would live to see the day.

Amy acted like a human being.

There have been about a dozen new people up here training before they go out to the branches to work. And yesterday the trainers wanted our department to sit with them and go over one of the old systems that they would be working with. So the trainees are being released for lunch from 12-1 and then they will come and sit with us for an hour.

Problem: in an effort to split the day up into workable portions (ie we don't spend our time fantasizing about ending it all, winning the lottery, or living the glamourous life of a hobo) a lot of us take our lunches at 1.30. We offered to go later, it was just a half hour. When we return then at 3 we only have a little while left to get through.

This is where Amy surprised all of us. It was a good thing I was sitting down.

Well you could also skip your lunch and your last break and just take off an hour and 15 minutes earlier. Its up to you.

Could you please repeat what you just said? Am I hallucinating? Has it finally happened- I've lost my mind?

She was serious. She was accomodating. There were no strings attached. She was being...flexible.

I know, I'm still recovering too.

Naturally I jumped at the chance. I got home an hour earlier. It was awesome.

What did I do with my time?

Well I hadn't eaten my lunch so first I had a cheese sandwich. Then I told The Boyfriend I was starving so he made dinner earlier. So good. Then we watched a movie, spied on our new apartment, went for a walk, he let me watch some Say Yes To The Dress and then I went to bed.

I too think that I used the time wisely.

Given her recent flexibility I feel kind of bad that there is a chance that I will have to ask to work an adjusted schedule again tomorrow. If we don't get the keys to our new place tonight then we will get them tomorrow but it will probably be earlier than 5. I know she hates when we work adjusted schedules, but she is still getting the same amount of work time out of us. Actually I feel like I work harder because early in the morning there is no one here to bother me.

I just don't want to push my luck. And I know she doesn't see working an adjusted schedule the same way that I do.

We have a Sniffy McSniff-a-lot in the office this morning. Nathan. If he keeps it up I'm going to have to hurt him. Its so irritating when all you can hear is a person sucking back the snot that's running out of their nose. You're welcome for that visual. Remember when you used to write exams and inevitably there was that one person that was sick and they spent the entire 3 hours sniffing and you wanted to take your sharpened number 2 pencil and ram it up their nose?

Just me?

Well I hated it then and I hate it now. Go to the washroom and blow your nose.

Guess what? Veronica lands back in the country tomorrow! We are all so excited. Like can barely stand it. You know there is a good chance she will pop in the office on Friday because she was "in the neighbourhood". Good thing I had the foresight to take Friday off. You guys are so excited for next week when she returns, a vuvuzela in hand, new pictures for her desktop and just filled with all kinds of South Africa adventure stories. Will keep you posted.

That's all for me today. Still haven't talked to the ipod bandit. Probably should do that today eh?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Three Weeks Later...

A plate of cookies has ended up on my desk. Fresh, home-made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have ended up on my desk. If they are not removed, I will make them all disappear.

(By eating them if that insinuation wasn't clear enough)

I guess in the grand scheme of things having a plate of delicious sitting on your desk isn't really a problem. Its kind of a problem because I have no will power but its not a real problem I suppose. I just thought you would like to know.

Remember when I did that nice thing by lending my ipod to that girl that forgot hers? So that she would be able to carry on with her day listening to the sweet, sweet sounds of 90s one hit wonders? I know, I'm too good.

Well that was 3 weeks ago and she still has it.

What's that saying? No good deed goes unpunished.

And now I have the desire to listen to the Wicked soundtrack. You know what I'm talking about? You rock.

I am not a confrontational person. I hate conflict. I pretty well have to be cornered to discuss anything serious. But once cornered, I don't back down. Well, as non-back-down-y as a person can be when their hands are shaky, their heart is racing and breathing becomes somewhat laboured.

Like I said, not confrontational.

But I need my ipod back. I don't want to be an a-hole about it (even though she is kind of being an a-hole, keeping my ipod for 3 weeks) but I don't really know how to go about this. So I have come up with some strategies and I need your advice.

