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Monday, March 5, 2012

One of My Many Contributions, or So THAT'S How the Blog Got Its Name

Until the Great Re-Org of 2009–

May continued employment be with you
And also with you

–I was an Executive Admin. With typing skills that pushed me into hurricane-like velocities, the punctuality of the Amish, and the increasingly rare office skill of knowing when to just shut up and listen, I cut a dashing figure in my Executively Administrating outfits. 

I was acutely aware of the kind of stress that went into being the Vice President of Stuff.  The people I supported were busy people, expected to work 70 hours a week.  They relied on me to keep their best interests in mind.

At one time I had a wonderful boss, a handsome, fabulous man we’ll call George.  At six foot four, George had a bad hip, the cumulative effect of having been an aggressive athlete throughout his life.  We’d discussed this in one of our initial meetings insofar as it would be reflected in any travel plans made, even if it meant taking two flights where one was possible. 

I’d been working for him for less than a month when he found himself in two, back-to-back all-day meetings. Two days of serious nodding, of listening intently and generally trying to stay “engaged” over long periods of time.

Limited breaks, working lunch.

Yuck.

At 10:00 on the first day of this meeting, I take a liberty.

Knocking briskly on the door of the conference room, I walk in. A dozen suits turn to look at me as I stride into the room and hand George a note.

“Please see me immediately in the hall.”

George stands, nods to those at the table as he leaves the room: “Gentlemen.”

Once in the hall he looks at me expectantly.

“I thought you might enjoy a good stretch,” I say, smiling.

George stares at me and then smiles back. “Pearl, why you little…” he mock-threatens.

“Why I oughta…” I counter.

Over the course of the afternoon and the next day, I pop in a couple more times:

“George, will need to reschedule your elbow-bleaching appointment so as to accommodate your appointment with your aroma therapist. Please advise.”

“George, your office chair is on fire. Permission to put it out?”

And every time, George would stand, nod to those at the conference table:  “Gentlemen”.

Then he would leave, walking the halls for 10, 15 minutes, working out the kinks in his knees and hips.

Happy Monday, everyone.  Here’s hoping someone passes you a note, excusing you from pain and boredom.

46 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Could you executively administrate my life? You have a gift.

Susan in the Boonies said...

You're always my excuse to feel better, Pearl.

Love you!

Cindi said...

Priceless advice... and skill. I learned to recognize callers by their voices when the land developer I was office manager for was getting calls from someone he didn't want to talk to but who wouldn't give their name. It came in very handy when he had to take someone to federal court and I was able to testify on his behalf as to how often the person would call.

Camille said...

Oh my Gawd - you've just described my day tomorrow. Can no-one save me from all day meeting schedulers or working through lunch aficionados? Oh the humanity...*thud*

Pearl said...

Delores, I would be glad to help. It will cost you a taco salad a week.

Susan, you're so sweet. And oddly enough, I love you, too!

Cindi, a good administrator is worth gold!!

Camille, did you just fall on the floor?! :-) Too funny!

Leenie said...

I take it you're not working with tall, handsome athletic George anymore. If it is his fault you're not still making appointments for his elbow-bleaching~~~he is an idiot.

esbboston said...

I saw your two words "acutely aware", and immediately paused, thinking, wow, at just inside those words, just under their skin is a "cute war", and I was shocked, but then I realized, fool, you done did your letter layer delamination improperly (don't you just hate it when that happens?) and there is reaLLy a "cutel war" and now I am absolutely confused and speechless .... and its Monday without a decent xkcd cartoon again, so sad, so very very sad.

tattytiara said...

Yes, even the big and the powerful need saving every once and awhile. Good job of dashing to the rescue of your prince charming in distress!

Simply Suthern said...

Our ad mins do that here for me. I am deep in thought on my puter when they pop in and say" SS the toilet is clogged again". Thats code for the toilet is clogged again.

You my friend still are cause for a short break and a little snicker. Thanks.

Pearl said...

Leenie, I would've never left George had the company not been sold :-( It was a very sad day that, truly, left an entire department in various stages of anger/tears/despair. Good ol' George.

esb, you need another cup of coffee, my friend. :-)

terlee said...

Right back at you, Pearl. Everyone needs a note excusing them from something on a Monday.

Pearl said...

Simply, I'm glad you think so. :-) And at one of my many places of employment, I, too, was the one to hear those magical words "The toilet is clogged", or my very favorite memory, "There's a horrible smell in the bathroom."

That's how I learned about the little bit of water that should be in that drain in the floor. Wheee doggie but that stunk!!

St Jude said...

Unfortunately due to cut backs I no longer have a wonderful Pearl, well actually she was a Ruby. Do you think I could get away with stuffing my notes up my sleeve in advance then producing them as if by magic. ;0}

Shelly said...

Ha! I always wondered where the name came from. You are good folk, Pearl, good folk.

Robbie Grey said...

Very clever, and a great way to earn a moniker.

kt said...

I think I would have loved to have a LIFE SAVER like you around during some of my parent/teacher conferences!

esbboston said...

