Tuesday, December 30, 2008

But Baby It's Cold Outside...So Go To Work

About an hour after I came into work today I heard a co-worker (A) exclaim that she was going to take a contract out on another co-worker (B). Not because she hates her or thinks she is a horrible person, but because it is the holidays which means half of my department is off and we are all covering for those who aren’t here. And one of co-worker (B) files just went to hell in a hand basket. So for a while I pondered how much money co-worker (A) might give me to “whack” co-worker (B) but then started to think about taking time off at the holidays.

I can understand taking time off if you have kids or the need to travel to see loved ones in far away places like Iowa or Kentucky…but why take time off, in December, when the weather is crappy if you are just going to putter around the house and get caught up on your laundry?

Aren’t those vacation days better used on a balmy May day when Spring has finally arrived and the thought of being a cubicle monkey makes you want to hit something so you call off and head to the zoo instead to look at some real monkeys? Or on a sultry summer day when the lure of the local pool is just to great and you want to come back to work a shade darker due to copious amounts of exposure to lights that aren’t of the florescent type? Or on a rare fall day when Indian Summer swings through town and your favorite baseball team is doing well in the post season and someone couldn’t use their ticket and gave it to you with the pre-paid parking pass?

Those are when you take those extra days off. Not when it is going to be blustery and snowy. When you can’t enjoy the outdoors for fear of frostbite and hypothermia. When the days are so short that you start to forget what natural light looks like.

Crappy days are what work was made for. It’s a place where you can sit away from windows and forget how cold it is outside in a nicely regulated office. Sure the commutes can suck, but it is a tradeoff for being at work when things are quiet, thus giving you a chance to organize yourself for when business starts to pick back up, after the holidays.

So when you don’t see posts on a day when Chicago has some glorious weather you will know why.

~ The Office Scribe

Monday, December 29, 2008

It’s Like I Never Left

Sometimes I don’t know why I even take days off from work.

I wasn’t here for the past five days, it being the holidays and all. And this week I only work three out of five days. And while it is great to get a chance to see family and friends and catch up on laundry, it is almost a bigger pain to leave and have to deal with everything that is waiting for you when you come back than it would have been to just stick around in the first place.

Wow, that was a long-ass sentence.

So even though things are slow due to the economy and the holidays, I still came back to my desk with seventeen e-mails and a rather lengthy list of things to do. Instead of discussing with my co-workers what we all got for Christmas and who has the worst family I have practically been chained to my desk in order to get everything done that I need to since I won’t be here Wednesday and Thursday. (Not my choice. Company is shut down those two days.)

Blah, this entry is getting too introspective and boring. So I will end it on how the Jews saved me from being late to work today.

My parking space at my condo building, while incredibly close to the front door, is located on a slight slant that all the water from melting snow likes to pool in and freeze my tires to the pavement. While I was gone this weekend I really was hoping that I would come back to a clean parking lots sans snow because the temps here were so warm. Not what happened. I went out to my car this morning only to see that it was locked in the middle of a giant patch of two inch thick ice that the Blackhawks could have played on.

What to do, what to do. I had used the last of my melt-ice to get my car out of my spot on Christmas Eve to finish my shopping (I know, nothing like waiting to the last minute.) So I thought of the next best thing: Morton Kosher Salt aka a chef’s best friend. So much better than that iodized crap that people keep in their salt shakers Kosher Salt has a more pure flavor and just the right consistency for loosening the ice around the tires of my car. Within 5 minutes I was out of my spot and on my way to work.

So skip all that fancy ice thawing compounds and heavy bags of salt. Stick to Kosher, perfect for melting ice and brining turkeys the world over.

~ The Office Scribe

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Google – Just When I Thought You Could Do No Wrong

It is my last day of work this week, seeing as how tomorrow is Christmas Eve and all, but instead of it being a festive, carefree day where I could red my favorite blogs and find out what Lindsay Lohan did last night, I am actually crazy as hell and don’t know if I will get everything done that needs to be done before I come back next Monday. (So why am I taking time to write a bog entry? Because. That is the only reason my father taught me I ever needed to give.)

Ever since I came into the office at 10:00AM my desk has been a jumble of papers. I’ve had complicated tour proposals where I’ve had to decipher what my counterparts in New Zealand are saying. Brazil is sending me air schedules that make no sense. And I need pictures of all kinds of crazy stuff that clients are going to be doing. So in my moment of crisis I turn to the one trusted source that has never let me down in the past; GOOGLE.

Ask anyone in this office and they will tell you that I am addicted to the Google search engine. If someone asks me a question before they are even done asking I am typing into the magic little box on the main Google page and generally have an answer for them within seconds. Need a picture of a Mongolian Heardsmen? Head to Google. I even use Google to prep for Tuesday Night Pub Trivia.

But today is a dark day. (And not just because the sun has been blotted out by Chicago’s ever-present snow clouds…) It is dark because Google has finally let me down. All I needed was some information on the Black Range in New Zealand. Just a small blub or description of what someone might see if they were to take a helicopter and spend some time hiking there.

I spent 20 minutes looking for information and all I could find were the geographical co-ordinates in case I wanted to plug it into my non-existent GPS system. I felt lost and confused, like the world wasn’t in order. How could my beloved Google let me down? It was supposed to know everything. I thought it must be a fluke, but then I noticed this little gem on the main page.

Google is always making up cutesy little images that say “Google” but where the “o”s are chocolate chip cookies or the “g” is a snake. Very common thing, especially on a holiday. But I saw this and was very confused. Christmas Eve is tomorrow but instead of having ornaments or pine trees we have an old man and his ward working away in what I can only assume is some sort of Meth lab. Because nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a needle full of Hillbilly Heroin.

So Google, all I want this Christmas is for you to get back on your game. Is that to much to ask for?

~The Office Scribe

Monday, December 22, 2008

Whatcha looking at?

Yesterday was some truly horrible weather in northern Illinois. Not only was it bitterly cold but the wind was blowing so fiercely that there were drifts topping out at 7 feet high. Entire cars we being buried beneath them on roadways. We had a neighbor call and tell us it took them two hours to go about a mile and a half. All in all a great start to “official winter”.

This morning however was clear and bright. Still unbelievably cold, but that’s why god invented car heaters and Old Navy Fleece. The roads only had a few trace amounts of snow on them and since it’s the holidays and all (what, you didn’t get my card?) the traffic was pretty light. Which is good because when I leave from my mom’s place the commute is an hour and a half as opposed to my usual 15 minutes.

All was going smoothly until I hit a massive pocket of traffic on I-90. Now my creative mine started to fear the worst, especially since someone told me they had seen a car completely flipped over on their way home last night. After 10 minutes of crawling at a snails pace I was finally able to see what the hold up was…

A small red card had gone into the center grassy section (which was filled with snow). The guy was out of the car, which sustained no damage, a cop was on the scene and a tow truck was already hooking the car up to haul it out of the drift.

NONE OF THE ELEMENTS IN THIS SCENE MAKES IT A GOOD REASON TO CREATE A GOD DAMNED GAPERS BLOCK!!!

I understand human curiosity. Hell, I am definitely the type of person who will stand on their toes to listen over the cubicle walls of my office to get the latest dirt on a person. But come on, making traffic come to a grinding halt because a car swerved a little too much.

Nuh uh. No more. These are the only acceptable reasons to slow down and look at something:
- There is blood. It’s easy to spot so don’t think that milkshake on the side of the road someone tossed out in anger is a smashed raccoon or accident victim. Only red means stop.
- There was a collision of two rescue vehicle a la “Backdraft”
- The Jaws of Life are being used.
- You can no longer tell what make or model the car in an accident was.
- It was the result of a high speed chase.
- A celebrity was involved. (If it is someone from the cast of “Baywatch” I give you permission to exit your vehicle and take pictures)
- You, yourself, were personally involved in the accident.
- That hitchhiker on the side of the road simply vanished…
- The truck that overturned was full of Omaha Steak gift boxes and you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet
- There is no one else behind you

So during the season that causes so many accidents, think a bit before you hit the brake. Because the person behind you might be me and if you prevent me from getting to where I need to be on time we might have another thing for people to slow down and look at*.

~The Office Scribe

*That is, if people want to take time out of the busy schedule to see me chasing you down the highway, attempting to hit you with an empty cardboard wrapping paper tube, because that is the only weapon I have in my car right now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

There’s Got To Be A Morning After…

Last night was my company’s holiday party. It was short, sweet, and simple. An hour and a half in the lobby with some drinks and a some food. There were prizes (I won a $50 Amex gift card for coming in first place in the Second Annual Bake Off). But the true party didn’t really start until a group of us left and headed over the a place called Brickhouse, a new restaurant/bar nearby that was best described by my VP as a “high class Hooters”.

I would say there were about 40 employees who invaded the bar to continue the party, and let me just say, I have been drinking with a lot of different types of people, but no one is more fun to drink with than co-workers.