1. I go up to her and just ask her if I can have my ipod back because listening to music on my iphone is killing my batteries. And also, there isn't a lot of music variety on my iphone (500+ vs 1900+). One can only listen to so much Glee you know? This method seems really straightforward though, and the possibility for misunderstanding seems small, so I'm not sure that this will really work out that well for me.

2. I steal it back. I have noticed that sometimes she leaves it lying on her desk when she isn't there (what's that about!? Is that your ipod that you are being careless with? No. Its mine! Smarten up!) so I could just casually walk by and pocket it? I don't know if she would then confess to me that it was lost...because that could lead to some awkward moments where I tell her that actually I stole it because I was in Aqua withdrawal.

3. I send her an email/leave her a post-it asking for it back. This appeals to me because it seems like its the most passive aggressive. When she returns it to me I can be all "no! It wasn't a big deal, I just got tired of listening to musicals hahaha" (which would probably never happen- the tired of musicals part. I would totally act nonchalant about it, that's why this plan is so perfect).

Those are my 3 options. I also came up with "Leave it alone" which works on the assumption that at some point she will in fact, return it of her own accord. But mostly I think that she won't. And I would like it back. It was supposed to be a one day thing.

Like this isn't enough to worry about (free cookies AND my ipod? Too much reality for one day) John has just walked into the f*cking office. Why is he here? Not that I'm not excited to hear the sound of his voice this morning, or the his dumba$$ laughter emanating from the executive side of the office, but...damn it he just made me eat another cookie! He's such a life ruiner!

I thought it couldn't get worse. But I would be wrong. Because Turd Furguson is here too. Monday was so much better than this.

While John has decided to hire his friends and partner, Turd is taking on his sister and his wife (for those of you new to the blog, Amy is Turd's sister. And Turd is exactly that, a turd). September 30th can't come fast enough.

Just 79 days to go! We're in the 70s now Anna! So much progress has been made.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paul Calamari

"I'm off to Germany to murder an octopus". The text my cousin sent me after the unthinkable happened and the Dutch came 2nd in the World Cup for the 3rd time.

Not gonna lie, I'm pretty devastated. The morning started off so promising. My posse and I (what? You don't have a posse? You should get a posse) were the first in the bar, decked out proudly in orange. The drinks started flowing (yes it was 9am. What?) and we settled in for what was going to be the best day in my country's history.In the middle of the game I even got a message from a friend that studied in Amsterdam with me (who I hadn't talked to in a really, really long time), cheering on the Dutch and I thought it had to be a sign that we were going to win it all.

There was the matter of the questionable reffing, the diving and in the end, the Dutch made the most costly mistake. Right at the very end of extra time. I can't really say any more about the game- I don't remember most of it now. Its all a fantastically orange blur. My one nail was chewed to pieces by the end of it. Stressful doesn't even begin to describe the experience.

So now I'm sitting in my Cubicle prison extra early on a Monday morning waiting for all the Spaniards in my office to rub it in.

Wait? What? I don't work with any Spaniards? Weird then how they will all have "won" the World Cup. How they will all feel the pride of a nation, at the expense of my own.

Except that honestly, I'm still fiercely proud. Proud of my team, who got us closer to winning it all than any other in 32 years. Proud of my country who swathed themselves in orange and celebrated every win like it was the big one. Proud that we're still better than pretty much everyone else.

I've gotten a lot of sh*t from the Italians that I know. I get it, you're 4 time World Champions. Congratulations. You're also extra douchey about it and the rest of the world always collectively hope you fail. At least non-Dutch folks wore the one orange shirt they had in their closet and hoped for a big win. A friend of mine that I watched the game with (and actually we watch a lot of big games with these 2 friends and have yet to witness a big win think our big game watching days are over) said that I had found my Italy. Yes he was wearing a France jersey yesterday. Remembering better days.

So the Dutch may have lost but at least the Italians didn't win it.

