Thursday, December 27, 2007

Resolutions for 2008 – The Work List

Every year people ask me if I have made any New Year’s Resolutions. And every year my answer is always a resounding “No”. I don’t feel like just because it is a New Year I should be forced to change any of my bad habits. I will get around to that when I feel like it.

But since I only have two days of work this week and I bored to tears I thought I would think about things I want to change/improve when it comes to me and the office I work in. Now, of course, it would be nice to say things like “Earn more money” or “Not work so many hours” or “Find better coworkers” but those aren’t really things that I can control.

So without further ado, here is my list of New Years Resolutions for the year 2008 that I can have some control in the destiny of brining about to a reasonable conclusion:

Wash Coffee Cup
Every morning when I come into work I look at my desk and frown because of the half inch of cold dusty coffee that sits in my mug. I will try my hardest to clean the mug before I go home at night.

Water Bamboo Plant
Since moving the cool three stalk bamboo plant I bought in China town last year off my desk to a shelf above it, I sort of forget to water him. Will work on this.

Resist The Urge To Throw Things At Co-Workers
Sometimes I picture myself hurtling my blue stand-up Swingline stapler over the half wall of my cubicle and watch it connect with the head of numerous unnamed co-workers. This just harbors unfair feelings of angst towards my co-workers and my stapler.

Hunt Down The People Who Leave Dirty Dishes in the Sink
I don’t think any explanation is needed for this one.

Bring A Lunch
While the salads and sandwiches from the little café downstairs are tasty, their price tags tend to eat into my savings for other things, like gas or medical insurance.

Do My Hair
I am addicted to the fun clips that my mother says make my hair look like that of a homeless person. I figure why not start off the year by wowing my co-workers with some new looks. Anyone out there know how to braid like they do in the Caribbean?

Adopt a New Catchphrase
I am a big fan of “Rock On” and “That’s How I Roll”. This year I will change that and come up with something else that I can say when I need to fill the dead voids during a conversation.

Ease Up On The Lists
As anyone who reads this blog or knows me in person knows, I am a lover of lists. My organized mind likes when things are easily laid out before me. But I think I can get carried away with them sometimes.

Since I have tomorrow off and then it is the New Year, I doubt that I will come up with any gems to add to this site. But add onto the above list "Continue posting provocative and insightful stuff on blog" and I will see you in 2008!

Happy New Year!

The Office Scribe

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

American Workers Unite!

I sometimes really hate working for an American company. It seems that we get royally screwed out of some serious days off. Every week it seems like we are getting e-mails from other offices because they are going to be closed for this holiday or that holiday. And some of these sound very made up. So in retaliation, I am making up a list of days off that I think we, the American worker, needs off and am going to present it to the head of HR. I will let you know how things go.

Super Bowl Monday
After a day of feasting on hot wings and nachos, chased with copious amounts of cold beer we need a day to recover and let the Pepto work its magic.

Super Tuesday
I love to vote but I hate my polling place. It’s a local elementary school and because of my work schedule the only time I can make it over there is when all the kids are showing up and because Mrs. Smith can’t let little Johnny take the bus and has to drive him, there are no parking spaces. All this could be solved by not having to work so I could vote at 11:00 am. (Plus, this year Super Tuesday is also my birthday which should be a national holiday in it’s own right).

Valentine’s Day
Solely because I hate when co-workers get mushy gifts from their significant others. Keep that crap at home. Plus, no one looks good in pink and those little chalk-esque hearts make me gag.

St. Patrick’s Day
The day an entire nation decides to adopt a nationality not their own solely to drink green beer and wear funny hats is a day no person should have to work.

Random Thursday
I’d like to think we don’t really need a special reason to take this day off.

The First Monday After Kids Go Back To School
A day at the mall without having to fight through crowds of teenagers who should be working at the Gap instead of shopping there is definitely worth a day off.

And Finally: Spring Cleaning Day
A day in which you can throw out all the clutter you have accumulated since going into winter hibernation. Or you could spend the day out buying more clutter. The choice is yours.

Have a recommendation? I’d love to hear it. Send me an e-mail and if I get some gems, I might have to update the list.

The Office Scribe

Friday, December 21, 2007

We who are about to drink salute you

You know how you can really determine how awesome a co-worker is? Sure, you can sit by them day by day and watch how they work and learn about them through chit chat and small talk. Or you can go balls to the walls drinking with them after a holiday work party.