There were many great moments from last night that I found hysterical but chances are you would have needed to be there to fully appreciate them. (Though the waitress calling a co-worker Clay Aiken is pretty funny to everyone…)

So here’s to my co-workers who went out and held the bar down, dragged their hung-over butts out of bed, drove in the horrible weather and showed up at work today. That is the definition of a dedicated employee.

~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Delegating – Spreading the work or a way to slack off?

It has been said* that one of the traits of a quality leader is the ability to delegate tasks.

If this is true then I think I am going to run for president.

When I was younger I never liked to ask people for help. I had to be the best person to be in a group assignment with because I ended up doing 95% of the work because I didn’t think anyone else would be able to do the project right. Sure, it sounds a little mean but I didn’t trust them to not slack off which would lead to me getting a lower grade.

It wasn’t until I reached college that I realized how awesome the art of delegation truly is. I was in a Freshman speech class which started at 8:00AM every Tuesday and Thursday (thanks Mom for convincing me that earlier classes were better…) Anyhow, I was completely frazzled with a group speech that was coming up when I just said “Fuck It” and let go of the reigns and let my partners contribute. At first it was a horrible feeling, not knowing what the complete end result would be. Then I slowly realized that I didn’t have to do the entire project and it felt wonderful. Not having to stress about fitting in the work of 5 people into my already busy schedule.

So from then on I have had no problem sharing whatever duties happen to come across my desk. Especially during crazy times of the year, like the one I find myself in now, a week before Christmas, not all my presents bought, and a crapload of things to get done.

So let me know if you have a free moment because I have something I need you to do…

~The Office Scribe

*Okay, maybe this wasn’t said by anyone famous but I am sure I have heard it somewhere before. Maybe on a popsicle stick or a gum wrapper…or that crappy calendar over by the copier of “Life’s Little Instruction Manual”.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Frozen Pieces of Commuter Hell

About a week ago we got some snow in Chicago. I wrote about how dissapointed I was that the snow wasn't the horrible event it was supposed to be. Let me state right here that the weather gods must read this because they just decided to unleash snow upon the Chicagoland area with a vengence. I feel like the city is a villian in some sort of Kurosawa film. We have done them injustice and they are fighting back with copious amounts of the white stuff.

I heard on the radio that at one point it was upwards of 5 hours to get from the city out to O'Hare Airport. How much fun must it be to sit on a highway for 5 hours as you inch your way along home? And let's hope none of those people drank a lot of coffee today.

So why am I posting this entry at 6:58 PM on a Tuesday when I should be cursing my drive home and the idiots around me? Easy, I am not at work. Didn't go today. Instead I stayed up at my mom's and helped her decorate for Christmas. And even though I took it as a day off without pay, my mom is paying me my normal hourly salary. Except Uncle Sam doesn't get to take any of it pay corrupt politicians.

So thank you weather Gods, for unleashing Weather-Palooza 2008 on a day when I wasn't there to despise it.

~The Office Scribe

P.S. - To my co-workers that did go into work, bless you. Bless you for picking up my slack, staring at my empty desk, and reading this blog when you were bored.

Friday, December 12, 2008

End of the day randomness

I was just checking my e-mail and saw I had received a coupon for "GelPro" mats which are these cool mushy mats that you can stand on in your kitchen so your feet don't hurt. When I worked at the butcher shop we called them "anti fatigue mats". My dad bought a few for my mom last Christmas and we love them. So I thought, perhaps I should look into getting one for myself.

That was, until I saw (A) the price and (B) their color descriptions...

Black is the darkest color in the Basketweave lineup. Rich as coal, warm and alluring. The woven surface texture appears particularly deep in this all-time classic color. Black is never out of style, and GelPro's take on it doesn't disappoint.

How does one even have a take on the color black? Sure there are different names for it; coal, ebony, night, but the overall color doesn't change. Black is black. There is nothing darker and if it were lighter it would be called grey.

So hat's off to the writing geniuses at GelPro.

~The Office Scribe

Why is it called a “den” if I can’t sleep in it all winter?

I have been thinking about the economic crisis we find ourselves in the middle of a lot lately. I mean, how can I not when everyday I am bombarded with news about government bailouts, constant layoffs, and how rap stars are being evicted from their mega mansions for failure to pay their mortgages…

All of this thinking has been making me come up with ways for everyone to save money and thus turn our economy around. And there is only one fool-proof suggestion I have come up with: hibernation.

That’s right. Take a page from the book of bears and sleep for a good 4-5 months. How would this improve our economy? Let me explain:

1) Imagine the money people would save if they didn’t have to eat, use utilities (except for heat), drive, play the lottery, visit Best Buy, etc, etc, etc. Sure some companies would not be doing so hot, but those people they lay off could just go hibernate themselves and not have to worry about a lack of a paycheck.

2) It’s incredibly green. If people aren’t driving and purchasing goods they aren’t polluting the air and filling up the landfills. This would shut the environmentalists up and they could spend less money on poster boards and paints and more on getting a suit so they could get a god-damn real job.

3) It may single handedly solve the obesity problem. It’s basically the easiest diet in the world. Gorge yourself on a bunch of food for a few weeks, sleep for 5 months, lose half your body weight, and wake up a new person. If I could market this I would. Healthier people go to the doctors less so we wouldn’t need to pay out a lot in healthcare costs.

President Elect Obama needs to name me to a cabinet position ASAP. I could have this crisis solved by the spring thaw.

~The Office Scribe

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reason # 548 To Never Leave The Office

I recently had a co-worker mention to me that he felt a little left out because his cubicle was never decorated. See, in my department we have a tradition of posting a sign whenever it is someone’s birthday, anniversary, or they return from an extended trip. We even have two metallic banners that we can hang that say “congratulations” or “happy birthday”.

This is the same co-worker that I threatened with a cubicle covered with pics of boy band members when he returned from his most recent trip. But I was nice and honored his wishes and never decorated his cubicle.

But it is on now. Mention it to me once it goes in one ear, out the other, and I promptly forget about it. Mention it twice and it goes into the vice grip that is my brain and grates on me until I do something about it.

So I decided to try and get some ideas of good office pranks/cubicle decorations I can perform while said co-worker is gone next time. And since I know this is why Google was invented I turned toward my fav search engine and these are the best options I found.

The Shiny Cubicle

Wrapping everything inside of a cubicle with foil could take some serious patience and the end result might catch the glare of the morning result and set something on fire, but it would be worth it to see the reaction on a co-workers face when they realize their sacred workspace as been turned into the “Reynolds’s Den of Solitude”

Post-It Note Hell

Like the foil this would take patience and perhaps an artistic flair should you decided to mix up the colors. But the true punishment comes when they realize that they have to remove each post it not by it’s self, which is a time waster if I ever heard of one. (Reminds me of “forking” in high school”. Don’t know what that is? That’s probably because you weren’t cool enough for it, with your drinking and sexy parties…)

Clown Throw-Up

Personally, I think this one has the most potential. Aside from being the cheapest of the three alternatives I think it might also take the least amount of time and be the easiest to clean-up, thus preventing your supervisors from getting pissed off and you losing your job in the next wave of cutbacks.

Anyone out there have any suggestions? I don’t think this particular co-worker is going anywhere for a few months, so we have time.

~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Somewhere A Sheep Is Weeping…

I was in a meeting yesterday with a co-worker who was rocking one of my favorite holiday looks, the tacky Christmas Sweater. Nothing says “Happy Birthday Jesus” like a knobby knit monstrosity bedecked with pom poms and garish colors.

There is a time and a place for these sweaters and they are known as “Tacky Christmas Sweater Parties”. I ended up hosting one of these five years ago when about 7 of my friends all showed up at a holiday cocktail party dressed in their mom’s hottest holiday fashions from 1986. It was awesome.

But wearing one when you don’t see the obvious humor in it is even more awesome. Maybe not for you but definitely for sarcastic (possibly mean) co-workers like me who have to duck into the copier room to stifle the giggles brought about by your apparent lack of awareness.

As of today we have 15 more days until the blessed Christmas holiday graces us with its presence (yes, it is a pun) and I hope to see an influx in the amount of co-workers rocking these looks.

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Illinois Epic Fail

Okay, so this doesn’t have much to do with me working in an office, but since the news almost made me late for work, I figure you guys will let it slide.

So Chicago is known for three things – Pizza, a Basketball Dynasty in the 90’s, and Political corruption. One of these was all over the radio this morning.

As it turns out, our esteemed governor was taken into FBI custody this morning for a laundry list (76 pages) of law breaking goodness. Most notably for trying to “sell” the senate seat that Barrak Obama recently left since he is going to be our new president and all.