Monday Monday Monday. How the hell did we get here again so fast? Should be a quick week. Today is an adjusted schedule, have to get through the middle of the week, a chance to get my new apartment's keys on Wednesday, but probably it will happen on Thursday. And then I will have a big steak dinner to celebrate before I have Friday off (to sleep of said steak). By the end of this week I will be able to go into my new apartment whenever I want! Mostly we will be painting it though. My arms are going to be so sore!

Good thing I have something to look forward to this week. Or else the Spanish bandwagoners would probably have their throats slashed. Too violent an imagery on a Monday? I would beg to differ. I don't think that its violent enough. Its a Monday you guys. Mon. Day.

I think I'm going to cut it off there. My pride has exhausted me. It might still be tinged with some sadness. Here's hoping the day goes by mercifully quickly.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Snickers

We have made it to Friday kids. Give yourself a hand if you didn't kill anyone you work with, scream at the little people, or have a panic attack in an office bathroom stall.

Still with me? Most of you? Well done.

So in honour of its being Friday (the most glorious day of the week) I have put together a collection of amusing incidents that have occured in my office this week. Weird right? Its like, they have a meeting on Monday telling us when we're all getting laid off and everyone just gives up pretending to work. The atmosphere in here (rhyme time hehe) has relaxed just a smidge, but we are taking full advantage.

A few times we have had power outages in the area. The last time it was just for the weekend. Another time the whole downtown area had no power for 3 days. Except that our building was fine (I'm not kidding- the buildings next to us, down the street and across the street had no power. We were fine. It was lame). Sometimes the lights flicker and I get really excited. Yesterday the lights flickered. Twice. I was already rubbing my hands together in that delighted-villain kind of way, anticipating the loss of power.

Turns out, it was Maurice experimenting with a lighting scheme for his cubicle. I guess he was expecting cubicle company and while the wine was chilling he wanted to set the mood?

Later on Maurice, joined by our friend Nathan and the mail guy, decided that they wanted to go outside but didn't want to leave the building (I don't understand it either) so they went o the patio a few floors up. I should explain that I have never mentioned this before because I don't go up there ever since I don't smoke. So they are up there 'catching some rays', living the life etc when they get freaked out because there are birds up there. Weird how the birds are flying around outside. Anyway we later heard that the birds decided to have some fun with them, flying over their heads. Apparently this was way too much reality for Maurice and the mail guy who screeched and ran away. Like girls. Nathan did a pretty excellent impression in the lunch room later.

I think that Maurice really misses me now that we are no longer cubicle buddies. I was making my tea the other day and Maurice comes in and uncharacteristically starts a conversation. He asks me if I miss my old spot. I do (so much. That window. The non-Amyness. My own printer). He said he does too. Clearly this was his way of reaching out and letting me know that once upon a time I brightened his day and he misses that. Obviously I have been neglecting him lately. Something I should remedy (poor Maurice).

On Tuesday a group of us went to the pub for lunch to watch the Netherlands defeat Uruguay in the World Cup semi-finals. Gloria (I have decided to give the Korea super-fan a name because a) she provides a lot of blog material and b) she reads the blog now and requested a name. If only you knew how we came up with Gloria...) had a Guinness. Which is a meal. Later on she was telling Anna about it (Anna was at school so she couldn't come with) and smacked her lips saying "mmmm Guinness". Clearly Anna and I were not paying any attention because we heard "mmmm penis". One of the few times I have cried laughing at work.

I have saved the best for last. This week marked the last day of one of the Temps. As is customary, a card was selected and secretly sent around so that we could all fill it with geniuine sentiments like "good luck!" and "it was fun to work with you!". For some reason they let one of the staff choose the card, instead of the usual supervisory committee. Someone not exactly known to be office appropriate 24/7. The card selected had a picture of a larger man, with unusually hairy legs and cutoffs that rode up his a$$. He was a grumpy, bearded 30something fellow, with dark hair, a disgruntled look on his face and a grad cap was perched on his head.