Consider this my thank you to all the people were hardcore enough to continue on after we shut down the movie theater on Wednesday night and made our way to the local Irish pub. Thank you to those who said weren’t deterred by it being Open Mic night and packed like a college frat party. Thank you to those who we didn’t think would be there but were and are now much cooler in my book because of it.

And thank you to everyone who actually got up the next day and made it to work. Personally, I have never been so happy in my life to have a day or two off. While I was stumbling to the bathroom at 7:30AM to pop 3 Motrin to kill my headache, you were getting in your cars. When I groggily let my dog out at 9:00AM you were checking e-mails and answering phone calls. When I finally got my ass out of bed around 10:00AM with one of the better hangovers that I have had in a while, you were in meetings and dealing with customers.

It took me almost a day and a half to deal with the repercussions of that night and you, the gladiators of my office, pushed through and worked while I lounged. I bow down and kneel before you, unworthy to consider myself your equal and yet hoping that if the situation were different I would be.

So don’t think that I didn’t find myself thinking about you, the mighty warriors I call co-workers, while I was on my day off. Because I was.

Have a wonderful Holiday and I will see you all on Wednesday.

The Office Scribe

P.S. – If for some reason you were out with me that night and didn’t manage to make it to work on time the next day, don’t worry. I don’t think any less of you. Because chances are I didn’t think much of you in the first place!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Crocodile Dundee Drinking Game - Official Rules

My office Christmas Party is at a movie theater this year and they are showing Crocodile Dundee. Not sure why, but they are. We figured a lot of people will not stay to watch the movie, which is why I came up with a drinking game to encourage people to stay and hang out. I thought I would share the rules with you.

Happy Holidays!

The Office Scribe

The Crocodile Dundee Drinking Game Official Rules Disclaimer: All participants enter into this game of their own free will and understand that the consumption of alcohol has an intoxicating effect. Please, drink responsibly mate.

Rule # 1 Whenever someone says “mate” all players must drink.

Rule # 2 If a crocodile attacks someone the last player to make a “hook” with their index finger must drink.

Rule # 3 If a person attacks a crocodile the last player with a thumb up drinks.

Rule # 4 If any player asks “What did they say?” – that player has to drink.

Rule #5 If any player explains what a person says – that player drinks.

Rule # 6 If Crocodile Dundee is ever without a hat, the last player to put their hand on their head drinks.

Rule # 7 If at any point, a player quotes a line from the movie they must drink. (This includes the knife line.)

And remember. This game can be just as much fun when played with water or soda so even you teetotalers can join in!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Joyous what-ever-else-people-celebrate!

Monday, December 17, 2007

365 days of work summed up in one hour

My annual review is coming up on Wednesday. It’s the same day as our company Christmas party. It’s also the same day that my two co-workers and I are exchanging gifts. Also, it’s my last day of work for the week.

Seriously, I am so excited for that day might head might explode.

“Excited for your annual review? Are you crazy?”

Yes, yes I am. I don’t know why but I have the same feeling that I get on December 24th at about 9:00 PM when I realize I will have a sock full of goodies and presents from Santa under the tree the next morning. (Yes, I still get presents from Santa at 25 and that is why my parents are awesome!) That twitchy feeling in my stomach where I am so excited I start to shake like someone put a quarter in my desk chair.

The only part I don’t like is that we have to fill out a self-evaluation form to bring to the meeting. I have never been good at judging myself. I don’t think I give myself enough credit because I like to be modest. And seriously, anyone who thinks they are doing their job perfectly is sorely mistaken. I am of the school of thought that there is always room for improvement. Except in the case of Ferrero Rocher candies: those are perfect. Don’t mess with them. The dark chocolate version that they came out with are no where near as tasty.

Where was I? Oh yeah, grading myself. There is a reason I have a boss. They are there to tell me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong. Beauty Pageant contestants don’t get to answer questions they make up themselves and give points if they do a killer kick-spin baton twirl. Why do I have to label my performance for the year?

And if I was doing poorly at my job, wouldn’t that we reflected in the quality of my work? Logic would say yes. But then when has the corporate world ever been logical?

So tonight, in between me baking Turtle Cheesecake Tartlets for our baking competition tomorrow and trying to dry my clothes with a broken dryer, I will take a moment and give some thought to how I have been working this year. And I’ll put down whatever I need to. Because, like Stanley from The Office said: “It’s all about my bonus”.

