Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sharing a Bed

Do you ever get used to sharing a bed with someone? My husband out-weighs me by nearly 100lbs and we had a waterbed when we got married. I used to get launched into the air if he jumped into bed too forcefully. As the years went by, we graduated to a firm waveless waterbed, which eliminated that particular problem. But the war over blankets raged on. So, we got separate blankets. Just when I think we’ve worked out every conceivable issue, I roll over in bed (sound asleep) and crack my eye-socket on HIS elbow that is resting on MY pillow!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Copier Cussed Me Out

I fat-fingered the fax number as I attempted to send a document to another office on our campus, and apparently dialed a phone number instead. A voice issues forth from the copy machine (multi-function digital imager, I should say), "Hello. Helllllloo?" and suddenly, "Well, F--- you then!" I nearly fell over from shock. I cancelled the transmission, which was now ringing in that annoying fax machine chime, which severed the line. But I huffed around swearing that if I could just remember how I had mis-dialed, I would call back and demand to speak to the woman's manager. At first, I thought it was hopeless. But, the copier is set to automatically print an error report--which includes, ta da!--the number dialed. I decided to Google the number first to make sure it was a business and not a residence. The phone number belonged to someone on our very campus! I dialed the number and asked my coworker why she cussed me out for misdialling.

She was completely unaware that human ears had heard her rude comments. She imagined that she was just screaming at a machine that was buzzing in her ear. So, if you have a filthy mouth, you might want to be advised about this possibility. Some facsimiles have this special direct dial function. Gotta love technology!

That Is the Correct Answer

I braved the crowds at the grocery store the other day. As I navigated through the busy aisles, I observed a mother and her son whose age I imagine to be round 5 or 6 years old. The boy was chattering away, and his mother responded, "Well, would you rather have a mother who is pretty or one who is NICE to you?"

I thought to myself, "Don't answer, Kid! It's a set-up! It's like when I ask my husband if a certain outfit makes me look fat--there really is no right answer!" The woman was pretty, but had badly thinning hair and I dreaded the child's response.

But I was engaged. I could no longer pass by quietly--I had to know how it would play out. I stopped cold in my tracks and stared.

The little boy considered the question briefly, then looked up at his mother adoringly and exclaimed, "You're BOTH, mom!"

Without thinking of being discreet, I blurted out, "THAT is the correct answer! Well done."

The mother smiled, being especially flattered that someone had witnessed his precious words.

As I managed to pull myself from the scene in search of rice noodles, I thought how the young one had learned what some grown men never do.

Just adore us; what is so difficult about that? It's what women want.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Manager of the Year

This year, Manager of the Year was decided by employee vote. One manager was slighted by not being included on the ballot. One name on the ballot was not technically a manager. Most employees did not even receive a ballot, and only those employees with company email accounts were ever aware of the voting arrangement. But that is typical method of operation at our workplace. The whole thing being a popularity contest--and poorly orchestrated at that--destroyed any honor that might have otherwise been assigned to the award. Bottom line: no one cared about winning. No one except for my boss who daily finds reasons to remind her staff that she is their boss as if they haven’t known the fact for years. She is anxiously awaiting the results of the vote, which much to her dismay would not be announced until the employee meeting. And she had scheduled a vacation day on the day of the meeting. When her best friend, who is the HR manager insisted that she attend the company meeting even though it fell on her day off, she began to expect to receive the award. (I’m sure her ego had convinced her that she deserved it long before her friend ever hinted at the idea.) Well, another well-liked manager, who was recovering from back surgery, was also emphatically encouraged to attend in his delicate condition, he also expected to receive the award. When the award was presented to a manager that had been hired only 7 months ago, my boss turned beet-red. Rage shown in her eyes (she despises new people, especially capable ones), and she slid from a standing position against the wall, into a sitting position on the floor. She stayed slumped there on the floor with her jaw dropped and eyes wide for several minutes before she could compose herself. In fact, it was some time after his acceptance speech before she could be coaxed up off of the floor. The girls on her staff darted glances at each other and then low giggles and comments. None of them had voted for her.

The next day, a coworker complained about the choice for manager of the year. He thought the man with the back problems should have won because of his seniority. I argued that the award ought to go to someone who could point to tangible accomplishments specific to this year’s business. I pointed out that the recipient had saved the company thousands of dollars by getting to the bottom of an issue with the facility that his predecessors had ignored for years. The man clung to his original argument, insisting that manager of the YEAR shouldn’t go to someone who had served less than a year with the company. I said, "the man accomplished more in 7 months than all of the others did in a whole year." Then he told me how several people from that department wanted to honor the senior manager’s assistant, so they staged a write in vote for her instead of casting their votes for him. I asked, "what does that say about a manager whose employees would rather waste their vote on someone who would be disqualified rather than vote for their own manager?"