He also looked exactly like this guy that we work with. The guy of the hairy butt crack. The one that bent over in front of me and forever burned my retinas with the most grotesque imagery I have ever known.

I am not kidding when I say it looked exactly like him. It could have been him. Maybe at some point he needed some extra money...I don't know.

Naturally I couldn't keep this disturbing thought to myself. First I told Gloria. Who is not subtle about anything. She let out a sound that was less like a dying parrot and more like a parrot that is being strangled but it keeps fighting to breathe and squawk for help. And she let it keep going. I walked away and told the others that Gloria was having a seizure. Other reactions included "you just ruined my day" and "I was going to have lunch but now I'm not hungry".

All in all a success I'd say. I can't suffer alone.

Happy Friday all! Cheer for Holland on Sunday! Hup Holland Hup!

PS Angela- be safe on Sunday! Being Dutch in Madrid can go one of 2 ways...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Incompetence Makes The World Go Round

Today we are going to discuss incompetence. Professionally and generally. Why? Because its hot out and my tolerance for heat, my ability to be happy, tops out at 25 degrees. What do you want from me? I'm from Holland. Where the f*ck you from? (by the way, that's not me being rude, thats the title of a song. A great song. So its me being cheeky)

So incompetence. It makes the world go round doesn't it? Because if everyone else were as competent as you and me, what need would there be for folks like us?

It really burns my a$$ to have to work with incompetent people. Especially when those people make more money than I do. It begs the question: who's running things around here? For the answer to that question you need only look at who is actually running the show and you will most likely find that its more incompetence. Because if competent people were in charge, performance evaluations would get done on time, raises would go through, benefits would be in place immediately and you wouldn't spend at least half your day pulling out your hair.

And then where would we be?

Let's face it. If everyone were competent to do their jobs, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves! How much of your workday is taken up by completing tasks other people didn't finish? Or taking on projects that your co-worker is too "stacked" to complete (incidentally, last time I checked "stacked" didn't mean that you were too busy...)? Exactly. How often do you find yourself making excuses for someone else's deficiencies like "well its really busy in here today" or "he's really young"? When can we stop making excuses for those that cannot do and just tell them to smarten up and get sh*t done already?

I will give you some examples. Because I? Love examples.

Let's say that you have been at your present job for about 6 months, and your probationary period is over. Let's say that in the past 6 months you have taken on the work of 2 people because you were short staffed but that you're not a pushover and the time has come to address the workload, hours and pay scale (since you're doing the work of at least 2 people, a pay adjustment should probably be made). Your manager is supposed to be the one initiating a discussion about the end of your probation, but since he hasn't, you do.

Does your manager:
a) Tell you that of course he hasn't forgotten and did you want to do that today? Nothing to worry about, just a formality of course!
b) Tell you that you passed, and he wants to go over everything with you but he's leaving on vacation and unfortunately it will have to wait until he is back. He's sorry for putting you out.
c) Tell you that he's going on vacation for 2 weeks after this week and it will have to wait until he's back.

If you guessed C, you work in an office! I would congratulate you, but it depresses me too.

It would take way too much of your manager's time to just tell you that you passed your probationary period. How can you make such demands of his VIP time? You will just have to keep doing the work of 2 people and wait until he gets back. Because he is a manager, and that's how he rolls.

Let's say that your company is going to be laying off everyone in your department. The staff probably has a lot of questions about the kind of severance that will be paid out, timing, benefit limitations etc. Why would the company have a pow wow with the managers about all of these issues before the managers lay everything out for the staff? How does that make sense? They can't possibly know what kinds of questions people will ask. They aren't psychic. The managers will just have to do their best at looking like they know what they are talking about and hope that the actual policies back them up when they check them out later. Duh.

Finally, you recently bought an apartment so the one you're renting now needs to be shown and rented out again. The property management company lets you know the day before that the next evening they will be showing the place at 5.30. At 5.25 on the day, the rep comes to the door, all nervous and fidgety-like I think he's trying to tell you that he's come up without the people just to see if you are home or not. And he will go downstairs and wait for them now. I think that's what he's saying. Its hard to know for sure- his wrinkled blazer, turned in collar, untucked shirt and unshaven straggly face are kind of distracting.