The Office Scribe

Friday, December 14, 2007

Does anybody work any more?

I took the day off, mainly because I had vacation days left but also because I had to get some Christmas shopping done or the people I know and love were going to be very upset with me come December 25.

So I went to a local mall, one that is actually near my office. It is a truly great mall. All the stores I needed for my Christmas shopping. I drove over there and arrived about 10:30 AM and damned if I couldn’t find a parking space. It was 10:30 AM on a Friday morning and all the spaces in the lots were taken except for those located in the area my friends and I like to call “Rape-O Land”. And I wasn’t parking there. I was planning on doing massive shopping and the thought of lugging all those bags half way across the tundra of the parking lot chilled me more than today’s wind chill.

I then headed to the parking deck, which is 5 levels of nothing but parking. I ended up on LEVEL 4!!! Again, it is only 10:30 AM on a Friday. (Okay, maybe 10:45 AM at this point.)

The mall is packed with people. And not just the elderly or bored looking housewives that I know don’t work. There were people of all ages, just wandering around the mall. I saw kids that looked like there definitely should have been in school, adults walking hand in hand as I stared, wondering why they weren’t at work. Colleges weren’t out yet and I don’t think schools were closed. And how could the world function if all those people took the day off?

That leaves only one conclusion. They were all zombies.

Think about it. The glazed over looks as they plod from store to store. The lack of any actual shopping being done by them. Scooping out the brains of a Cini-bun employee like frozen yogurt. Oh, wait, maybe I didn’t actually see that last one.

These lonely, lost souls with nothing better to do have come back to the mall, must like the movie Dawn of the Dead. A place they know and feel comfortable at.

That movie should have been nominated for an Oscar for best documentary.

The Office Scribe

Thursday, December 13, 2007

1 Freezer + 125 employees = Problem. Big, Smelly, Crowded Problem!

Like most offices, mine has a communal refrigerator for employees to use. Actually, the entire company has three, one in the lunch room, one on the other side of the building, and one by the coffee bar. The third one is the fridge that I sit closest to and the one that I have the most issues with.

And I’m going to address it McCoughlin Group style:

Issue # 1 - People who store enough food in the fridge to get them through a week long snow storm or a severe case of the munchies.

I don’t understand why people feel the need to bring in three weeks worth of Lean Cusines, a full pound of ham, or a 2-liter bottle of soda. Yes, I wish I could store all the food I might want during the day in a cold place easily accessible to my desk. But I also wish I had wings so I could fly and avoid lines at airports, but that isn’t going to happen. Neither is the impending Armageddon that these co-workers must be anticipating.

Issue # 2 – The Ice Queens

There are two distinct groups of females in my office: Those who have gone through menopause and those who haven’t. I, being 25, have not gone through that “change of life” yet. But I know stuff about it. I understand that one of the side affects is that you get hot flashes. And I understand that you deal with these hot flashes by drinking ice water. But you, the Ice Queens, need to understand that the ice in the freezer is not just for you. If I want to chill down my diet coke or put some ice on my knee after slamming it into my file cabinet, I will do so. I would appreciate you keeping your icy stares to yourself.

Issue # 3 – I think I saw that movie

There are containers in the fridge here full of dark, viscous substances that someone once tried to convince me at some point held chopped salad. I doubt this. Ever see the movie “The Blob”? I think these containers are really the origin of this human-consuming monster.

Issue # 4 – Mr. or Mrs. Pizza Box

You forgot your lunch on a Monday, I understand. You decide you are in the mood for pizza, I understand. You put the pizza box in the fridge, taking up the top shelf while only three slices remain in the box. This I don’t understand. I know for a fact that we have foil in a cabinet over there. Take some pieces and get ride of the space holder!

Issue # 5 – People who put insulated lunch bags in the fridge

Your lunch is in a specially designed sack that is meant to keep it cold for up to nine hours which means that it will still be cold if you skipped lunch and took it home for dinner. Yet you insist on cramming it into the fridge, its padded sides taking up more space than the food alone inside it would. Want to ensure your food will stay cold? Buy an ice pack. You can go with the classic blue or one that suits your style. Mine looks like a giant Oreo Cookie.

