October 25, 2001
flowers are sitting on my desk when my boss and I get back from lunch
on Wednesday: a tasteful autumn bouquet of carnations and alstroemeria,
all fuschias and yellows and peachy-pinks, tucked artfully into a
little round vase.
attached card reads:
your first day
at the new job!
my," says JoAnne. "It looks like somebody is
thinking about you today."
indeed. *Somebody* probably IS thinking about me
today. And when *Somebody* and I get home from work tonight, I'll
inform him that he sent me flowers.
sure he'll be surprised by his own thoughtfulness.)
sit and admire my pretty flowers for a minute. So far this little
bouquet is the only thing on my desk that is 100%
*Secra.* Everything else is either company issue or souvenirs from
my predecessor. (A half-empty bottle of Curél hand lotion.
Scribbled sticky note reminders all over the place -- "CALL DAN!!,"
"Edict Environ. #4561190," "Domino's Pizza: 555-1234." A ratty-looking
hairbrush in the back of the bottom desk drawer, with a few strands of
long blondish hair still clinging to the bristles.) Nothing here in
this workspace says anything about me yet,
professionally or personally.
And that's the way I want it
Tomorrow I'll probably bring
my beloved World's Cutest Nephew coffee
mug into the office. Maybe my battery-operated desk fan, and my raggedy
thesaurus, and my Ugly Emergency Sweater. Next week I'll start bringing
in the good stuff: photos of David and The Tots, the TicTac
snowglobe, my lucky wind-up chicken. But I want to be extremely
subtle about this. I used to show up for the first day of any new job
with everything I owned, practically. Now I know that it's more
professional to phase that stuff in gradually (and with great
restraint). Why start advertising your husband/your hobbies/your taste
in hand lotion, right off the bat?
to remain a bit of an office *enigma* for a while.
minutes later, the burly young UPS guy shows up. "Delivery for a Terri
Rafter?" he says. And he sets a large square package on the edge of my
desk, next to the bouquet. The box is marked "1800FLOWERS."
How many bouquets did I ORDER, forcryingoutloud?
flowers?" JoAnne marvels. "That husband of yours must be a real
this one isn't from "David." Genuinely surprised this time, I open the
box and carefully unwrap a miniature rose plant and a decorative mug
planter. The inscription on the mug reads:
the sun shine on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
aren't from my husband," I tell JoAnne, smiling broadly. "They're from
my oldest daughter." And I show her the card, which says "Congrats
and good luck on your new job, Mom! I love you very much! Jaymi (and
JoAnne shrugs. "Like father like daughter, right?"
is making the assumption, of course, that David is the father of my
children. She has no reason to believe otherwise, and I don't bother
correcting her just yet. I have thus far managed to be
uncharacteristically sparing with personal information ... through the
interview process, through my first morning on the job, through our
Employer/Employee "Welcome To The Company" lunch. Over a smoked turkey
Reuben and a pile of coleslaw, I shared the important stuff -- I was
born and raised in TicTac, I have three children, my husband works for
a newspaper, I was Miss Fire Prevention 1970 -- but the rest of it is
going to have to wait to emerge gradually. Again, this is precisely
the way I want it. This is the new, improved, professional Secra. *Old
Secra* had absolutely no self-control: she would have spilled her
entire life story to her new boss within ten minutes of shaking hands
for the first time. (Or else maybe she would have just handed over the
URL to *FootNotes* and said "There will
be a quiz afterwards.")
Secra,* on the other hand, sort of likes the idea of remaining an
*enigma* for just a while longer. next