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So you may have noticed I’ve been a little MIA lately. I’ve had blog-block. Funny, random and awkward things keep happening, but I have no clue how to sort them into coherent thoughts to share with you all. After receiving a slight onslaught of complaints for my inactivity, I’ve finally sat down to write something…

Like many of you, I spend close to and sometimes more than 8 hours a day at work. Though I don’t particularly like blogging about my job, mainly because I would like to keep it, sometimes it’s impossible not to since so much of my time is spent in the office. I’m lucky that most of my co-workers are laid back enough that if they read any post where I mention them, I think they’d just laugh. At least I hope they would.

A few days ago, I popped into my co-worker’s office. She has two little boys, so we often swap stories about her kids and my nephews. Mainly we laugh at them and their antics. This is how we digress and refocus our eyes from the blurried distortion Excel spreadsheets cause.

I shared with Co-Worker a fact that many of my close friends and family know about me and a trait most of them hate. I DETEST being teased. I do not take it well AT ALL. With that being said, I dish it out quite liberally. People seem to think that because I can hold my own in a battle of sarcastic will, I should be able to accept the same treatment in kind. I just can’t do it. But in all fairness, I am working on it.

Co-Worker commented that her oldest son, at 7, is much the same way:

“Thing#1 hates to be teased too and the other day at daycare some girl came up to him with a Cootie-Catcher (*Editor’s note: I had no idea what this was and thus asked her to explain). A  Cootie-Catcher is like a fortune teller for kids.”

cootie_partyAfter you go through various hula-hoops, you end up with a fortune. In the case of Thing#1, his fortune was his future occupation. He picked a color; LittleGirl spelled the color. Then he picked a number; LittleGirl counted the number. Then, she told him to choose the number 3 to reveal his life’s path.

It said: HOBO.

He was devastated.

She probably liked him, right?

I felt for the little guy. Heart hanging there on his sleeve as he blindly chooses a fate doomed to living beneath an underpass with nothing to keep him warm but malt-liquor in a grody brown bag. Teasing sucks. Love hurts. And so it goes…

Cootie-Catcher (I personally think this sounds like a disease — and not a pleasant one) reminded me of another fortune game I used to play with my elementary, middle, and yes probably high school friends: MASH.

Ring a bell?

M- Mansion

A- Apartment

S- Shack

H- House

My friends and I’d sit in the back of the bus and script these letters at the top of our 3-ring notebook paper. From there, we’d pick categories: Husband, Car, Money, Occupation, Pet, Bridesmaids, Color, Relationship Status, Location.

I’d get to pick one of the boys for husband, but for the most part the FortuneTeller (FT) fills in the selections under the categories. FT’d then draw slashes until I said stop, count them up and begin to run down the list for my future life. Then, when the magic number was hit, FT’d cross through everything until 1 item was left in each category. At that, my future was set:

KT will be a waitress living in a House, married to PerfectBoy in Hawaii. He’ll be a lawyer. They’ll have 2 kids, a boy and a girl (sometimes we’d give specific names to imaginary children). V will be her bridesmaid and wear blue in her wedding. PerfectBoy and KT will have a Golden Retriever and drive a Range Rover.

And I’d believe it to be so…it’s funny how when we’re young, we put so much stock into these silly games. I would have rather died than to end up with TL (the whiny kid who picked his nose in Music class) and who would actually desire to become a hobo? We’d spend hours on the playground trying to act grown up, and when someone would show us a future we didn’t want to see, we’d throw a fit.

As I’ve grown-up, the tantrums have faded, but I still remember the effects of those pastimes – how I’d cringe in anticipation of my future and how absolutely shattered I’d be when it didn’t come out “cool.” The other kids would laugh that I was marrying TL and we were going to spend our days in a Shack. And I’d remember their laughs long after the bus ride ended.

So I guess this is how I developed my hatred of being teased and later the defense mechanism to dish it back in force.

Co-Worker ended our little chat with, “As Thing#1 and I drove home that evening, I told him he needed to get thicker skin….that the little girl was trying to play a game with him, that she was joking. But he just pinched his arm and said his skin was thick enough as it is.”

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I will be writing a longer post later…but I couldn’t resist telling what just happened in my office corridor a few minutes ago. For my co-workers who read this, don’t report me…just smile and nod. Thanks.

After spending a few seconds arguing the proper way to say “bow chica bow wow” (one co-worker thought the actual pronunciation was “bow chica bow bow”), our conversation naturally progressed or descended depending on your point of view.