Issue # 6 – If it isn’t yours why is it in your mouth?

This is one I will never get. I go out and buy some Gingerbread Coffeemate and clearly write my name on the top. And yet, within two days, there isn’t any left. I did not buy this for the department. If I did, I would have inscribed the words “Help Yourself!” on the top, not my name.

And when this happens with food I am at even more of a loss. Did you really think that the sandwich in the brown paper bag was put there for you? Think again.

Issue # 7 – We’re cleaning the fridge, get your stuff out!

Once a month (or three weeks) a department is assigned to clean out the fridge. The MO is to just throw everything out that is in the fridge. No matter what. So to be fair, the department will send out reminders. I think the last group sent out a total of 12 reminders in two days. Yet when the people don’t come to get their stuff and it is thrown out, they blow up. How dare someone throw away their precious Tupperware with what could only be described as a medical experiment gone horribly wrong inside. How dare someone throw away their empty Gatorade Bottle. How dare someone throw away their lunch box. (You mean the one that was full of Miller Hi Life?)

Issue # 8 – Happy Birthday to Mold

Departments love to party and the way they celebrate the most is with food. But the leftovers that sit in the fridge for weeks sour the celebratory mood. I understand that we always bring in too much. But if I notice extra of what I brought in, guess what, I take it home. I don’t let it fester in the fridge, praying that someone will eat it, clean my platter, and bring it back to me. Nice try.

And that’s that. Those are the reasons why I don’t put anything in the fridge anymore. Hell, I would completely avoid the room that it is in if it weren’t for the fact that the copier is in there. And I can’t live without my copies.

The Office Scribe

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blinded by the (Christmas) Lights

I am exhausted. Luckily, I have a lot of time off during the month of December. See, that is what happens when you really don’t go anywhere during the year and are forced to use all your vacation days before December 31.

Anyway, in my sleepy haze, I have been looking around the office and I am proud of the number of holiday decorations that I see. The department next to me wrapped all their filing cabinets in gift wrap. Another department hung hand-made snowflakes from the ceiling tiles. My department on the other hand, has been way too busy to even think about decorations.

Well, that is except for me. I found, at Jewel, a 99 cent gold garland which I strung from my shelf next to my desk. Oh, but I did not stop there. I got super creative and printed out pictures of Judy Garland, Jon Garland (Chicago White Sox) and Garland Green (Soul Singer) and hung them from the garland. So I now have a garland of Garlands.

The clever people in the office get it. But sadly, a majority of them don’t. Even after I explain it to them. (((Sigh)))

The Office Scribe

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Poem - Too Many People

Too many people are gone from my office.

Too many people want things from me in one day.

Too many people are sending me e-mails.

Too many people have my phone number.

Too many people brought in food and now I am in sugar shock.

Too many people are keeping me busy so I can't write here!!!

The Office Scribe

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Search for the Perfect Calendar

Each day when I come into the office I sit down at my desk, turn on my computer, and rip a page off my page-a-day calendar that hangs on my cubicle wall. As I ripped of the pages (extra for the weekend) I was shocked to see how few were left. It’s December and that means I am once again on my hunt for the perfect desk calendar.

Right now I am rocking a Far Side Page-A-Day. Yes, I know there is nothing shocking about the Far Side. It has basically been out since I have been able to read. I think the guy stopped writing new ones when I was in junior high. But it is a visual joke that generally makes me smile as I start my day. Plus I think I picked it up in early February for around $2.00 at Barnes and Noble and you can’t be that price.

(At home I have a wall calendar that showcases Bunny Suicides. It is demented and dark and weird which pretty much sums up my sense of humor, but that is nearly at it’s end to.)

So I have compiled a list of criteria that I think makes the perfect Page-A-Day Calendar. (Plus this gives me an excuse to compile a list, which as you may have figured out from previous posts, I adore!)

1) No sports
I am a sports loving girl. I watch the Bears on TV and love spending evenings watching the White Sox. But I do not need to know inane sports trivia like who hit the most left handed home runs in 1984 or which punter lost his shoe the most often while kicking. I will leave that for the guys who watch Sports Center at 6 different times during the day and spend more time on their Fantasy picks than they did on what to name their kids.

2) No animals
I’ll be honest, all animal related calendars should be burned to provide heat for the homeless. There is nothing creepier than looking at a co-workers calendar of small kittens frolicking in a field or dogs dressed in funny outfits. It’s cruel. No, not to the animals. But to me for having to look at them all day.