Ten minutes go by without the reappearance of the disheveled rep. Finally another knock on the door announces the arrival of 3 girls and a guy, clearly students. No rep. They say they are sorry they are late for the 5.15 showing (what 5.15 showing?) and can they see the place now? Uh, aren't you kids missing the guy who's showing the place? He's waiting in the lobby but they didn't see him. The lobby is the size of a closet. You cannot miss another person waiting there. And how did you get onto this floor without a fob? They leave to find the rep. Come back, rep in tow, you leave to wait outside (relishing the opportunity to make this showing awkward) and the rep turns and asks you if he should lock up. Yeah, you're not going anywhere. Its not a big apartment, you can probably see it all in 5 minutes. So no, you don't need to lock it up (imagine you trusted him with your home security?).

Just before they disappear inside, the rep turns to you again and asks if they can see the bedrooms?

No. They can't. They must decide if they want the apartment based solely on the common areas.

You wait outside for 5, 10, 15 minutes. Start to wonder if they got lost in your 20 room mansion.

Finally, they are done. As the students leave, one turns and asks if the unit is air conditioned? Are you serious? You realize you live in Vancouver right? Not Miami? That hallways might be air conditioned but units rarely are? That this is actually a rainforest? Winter Olympics were held here?

I worry for the future.

I don't think we need to discuss the round of 20 questions with the rep after the students left about all the things that went wrong with the apartment when it was first lived in. You guys don't talk to each other? Have files you can look this stuff up in?

On the bright side, if he can get a proper job, that means that I shouldn't really have any difficulty doesn't it?

Incompetence ladies and gentlemen. It makes the world go round.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Little More Oomph Please

I had been here all of 20 minutes when 2 colleages and I were told to get to work. It was our own fault. We forgot that we were at work where talking and laughter are strictly forbidden.

I just hope that its not going to be one of those days. I have just gotten over the fact that Amy moved me next to her, managed to make some kind of peace with her over her desire to keep me under her thumb and now she tells me to effectively shut up and get on with it. Do I want to punch her in the face? Do I care?

Its funny-- as soon as they gave us a concrete end date, explained the severance etc., none of us have any focus left to carry on with our work. We've all kind of given up. We still look like we're working, but talk to any one here and they will tell you that they haven't been able to get anything done all week because their concentration's been shot to sh*t.

After we had our meeting on Monday, the Temps were told that while we were being kept on until September 30th, their last day would be August 31st. We have already experienced our first Temp casualty- her last day is today. I don't blame her, I envy her her quick exit. But they don't get severance... So in an email announcing this to everyone, Amy decides that its the perfect time to also let us all know that Veronica is still having a wonderful time in South Africa and will be back in 2 weeks.


Anna tried to bet me that Veronica would come back with a vuvuzela to keep on her desk. I refused to take the bet because I would lose. Obviously she is coming back with a vuvuzela. How else would she possibly be able to explain to us civilians how awesome the World Cup in South Africa was?

Then Anna added a most gruesome image- Veronica coming back in a Netherlands jersey. I will literally have a sh*t fit if she comes back sporting my national colours.

While we are on the subject of the World Cup, how about those Dutch?!? It hasn't totally sunk in yet that I'm actually watching my team go all the way to the finals. Its obviously never happened in my lifetime. Its incredible! Nervously anticipating who it will be that will join them- I'm really hoping its Spain but that clearly means it will be Germany. Although, according to a psychic octopus Spain will defeat Germany.

The Final is on Sunday and I'm left wondering: what the hell am I going to talk to my co-workers about when its done??

Its served as a way to bond, this World Cup. I even went to the pub with a few co-workers to watch the Netherlands beat Uruguay yesterday (although seriously Holland, play better on Sunday. Stecklenburg? Van Persie? I'm looking at you. Don't worry, I still believe in you, just a little more oomph please. And what was with that ending?? I still don't know exactly what happened!).