Me: “Do you guys remember when you were younger to figure out your porn name you’d put your first pet with the street you grew up on?”

Yes folks, I said this to my boss and some other colleagues. Sometimes words just fly out and alcohol isn’t even a factor.

Here were my co-workers responses:

“Mine would be Macho Sunflower” (this falls under more of an alternative lifestyle porn name)

“Let’s see…mine would have been Fritzie Waxwing.”

“Fluffy Lumkin” (blond Marilyn impersonator with bad wig)

Slim announced, “Sassy Grey Colt.”

All excellent names.

And mine…

Drumroll please…

Wait for it…

Chaucer Belmont.

Cymbal Crash.

Silence.

Gag.

My mom was an English teacher who loved Chaucer (could have been Shakespeare)…so thus my hot and tempting pornstar name would have been Chaucer Belmont. What’s worse is if I go with my “real” first pet…it would have been Fish Belmont. Fish Belmont. Ew.

What would your’s have been? Do share!

 

 

 

 

In other thoughts, today starts March Madness. I am in two pools…we’ll see how it all plays out. But BInLaw pointed out something I wanted to share with everyone who sits at a cubicle all day and doesn’t want to be caught watching the games.

It’s called the BOSS Button.

untitled

It’s a button that you push when your boss is looming over your shoulder.

So when he/she appears, click that little man in a suit over-top of the screen and this spreadsheet appears:

boss-spreadsheet

Thus, it actually looks like you are still working…and when he/she finally walks away after discussing nonsensical gibberish, you click your mouse anywhere on that spreadsheet, and you are immediately streamed back into your game of choice.

Round One: GO Terps!

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telephone1My job consists of constant interaction with Excel and Outlook and limited interaction with people. Occasionally my phone rings and I answer it and speak for a few moments. I repeat this once or twice a day. Most often it’s Boss or Colleague. They call for two reasons: one, to cover daily tasks or two, to tell a joke at my expense. Other than that, I plug formulas into a tiny white cell and hope my answers are correct.

My office has no windows, so I have no idea what the weather is outside. On days where my cup is half-full, I assume it’s sunny and beautiful, and thus I mope accordingly because I’m stuck in a windowless office where my only light is the artificial twitting of a fluorescent bulb.

Because I have minimal socialization throughout the day it’s quite possible that I will flub up the conversations I do have. For various reasons, I am unable to multi-task while talking to people, especially on the phone. I can walk and chew gum, drive and apply lipgloss, write and watch Chuck. But I am completely incapable of chatting on the phone while on the internet, driving, or eating, the latter for obvious reasons. I have to devote my full attention to the person on the other line and who they actually are and what they’re saying, otherwise…something disastrous may happen.

There are a few people in my life I talk to on a daily+ basis; Sis and Mom, sometimes Bro and Dad. We ring each other at least 2-3 times throughout the day…sometimes more. The calls are usually no more than 5-10 minutes as we’re often busy doing three other things. Whenever I’m ready to hang up, I say “okay, love you, bye.” And click off quickly, without much thought.

A few Mondays ago, Colleague called me when I first came into the office. While he rattled off some tasks for the day, I turned on my computer, logged onto g-mail, read an email, im-ed some friends and produced affirmative grunts to whatever he was going on about. After a few minutes, we rapped up the chat. I spouted, “ok…loo..long day it’s gonna be right?”

Panic. Shit. I almost said Love You TO Colleague!  Did I cover it well enough?

“Yeah…what else is new?” he asked.

Whew. Covered. I think.

“Heh heh heh…yeah typical Monday.”

Ten minutes later. BInLaw calls ready to leave. Most of you know I work with BInLaw. He sent me the job description that set in motion my move South. We are now co-workers who commute together 2 days a week. Sis packs our lunches. It’s all very cute.

“Yo…it’s 10:30. Can we leave yet?”

“Haha…no. Let’s wait until after noon today?” I typed away at an email, updated a spreadsheet, etc. as we talked about Perez Hilton’s latest gossip until he announced,

“Okay…I have actual work to be doing KT.”

“Like I don’t…”

“HA. I mean real work…not that stuff you do. Talk to you later.”

I tapped at my keyboard and distractedly said…”K, lovv…lunch time. See you at lunch time. Bye”

Shit. I did it again.