3) It must be funny
Everyone should start their day with a laugh. Whether it is a joke or a cartoon, I don’t care. But Bible quotes are not funny. Lines from poems are not funny. Political satire is not funny. The New Yorker is not funny. (I don’t care who you are but you can stop kidding yourself. Admit that you don’t understand the cartoons in the New Yorker and come down off your pretentious ledge).

4) No games
How much time do you think I would waste if I found a new crossword puzzle or brain teaser at my desk each morning? I guarantee my production would slip. Oh, and definitely no Sodoku (sp?). I don’t get that game and I never will.

5) Educational is okay
The word-a-day calendars are okay by me. I am all for expanding a person’s vocabulary. Plus, I once saw one that had the word defenestration on it. And that is my favorite word in the English Language. (Chupa Cabra is my favorite in Spanish). Don’t know what it means? Tough. Look it up and then use it in a sentence today.

So that is my list. Short but it covers a lot. Looking for a desk calendar of your own? Feel free to print it out and take it with you in your quest. I like to know I might be helping people out there.

The Office Scribe

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mickey Mouse + Chain Saw = Printer Sounds

I don’t know why, but I think the printers at work are rodent serial killers. And no, I don’t think they are little pests that dress as clowns and drown people in their basements. I think the printers are serial killers and they are killing mice.

That is the only rational explanation I have to explain the noise that is emitted from them on a daily basis. The office can be in the throws of a rare moment of silence (i.e. no phones ringing, sales people gabbing, or repair men hammering away in the suite above) and it is shattered by the squeaking that whines out of the printer.

It’s more than annoying. It makes me want to reenact that scene from Office Space where they take the printer/copier out into a field and go mobster on it with a baseball bat. It makes me want to hand write everything so I don’t have to print. It makes me want to lock myself in a room with Fran Drescher.

But sadly, none of these options are acceptable. So each day I sit at my desk and cringe, my co-worker stating the obvious with a “That’s annoying” or “Can you hear that?”.

We send e-mail after e-mail to IT, hoping for once that a competent repair man will show up and save us from the screeching noise that is like baboons in mating season or teenage girls when they see Zac Efron.

Unfortunately, none of the repair men are able to actually fix the problem. They spend a lot of time on their Nextel walkie talkies (which as almost as annoying with their little beeps) trying to talk to the “home office” about what the problem could be. An equal amount of time is spent staring at the printer with their hands on their hips.

My favorite explanation was that the noise was because of “paper dust”. I snidely asked if this was similar to “pixie dust” and sadly the guy didn’t get it. I asked if there was a way to occasionally clean the printer. He told me yeah, but it requires a can of the spray air. Oh good lord, such a rare and cherished thing, I thought. Where would we ever find something so exotic? Answer: Half the company has one on their desks to get the crumbs out of their keyboards.

So I just sit here and silently put up with the squeaking. I make up stories about it. I vent about it here.

But if one day you hear about a lady being locked up for attempting to kill a printer repair man by shoving a can of air down his throat, think fondly of me as I rock away in my straight jacket in a padded room.

The Office Scribe

Difficult Phone Calls aka Stupid Questions

I know I have done an entry on here about phone calls where people mumble or don’t really pay attention during the phone call. But seeing as I just got out of an hour long training session on dealing with difficult clients, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite calls I have received from clients in my duration here:

1) I once got yelled at for not being a mind reader. No joke. The lady asked me why I never mentioned the option of visiting a certain city in Thailand. I replied that I didn’t even think of it since it would be adding another three days onto their tour. Her answer: Well you should have. I thought your company anticipated what I might consider doing while traveling.
2) Having to explain to people why they “lose” a day flying from Los Angeles to Sydney. See, you cross the International Date Line and just lose that day. So, if your tour starts on the 24th, you need to actually leave LAX on the 22nd. The 23rd goes bye bye. This makes people ask really dumb questions like:
- Are you charging me for that lost day? Because I don’t think I should pay for something that doesn’t exist.
- Does that mean it is a 48 hour flight?
- Where does the day go? Do they actually have Thursdays in Australia?
And so on and so on.
3) People who complain about the food that was on their tour. My personal fav was the comment about how while on a tour of China, there was “too much Chinese food”.
4) A client once accused me of trying to ruin their trip because I couldn’t get the make or model of Rolls Royce they requested in Italy to pick them up.
5) Quite a few clients don’t understand why I need their passport numbers, even though we are the ones booking their tour, hotels, air, and processing their visa. I, personally, would give as much information to the people that I was entrusting with my life while I spent two weeks in a foreign land.
6) The clients who don’t understand why we don’t have tours to Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, or Sudan. But when I point out we do have one that goes to North Korea, they say “Why on earth would anyone want to go there?”

