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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fun With Accounting, or I Think This is Giving Me Wrinkles

We’ve come to that time of the month again, the time when the Finance Department starts throwing around words like “forecast” and “month-end” and “free treats in the lunch room”.

Having recently become what is euphemistically called a “knowledge-based worker”, I’m working with people I’ve not worked with before on things I know little about. I find myself nodding whilst smiling knowingly more often than I used to. I don’t actually know what I’m smiling about, but the rest of the team seems to take comfort in the fact that the new gal seems to be catching on quickly.

Oh, and “knowledge-based worker”? That’s just a little something we call someone who caters information to specific tasks/projects. In other words, I listen carefully, nod, smile, and then frown in concentration until someone asks me if I’m feeling okay.

I am delightfully suited for the job if only for my superior frowning abilities.

It runs in the family, this frown. Like the heat that is sapped out of an area any time a ghost is said to be present or the drunk chick that stands on a bar stool just before closing time screaming “Whoooooooo!”, the wrinkle on the inside of my left brow, the one formed by years of thinking “what the???” acts as a warning system. Questions like “Can you get me the products this client has ordered over the past five years and sort the data by shipping weight?” or “Remember the records you deleted last week when I asked you to? Could you put those back?” are likely to set off the WTF look, immediately followed by me trying to re-arrange my face into something more corporate.

It's gotten easier, of course, over the years, and I've become rather adept at thinking bland, cow-like thoughts when called upon to do so. At 19, every emotion/thought I had was easily visible. At 48, I am master of my face and can, with effort, register neither emotions nor thought.

I’m not sure if that is an improvement, but it does seem to allow the higher-ups to breathe easier.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it’s month-end. There are numbers to roll up, exchange rates being “impacted”, and reports to be run and posted.

And most importantly, there are treats in the lunch room.

24 comments:

Scrappy Doo said...

I would much rather hear the MF word rather than Month-End, Year End, Auditor, Fin. Statement or Cost Report.
I feel ya on this one. My husband is basically a widower the first week of the month.
All my coworkers say "You're still here?" or "You are here early" and my boss says you had a lot of overtime this week.
In which I just shoot them a "No Sh**" look from my drooping sagging eyes as I did just about 10 min ago.

Simply Suthern said...

I was ready to sign on as a knowlege based worker the first time I heard Treats in the breakroom. All ya need is a clipboard. Walk fast and look worried.

Elliott said...

I will admit the only thing I really miss about working in an office rather than at home are the treats in the lunchroom. However, since I can walk to my own kitchen and produce whatever I'd like without encountering the small-talk or drama of the office, I think it's a decent trade-off.

powdergirl said...

Thanks Pearl,
I woke up bored this morning and tought to myself, 'I should go back to work', you cured that nonsense rght out of my head.

And there were NEVER treats in my lunch room.

Of course, there was a beer fridge at the end of every shift...

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

I'm sorry, was there something written after "treats in the breakroom?" I kinda phased-out after I read that...

Lisa said...

A good, solid frown is an asset. If I go back to work in the real world, it would easily take me a week to relearn the grown up facial expression and necessary control.

Flea said...

I'm 42 and still register every emotion on my face. Is there a magic age when my face will register nothing, or do I need a mentor to learn this skill?

Douglas said...

I looked forward to meetings. Meetings meant that I did not have to pretend to be working on something rather than daydreaming the hours away. Meetings meant lots of chuckles at people pretending to be important.

But most of all, meetings meant donuts and coffee before a real coffee break (which, ironically, was what was taken immediately after the meetings).

Ms Sparrow said...

I wildly approve of thinking "bland, cow-like" thoughts. It makes life so much easier since you appear wise and inscrutable--and what can be more pseudo-productive than that?

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

The difference between "concentratey frown" and "diarrhea frown" is all in the shuffling of papers. I bring a stack of papers everywhere I go. In a pinch, just stick the paper recycling bin on your lap and toss the contents like salad.

KaLynn said...

AHHH! EOM!! My favorite time! As a bookkeeper, it is just LOADS and MASSES of FUN. And we have no treats in the breakroom. . .=0(

Not The Rockefellers said...

Oh God, Pearl...that frown needs a soundtrack something by Lalo Schifrin..with lots of horns,kettledrums and those eerie clacky things

yeah.

Peace ~ Rene

Willoughby said...

Thanks for stopping by and becoming a follower on my blog!

Love this post! I haven't worked in an office in a long time, but it sure does take me back.....

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I never have mastered the art of the neutral face. I have driven bosses out of their skulls with an eyeroll, or a WTF expression. While your frown says "I'm thinking this over," mine apparently says, "You are the dumbest jerk I've ever met." Makes 'em crazy.

Vicki Lane said...

Hey Pearl, Thanks for stopping by my place. Knowledge based worker is a new phrase to me but I'm sure I'll find a place for it.

I, personally, am very good at the listening and nodding. Sometimes I throw in an "Ahhh..."

♥ Braja said...

Pearl your posts about work and how life fits around it never fail to make me feel so blessed that I don't have to do that, or that my life revolves around different things. But it was always that way. Now you've given me Treats In The Lunch Room Envy.

♥ Braja said...

but it WASN'T always that way. duh.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Mmmn... TREATS!!!

C.

Victoria said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Pearl.

I haven't worked for anyone but myself for a long time, but this post sure brought back memories. I never did master the inscrutable look; if I'm thinking it, the look on my face is saying it.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I love the way the universal nature of your observations get me thinking about similar situations in my own life. I taught for more than 20 years and when I first started my father (who was the smartest man I ever knew) reminded me that it was all a performance. Like Batman - Bruce Wayne is the act he puts on for the public so he can do what he really wants to do as Batman. So like he told me to do when I started acting in Jr High School he told me to sit in front of a mirror and work on my expressions. So that by just a 'look' I could get across to the kids when it was time to work and when it was time to play. There were also important facial reactions for secretaries, co-workers, prinicpals and the maintenance guy. Once they could be fooled into thinking that I was on their 'side' in any issue then I had the control to do things my way which is really the only way I can do things.

Gadjo Dilo said...

I am master of my face:
I am the captain of my mole*.

* Or wrinkle, in your case

ladyfi said...

Treats in the lunch-room? Yes please... I think I could eat those without frowning...

Secretia said...

Pearl, you have a perfect poker face then?
Make some money at the casino!

Secretia

Pat said...

I'm not so good with face control. One of my students once said, Mrs. V, your face is all red and there are veins standing out in your neck.

Pearl, I wish I could write like you. (I mean, "as you do.")