But I would like to think the real reason he went to jail was because he was guilty of being a dumbass. The last governor of Illinois, George Ryan, is currently serving 6 years in prison for being a dumbass. Actually, four out of the last 6 governors have spent some time behind bars. So what made Rod Blagojevich (or Bagdonivich as my father used to call him…) think that he could get away with being politically corrupt? Sure, there are a lot of politicians in this state, mostly in the city of Chicago, who aren’t quite on the up and up, but they were investigating Blago for TWO YEARS. You think that after the first whiff that the US Attorney (Patrick Fitzgerald) was poking into your goings on you might back down? But no, Blago kept on trying to make behind the scenes deals like getting his wife a six figure job and threatening to bulldoze Wrigley* if the Tribune didn’t fire members of the editorial staff whom Blago didn’t like.

So today, on this snowy crappy Chicago December day another Dumbass politician is going down, and that makes me happy.


Patrick Fitzgerald, I salute you.

~The Office Scribe

Monday, December 8, 2008

It’s Monday, right?

I had a strange weekend. The kind of weekend that leads me to believe that I may or may not have developed a split personality a la Fight Club. It started with me going to a fundraiser at a friends place for African orphans and ended with me watching DVD’s of Buffy the Vampire Slayer until the wee hours of the morning because I couldn’t fall asleep. In between there I baked a loaf of bread (from scratch), bought bathroom rugs for my mom, and tried to figure out where all the produce in my fridge came from.

I’m not really sure to explain the frame of mind I am in right now. You’d think everything would be a bit blurry on the limited amount of sleep I have had in the past three days, but it isn’t. I feel almost hyper-aware of everything in my office. From the artificial brightness of the fluorescent lighting to the hum of the heating system.

I feel like I have slipped into one of the novels I read in the Contemporary European Lit class I took in college. You know the kind with the crazy inner monologues and strange surrealistic interactions between characters.

It’s going to be a long week if everything I do feels like it was written by Camus…

~The Office Scribe

Friday, December 5, 2008

In this economy, we could do with less of the “green stuff”

So a bit of sad news swept through my office yesterday. Roughly 10% of the staff was “let go”, “laid off”, or whatever other PC term you want to use. I prefer “getting canned”, “handed their walking papers”, or “reason #435 why this will be a shitty Christmas”.

But instead of writing about that, which just makes my face hurt as my muscles alternate between a frown for seeing co-workers leave and a smile for me still being here, I decided to write about a much more pressing topic that swept into my life today while eating lunch…

Shredded lettuce.

I have no idea what fast food genius came up with this idea (though I really want to blame the “Sandwich Artists” at Subway”). And I can’t even attempt to justify its existence with any logic what-so-ever. All I know is that when I get a sandwich with shredded lettuce about 90% of it falls off into the paper wrapping, my lap, or my car seat should I be consuming it while driving. And don’t tell me it is easier to handle than a piece of leaf lettuce. That just isn’t true. That would be like telling me a bowl of spaghetti is easier to cram in your mouth than a piece of pizza. Again, that just isn’t true.

All I ask it that we start some kind of petition to bring back the leaf lettuce. Keep that shredded stuff off my sandwiches, wraps, and yes, even my tacos. I can honestly say there is no place for shredded lettuce in my life.

~The Office Scribe

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Flakes of the Apocalypse

Last night Chicago was rumored to be hit with a snow storm of epic proportions. All day my co-workers and I frequently checked Weather.com to see how close the giant light-blue was to our office. We lifted the blinds so we could see the wall of white when it finally crashed down upon us. People were retelling stories about horrible commutes home and how last night could join them in the annals of drives from hell. I even called my GrandMa and cancelled out weekly dinner because I didn’t want to prolong the amount of time that I would be out on the road.

My normal commute time home is roughly 30 minutes.

Last night it took me 37 minutes to get home.

What. The. Hell.

Where were the sloppy roads full of slush that should have sent my car careening into a lamp post? Or the hoards of slow moving “virgin” drivers who forgot how to drive in the powder since last March?

I didn’t even have to scrape my car off this morning.

Thanks for nothing Mr. Weatherman.

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Previous Post Update!

The Cheeto is gone!

So either we finally got a good cleaning crew in my office or by the grace of god the person who cleans in here reads this damn blog.

Either way, I win.

In my day “Rock Band” was some kitchen pans, a wooden spoon, and a Kleenex box with rubber bands…

It’s December, which officially means several things:

1) If you live in a place like Chicago, where I live, the weather has suddenly decided to jack you in the face with a load of snow which brings out the hordes of slow (in a mental way, not speed) who forgot how to drive in such conditions over the past seven months.

2) Relatives, friends and even strangers start to send you holiday cards with pictures of their kids on it. Like photos of my third cousins seven times removed really put me in the Christmas spirit…

3) You start to feel guilty, even in this economy, about all the stuff you have and feel the need to contribute to the less fortunate in some way.

Lucky for those of you, like me, who work in an office, there are a variety of opportunities to work on number 3. The IT department in my office is holding a food drive. Someone has put up the address for soldiers at Walter Reed so we can send them Christmas cards. And yours truly and the Fun Committee has “adopted” 30 kids that are in need of Christmas presents.

Luckily someone explained to these children about how to fill out their wish list. Most put down clothing and toys, each item not costing more than $25.00. It made me smile when I chose a 2 year old little girl who wanted nothing more complicated than blocks.

This was a harsh 180 from the wish lists we used to get at the church I used to belong to. My mom and I used to run the Christmas Gift program there and were shocked and somewhat disgusted by the items that these kids asked for.

Here are some examples of what kids asked for:
- iPods (not the tiny one either)
- Laptop computers
- Nintendo Wii
- Flat Screen Television (at least 26 inch)
- Cell Phones
- Dirt Bikes

These are kids who don’t have winter jackets and whose parents can’t afford a holiday meal and they are asking for things I wouldn’t even dare to have asked for. (Except the iPod and boy did my mom freak when she found out how pricy they were…)

Which is why I was so happy to read the list this year and find that kids wanted toys that took some creativity and imagination. Sure I had a lot of toys as a kid but I also had a cardboard box fort and loved to color. So if this year you decide to purchase a toy for one of the many charities that are out there collecting, I ask that you go for the simple. This is the year we bring imagination back to children.

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Today is my Friday

Ahh, the perfection that is a short week. Knowing that you don’t have to spend a full five days in the office can be a wonderful thing. Truly relaxing.

Except that I am pretty sure that since I knew I was only going to be in the office two days this week my brain didn’t even bother showing up on Monday. I have been the laziest, most unproductive person that I have ever been. But rather than let it bug me, I have decided to embrace this and run with it.

What I have done today:
- Brought in cupcakes. (If you bring in sugar you co-workers will (a) forgive the fact that you haven’t done anything and (b) with everyone stopping at your desk for the cupcakes it makes you look much busier than you actually are.)
- Talked to my mom on the phone.
- Made a cup of tea
- Had lunch (Special of the day: Chicken and Beef fajitas from the café downstairs. Ole!)
- Spent two hours browsing the website Passive Aggressive Notes
- Cleaned up my e-mail folders (while I know this was kind of productive, let me say that 75% of my e-mails are from other co-workers about non-work related things. Our fav topic right now, finding ugly wedding dresses and e-mailing pics of them to each other.)
- Recorded my co-workers voicemail for her (I have a very professional tone)

And that is about it. I haven’t spoken with a single client, sent one productive e-mail, or done anything other than try to look busy.

Which makes me pray that this economy picks up soon because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

~The Office Scribe

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Friday! - You're Fired!

Okay, before anyone has a panic attack, I was not fired last Friday.  Though I thought I was...
I come into work on Friday, my favorite work day of the week.  Not only is it the last day but I get to wear jeans.  And nothing bad can happen when I am in jeans.

So I come into work, flip on the old computer, and check my e-mails.  Third from the top is one from my VP with the subject line "Please come see me when you get a chance".  Nothing written i the body.  And I'll be honest, I had a bit of a panic attack.  I had no idea why she wanted to see me. I've been told before that I have a guilty conscious, but seriously, that is not the type of e-mail you want to see first thing in the morning.  On a Friday of all days.  Because they fire people on Fridays.  That was the first thought that popped into my head.  

So I bit my lip and walked to my VP's office and knocked on the door.  She waved me in.  I was sweating bullets but doing my best to not look nervous.  I was thinking, "If she yells at me for something, do I take it because I don't want to lose my job or freak out because I didn't do anything wrong?"

Well I never had a chance to make that choice because as it turns out, I wasn't being fired.  I wasn't even in trouble.  I'm running the Christmas present thing for poor kids and she wanted to know how she went about getting a name.

So the moral of this story is: Think before you title your e-mails because people like me might freak out because of it...Which is dumb, I know.  But true.

~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What doesn’t kill you makes you…smarter?

Today has been a weird day. It started when I woke up this morning and wasn’t sure what day it was. See, I think I only got about two hours of sleep last night because when the weather turns cold, as it has recently done in Chicago, my insomnia kicks up and I can’t fall asleep to save my life. So thinking it was Thursday I left for work thirty minutes later than I should have, realized it halfway to work, got stopped by a giant freight train, considered turning around and just going home, but balled up and went into work anyway.