I guess this is just part of dealing with people in any industry. Anyone else have any fun stories about phone calls?

The Office Scribe

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Flu Season aka The Time of year I want to come to work dressed as Darth Vader (or an extra from Outbreak)

People around me are coughing. And it is making me nervous.

Every year around this time I hear people from all over the office start to sniffle, cough, clear their throats, sigh heavily, and make other noise which alerts me to the fact that people are getting sick in my office.

Let me start out by saying I am not a germiphobe. I will eat food that has fallen on the floor after yelling out “Five second rule”. I don’t hover above toilet seats. I have been known to use someone else’s toothbrush if I can’t find my own.

But when I hear people getting sick in my office I want to buy one of those inflatable Christmas Snow Globes that grace so many front yards during this time of year, get a lap top, and set up shop within. Ever see the movie “Bubble Boy”? Yeah, I want that to be my cubicle.

Why? Do you ask, would I want to surround myself in heavy gauge plastic? Answer: I hate being sick. To me, there is nothing more miserable in the world than laying in bed without the energy to even get up and close the blinds when the sun shines in on you. I know there are some people out there who are like “I love sick days”. Yeah, I do too. But only when I am suffering from diseases like Spring Fever and I need a mental health day-itis.

Last winter the stomach flu was going around my office and I was lucky enough to get it. I was down for two days (24 hours my ass) and during that time I wanted to die. The only place I felt comfortable was lying on the cold bathroom tiles. At one point, when the bathroom was occupied, I actually went outside and got sick off the deck. My mom came out a few minutes later to find me nearly unconscious in 40 degree weather, a smile plastered on my face because I felt “So much better”.

I want to avoid this feeling at all costs this year. But I refuse to use hand sanitizer. In my department last year everyone used this magic gel that burned paper cuts like lemon juice, swearing up and down that they would be fine.


Everyone got sick. I believe there is going to be an outbreak of some super plague and it will be caused by the over sanitation courtesy of Johnson and Johnson.

So this year I am going to consume more Vitamin C than an orange tree can produce, drink lots of water, and avoid talking to my co-workers at all cost.

Unless we go out for drinks. Gin protects you from the flu, doesn’t it?

The Office Scribe

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We'll Be Back After A Brief Break

I just returned from a day off. Actually, because of the Thanksgiving holiday and the weekend, I haven’t been at work in 5 days. Coming back to work even after a brief leave is really difficult. It is as if everything I knew, that I had learned in the past year or so of my employment here, was sucked out of my head as I was away from the office for 5 whole days.

It started when I got in my car this morning. (Okay, not my car. My dad’s car because my car need to be fixed after I was hit by a rather large SUV a couple weeks ago. Yeah, tons of fun.) Anyway, I sat there and I didn’t even have the energy to turn the key. I wanted to stay at home and watch bad daytime TV and not have to get out of my flannel pajama pants and a t-shirt.

But I had to go to work. A little voice deep down in me was telling me that the proper thing to do was to just get to work and get back into my routine.

On arrival at work, I found it difficult to get out of the car. I wanted to stay and listen to talk radio and not have to deal with everything that I knew was waiting for me at my desk.

But again, that little voice started chiding me for being lazy and told me to get out of the car and into the building.

I took the elevator because the stairs looked too daunting. A brief wave to one of the receptionists and I was in. People immediately started asking how my time off was. My pat answer “Nice”. I didn’t want to tell them how awesome it was to sleep in as late as I wanted to and not have to think about what I was going to wear. How my mom and I hit up the mall yesterday when everyone else was at work. About discovering the restaurant that serves martini flights with my cousin. No, instead I just told them it was “Nice”.

At my desk I cringed when I saw the red light indicating messages on my machine. Another when I saw the 30 or so e-mails in my Inbox. (P.S. – Thank you Outlook for your Out Of Office Message that never seems to work on my computer.) And yet a third as I dragged myself to the coffee bar and saw that the coffee pot with the duct tape on the handle was empty.