Oh, yes, you are coffee correct, as I have had none, so I should get one. It is turning into such a lovely Sunday afternoon ....

Pearl said...

St. Jude, I think you should give it a shot. :-) If nothing else, it will be a litmus test for who is really paying attention! (Either that, or you slip the receptionist a free lunch to walk in with an "urgent" note!)

Shelly, thank 'ee, ma'am. :-)

Robbie, I've had a lot of bosses, and he and the woman who bought me my laptop are tied for glorious, heartfelt "First"...

kt, if we don't take care of each other, what does that leave us?!

esb, :-) About the day of the week, esb... We gotta talk. :-)

Belle said...

That was thinking outside the box, Pearl and very thoughtful towards you boss. My daughter Sandy used to have jobs like that and it was very important to keep your boss happy on business trips.

Roshni said...

love it!! How did he ever let you go?!?!?

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

You should include "Stiff Joint Reliever" in your resume. Who wouldn't want you????
Rosemary

Joanne said...

A nice story of how the world should go round. Hope you all got even better jobs the next time around.

jenny_o said...

Wonderful! Love it.

Perpetua said...

I love it! I wish you could have worked for me, Pearl.

Pearl said...

Belle, the little details separate us from the people who just show up day after day...

Roshni, I'm not sure he ever would have. The company (if I said it you would know it) was purchased by another company (a big-name company out of Italy) and the new CEO and he clashed, and so rather than have the company suffer from the effect of execs not getting along, he left. It was a terrible thing.

Steadfast, it will look good next to "corporate jester" and "irreverent grinner". :-)

Joanne, actually, the next job was a bit of a freak-out, as was the next one. :-) Of course, you don't know how good you have it until faced with the opposite, and I did get a lot of good stories from those two subsequent places!

jenny_o, I'm glad!

Perpetua, I'm always looking! :-)

Alica said...

Sounds like you were quite a valuable employee! :) I enjoyed reading this! ...and thanks for stopping by today!

bill lisleman said...

I think that saying "behind every great man is sharp knife" says it all. Oh wait sorrow wrong blog. Great skills Pearl sorrow to hear the get-out-of-here texting app replaced you.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl!

"Here’s hoping someone passes you a note, excusing you from pain and boredom."

Well hell, you just did.

Indigo x

Saimi said...

In my line of work, I would hope to get a note asking me to sit for a spell and listen to something quiet.

Preschoolers can be kinda busy!

What a thoughtful person you are Pearl.

CarrieBoo said...

No wonder you're so damn successful! :)

Pat Tillett said...

I wrote myself a note by retiring! I'm so glad I did too...
If I was, I wouldn't mind working for you. Probably wouldn't work out. I'm a great boss, but a semi-problematic employee...

Sioux said...

I once saved a woman who was trapped by another woman at a social gathering. This crackpot had monopolized her for 15-20 minutes and would not let her escape. I manufactured an important phone call, so she had to toss aside the idea of chewing off her leg to get away.

I'm sure he was quite appreciative of your thoughtfulness...

jenny_o said...

I second Indigo's comment, Pearl.
Your posts are always an Rx for pain and boredom. But what can we do for you? That's a bigger question.

Pat said...

I'd quite like to be a GirlFriday - as long as George was of the Clooney variety.

Nessa Roo said...

I've done this! Not quite as gracefully or determinedly as you, but I have interrupted with "ahem, I hate to interrupt, but you told me to tell you when that thing you said would happen happened...and it has...happened."

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Staff Meetings: Yes, you can sleep with your eyes open.
:)
I have a bad hip, too, Pearl. Help a sista out?

Mel said...

Pearl,
Your story made my night. You are amazing, and George was lucky to have you. Good bosses are harder to find than good jobs, aren't they?
Hope the little kindnesses were repaid to you.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I always knew you were exceptionally talented.

Austan said...

He should've paid you your weight in gold. Every week.

Diane said...

I showed this post to my husby and he cried! Yes. Cried. Real tears.
When HE needs to be excused from a boring meeting, he pulls the hairs out of his nose, which makes his eyes water, which then gives him an excuse to go 'find a tissue'. I know. I know. But it works. Having an exceptional assistant like you would be SO much simpler . . .

The Elephant's Child said...

What a wonderful EA you were. Those sort of skills are severely undervalued. A woman I worked with noticed that her bosses fly was undone. She could not bring herself to tell him and knew that he had an important meeting coming up. So she made him cup after cup of coffee hoping that he would need to use the toilet before the meeting. It worked.

River said...

Pearl, you are an administrative treasure!

NotesFromAbroad said...

I like ''Steadfast Ahoys'' comment.

I have nothing to add other than Thanks, I needed this :)

love. C

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

No wonder you were executive admin...whoever hired you was very smart. GREAT post. ":) ~R

Mr. Charleston said...

Now that's pretty cool. I was sure this was going to be a tome of the misdeeds of a misspent youth.

jabblog said...

You're the assistant every person needs . . . so who looks after your kinks?