So you can imagine how the rest of my day has been. Aside from the splitting sinus headache I pretty much feel like I might just pass out from exhaustion in my cubicle. So to combat my sleepiness and inability to concentrate on anything for longer that five minutes, I decided the best use of my time would be to take an IQ test. (Right there you should be able to realize that my state of mind wasn’t in the right place…)

So I Google “Free IQ Test” and choose the first one and start working through the questions, following the directions and not using a pencil, paper, or calculator. I had a flashback to college where when we were bored we would sometimes take IQ tests and make fun of the “smart” kids who scored lower. (One kid on my floor actually bragged about having an IQ of 84, which according to most sources is below average. And the sad thing was that he was an education major.)

When I am done taking the test I click the “submit” button and enter my e-mail address and sit back and wait for the score. Now all throughout college I was pretty much a 127-128 whenever I took IQ tests. I was in some gifted classes when I was younger but never considered myself “a brain”.

So imagine my surprise when I received the following e-mail:

Dear TheOfficeScribe,

Thank you for your interest in the test at IQTest.com.

Your general IQ score is: 132

Regards,The Team at IQTest.com

Holy crap. Lack of sleep and forgetting things has actually made me smarter. I feel like I am completely qualified to write essays and lecture to students about that whole 8-hours a night thing being a myth. I can finally buy that jacket with the patches on the sleeves and smoke a pipe.

Or maybe the whole thing was a fluke and I should stop procrastinating and get back to my damn job…

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Those Chicks From The Fourth Floor

By my nature I am a competitive person. Perhaps not so much physically, but mentally. I like to have someone to spar against. You know, exchange witticisms and perhaps even an occasional dirty look? Basically I always want to have an enemy.

And ladies and gentlemen who frequent this blog, I have a whole new group of nemeses:

Those Chicks From The Fourth Floor

It was pointed out to me by a fellow co-worker of mine that someone from the office above us was coming down to use our bathroom. Okay, weird, but not a reason to raise any red flags. Especially when I found out that the reason this lady visits our stalls is because the other chicks on the fourth floor are disgustingly filthy when it comes to bathroom use.

No problem.

Until today at lunch when someone told me that ALL OF THE CHICKS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR ARE USING OUR BATHROOM! This pissed me off. The last thing I need mucking up my day is to head to the bathroom and find it gross and trashed like a bunch of meth heads were using it. Plus, our bathroom has a lock on it and if you don’t know the code, you are not getting in. (This did make for some rather humorous moments when we first moved in. Panic stricken ladies who had to use the facilities but couldn’t remember the code…)

So one of my co-workers heads to HR to ask them what the deal is. Well first off, as it turns out the lock isn’t currently activated. I don’t know how long this has been going on but I don’t feel comfortable knowing that a gun-toting freaking could burst in at any moment and lay the bathroom to waste. Um, where was I. Oh, yeah, the second thing is they are using our bathroom because THEIR’S IS BROKEN!

Which means they broke it and now they are trying to break ours. And I will not take that lying (or in this case – sitting) down.

They don’t even know it, but those Chicks On The Fourth Floor are my new enemies.

May god have mercy on their souls.

~The Office Scribe

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Monday Morning Twilight Zone Moment

It was a rough weekend for me. Not rough in a bad way but more rough in a “I didn’t get out of my pajamas all day Sunday because my recovering liver wouldn’t let me” kinda weekend. Saturday night started off with me consuming 1 liter pitchers of Long Island Iced Teas and ended with champagne in my friends basement at 4:00AM. For as much pain as I felt on Sunday, it was more than worth it. (Congrats to my friends who got engaed. About damn time!)

But things were a little off for me on Sunday. Aside from the dizzying headache I also watched the Bears lose to those cheddar-heads to the north and realized that the only food I had in my house was pasta. It was just one of those typical post-party recovery days when you don’t really know what day or time it is and you are too tired to care.

So imagine the confusion I felt when I pulled into the parking lot at 10:00AM (I start late on Mondays and for good reasons) and it had half the number of cars that it usually did. After pulling into a spot, located much closer to the door than usual, I sat there for a moment and checked the time, making sure I wasn’t getting to work earlier than I had to (which I have done before). Then I pulled out my cell phone and double checked what day it was, making sure I wasn’t at work on a day when I didn’t need to be (which I have also done before…).

But no, it was 10:00AM on a Monday which made me wonder, where the hell did all the cars go? Did one of the companies in my building collapse over the weekend and fire everyone? I was actually a little scared to come into the office because I thought for sure half of the company was let go and I didn’t want to be one of them. I pictured in my head some desks with red roses and some without a la The Bachelor style and I wouldn’t be above stealing someone else’s rose, Survivor style.

The really strange thing is that I have been at work for about 6 hours now and no one else has commented on it. Am I just really that much more observant than my fellow co-workers or am I just that much of a loser that I notice weird things like that?

I’ll let you be the judge.

~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Symphony of Coughs

It is that splendid time of year again when everyone around me develops symptoms that remind me of scenes from some of my favorite movies: 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, Casper… You know what I am talking about. You pass someone in the hall and they seem to be sweating even though the office is a brisk 38 degrees. Or in the lunchroom you look over and see someone who looks like they might have forgotten why they came to the lunchroom, their look glazed over with confusion. Or you glance into a cubicle as you walk by and see it’s occupant a ghastly shade of grey.

Yes people, it is cold and flu season in my office. The irony is that today is the day that the company arranged for a nurse to come in and give the willing flu shots. While I myself am not getting a flu shot because I am refusing to get sick this year there were plenty of people lined up for them. Though I think for many, it is already to late.

So for those of you who do come down with some sort of contagious illness, do me a favor and follow these simple steps for not spreading it to those of us who want to use our sick days for something better, like shopping

1) Do not tell people that you are not sick, but it’s “just your allergies” acting up. Really, what are you allergic to in November? And I know how allergies work. Sure they make you cough and sneeze, but they do not give you the chills and make you vomit.
2) Do not ask to borrow my pen. I have a horrible habit of sticking my pens in my mouth. So don’t think of it as me not wanting your cold germs, think of it as a way of me protecting you from my spit.
3) Do not refuse to take something because you are going to be brave, strong, bullheaded, etc. God invented Walgreens for a reason; to provide sick people with wonderful medications which will make them feel better. Don’t want to take cough medicine? Tough. Swallow that crap so you’ll stop coughing and spreading more germs.
4) Do not come into work if you are on death’s doorstep. Sure, management will love to know that you are a team player, but how will they feel when in a week or two when you are the only team player because the rest of the team is home with your flu?
5) FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WASH YOUR HANDS!!! I appreciate that you cover your mouth when you cough but then using that hand to touch the printer we all used, crap, you might as well have unleashed right into my face. At the God-Given Walgreens they also make hand sanitizer which is a good substitution for hand washing until corporate installs those sinks in our cubicles.

So please, put some thought into your actions when you start to feel a little, as my father used to call it, “punky”. Because as much as I like sharing things with my co-workers, germs and nausea is not one, or two, of them.

~The Office Scribe

My Deepest Aplogies

This entry is dedicated to my trivia team, which is made up mostly of fellow co-workers.  I apologize for my miserable performance tonight.  Not only did I not know the answers, but I had the audacity to shot one aloud, breaking a cardinal rule of Trivia Night.

Next week I will try harder. I promise.

It will be our week next week.

~The Office Scribe

Monday, November 10, 2008

When did the sun start to set around lunch?

Last weekend, okay, more like two weekends ago we all flipped our clocks back an hour which results in two things:

1) On that splendid Sunday I can roll over, look at my clock and go “It’s not 9, it’s only 8! I can sleep for a whole extra hour!”
2) It starts to get dark after lunch.

Now I know it has always been this way, the sun setting earlier as an indication that winter is coming, but does anyone else think it is a bit ridiculous this year? I don’t know what it is but I swear that the sun goes down around here (I’m outside Chicago) starting at about 4:00PM. And it is pitch black by 5:00PM. Which means on days I work until 6:00PM I feel like I am working the third shift at a factory and am completely thrown off.

I get home and don’t want to do anything because I think it should be about time for me to go to bed. But guess what? It’s 8:30PM! No wonder I come into work like a zombie. I am constantly jet-lagged and I haven’t been on a plane in months (Okay, I know I went to Florida, but no one, and I mean no one, gets jet lagged on a flight from Florida.)

Oh, and get this. I swear the sun is rising earlier. Now this might just be me on lack of sunlight but I swear that when I was a kid it was always dark when I got up for school starting in November. I have very clear memories of walking to the bus stop in high school, in the dark, in November. But I woke up at 6:00AM this morning even though I didn’t have to be up until 7:00AM because THE SUN STREAMING THROUGH MY WINDOW WOKE ME!!!