…And so it goes until I’m so conscious of the fact that when distracted, I almost say I love you to ANYONE with whom I happen to be on the phone that I’ve been forced to actually contemplate not answering. Too bad Boss sits in the office next to me and can hear my clicking as I type this, so when he calls, he probably expects me to pick up the phone.

Have you ever over-thought a conversation in the midst of one? You weigh and measure every word.

A. It’s exhausting.

B. You end up making even less sense than normal.

3. You forget what you said 15 seconds before because you’re too busy trying to come up with the next line so that you don’t say something stupid or embarrassing like, I love you.

While this is mostly a problem for me via the telephone, I have almost made the same mistake through the written word…i.e. email. Occasionally during lunches, I’ve been known to watch an episode or three of whatever current TV show with which I happen to be slightly obsessed.

On this particular day, I was watching The Bachelor. As you know, I religiously followed Jason as he searched for true love on ABC. While watching Jason explain to a heart-broken Jillian (I think it was this episode), I was simultaneously drafting an email to Boss.

Jason- “I just think there’s something missing between us. That we’re better as best friends and aren’t able to make that leap to the next level.”  (or something like that…Jason was always way verbose)

Me- typing email to Boss – Hi, Attached is the draft for the March efforts. Would you mind taking a look over it before I send it off? I just want to make sure there’s nothing missing between us.

 

Yes. That’s what I wrote. Thankfully, I proof my emails before I hit send. In a panic of nervous energy that I had just almost sent that email, I called BInLaw.

“Dude…listen to the email I just drafted to Boss.” I read him the email, “I was watching the Bachelor and Jason had just said that line. Clearly my subconscious found what he said important enough to type out.” (BInLaw knows who Jason is…so luckily he got this story without much prompting.)

“Oh man KT. That would have been rough. Imagine if last week you had actually said I love you to Boss and then this week sent that email. He probably would have had to go to HR and been like…I think I have a problem on my hands. My direct report is in love with me.”

BInLaw laughed at this.

I did not.

Lesson Learned: Do not multi-task when on the phone or drafting emails to your employers, co-workers, relatives or anyone with whom you would not end a conversation with “ok, love you, bye.” Click.

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Today I quit my first job

and promptly threw-up.

Well, I thought about it anyway. Going into that little room to tell my boss who I love initiated the immediate secretion of excess amounts of saliva and sweat. I felt like I’d just stood in a steam room at 112 degrees for an hour. My cheeks were red, hands shaky, and I became suddenly fascinated by the skin on the sides of my fingernails, you know…that pillow-cushion pouch of skin that is ever-so tempting to naw on when you’re nervous.

The decision was not easy, and in all truthfulness only stemmed from the fact that my lease was up and I didn’t feel like finding another apartment…well that and a few other things.

I love my job, and would gladly stay but when the offer from another company came in, I realized it was an astounding opportunity, one I would be foolish to pass on.

So here I am…10:00 at the end of the day I handed in my two-weeks notice.

It’s amazing how sometimes things just fall into place. When I first decided to come to New York, I immediately took the necessary steps to get here. I found the job, then the apartment and in less than a months time I was taking the 6 and walking down Madison Avenue into my office building.

This change came with a bit quicker turn-around. I applied and within a week of submitting my application, I had two phone interviews and had set up a trip to Maryland for the face-face.

My half-day, planned-to-the-minute interview was to run from 8:30 in the morning until around 1:30. Ushered from office to office, I met with my potential colleagues and answered their questions about my job, my interests, my passions and my life; biggest change, best strength, one weakness, what would your manager say you need to work on, what do you like about your job/hate about your job. The clock whirled past 1:30. My interview finally ended at 3:30, and I was shmattered. Drained, I felt my switch super-glue and stick in the on notch so that when I walked into my sister’s house at the end of the day, I sat at her kitchen table and nodded, smiled, answered, nodded, smiled, and answered until they realized I hadn’t heard a word they’d said. My brain was mush. And when I surfaced and shared that I hoped it went well, my family all laughed at me. An interview lasting an unheard of 7 hours had to have gone well…right?

Right. They offered me the position right before I left for vacation, and sent me the official letter while I was on sunning on the beach. I had to take a drug test within two business days of receiving the letter, so while I was on vacation; to help, the company sent through directions to the nearest LabCorps in Atlantic City, New Jersey, our family vacation spot. Yes…AC…where drug paraphanelia once washed up alongside seashells. Naturally I passed as if there were any doubt, although Mom raised her eyebrow at me once or twice before the results were in.

