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