So I made another pot, when back to my desk, and did what was really important: checked my personal e-mails, Facebook messages, and how I was doing in my celebrity fantasy league (2nd place).

It is after lunch and my day is crawling along. I don’t want to answer important e-mails or return phone calls. I have tried to occupy my time with the Internet, but even that is starting to get old.

So yet again, the little man inside my head has started whispering about the stack of work waiting for me on my desk. It is with a bit of sadness that I stare at the pile and know I am back at work.

Luckily I have every Friday off in December so life isn’t that bad…

The Office Scribe

Making Your Mark

There is nothing like running into another employee in the lunchroom and them asking you if you are a new employee because they haven’t a clue about who you are. I still see people and go “who is that?” only to find out they have been here since the company was founded in the 1960’s.

If you find that you are one of these lost souls, do not fret. There is a way for you to get noticed and make your mark on your fellow co-workers. Actually, there are a lot of things that you can do that will get you noticed and remembered. But the trick is to not become water-cooler gossip. Before I give you the solution, take note of what you are NOT TO DO when trying to get noticed:

1) Get drunk at an office party and dance to a non-existent reggae band.
2) Fall asleep while leaning against the copier because it is the only place in the office above 37 degrees
3) Talk really loud on the phone about highly personal problems with a medical professional
4) Eat smelly foods so often that you become “that person”
5) Wear clothing that makes you look like a lounge singer on the Titanic

Here is the solution: As someone way back when said “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, “The way into a co-workers memory is through a candy dish kept on your desk”.

It’s cheap, easy, and you don’t even need to make its presence known. Word of mouth will pass from department to department. Soon your desk will be more popular than the coffee pot or the bathroom. Even if someone works completely on the other side of the building, they will find a reason to be over by your desk.

Candy puts a smile on people’s faces. It relieves the tensioned developed throughout the day with its waves of sugary goodness.

So head out to the local drug store and stock up. Because the holidays are on the way and the people that decide on your Christmas bonus might just be a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Junkie.

The Office Scribe

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finally, my office is closed for a few days

It seems like almost every other day we get e-mails at my office in regards to one of our foreign offices being closed from some reason or another. Most of the time, these are holidays I have never heard of. I sometimes think that they are making things up to have a few days off and dupe the American head of the company.

But finally, finally we have a few days off. The e-mail went out to the company as a whole and it made me smile. So while I am in a good mood, here is a list of things that I am thankful for, in regards to work, of course.

- My location, which is close enough to a window that I can see the weather outside, far enough away from my supervisors office so I don't feel like I am being watched, and only a hop, skip and a jump to the fire exit on the rare occasion we have fire drills.

- The coffee pot with the duct tape on the handle. New people need to be informed of the black death that dwells in this pot. The tape is an indication to whomever is making coffee that instead of one packet of year old ground coffee, this pot gets two (or three depending on who is making it). It is a godsend on a Monday morning.

- Casual Fridays because I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal

- My flat panal monitor which I have positioned so I don't have to stare at the back of my co-workers head.

- The David Hasselhoff Walrus that perches on my tape

- My co-workers shared love of all things edible. No matter what department you walk into, someone has food to satiate those 2:30 munchies

- My penguin water dispenser, which holds all eight glasses of water a person is suppose to drink a day and has been the envy of my office since the day I got it a month ago.

- T-pins. They are the only sharp object short of a drywall screw that will hold a scrap of paper to our cubicle walls.

- Pledge Multi-Surface, which lets me spray eveything on my desk at once without a care in the world.

- My Jim Thome Bobblehead - He keeps watch over all the other randomness on my desk. Because, seriously, sometimes I don't trust my green army men.

- And finally my co-workers. Without whom I would be without a place to vent and complain about horrible clients and, also, without whom I wouldn't have anything to complain about to my clients.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

The Office Scribe

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Morning, you have a call from Mumbles McWhisper

Everyday I get phone calls from clients and agents. 99.9% of these people are professionals, which mean they are speaking to me from a phone in their very own office, which is most likely nicer than mine.