When I got back from AC on Friday, I gave a lot of thought to if I wanted to leave NYC and this morning (a mere 3 weeks after it all started), I officially accepted the position. Another move, another change, another adventure. And to quote one of my favorite books, “so it goes…” and I’m going with it.

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Micro-Peeve

One mild irritation on an ever-growing list of irritations:

I dislike it when those who use the microwave before me remove their food and leave the timer on whatever time they decided their food was warmed to perfection or perhaps boiled over. I especially dislike it when the time blinking in front of me is one second. At this point, will it really matter if your food boils over the one extra second if chili or oatmeal is already spattered all over the microwave?

Instead of hitting the ‘cancel’ button, they choose to pop open the door, remove their steaming food, and walk away so that when those of us who are next in line put our chilly food in to ‘nuke it,’ we have to stand there for a few seconds before we realize that the timer is still set for the person who came before we did.

As a result we are forced to press ‘cancel,’ an extra and unnecessary button in our food preparation.

Common courtesy would be for them to push it.

So just do it. Even if there is one second left and your popcorn bag is on fire, either wait out that one second until it beeps or press the cancel button.

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It’s fairly safe to say that when I started my job nine months ago, I was completely ignorant to corporate bureaucracy. Because of my ignorance, I did not take offense when on day one, my boss led me to a workstation instead of a cubicle.

You see, a cubicle has three sides that rise almost as tall or taller than the employee who sits in them. Space is left for a door if you so desired screwing one in. It has several drawers for filing and to hold personal belongings. Often it even includes a chair to be used for quick meetings between colleagues. Two-thirds of the cubicle is lined with a beige metal shelf to hold products, files, clutter and beneath the back wall, fluorescent “track” lighting glows on the desk. The computer keypad hides beneath the main desk on a black stand, making the entire work space appear sparse, clean and organized.

But walk ten feet and you move into my ‘open’ workstation. I am about a foot taller than my three ‘walls,’ two of which seem to be more like partitions. The top of my boss’s head is clearly visible as she bops round the corner with a knock on the…metal cabinet which serves as my drawer, my door, and my desk. I am only allotted one lengthspan of desk space with no drawers and no little black stand for my computer’s keypad.

The Office Dictionary

More and more often now I am brought into meetings. My Outlook Calendar blinks orange 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time, and just as I do with the morning alarm, I snooze it to 5 minutes before I need to be there. I sit around a table with twelve others, three of whom dial in on the conference line. Their voices chime through at various times during the meeting, but otherwise I forget their existence, until one focuses on a specific point He disagrees with.

Several pairs of knowing eyes in the room meet, roll, and dart up or down. People smirk into coffee cups or chew their pens while He continues harping on His point, long ago moving away from whatever topic was originally on the agenda. The looks continue as He rattles from this argument to that until one person finally interrupts,

”Guys I think we should take this up, offline.”

OfflineProbably my most favorite phrase I’ve encountered since entering the working world. What I’ve gathered in terms of meaning is that it’s a politically correct word for one of two statements:

“This is f-ing ridiculous. Why are we wasting my time discussing it”

“You’re wrong and your idea is stupid. We will nix it later”—i.e. Offline.

Either way it’s perfect and I believe it to be a welcome addition to my person vocabulary.

Set a Reminder

The coffee-cup gossip that would involve my name still makes me flush with embarrassment, even though in the end it did no real damage. Since my workstation lacks the proper space for any personal belongings, often they just sit out and I fish through them for my gum or lip gloss throughout the day. My bag usually packed with clothes and sneakers from my morning gym trip, my lunch and other odds and ends, remains open for most of the day, without any additional thought from me.

But a few weeks ago, I learned a lesson when I stepped into a catch-up with my boss. While I was away from the desk, my very own ‘Michael Scott*’ swung by to ask me a question. A co-worker saw him hunting for me and let me know when I returned. I sat down to shoot him an email when I happened to glance to my left. There, for all the world and Michael* to see was my favorite, tattered sports bra, just chillin’ outside my bag, hangin’ out…just air-dryin’.

As I sat there staring at my oldest, ratty undergarment, knowing it should be in the trash, all I could picture was Michael* recoiling in disgust as he gave-up looking for a post-it to leave me a note and shrank back to his safe, sterile office with a door he could close and a drawer for his personal stuff.

At that moment, I couldn’t wait to become management.


*clearly not his real name

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