Friday, July 11, 2008

Working Woes

Coworkers are an interesting concept. I believe they were initially created for experimental purposes; to study the effects of the human condition especially related to anxiety and anger management treatment; then either the experimentation got too out of control or pharmaceutical companies got too addicted to astronomical profits proliferated from their various depression and stress-related medications that the working "group" or "team" suddenly became the norm and solo-opportunity jobs, usually involving picking berries in the forest or painting majestic scenes located somewhere on the acres of property directly surrounding any given quaint farm home, became rare if not extinct.

Now I'm taking quite the risk including this post in today's ramblings. So far I've tried to write every post as if everyone I know (other than Mabel from Costa Rica) is reading it, which forces me to be rather sensitive and careful about certain aspects of my rambling. This post will keep me from forever sharing my blog address with my coworkers, outside of the one that already has it due to a misstep on my part (I don't think, however, any of this will be a surprise to him but will rather reinforce everything he already knew about the miserable person I can be as well as my frustrations).

I love my coworkers dearly and would gladly walk through fire for any of them even though I'm quite sure that a few of them would put themselves in risky situations just to see me walk through fire. However, when I'm confined with this group of people, day-in, day-out, I find my thoughts becoming quite violent and often morbid; I actually hide all the letter openers at the beginning of the day so that I won't have the temptation later to take them and stab each of my coworkers, directly through the temples on the sides of their heads, when I start getting quite frustrated with incompetences which usually wear my patience down to zero by lunch-time these days (I've spotted about 8 letter-openers at work which ironically is about the same number of coworkers).

Most of my frustrations lately have revolved around one in particular who is very sweet but knows how to get my blood-pressure up to violent levels at the sound of her voice. She is a little older and seems to be growing a bit prematurely senile. And if she drops her cane on the floor one more time and expects me to pick it up, I'm going to take it from her and throw it out into the street (She's dropped it 17 times today--I've been keeping a tally purely for curiosity's sake). I suppose my irritation is a bit higher today because I've been given a daunting task by my boss who somehow thinks I am his personal assistant, very similar to the relationship you see on The Devil Wears Prada, which has resulted in 3 years of writing letters for him, telling well over 3,000 people over the phone that he is unavailable and then dealing with all the screaming that was supposed to be directed at him, picking up gifts he promised to give my coworkers, returning an ENTIRE shopping cart of supplies to Walmart which he bought earlier in the day and then decided he didn't want any of them, and yes, even shopping for him once or twice (just to name a few examples). I don't strip myself completely of responsibility here; my willingness to do even the most insanely ridiculous tasks for him only enables the behavior and when I leave next month it will probably be a bit stressful for him to not have someone around who has memorized his schedule so he knows what he's supposed to be doing and who has completely prevented millions of people from contacting him for years because he'd rather not be contacted.

The daunting task was to tell this particular cane carrying coworker that she has been stripped of certain supervisor abilities due to some poor choices she has made in recent months which have resulted in major losses for our company. When I was told this morning that I needed to have this conversation with her by the end of the day, I looked at Meryl Streep with my head tilted down and said something to the effect "And . . . how is that my responsibility?" Meryl Streep then responded, in a way that I'm quite used to, "Well your responsibility is everything in your job description, plus any additional tasks assigned by me. It was in the fine print. You should have read it more carefully." On a side note, the only thing that prevented me from having an attack spurred by coworker-induced-rage today was when one of my coworkers (the one who has this blog address) fed about 60 label sheets into his printer one by one after he and I spent most of the day trying to figure out how to mail merge in Excel using a database that was not ultra compatible with what we were trying to do (all according to the demands of Meryl Streep); he fed them in one by one because the printer made a loud beeping sound after each sheet was printed which drove my boss insane. He kept asking, "can't you just put them in all at once so it doesn't beep every time?!" To which coworker responded, "This is the only way I know to do it." Which I believed until boss got up and left after several minutes, ready to pull his hair out, and I saw coworker promptly put the rest of the label pages in the printer and finish without the beeping.

Now don't misread me here; I actually really like my boss and get along with him very well (despite our constant bickering which is really more humorous than anything else) but I love to see him get a taste of my frustration from time to time.

As for my coworker whom I am expected to confront by day's end, I've decided to wait until she does something to take me to the height of my rage before unloading this on her while throwing this stack of papers sitting in front of me at my boss's face while telling him that for our gift exchange for work at one Christmas party I really wanted to buy a gift certificate to a restaurant that only serves anthrax because that would have been a gift I would have been happy with any of them receiving . . . but I'm all talk; I'm sure I'll let her know gently . . . on my way out to pick up Meryl's dry-cleaning.


  1. Gosh, I'm glad I'm not one of your coworkers! Ha Ha Ha I hope you don't feel the same way about your lovely sister :) No, I totally can relate to the rage thing! It happens on the days when you litterly are doing everything while everyone else is wandering around and visiting with everyone else! And when people - who are supposed to be "in charge" - cause DRAMA and target people for no apparant reason. It is so messed up, but what do you do?

  2. I think that's the first time I've actually laughed so hard while reading a blog that I had tears streaming down my face! I can totally relate to everything you wrote, except the letter openers.... I thought your weapon of choice was all those weird projectile designs you make with the paperclips and rubber bands... Oh well, to each his own...

  3. That post was great! I love that you keep referring to your boss as Meryl. Except now, I have imagined your boss as a man cross-dressing as Meryl and it's disturbing.

  4. This blog sums up all the reasons why I am actively looking to purchase a house on the beach (or in the jungle) of Ecuador this year. Once I'm living in my little third-world shack, if I ever have days when I wonder if I made the right decision, I'll pull up your blog and read it again... then, I'll sink back into my sweaty hammock with a big ol' smile on my face and take another sip of coconut milk (as I swat away the mosquitos), and I'll know for certain that I made the right choice.

    A word of advice, though, before you kill somebody and end up as someone's "Personal Assistant/Girlfriend" at Point of the Mountain Resort, perhaps you should start taking some of those medications that were invented for stressed-out office workers.

    I love you madly!!!

  5. That was great Eli! I enjoyed it tremendously, as I sit here at my job... thinking if i have any letter openers.. We should seriously just run away and live off the goverment. Who needs jobs!

  6. Agreed Erin; but I won't live off the government. I'm far too conservative and reasonable for that. I will, however, live off the land on some island somewhere. With my stimulus check.

  7. I'm so sorry to hear that Phyllis has you so upset! I can totally sympathize with the whole office drama thing, and if you do end up killing someone and going to prison, I'll bake you a cake with a file inside so you can escape ;)

  8. Dude. She's dropping her cane so she can check you out when you bend over to pick it up. Seems you have 2 choices: Date her or sue her.

  9. HA! Nothing is more funny (funnier) than reading your blog while I'm sitting here at work and hear over and over "Well, you have a FAN-TASTIC day" (que in the Office Space phone greeter... "just a moment".)