I don’t believe that the earth is warming because of interference from mankind, but I do believe our days/nights are shifting. And I don’t like it.

~The Office Scribe

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Cheeto Under My Desk

About two months ago I had a craving for something artificial in both taste and color so I decided to indulge in a bag of Cheetos, one of my favorite snack foods. Now because of their delicious, yet dirty, neon coating I am careful about how I eat them so I don’t get orange goop all over my keyboard. So I cut the top of the bag off and then down the middle so I can reach in and gingerly pluck each savory morsel out of the bag with minimum contamination.

Even with this method accidents still sometimes happen. The last time I was eating one I didn’t have a good grasp and dropped an inch long piece onto the floor where it took a bounce and landed amongst some cords under my desk. From where I sat, I could see it, clear as day. Why didn’t I pick it up? I’m not really sure but I can assume it was because if I was in the type of mood that I was eating Cheetos that I was also in the type of mood where I don’t want to use the energy or resources to pick things up off the ground.

So over the next several weeks I would occasionally look down and see the Cheeto, snug as a bug in a rug amongst the phone cord and power strip. (But still easily visible.)

It finally hit me today that this thing has been down there for nearly two months and hasn’t budged an inch. That means two things (1) we don’t have mice in my office and (2) our cleaning crew sucks. Apparently the people that come around at 5:46 PM every day just empty the garbage cans and that is it. At least at my old building they vacuumed. But here god only knows how dirty this place might be! (And I am in no way a clean freak. You should see my apartment.)

I had the urge to finally pick it up today but then thought better of it. This Cheeto is much more thought provoking where it lies than if I simply picked it up and threw it away. So stay tuned. I will provide updates.

~The Office Scribe

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dear Mr. Vending Machine Guy

When we moved into our new space I was delighted by the new and improved beverage and snack machines that occupied the corner of the lunch room. The chips and snacks were much more diverse with an excellent selection of healthier items (for those who wanted it). And the pop machine, while it charged a bit more, held convenient bottles instead of cans which couldn’t be closed.

And while I didn’t visit the machines often, it was nice to know that there were there if I should need them.

Well, today was one of those days and I am sad to report, they were not there for me. I simply needed some chips to go with my #7 sandwich from Jimmy Johns. But instead of a normal potato chip the machine was half empty, the only full slots containing suck culinary atrocities as “Hot and Spicy Fries” and “Jalapeño Popcorn”. So I was left to get a small bag of “Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips”.

But my real disappointment came when I turned to the pop machine. Out of the 10 choices, two of them are Diet Coke, my carbonated beverage of choice and the perfect accompaniment to my sandwich. So I inserted my $1.25, chose one of the Diet Coke buttons and to my dismay saw that it was sold out. So I hit the button below, which was also Diet Coke. Again, sold out. Was the little warning light lit up next to either button burning orange to indicate that I shouldn’t even try? Nope. And with the machine refusing to give me my change back I was forced to buy Tropicana “Orangeade” which even though it has won a taste award from “professional chefs” tastes like pre-mixed Tang.

So Mr. Vending Machine Guy, next time could you make sure to properly stock both machines so I don’t have to feel this disappointment again? In these trying times the last thing I need is the distress of not having a quality meal.

~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday Wrap-Up

What a week we have had so far. Rumor has it we have a new President Elect, but seeing as how I spent last night in a bar I wasn’t aware of what was going on outside those dark paneled walls. Okay, I am lying. The bar had CNN on and my co-workers and I watched the election results in between bouts of Pub Trivia, which has a presidential theme this week. (One of my co-workers pointed out that some day we would be able to tell our kids that we watched history happen…while sitting in a bar.)

Sadly John McCain wasn’t the only loveable loser last night as my team, which won the past two weeks, was beat by one point. And since I am a highly competitive person when it comes to trivia I was bummed by this. But the more I think about it the more I think I was not so much bothered by the fact that we lost but by who we lost to.

The table that beat us was there celebrating a kid’s 21st birthday. Can’t make fun of them for that because we have all done that, otherwise we wouldn’t have been sitting in a bar on a Tuesday night. What I can make fun of them for was what the birthday kid was wearing to celebrate his 21st birthday. I kid you not, he was in flip flops and a dashiki. As in the type of African shirts made popular by hippies in the late 1960’s. And with his blond hippie hair flung back as he chugged a shot with the trivia MC I had to glance back at the TV screen to make sure it was Barrack Obama that was wining and not Richard Nixon.

So I sit here at my desk, bummed not simply because we lost, but because we lost to a hippie.

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where’s your sticker?


So today is Election Day, the day when every good legal US citizen marches down to their local school gymnasium, library, or fire house and does their civic duty by deciding who the leaders of our country will be for the next 4-6 years. I love the voting process. My dad used to say that if you didn’t vote, you didn’t have the right to complain when things went wrong. So every time there is an election (not just presidential) I cast my vote.

But this year I was a little nervous. On the news this morning all they did was talk about the long lines at the polling places, some of them up to 3 hours. Now as much as I love my country waiting in line for three hours didn’t seem like a great use of my time. So I figured I would wake up early, head to my polling place, and if the wait was too long I would head into work early and just take a long lunch to come back and vote. Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, I did get to work early today, but that is only because when I showed up at my polling place there were 9 election judges and me. I WAS THE ONLY ONE THERE VOTING!!! Sure it was nice to not have to wait but come on, where are all the people in my precinct? Where are the long lines? What about the record voter turnout? I didn’t even feel the magic of participating in the greatest right a citizen has because I felt alone.

So a little saddened I slowly wandered back to my car, wondering what I was going to do with myself for the next hour when I remembered that I could do whatever I wanted because I was in fact an American. So with my spirits lifted I headed to Panera* for a four cheese egg soufflé and an iced team, went into work and happily went about my day.

But I encourage all of you, no matter who you are voting for, to go out and vote. Because how else are you supposed to prove to the Starbucks Barista that you have earned that free cup of coffee?

~The Office Scribe

* I will be getting my free cup-of-joe on my way home from work so I am all caffeinated for trivia night at my local bar…

Monday, November 3, 2008

Huh? What?

Lately I have been extremely distracted at work. By what, I am not sure since out of a 7.5 hour work day I think I am currently doing about 2 hours of work (If anyone with any authority to fire me is reading this please don’t. Just come over to me desk and tell me what to do.) Maybe it is just because it is Monday and I was such a lump after my Halloween party that the most productive thing I did was remember to pay my rent.

I realized how not in the groove I am when I looked up to see what day it was and my Page-A-Day Calendar still said it was Monday, October 27. Granted I have mentioned before how boring and lame my calendar is but that is still no excuse for me not changing it in a solid week.

And I hate being like this. While many people love when it is slow at their jobs I am the opposite. I thrive in hectic scenarios. I love when people are throwing things at me that need to be done ASAP. Multitasking makes me happy.

So, in an effort to motivate myself, I am in the process of creating a To-Do list. (As you know I am a list fiend). Some of them are work oriented. Most of them are not. But I have to find a productive use for my time.

Hopefully things will pick up after the election is over but if it continues like this for much longer, expect me to start writing this blog in Mandarin (I’ve always wanted to learn an Orient language…)

~The Office Scribe

Friday, October 31, 2008

OCT 31 – Not just another day in the office

Not everyone is a fan of Halloween. Just look around my office and you will see a smattering of people who either just plain don’t like the holiday or think they are above dressing up in an inflatable Dutch Girl costume and skipping to the copier.

But there are enough of us here that appreciate the holiday to make this a semi-special day. Actually, it has been a pretty interesting week full of favorite moments for me which I will now share with you.

Favorite comment – A co-worker of mine who thought about dressing up as a pimp but kept making a crack about she has no money for her hos. Apparently she does know much about the pimp/ho dynamic because the money usually travels the other way.

Favorite Costume – The co-worker who came dressed as another co-worker. It was very Jim/Dwight and totally worked.

Favorite Irony – HR gave everyone a carmel apple. You know, the department that runs our dental coverage.

Favorite Pumpkin – Each year we have a pumpkin carving contest. I am not going to lie, I like mine this year. I did a puking pumpkin. Sure, it is not the most original but it made people laugh. I came in second last year. We’ll see how I do this year.

Favorite Diabetic Moment – When before noon I realized I had eaten a cupcake, donut and a slice of Ice Cream Cake. Wilfred Brimley take me away…

Favorite Randomness – A coworker dropped a bag of organic produce from his farming co-op off at my desk. (he does this every once in a while) But it made those who sit around me wonder what the hell was going on.

So to everyone who reads this, have a Happy Halloween and remember, dressing up like Sarah Palin or the Joker is not cool. But dressing up as Sarah Palin as the Joker has potential.

~The Office Scribe

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Interns – aka – Acceptable Child Labor

We received an e-mail this week about how my company is being affected by this horrific economy (which I, personally think is a myth since I ran out to the mall to buy some 69 cent crepe paper last night and couldn’t find a parking space). It basically said how we are off our revenue goals so to ultimately protect ourselves they have enacted a hiring freeze and none of us are getting raises or bonuses until March of next year.