But if you don't have a team in the World Cup, haven't had a team in the World Cup ever, you don't know what its like. You may think its all fun and games and everyone is having a laugh, but you would be wrong. Its national pride that's on the line, bragging rights, a place in history. It is not to be taken lightly. There is this one guy in my office that cheers for whoever seems to be winning, came along to the pub yesterday, sort of cheered for Oranje and when they won, as we were walking back started talking about how that was as far as they were going to go.

Come on man, they just won. Like 5 minuntes ago. You can't let me enjoy this? I'm not allowed to celebrate that my team is going to the World Cup Finals for the first time since 1978 for even 5 minutes? Are you serious? Why did you even come? I don't want your half a$$ energy around my team! He's at home today, leisurely watching the game. Bastard.

Anyway, thats about all that I have for you today. I know, I will try to stop leading such a riveting life.

Oh oh OH! And Lindsay Lohan is going to jail! I know I should feel bad for her but I so don't. Yesterday was like, the perfect day!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


You know what's a really good way to make one's week? Aside from telling them that they only have to get through 86 more days working here?

Tell them that you have tickets to see Lady Gaga and ask if they want to come with.

This is what happened to me yesterday.

Some background.

I love Gaga. I saw her last fall, smaller venue and she is incredible. I loved her before but that show solidified my loyalty for always. When she announced that she was coming back this summer I knew that I needed to get tickets. Except tickets went on sale the day after my birthday and I forgot.

I was devastated. So devastated. The day after my birthday is already my least favourite day of the year (hello? 365 more days til my next birthday? Not cool). Add to that that I didn't get Gaga tickets-- The Boyfriend had to buy me nail polish to pull me out of my funk.

But then yesterday, The Record emailed me to see if I might be interested in maybe going to see Gaga? Its kind of a long, complicated story as to how we got here but there was the need for another person to join them and I am that person.

So I get to see Gaga in August.

You're all writhing around in jealousy aren't you? As you should.

Now some of you (OK one of you, but perhaps some of the rest of you are wondering this also?) asked me if I will still be blogging after September 30th. I can't imagine what the hell I would have to talk about BUT I also can't imagine not blogging anymore so in short, yes I will. We will just have to pretend that I have found things to say that you actually enjoy reading. If I end up unemployed it could get ugly real fast. But who doesn't like reading updates on daytime television?

Consider yourself warned though- bad daytime television is like my crystal meth. Once I start, the whole day is gone and before you know it The Boyfriend has staged an intervention and I'm all screaming and yelling that I don't have a problem and I don't need help.


I guess the hope here is that we don't get to that stage. But again, no promises.

Man for a Tuesday I'm in a really good mood. On the one hand, this is refreshing. On the other, it seems like this is the perfect mental climate for the other shoe to drop and for it to be completely devastating.

Yeah I'm not really going anywhere with that...

I'm really looking forward to the big game today- Netherlands vs. Uruguay. Looking forward to it but also a ball of nervous energy, I kind of feel ill. National pride is on the line you guys. I'm going to the pub around the corner for the 2nd half and sent out an email to a select few to join me. I told them if they were going to cheer for Uruguay that the invite was actually null and void. One guy emailed back with "Go Uruguay" and I told him that I would cut him. Like literally cut, with a knife. One girl has just come in showing me her new orange shirt and her orange nails. I have my orange shirt in my bag. Should be fun.

And by fun I mean nail bitingly nerve wracking with a side of clammy hands.

Hup Holland!

PS Gloria- thank you for looking like you're doing some sort of walk of shame by wearing your orange shirt again today. It looks awesome, and not at all like you spent the night at a strange man's house.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blah Blah Blah

I managed to get through the entire weekend without thinking about work and the impending 9am Monday morning meeting that was going to happen.