What I found most interesting is that the man who did win is not the nice manager who tries to be everyone’s buddy, and it was not one who has been their the longest, or even the one with the most responsibility. It was the military man, highly organized, exacting, demanding, who runs a tight ship and holds everyone to a lofty standard. He is universally hated by all other managers because he shows up their complacency. I would have expected the majority of employees to prefer the complacent, lazy managers who cut corners and allow slacking, but I was wrong. I hope this sends a message to the other managers that we expect them to push us to succeed.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do the Math

Recently, the evil genius that is my supervisor, informed me that my hours were going to be cut even further. On Wednesdays, I would now be arriving to work in the afternoon instead of the morning. Having no options in the matter, I submitted and arrived at noon the following Wednesday. She was very upset because she had intended to work me from 1pm to 5pm, and I had already clocked in at 12:00. She began to scold me, but I reminded her that she had not specified an exact time, adding that most people consider the "afternoon" to begin at 12:00. She sent me home at 4pm to punish me, which meant that she had to complete an unfinished task that she finds particularly unpleasant.

The next day, she approached me in another department and took great satisfaction in snarling, "Oh, and Friday, I won’t be needing you, so don’t bother coming in." I just smiled and thanked her for letting me know ahead of time.

Two hours later, after considering the workload she would be facing alone, she dialed my extension, "Scratch that, I’m going to need you here at 10:00." Since most of the staff goes home at noon on Fridays, I inquired how long a shift I should expect. She said I would be needed until 2 or 3pm. I am happy to drive for 2 hours for 4 or 5 hours of pay, but not for 2, so I agreed.

On Friday, I arrived at 10:00am and was sent home at 11:30am. I drove for 2 hours to make an hour and a half of wages. That is absolutely ridiculous! I spoke to her manager about it before I left the premises. He seemed sympathetic, but ultimately could not care less. I actually sat down and did the math. After subtracting out my travel expenses, I made $4.51 per hour when I work a 2 hour day. What I need is a salary based on the 28 hours per week that I was promised; then I would be thrilled to be sent home early every day!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game

Today I was set up perfectly to disappoint my boss by a coworker. I was so impressed by the artful execution of the technique that I almost forgot to be mad about it. It was really well-done, but far in the background somewhere I was also furious. I knew she was cunning, but I had underestimated her–-now I know that she is an evil genius!

Because I arrive so promptly each day, our boss entrusted me with an assignment to prepare a daily progress report for him. My supervisor was very jealous when she found out, but since she is a late riser and the report must be prepared for a morning meeting, she could not reassign the task to herself (which is her usual method of operation when she feels that a task is too prestigious for me).

Well, on this particular morning, the meeting had been canceled. So, he asked me to delay creating the report until the previous evening’s paperwork could be processed, so that the information would reflect up to the minute progress. I started to process the paperwork, but found a note from my supervisor requesting me to enter the month-end inventory for my first task. So, while I was entering the inventory, she arrived and began processing the previous evening’s paperwork. Now, normally, this paperwork is left for me while my supervisor listens to her voice messages, and checks her email, horoscope, catches up on current events online and such. Just as I finished with inventory, she stood up from her chair, announced that she had finished the paperwork and would be completely bored for the rest of the morning. To further demonstrate that she was finished, she went to the coffee station and mixed herself a hot chocolate and chatted about nothing in particular. I checked the inbox to confirm that it was indeed empty. It was. So, I prepared my bosses progress report and set it on his desk. When he returned to his desk, he was visibly thrilled to see the report at his disposal. I beamed proudly. Then she settled into her chair to watch it all unravel. As he studies the report, devising his plan of attack for the day, he looked up and said, "we already did this" and then, "these should have been done yesterday," and to my dismay, "when was this report printed?" Then my supervisor pulled an enormous stack of papers from under her keyboard and says sarcastically, "Of course your report is wrong, I haven’t finished processing your paperwork." Yes, I had prepared a report that was basically worthless because she fed me misinformation. He was so utterly disgusted with my performance, and his body language was so animated as he dashed the report into the trashcan and stormed out that I did not even dare to defend myself. She’d beaten me soundly and now there was nothing to do but applaud.