At first I was pissed off because I don’t make a lot of money to start with, but then I came to the conclusion that my current salary would still be a hell of a lot more than I would get if I was cut loose.

But this got me to thinking of other ways we could cut costs around here and I realized that what will save our company and ultimately, my job, is to get us some interns. I was never one of these myself (because my time is valuable and I want to get money, not dumb school credit, for my work) but I have seen them on TV and in movies so of course I know how it works.

Basically, we could take all the menial people who are getting paid, lay them off, and then “hire” interns to do these menial tasks. It would save the company a fortune and hopefully make some fresh-faced 19 year old realize that working in the corporate world isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

I just might have to swing by HR and pitch my idea, as long as I make it understood that I am not one of these menial employees, because then that would backfire and I would be stuck begging for change outside Union Station while pushing my 6 kids* in a rusty shopping cart.

~The Office Scribe

* And buy six kids I mean a 6-pack of Keystone Light. I think people seeing me drink cheap beer would get me more sympathy than if they saw me with some whiny brats…

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What just happened?

You know how sometimes you are driving home from work, on the route you always take, and you suddenly realize that you don’t remember the last ten minutes of your commute. This happens to me every once in a while and I am always a little freaked out until I realize that I was probably driving safely because if I had hit something chances are it would have zapped me from my Zombie-like state.

But today is the first time I ever had this happen to me while at work.

The last thing I remember was coming back from Party City with crepe paper streamers for Halloween decorating. The next thing I remember is looking up at a co-worker who was next to my desk looking in my candy dish. No a big issues, except that almost an hour had gone by and I had no idea what I did for those 60 minutes.

I assume I didn’t fall asleep because people are always by my desk and someone wouldn’t have passed up the chance to kick me out of my slumber. And I also assume I was at least looking at my computer because, again, one of my co-workers would have questioned me about what I was doing.

Why did this happen? Because things are really slow at work and things that would normally have kept me alert (phone calls, e-mails, file folders being chucked in my general direction) just aren’t happening. So I will be really excited when the economy picks up and hence business picks back up for us. Because I don’t like not knowing where chunks of time went during my day. (Did you ever see Primal Fear? Let’s hope it’s not that…)

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Your Cubicle Says About You

I have always been a bit of a quirky individual. Never content with just a plain backpack in high school I felt the need to adorn mine with patches, buttons, and so many key chains that a perpetual jingling sound was heard wherever I went.

When I entered the corporate world I realized that this love for self expression could be carried out in a new medium, my cubicle. From day one I carefully sought out items that would help me declare to my new co-workers who I was. While many hung informative maps and lists, I hung pics of White Sox DH Jim Thome. Where people put binders and books I placed a Dundie Award and Darth Vader toy from Burger King. Who needs a regular old bottle of water when they could have a Penguin Water Dispenser?

But don’t think I am the only one that decorates the pale cushy beige walls that are hopefully the closest thing I will ever come to a padded room. A lot of people in the office have pics of their kids and grandkids up. Some people prefer to treat their cubicle as if it were some sort of greenhouse. (Perhaps they think the boss can’t see them behind the plants.) Others have items they obtained from their worldly travels, such as papyrus prints from Egypt, colorful prayer flags from Bhutan, and, well, a Kangaroo scrotum bottle opener from Australia.

The ones that throw me for a loop are those that have nothing in the cubicles except for work designated items. The guy who has his cubicle next to me has nothing that would let you know anything about the person he is. Actually, he is out of the office for the next two weeks and another co-worker and I threatened to decorate his space with pictures of boy band members while he was away. Were we kidding? Who knows?

I guess the point I am trying to make is that some decoration in your cubicle is a nice little insight into the person you are. It lets your co-workers know that you are more than just “that chick from accounting who does payroll”.

~The Office Scribe

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reply vs. Reply To All – When it’s okay to let everyone know your feelings

My office, like many other offices around the United States, uses the program Microsoft Outlook to organize all of our e-mails. It is actually a pretty decent program that has become more familiar to me than most of my cousins.

Anywho…I have one major issues with Microsoft Office and I guess it has more to do with the people who use it. See, when a group e-mail goes out asking for your opinion on something, the logical idea is to reply to the sender and tell them. But the people in my office seem to be addicted to the “Reply To All” option and use it way too freely.

There is nothing more irritating than a companywide e-mail going out and then having 20 follow-up e-mails by coworkers.

And while this happens on almost a daily basis my favorite example came about a year ago. As part of the Fun Committee we decided to send out an e-mail to the 100 employees that are under the umbrella of the Fun Committee to see if anyone had any ideas for fun events.

And instead of just replying to the Fun Committee, about 30 people hit “Reply To All” and let the entire group know their not-so-fun ideas. It then got worse when people replied to these ideas by hitting “Reply To All” and we were then overwhelmed with a bunch of e-mail conversations that no one wanted to be a part of. (I even remember that an argument started between two co-workers about who came up with the idea of going to Great America first. That was fun…)

So about 99% of the time you get an e-mail “Reply” is the valid option, and if you’re not sure, just ask yourself “Will the people in the office benefit from my input?”

If the answer is no, then maybe you shouldn’t reply at all.

~The Office Scribe

Friday, October 24, 2008

Unless it’s Mickey calling, hang up

So I spent the last week with my mom hanging out in Disney World aka the Happiest Place on Earth. And though I am severely sarcastic and not really a happy-go-lucky kinda gal, I really enjoyed myself. Plus there was an international food and wine fest going down at Epcot, which made me giggle every time I realized I was drinking at Disney.

But there were a few things that bothered me, and though they don’t really have anything to do with my normal topic of “working in an office” I need to vent so I am sharing them with you.

1) Cell phones – We all have them. Heck, I feel like I am missing a limb if I don’t have mine on me. But just having the cell phone in my pocket the whole time I was in Disney was enough for me, but apparently not enough for many people who felt the need to gab away while waiting in line for the Rock N’ Roll Roller Coaster or It’s A Small World. Nothing ruins the festive nature of the parks like the lady in front of you in line loudly exclaiming that “whatever I ate at the character breakfast this morning game me a case of the runs”.

2) Bed Time – Just being on vacation means that you are off your normal routine. That is what is so great about it. But that doesn’t mean that you should keep your 4 year old up until midnight just because the Magic Kingdom has extended late night hours. I think my mom was right when she said she was sure it was a form of child abuse.

3) 24/7 eating habits + stroller = fat children – I hate strollers. Sure, they are great for babies but not for crowded theme parks. If the kid isn’t old enough to walk around for a few hours then the kid is too young to bring to Disney. That being said, I also don’t understand why kids have to eat constantly while being pushed in a stroller. No wonder we have a childhood obesity epidemic in the country.

4) Public clothing options – Fashonista I am not. But at least I know that short shorts and a jogging bra on a 65 year old woman in the middle of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is not a good look.

5) The Obsessed – While standing in line you can’t help but look at those around you and sometimes listen in on conversations. Some were funny, some were sad, but the worst were the adults (usually over the age of 45) whom I am pretty sure thought that Mickey Mouse was a real person. These would be the same people with a Goofy Tattoo and who were buying Mickey Mouse butter dishes to complete their kitchens decorating scheme.

6) Toothpick Holders – I went to buy some co-workers of mine (see, I managed to work office stuff into this post) some shot glasses. So at The Magic Kingdom I went to buy three. Guess what they rang up as? That’s right, toothpick holders. What the hell is that about? As it turns out, the Magic Kingdom is a dry park, which means not alcohol or alcohol related items. Which is why I really threw the saleswoman for a loop when I asked her what they called the Mickey Martini glasses that were on the shelf below the “toothpick holders”. I thought her head was going to explode like a Fem Bot.

But again, I had a wonderful time with my mom and will be going back in another 7 years. (I only go every 7 years.) I would recommend a trip to anyone, especially during that food and wine festival!

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I think we're going to need a bigger boat...Or why my mouse reminds me of a scene from Jaws

Jaws has to be one of my all time favorite movies. I mean, how can you not love a movie about a giant shark that eats people? (Okay, strike that. I saw "Deep Blue Sea" and did not love that movie.)

So I was sitting in my cubicle today when I hear this slow clicking noise.

click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click

And then it goes a little faster.

click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click

And then it whirs to life

click click click click clickclickclickCLICKCLICKCLICK

It's then that I realize it's my co-workers mouse. That funny little wheel in the middle that we all use to scroll around webpages.

And it sounds just like the fishing line going out when Quint first hooks the shark in Jaws. And now I can't get the visual of my co-worker snagging a Great White in their cubicle out of my head.

~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Office Might Be Haunted

Lately I have been working a lot of overtime.  A LOT of overtime.  The department I used to belong to is really behind and asked if we would help out.  And since I am poor and anything after 40 hours is time and a half, I said sure.