What I don't understand is why these people never learned to speak clearly. It reminds me of that Dane Cook routine about working at the BK Lounge and not being able to understand what people were ordering because of their failure to speak clearly. But I don't work at McDonalds. People don't speak to me on speaker boxes from their cars with traffic and nature making all kinds of noises in the background. These people speak to me from their phones, land lines and cell.

These are quality pieces of technology in most cases. High end digital phones so clear you could hear a pin drop (thank you Sprint). Which is why I don't understand why I get phone conversations that go as follows:

Me: Good morning, how may I help you?
Them: mmmmppphhhrrr Bob Smitheerssrf, for salad.
Me: Excuse me, I didn't catch your full name.
Them: Bob Smitheerssrf. From Alabangany.
Me: Okay sir, how I can I assist you.
Them: (((whispering)))
Me: Okay, are you all right sir?
Them: Yeppers. I need salad regargling Alabangany.
Me: Okay sir, well she is on the phone with another client at the moment, can I put you through to her voicemail.
Them: Message 765-093-93JJ786
Me: Okay sir, you have a wonderful day.

(Note: The above message is a glorified example of what I am talking about)

Or another good type, aside from the incoherent baballing, are the people who are on the phone with me, but are much more interested in carrying on a conversation with someone in the room with them.

Me: Good afternoon, how can I help you?
Them: I told you I didn't want that crap.
Me: Excuse me?
Them: Seriously, I mean, how many times do I have to tell you. I'm going to make you walk all the way back down there and pick it up and drive it back to whatever pit you got it from.
Me: Can I help you?
Them: Alfred, put the cat down. Mommy is trying to make a phone call.
Me: Would you like to call back at another time? I am here until 5:00?
Them: No, why would I want to do that?
Me: Okay, so how can I assist you?
Them: Thst's it. I am sick of dealing with you. Go away.
Me: Ummm

I don't undertand why it is so hard to carry on a decent phone conversation in today's world. Whatever the case, I don't see it changing anytime soon.

And don't even get me started on e-mails. I'll save that for another day.

The Office Scribe

Monday, November 19, 2007

Awkward Bathroom Encounter

Everyone knows that for a company to be really productive and successful it must have a diverse group of people who can do a bunch of different jobs. For example, the company I work for is in sales, so we have sales people, but we also have IT, accounting, marketing, production, HR, and a bunch of other people that I don't know what they do.

The thing is, my company is divided into two very distinct groups: sales and everything else. When you enter, if you turn right you see all the sales people (including me at my lovely L-shaped grey desk) chatting with clients on the phone or typing away. It's noisy and loud. But if you enter our suite and turn left, you find yourself in a silent area, where people look like they are working but it is so quiet it is hard to tell.

The only time I actually see these people who dwell beyond my border is in the ladies room. See, we only have one for the whole company and it is located near reception, right in the middle of the two wings.

And I don't mind running into people I know the the bathroom. Hell, I am a girl, I have been known to carry on full fledged conversations while one or more of my co-workers are peeing the the stalls next to me. But whenever I swing that door open and see an unfamiliar face, my normally brash behavior turns nervous and I feel weird about peeing where they can hear me.

Or I feel embarrassed when I exit a stall to find several of these "Others" staring at me in the mirror, the same questions playing out across their face as mine: Who is this person? Do they work here? Did someone wander in off the street just to use our facilities?

To remedy this, I think my company needs to hold just more than two whole-company events each year. Two days out of 265 is not enough to get to know a person well so that you feel comfortable sharing a bathroom with them. Wouldn't you agree?

The Office Scribe

Monday, November 12, 2007

Welcome to my blog

Welcome everyone to my blog. I have always wanted to start a blog, and I have tried a few times, but now I really have something to write about. My job in an office.

When I was a small child, I wanted to own my own restaurant and be a marine biologist. Other kids wanted to be firemen, fighter pilots, explorers, etc. No one in their right mind as a child had the dream to sit in front of their computer all day long and try to look busy while secrectly plotting to get their co-workers fired and work out a way for it to always be "casual Friday".

But here I sit, with a degree in Creative Writing, at a desk for 8 hours each day. Why? Two words: Health Insurance. My dad told me I had to leave my happy little retail job which I had for nearly 9 years to find something that would get me health insurance (and a more stable salary.)

So until I can make it as a writer (which at this moment the WGA is not making easy with their strike and everything) I will work at my desk, do my job, and blog about what happens in my typical American office.


The Office Scribe