miles to go: 1,331.07
any good SecraTerri, I've developed a list of professional standards
and practices, during my twentysomething years in the admin biz, that I
try to follow on the job every day.
have a spare pair of No Nonsense in your bottom desk drawer. Always
show up wearing a suit jacket in the morning, even if you take it off
ten minutes after you get to the office. Never eat barbecued ribs at
the front desk. Order more fax toner before
you need it. Never say "I don't know." Never deflect a compliment from
a co-worker ... especially a co-worker who makes more money than *you*
do. Never carry on a flaming extramarital affair with the Main Balding
Aluminum Sales Guy.
perhaps the most critically important rule of all: never ever EVER
plead "PMS" when you're having a bad day. Especially to a
guidelines have served me well, over the years. You might even say that
they've gotten me where I am today. So it pains me to report that in
the past 48 hours, I've managed to break every single one of my own
rules (except maybe for the Main Balding Aluminum Sales Guy thing, and
that's only because I've BTDT) ... plus a few I hadn't even
thought of until today.
already calling this "Hell Week." Except that in Hell they probably allow
you pee once in a while.
is on vacation for a while -- now that she's been asked to unresign, I
guess she figured it was safe to leave town for a few days -- so this
week the full burden of managing, maintaining and mother-henning our
little office has fallen squarely on my marginally-capable shoulders.
This, mind you, in addition to my own job duties. As if this weren't
bad enough, Mother Nature has decided that this would be the perfect
time to blow through, a week or two early, and create a little
premenstrual havoc, just for chuckles. Drop a couple of
zits onto the middle of my forehead, maybe. Up my irritability
quotient. Lower my pain threshold. Puff me up like a marshmallow in a
combination of the two -- relentless job pressure and unexpected
premenstrual horror -- have rendered me a limp, raggedy, witchy mess
all week long.
situation reached its nadir late yesterday afternoon. I was standing in
the copy room -- with a run in my only pair of pantyhose and a pizza
stain on my blouse, jacketless, looking in dismay at the blinking *OUT
OF TONER* message on the fax machine -- when The Main Nerdy
Geoscientist Guy walked into the room. Something about the expression
on my face must have alerted him to my impending meltdown.
you OK?" he asked.
don't know," I replied. And I burst into tears.
think it was the kindness in his voice that undid me. All day long
people had been barking orders at me and dumping
last-minute/bazillion-page projects on me and talking to me in that I'm
Talking To You Very Very Slowly Because I Think You're A Little Bit
Stoopid tone of voice: all of the normal office crap that
usually has to deal with.
Main Nerdy Geoscientist Guy was clearly unnerved by my tears. "I think
you're doing a great job," he said awkwardly ... looking at me as
though privately he suspected I might come running at him with scissors
at any moment.
I shook my head -- No I'm not -- and
nose on my shirt sleeve. And then, in a moment of sheer, dumb-headed,
hormonally-induced stoopidity, I broke my own cardinal rule.
just PMS," I said, feigning a casual,
just-between-us-Baby-Boomers smile. You know how it is.
to show him how nonchalant I was about the whole thing, I yanked the
fax machine open and accidentally sent it crashing to the floor.
fled the copy room. As a matter of fact, I don't
believe I've even seen The Main Nerdy Geoscience
then. And today I've noticed that some of my co-workers -- particularly
the Young Testosterone portion of the Dirt Company staff -- are
maintaining a discreet distance from my desk. It's almost as though
they've heard a rumor that I'm a carrier for some hideously painful,
genital-disfiguring disease, and they're afraid that if they talk to
me/look at me/share *Oxygen Molecules* with me, they stand a chance of
contracting it themselves.
that's fine with me.
this week has taught me anything so far, it's that I absolutely do NOT
want JoAnne's job, now or
ever. Not even if you offered me Matt Lauer as my Executive Ass, and
he came to work in a kilt every day. It's a moot point anyway, now
that JoAnne and Armand have kissed and made up. But should the issue
ever come up in the future, I want it stated for the record that I am not
interested. There is way too much accounting involved in this position,
way too much unpaid overtime and way way WAY too
interaction with our high-maintenance little CEO.
they never let you go to the goddamn BATHROOM.
JoAnne comes back to the office next week, and I can go back to doing
the things I do best: juggling phone calls, deflecting pesky salesmen,
sending out vaguely-menacing e-mails to the staff. ("Clean
stuff out of the refrigerator! CHEESE should not have more hair than
*YOU* do!") Plus I will soon be enjoying the soothing,
cycle-regulating benefits of Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethnidrone. With
any luck, I won't have to face another Hell Week like this one for a
long, long time.
the meantime, maybe I'm going to have to rethink the whole "never never
ever plead PMS" rule. It may not actually make me feel any
better, having my temporary menstrual woes out there for everybody in
the office to see. It may not make the rest of the week
pass any faster. But it obviously scares hell out of The Testosterone
Units ... and at least that bought me a little peace and quiet today.
knows? Maybe tomorrow I'll announce that I have "cramps."
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