So last Saturday I came in to work for a few hour.  Now normally there are about 200 employees in my office at any given time.  When I came in, there were four.  And they sat all the way on the other side of my wing, so I couldn't see or hear them.  But that didn't bother me.  I was there to get some serious work done and it would be nice to not have someone constantly at my desk, asking me questions, when I am trying to work.

But my Saturday was plagued with problems.  

First off, I couldn't find the light switch for the lights in my section of the office.  There were three switches on the wall about 10 feet from my desk.  Logic would dictate that those should work the lights near them.  No dice.  All three switches turned on lights approximately 40 feet away.  After looking for about 10 minutes I decided that my desk light would be enough and set to work.

That is when I heard it.  A soft rustling noise coming from the cubicle behind me.  At first I didn't think much of it, until it slowly sank in that I hadn't seen anyone else come in.  So I stood up and peered over the wall.  No one was there.  I assumed the vents for the heating system were blowing on something.  No dice.  I don't even think the system was turned on.

For the who four hours I was there I kept hearing things move in the cubicle behind me.  And I wasn't crazy.  Another co-worker who came in heard the noise too.  We discussed what it might be and came to the only logical conclusion.  The office is haunted.

So from now own when I work late or come in on the weekends, I am brining my Pope Snowglobe* with me, just in case.  The printers give me enough problems.  I don't need a pissed off spirit ruining my day.

The Office Scribe

*You can find the greatest things for sale outside the Vatican.  Maybe I'll tell you the story about the golfballs sometime...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dumb Advice From Calenders

Okay, so I know a lot of people in offices have "Page A Day" calendars. Hell, I have one. And it sucks. It is a Joke A Day calendar full of the most pathetic jokes you have ever heard. Seriously, there is like a "Yo Mamma" joke at least once a week.

But now I am completely off topic.

So anyway, there is an advice Page A Day calendar next to one of the printers I use everyday. I have no idea who it belongs to, it just has a new page torn off everyday and I read the bit of wisdom as I wait for my paper to appear. Today, as usual, there was a new suggestion and as I read it, it pissed me off.

"Forget Casual Friday, If you work in a professional place, always dress professional"
What. The. Hell.

Personally, I look forward to casual fridays. I get to rock jeans and a variety humorous t-shirts that I own. I feel comfortable. And guess what, when I am comfortable, I tend to work better. I mean, no one but June Cleaver does laundry or cleans house in heals and a dress. I usually throw on a pair of sweats and go to town.

And I don't know why the other four days a week I can't go casual. No clients ever come into the office, so who do we need to look professional for? As long as a co-worker gets their work done I don't care if they are wearing a power suit or a sweatsuit.

So here's to casual Friday's. I will never forget thee.



The Office Scribe

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crash and Burn

You never truly know how much you depend on technology until it is ripped out from under your like that scene in Ghostbusters with Bill Murray and the tablecloth.

Last Thursday the VP of IT sends out an e-mail about a potential virus that is affecting some people’s computers and to be really careful about opening e-mails and using the internet for non-company purposes. Okay, no big deal. Sure, I am known to surf the web when I am bored but I have been so bloody busy at work that I haven’t had time to indulge. And I never use my work e-mail for personal stuff. That means no silly pictures or chain letters telling me I will die if I don’t pass it onto co-workers.

A few hours later, some of us notice that our computers are not acting the way they are supposed to. You know, locking up, not saving properly, etc. We don’t think much of it. That is, until you started to look around the prairie dog village that is our cubicles and see heads rise up like a game of whack-a-mole.

It was the virus. At first, only a few people we infected and told to shut down their computers. But then is spread. Within like three hours our lovely little office had been turned into a Michael Criton novel.

But we have confidence in our IT team, so we all go home and try not to think about it. Well, I tried not to think about it. Apparently some of my co-workers were starting to freak out. And as it turns out, they had a right to freak out because we all showed up for work on Friday and NONE OF THE COMPUTERS WORKED!!!

It was horrible. Clients were calling in and there was basically nothing we could do. The poor IT team looked like they had slept in their clothes. I had a woman call me unprofessional, just because a freakin’ virus had shut down my computer.

Well, to make a long story short (too late) it is now Wednesday and we still aren’t up to full speed. I am one of the few who seems to have the ability to print. Hopefully by the end of the week we will be back to normal.

But this who situation has taught me 2 things:
1) Always back up your hard drive
2) There are assholes in the world. The kind of assholes who live in their moms basements and play World of Warcraft in between writing visrus’s to shut down computers and jerking off to their little sister’s Hannah Montana poster.
So don’t be an asshole.

The Office Scribe

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pain - And this time not caused by my desk

Ever sit for 8 hours in a semi-comfortable chair with what feels like an ice pick shoved in your left kidney?

Well that isn't what I did today.  I clocked in 3 hours of overtime which made it 11 hours of sitting in a semi-comfortable chair with what felt like an ice pick shoved in my left kidney.

Did a co-worker shank me when I wasn't looking?  No, due to a crappy ticket in the genetic lottery I occasionally get these lovely little things called kidney stones.  And yes, they are every bit as painful as you have heard.  They say the pain is the closest thing to child birth.  Like I need another reason to not want to have kids.  

A couple co-workers asked if I was going to go to the doctor.  "Why?" I asked, "to have them charge me $150 to tell me it's a kidney stone?"  No thank you.  I will self medicate just as I did the last two times I had these bastards.  Water, cranberry juice, and Motrin.  Lots and lots of Motrin.

So the next time you are sitting and work and think, how could this be worse?  Remember me and my ice pick.  Because the sad fact is, it can always be worse...

The Office Scribe

Saturday, September 6, 2008

And you were there. And you were there.... And you too!

I was up at my mom's last weekend, relishing in the last days of summer with cookouts and lazy time on the boat, both of which can make a person very tired. So I took a shower on Monday night and snuggled down in my bed for a good old fashioned sleep.

And what do you think happened?

I dreamt of a co-worker. Actually, I dreamt of work and like 10 of my coworkers. It was weird. The dream took place in my office and it was my birthday, so like all good little cubicle monkeys, we were celebrating like we really gave a damn. Anyway, for some reason, all of my coworkers had bought me presents. Now the only present that I could remember came from my newest co-worker. He bought me a case of Mop-N-Glow. Why? I have no idea. That is the great thing about dreams, they don't have to make sense.

Much like working in an office.

~The Office Scribe

Friday, September 5, 2008

Question for the Cubicle Monkeys...

How pissed off would you have to be to just up and leave your job?

The discussion kind of came up today while i was at work, in an indirect way.  Of course we all get crazed and feel like walking out, but how mad/upset/whatever would you have to be to reenact the scene from Half Baked?*

The Office Scribe

* Yeah, you know the one I mean.  In the burger joint.  And if you don't, shame on you!  Go and rent the movie NOW (or watch it when it's on Comedy Central, which is about once a week)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oops! My Bad…

Sometimes it just isn’t your day. You show up at work and rip your pants. Or you forget to return an important e-mail. Or you delete a bunch of important information off your companies hard drive and have a mild panic attack that the information won’t be found and you’ll be fired, forcing you out onto the streets to try and find a new place of employment though in these hard economic times they only places that are hiring are fast food joints and your local corrections facility.

Phew. Okay, so I might have embellished a little on that last one, but the first part of it definitely happened to a girl I work with. She thought she just deleted something off her desktop and ended up deleting it off the company drive. Whoops. Talk about a panic attack.

But thankfully, our wonderful IT department was able to find out where the files had gone. And my friend wasn’t fired and forced to ask people if they want fries with their order.

~The Office Scribe

Friday, August 29, 2008

Half Staff Days

As a goodwill gesture my company decided that they would have several “half staff days” which allows for people to basically make a 4 day weekend. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Well, this being the Friday before Labor Day this was one of the Half Staff Days. So by working today, I get the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off. Okay so far.

But what really sucks? That would be me, sitting here in my cubicle, feeling lonely because I HAVE TO WORK UNTIL 6 THIS EVENING!!! Every forth Friday I have to work late and it falls on the day when no one is calling in with new business and there is no one here to even pass the minutes with. Most people left at 4:30. But no, I am stuck here for another hour (it’s around 5 PM). And I have no idea what to do with myself.

I have visited all my usual websites, debated McCain’s VP pick with those still here, ate and ice cream cone and did work that isn’t due until next week.

So in preparation for the next Half Staff Day, I ask, what is a good way to waste time at work? You have until January 2 to come up with an answer because that is the next day I work when ½ the company doesn’t.

Send suggestions to: TheOfficeScribe@yahoo.com

I’ll publish the ones I like the most here.

So until then, I think I’ll wander around and reenact scenes from Office Space.

The Office Scribe

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Non-work related work related e-mails

Sometimes a Wednesday is just a Wednesday.  And sometimes a Wednesday is the day you get two of the best e-mails you have ever received...

