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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Work Full Time; or, Violence in the Workplace


Ping!

A pop-up appears on my computer screen. I sigh as I read it.

“There?” is all it says.

It’s a woman I work with, ostensibly a peer.

My mother once suggested that I not say anything about a person if it isn’t nice. In this particular case, I can therefore tell you only that the woman in question has a lovely laugh and actively and enthusiastically nods any time her boss speaks.

But I can’t just leave it at that, can I?

The interactions between the two of us, while rare, are difficult. She does not process change well; and counterintuitive to what you’d expect, Acme Napkins and Grommets is a seething caldron of change. I try to be patient, but somewhere around the third or fourth time I’m explaining something to her, the image of my forefathers, armed with pitchforks and blazing torches, comes to mind.

I look back to the screen: “There?”

I write back. “Yes.”

There is fifteen minutes of dead air. It is noon. I leave my desk, mail my bills, touch up my hair with the garage-sale curling iron I’ve installed in the women’s bathroom, and write up a draft for world peace.

I return to my desk an hour later. There’s been no response.

I can’t stand the suspense.

“Why?” I type.

Ping!

“Oh,” she types. “I was wondering if we could meet about a report that you used to run.”

“Sure,” I write. “I’m free this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Go ahead and set it up.”

Ping!

“How long do you think it will take?” she asks.

Again, with the roaring disapproval of my ancestors.

How long do I think it will take? Will what take? You’re the one with the questions, lady!

The part of my brain reserved for logical thought erupts into raucous laughter and then resumes writing the resignation letter it started several years ago after I parachuted out of a plane. Dear Pearl, it has come to our attention…
“I don’t know,” I type back. “How long it takes depends on what you need to know.”

Ping!

“Oh, OK,” she writes back.

That was hours ago.

She has yet to set up the meeting.

The part of my brain that still believes that we are paid based on our abilities wants to walk down the hall and give her a big ol’ dope slap to the forehead.

The part of my brain that knows that our rate of pay often has nothing to do with our abilities is weeping, while the part I keep off in a dark corner because of its propensity for inappropriate comments -- a short man wearing slogan tee-shirts lighting a new cigarette with the butt of the old one -- is grinning maniacally.

I can only imagine what that guy has to say.



Must make it through the end of today. Weekend in sight…

29 comments:

Simply Suthern said...

His Tee Shirt today might read,

I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

Shelly said...

The little man in my head wears a shirt that says Do The Hustle. I think I need get an updated little man...

haphazardlife said...

Actually, I hate to break it to you, but the weekend is not yet in sight. It's only Tuesday. Sorry.

joeh said...

Every office has an idiot. It makes all the other workers feel smart...moral and all that.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

It's like there's a whole army of mutant zombies occupying office cubicles. And this problem is everywhere.

BamaTrav said...

We have a girl that is a college graduate and dumb as a bag of hammers, plus, she is the most vile and hated person I have ever run across. The entire office hates her but....they will NEVER fire her. She is an oxygen theif.

Perpetua said...

Sympathies, Pearl. In my experience work has almost always been OK. I wish I could say the same about all my colleagues. Sigh....

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

I was, not long ago, reading the abysmal spelling and grammar in an email from a person who makes probably twice my salary.
Just *ain't* fair, Pearl.

Douglas said...

I always volunteered to help others at work. Looking back, I now realize I was being masochistic with egotistical overtones.

Rather than face years of therapy I could not afford, I retired.

jenny_o said...

If you're already hanging on by your fingernails waiting for the weekend, it's got to be a terrible week. My sincere sympathies!

My inner brat - approx. 10 years old, in pigtails, face stuck in a book - would have something inappropriate to say also, I'm sure :)

vanilla said...

Tuesday, and you already have the weekend in your sights? One might question your devotion to the job; but I just noticed the little man's t-shirt reads "This too shall pass."

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I keep a tall, skinny, tatooed, greasy haired rocker in that corner of my brain. I think he once played with the Grateful Dead. He has QUITE the sense of humour.

Belle said...

My daughter used to tell me stories like this when she worked. She is a full-time mom now and very happy.

Joanne Noragon said...

I think you need a real Viking helmet, horns and all, to hang on top of your cubicle's entrance post. Unless the dork has a different route to her office. It would be a waste in that case.

wellfedfred said...

Workplace vengeance - the most satisfying. When I was leaving the firm of Hellhole and Horror, my secretary gave notice also, and the two of us did great things. Did you know that office machine "hot chocolate" has a mild laxative effect on people who are sensitive to phenylwhateverit is? Did you know that a person with truly fabulous manual dexterity can make a hole in the little envelope through which pulverized exlax can be added? And the hole, if not sealed perfectly, can easily be disguised as a wrinkle?.....

And of course, since the leader of the parade of horribles was way too important to program his speeddial himself, it was joy unbounded to change all the numbers to get varieties of Dial Porn... Of course after the first minute or two they stop and want a credit card, but if you're an egotist who calls important people on the speakerphone with your door open.....

Daisy said...

Oh dear. I've worked with a few like that over the years. Some acts of violence are found to be justifiable...just saying. :-)

Linda O'Connell said...

Archie Bunker called them dingbats.

Gina Gao said...

You have my utter sympathies. At least you would feel smart around them.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Jacquelineand.... said...

I rather suspect his tee shirt would read:

"The Sixth Sense: I See Stupid People."

Maria said...

At least you didn't hire a secretary who is now the bane of your existence.
That would be me. And I can't fire her because she is elderly and lives with her cat. Whenever I imagine firing her, I have to imagine her sitting shivering in her little apartment, sharing a can of Friskies with her kitty because I fired her ass.

Jocelyn said...

Please ping her this:

"Gone?"


Then let it simmer.

Lin said...

I came in to the office after a long weekend to find that one (of a few) a-holes was fired yesterday. YES! So, yep, while we slap our foreheads and grit our teeth, every so often (although not often enough, if you ask me), the knuckleheads DO get fired.

I'm guessing she'll find you when she really needs you.

HermanTurnip said...

ARGH! It's behavior like this that makes me wish we could cull the crowd. It's much like those people who reply with the one word "Yes" when you sent them an e-mail listing several questions, and asked for details. What the H?!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

My, my, such venom out there for the workplace challenged. Best to walk over to her (the old fashion way, face to face) and settle it in a way that you can both benefit. If that does not work, ignore her e-mails until she figures everything out.

George Turnbull said...

As always,a joy to read!

I am sooooo envious of your writing talent.

I do not know what motivates you to write but it certainly is obviously that your garage isn't about to collapse ... like mine!

Scarlet Blue said...

You remind me of why I quit my job.
It is Wednesday now, the weekend is even closer.
Sx

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

This would drive me crazy.......I am glad I do not have to deal with such people

Macy said...

Little did she know though, that she'd be starring in your blog later....
Revenge. Best. Cold.

Pat said...

Trouble is when you retire the time flees and every other day is Friday. Honsestly