I actually forgot all about it until I got to work this morning and checked my email. There it was, on my calendar, in black and white, staring me in the face. So then I started to panic. Although I'm thrilled that they will effectively be paying me to leave a job that I despise above everything else, its still slightly terrifying. Once I saw that meeting reminder I had trouble breathing. You know that feeling? You're not exerting yourself in any way but you have trouble catching your breath?

In the end I didn't need to worry. The meeting really didn't cover anything that we didn't already know. We now have an end date: September 30th all of this will definitely be over (if I don't end it before).

There were some promises made about all the help that they would offer those of us not continuing on with the company, but it turns out that that help isn't available until the beginning of September. Now we have a lot of Temps (this place has a hard on for Temps) so doesn't it make bottom line sense to keep the Temps working, but encourage the permanent staff to find jobs before they have to pay us severance? Isn't that cheaper? Makes more sense to me. Once again I lament the fact that I'm not in charge around here.

Although I probably should celebrate that fact, given the false gratitude I just witnessed from those d-bags.

The guy in charge (he's not the president, he's in charge of the region?) walked in for 10 minutes and went on about how exciting this all was, how smooth it had gone and how hard we worked, how much he appreciated it all blah blah blah ("Ben's a prick"- you know? From Knocked Up ?). We are not a big office, maybe 30 people. And yet its too difficult for this guy, the one in charge of us all, to learn and remember our names. While he was going on about all that hard work we did and how much he values us I felt like asking him what my name is. Because honestly, if you don't know my name, how much do you really value my contribution? Then Amy reiterated these feelings of gratitude and I just tuned her out. I feel like, in terms of general good will, this was a good decision.

All in all I feel a lot better. I almost feel bad about that list of things to discuss when I quit/leave. Almost. I'm still going to throw Amy, Veronica and John under the bus the first chance I get, but today I felt a twinge of remorse about it. Just a twinge though and I'm sure that the feeling will pass.

Onto bigger, better and orangier things. Tomorrow is that all important semi-final. My boys (the very talented ones wearing orange) will be going up against Uruguay. Since I am confident that no one reading my blog hails from Uruguay, I harness all your energies to cheering for Oranje. You know you want to. You know you want to see Oranje finally hoist that World Cup over their heads, finally walking away from the "Best Team To Never Win The World Cup" moniker forever. First step: beat Uruguay.

I'm sad to say that I will be chained to my desk for the first half (although obviously listening to it online), but feel confident that Oranje will know I'm rooting for them. Second half- I will be going to the pub around the corner, flaunting my Oranje pride for all to see, drinking to their success.

Altogether now: HUP HOLLAND HUP!

Finally, a birthday shout out. Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd met je vejaardag Mama!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oranje Fever

This morning when my alarm clock went I wanted to punch a hole in the wall. Or smash my alarm clock into the wall. Then I remembered that, aside from work, today had the potential to be a very good day.

Or a very very very bad day.

But I had to get up for it. Because my country, my people, my Oranje was playing World Cup juggernaut Brazil. Brazil.

I got to watch the entire first half (because The Boyfriend drove me to work) but it made me want to throw up. We were down 1-0. Against Brazil. I had visions of me crying silently in my cubicle all day, still wearing orange but being mocked by my co-workers for what had been my steadfast belief in my team's abillity to win the whole thing.

But Oranje rallied for me. Oranje knew that this day would be hard. Oranje knew what to do to make it better.

Oranje beat Brazil.


Needless to say I am speechless. I'm stuck in a box at work with Amy, suppressing the urge to drink and scream and cheer and cry. All at the same time.

You know whats a good way to kill my happy buzz Veronica? Call Amy at work and gloat about your f*cking world cup trip. Too bad you were cheering for Chile. Who Brazil beat. Guess who beat Brazil?


I have a headache now. Way too much excitement for a work day. Having to suppress these most natural urges to run and scream and enjoy is not good for the soul. I wish I was in Amsterdam. Mona, Emily- have a drink for me as you drink to Holland's success. I'm with you in spirit.

Have a good weekend everyone. Happy 4th of July to the Americans!

Hup Holland Hup!