E-MAIL #1

Here's a good working in an office story for you.

This morning we see fire trucks come into the parking lot. We figure
that there's going to be a fire drill later in the morning.

I go into a meeting and come back to my desk, and everyone is all
atwitter. I ask what's going on, and the guys tell me that when they
went outside to have a cigarette, they heard what the ambulances/fire
trucks were for - there's a dead man in a van in the parking lot.

Best part? Apparently, he's been parked there for a few days and no
one noticed.

E-MAIL #2

I'll keep you updated on any further information. Since I
sent you that email, we've now got reports that the truck was parked
there for a week. A WEEK. We've also got some reporters from CLTV
(lucky for them, they happen to share a parking lot with us) who have
just arrived.

Just now, we got an email from the CEO's secretary saying that the guy
wasn't an employee and asking us to "refrain from speculation and
rumors." Um. Too late lady, there's a FREAKING DEAD PERSON IN THE
PARKING LOT.

One of my coworkers is on the phone with a girl in our British office,
and told them the story. Her response, totally deadpan, was: "today in
our office, we had a dead squirrel in the break room."


Wow.  What can you say to that?  I'll tell you what.  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  All you can do is forward it to 15 of your co-workers and put it on your blog.

The Office Scribe

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Still here

Hello everyone

I know what your thinking, that how dare I show up here after not posting for so long.  How dare I come here and put some thoughts down on my own blog which i haven't updated since the mid 1970's (a good 7-9 years before I was even born).  But the truth is, I missed everyone.  And for my continued absence, I am sorry.

So from this day forward, I promise to post on a more regular basis, like in the beginning.  I'll go to counseling and I promise to be more involved in this relationship.  You don't have to go and find another blog.  I'm back and I'm not going anywhere.  (Plus it helps that we finally got the internet installed in my lake house where I spend most weekends.)

But I might as well bring you up to speed to how my summer has gone so far:

As I mentioned before, my entire office up and moved.  It was quite an undertaking, but we have finally all settled in.  But I have been bored out of my mind since the actual move, because the person I was assisting moved to a new department and they didn't replace her right away.  So I have been spending a lot of my time wandering around the new space a la Bill Lumberg, chatting up the co-workers and trying to look more important than I actually am.

But other than work I haven't been doing too much.  I see my friends sometimes, hang out with my mom, go to an occasional party.  The normal kind of stuff people do in the summer.

Summer is almost over though.  School supplies are on store shelves, school buses are doing there practice routes, and I started to get e-mails about Halloween costumes.

So here's to hoping the fall is as spectacular as the changing colors of the leaves (little to Hallmark-ish?  Yeah, I thought so.)

The Office Scribe


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Big Move - Part Two

The Field Trip
 
Since we are moving to a new building, which is only a few towns away but nevertheless a confusing prospect to some people I work with, it was decided by my company that we should have a series of Field Trips to the new building so people can find it.  (Apparently MapQuest is not known by everyone)

So this week everyone has been piling onto an old school yellow bus and taking the trip over to the new building.  

And I have to say it's pretty cute.

No, not the building.  Seriously, it's an office building.  Seen one seen them all.

I meant the field trip.

Not only were we on a bus, but we got name tags which broke us down into smaller groups and a snack bag with water and candy and peanuts for the trip.  

Like I said, cute.  Sometimes it's the little things the company does which counts!

The Office Scribe

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Big Move - Part One

It was announced a few weeks back that my entire office is uprooting and moving a few towns away.  This is awesome for several reasons:

1) Our current office space is dark and dreary and falling apart around us.  There are these weird rumples in the carpet and the desk chairs won't roll over there.  And nothing matches.  We have about 22 styles of desks and they all suck.
2) The move will turn my 40 minute commute into a 15 minute commute, saving me on gas and allowing to sleep in for those extra 25 minutes.
3) We will no be within walking distance of bars, which means to reinvention of the 3 martini lunch.

So until we actually move on August 8th, I will be updating all of you on how an office actually moves everything.  

So I bring you... 

PART ONE: THE SHREDDING CONTAINERS

I work at a company that is all about keeping all the paperwork we can because of liability issues.  But what is the first thing upper management did was tell us to put as much stuff as we could get rid of into these giant read lockable garbage cans that are setting around the office.

The thing is, no one wants to get rid of anything, so these containers are virtually empty.  And that makes me feel bad so I have devised a new use for them.  Reverting back to my middle school years, we now are passing notes amongst each other about people we hate in the company and then we throw them in the containers.  But at least my VP now thinks I am actually getting ready for the move.

And sadly, a lot of working in an office is worrying about what upper management thinks...

The Office Scribe

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Can I Get Brake Installed on My Life?

Ferris Bueller's Day Off gave the world a lot of memorable quotes:

"Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?..."

"Ferris Bueller you're my hero"

“The place is like a museum. It's very beautiful and very cold, and you're not allowed to touch anything.”

And possibly the most quoted.  Basically seen in every high school yearbook quote section since the movie came out...

"Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Well what happens if you can't seem to find the brakes?  I have been so busy the past couple weeks that, aside from not updating this blog as often as I should, I have also not been able to keep up with laundry, friends, family, grocery shopping, and a myriad of other day to day activities.

So I am making it my mission to revert to my school days and chill a bit this summer.  Pop open a bottle of my new favorite beer (Leinie's Summer Shandy) and spend my nights doused in Deep Woods Off relaxing on my patio or up at the lake.  You all might want to do the same and save your sanity.

The Office Scribe

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where were you last Wednesday at 2:00 PM?

I generally hate lazy people. And by lazy people I mean the wankers in my office who like to go out of there way to hit the elevator instead of walking up the one flight of stairs to the second floor where the office is located. I shake my head as I plod up the steps and always hope that the elevator gets stuck.

The only time I use the elevator is on Wednesdays, also known as “the day after I play softball and my knee feels like a prison shank has been shoved up underneath it”. So one day a week I ride the elevator down to the lobby to get my giant half/half (half Diet Coke/half Reg Coke).

As I stepped into the elevator yesterday and the door closed I thought “My God! I’ve gone blind!” Did, I in fact, lose my sight? No, it’s just that the lights inside the elevator is of such high wattage I thought my retinas had been burned out from my head.

Once my vision returned I started to notice that the elevator didn’t look like an elevator. It was more like an interrogation room. Hot, stinging lights, which made me want to confess what I had been doing the night before (answer: laundry & playing softball). This then made me wonder if there is a person who makes a living designing the inside of elevators. And if there parents are proud of them for this job.

And yes, all of this happened in the span of about 14 seconds as the elevator descended one floor. My mind tends to race a bit when fountain drinks are on the line…

The Office Scribe

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Swing Away

In order to get to know my co-workers better and to be a true “team player” I decided to join the co-ed 16 inch softball team. I figured it would be fun. I played softball when I was a kid and am pretty athletic, so I thought “what the hell”. And even though our team sucks we have a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, the weather in Chicago during this time of the year is not always conducive to playing sports. Mainly, rain and lighting do not make me want to spring into the middle of a treeless field and start swinging away. So sadly a few of our games have been cancelled due to rainouts. This was the case last Tuesday and it might be the case today.

Which is really sad because I really need to hit something with a bat.

I know it is only Tuesday but this has been one rough week. M is out of the office so I am covering all her files, which seem to be imploding and exploding on a daily basis. I bet on a normal day I get three phone calls (and two of those are from my mom). Today I got 17 phone calls and about 30 e-mails. One lady actually yelled at me on the phone and said she questioned my judgment by working for such a stupid company.

So like I said, I really have to hit something with a bat.

I figure that will be the only way to relieve the tension knot I have between my shoulder blades because Motrin and Limited Edition Indiana Jones Snickers Minis (which are the bomb and have coconut in them!) are not doing the job.

So please everyone. Do you anti rain dance.

Because I need to hit something with a bat today.

The Office Scribe

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kids - Those Lucky Bastards

I have been really busy lately.  This has been the first weekend where I have been home both Saturday and Sunday in over two months.  A lot of time has been spent at my moms, helping her get ready for a garage sale and getting her house in order.  And then on top of that there's work, softball, and the little social life I can squeeze in here and there.

Which is why I am mad that all the little children will soon be released into society as the school year comes to an end.  Sure, I remember being young and loved having my summers free, but that all stopped once I got a job.  And now I am jealous of all the kids that will have 2-3 months of doing nothing except crowing public places, running around stores, and generally adding 10 minutes to my commute time as mommy drops them off somewhere because she doesn't want them at home with her all day.

So I guess what I am saying is that we have a whole untapped work force out there.  No, I don't mean sit kids down in cubicles and make them balance books.  But it would be nice if you parents out there took them to a park and made them pick up some litter.  You know, not let them just sit in the house and play video games.

Because if I have to work then everyone should have to.

The Office Scribe