Work


I woke up this morning to find a message on the Berry that an associate I work for had called and left a message for me at midnight last night.

Of course, my immediate thoughts were: Crap. And: Well now things are going to hit the fan (because my work load so far has been, frankly, awesome. Knock wood).

As it turned out, it was no big deal and all is good. However, I also woke up to a BBMessage from good friend and co-worker that she was just leaving work at three am.

In comparison, my life looks pretty darn awesome even with midnight phone calls hanging over my head, no?

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I can spend the exact same amount on lunch in the supposedly subsidized work cafeteria and at Pret and get more and much more delicious and healthy food at Pret? Because, let us be honest, Pret is far from cheap.

I meant to tell you all. N, the boyfriend’s secretary, was let go this week. Not because of anything she did, but because they did a big staff cut. Very sad, especially for the people who were good/efficient/did their jobs well. However, that is really not the point, (seriously, people, I am not a heartless bitch, but N kind of had this coming), the point being that someone (I don’t know who) was cleaning out her desk yesterday and discovered a drawer filled with all the receipts and expense reports that she was supposed to file for her attorneys over the past three months, but apparently never felt motivated to actually, you know, deliver to Accounts Payable. And, yes, said attorneys including the boyfriend should have noticed this, but since everything is electronic now and these were relatively small amounts (2 (or 20) $5 cabs here, a lunch there), none of them noticed that the reimbursements they were supposed to be getting were never included in their paychecks. So she leaves on a high note. Godspeed N, Godspeed.

You are going to have SO much fun in the real world. (Also, Fox News has clearly turned on you. HEE). There is a very special circle of hell for crappy employees like you.  And my former assistant. And the boyfriend’s secretary.

I worked at George.town after graduating and every year I got to hire a work-study student to help in the office with things like filing and mailings (we sent out A LOT of mailings) and copies and flyering and all that fun stuff. Clearly, the job was not glamorous, but that was as-advertised and, as work-study jobs go, it was pretty standard. Now, I will say that out of the three assistants I hired during my tenure, two were awesome. Nice, polite, pleasant to be around. The first, however, was the DEVIL. Seriously. I think she was put here and in my office for the sole purpose of trying my patience. In my defense, she was my first hire and she seemed very mature and capable. LIES. Similar to everyone’s favorite ex-beauty queen above, DEVIL had a ginormous chip on her shoulder and clearly resented me for asking her to do things that she believed were below her. Like her job.

Among the highlights of the semester we spent together:

1) The huge SIGH of anguish anytime I asked her to do anything (i.e. “DEVIL, can you please print out 30 copies of this letter for me on letterhead?” “SIIIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHH.”

2) The fact that, no matter how many times we had a little sitdown&chat about that crazy little thing called “professionalism” and the fact that there are certain things you just can’t do in the workplace, she persisted in walking around the office singing. SINGING. And not quietly under her breath. Apparently it was her means of communicating with God (ironic, right? The devil clearly has a sense of humor).

3) The fact that she consistently showed up late to work, left early without checking in with me, and lied about doing things (example: putting things in the mail) and would only admit to not having done them when confronted with clear proof (ex: stack of envelopes she said she had mailed out a week earlier).

4) The time I asked her to hand-deliver something to another office ASAP. 30 minutes later, I got a call asking where the document was and went out to DEVIL’s work station to find her on her personal email. She then told me I was interrupting her. I believe that is when I first suggested she start looking for alternative work for the next semester.

Because that was the thing: since she was work-study and you can’t just fire work-study students, no matter how incompetent/evil they are, there was no way I could get rid of her until the end of the semester. It was a LONG semester.

The final straw was when I had to be out of the office one morning for a not-a-huge-big-deal-in-the-long-run, but-not-insignificant outpatient procedure. I worked on the Main Campus and so the hospital was right there and so I went into work before the procedure where I found that DEVIL had been lying to me (I know, I know. From what I told you above, shocker, and I should have been watching her like a bird at that point, but that’s what I get for treating her like an adult and trusting her) all week (under even the best of circumstances, DEVIL worked at the speed of molasses. It was often faster to do things myself) and had not even begun to assemble the 40 packets that had to be done by that afternoon so they could go out in that day’s mail pickup. So I left a note for her at the workstation emphasizing that the packets HAD to get done that day, explaining again how to do them, and telling her to email me the minute she got in. I also sent her an email with the same information.

I go off to have my procedure and keep checking my email. Nothing from DEVIL. Finally, I email my friend Hope* and ask her to please swing by DEVIL’s work station and make sure she is there and, if she is, tell her to email me (my office and the workstation were tucked around a corner from the rest of the department). She does, DEVIL is there, doing nothing as expected, and DEVIL finally emails me back something along the lines of “I am DOING it.” I take several deep and calming breaths. I get back, even though I had planned to take the rest of the day off, only to discover she is not doing it or anything and is on the phone with a friend. I see red  and ask her to come in my office.

She agrees, telling ME that SHE needs to talk to me. Before I can say anything, she tells me that it was really rude of me to send someone to check up on her and that I have no right to babysit her. I see red yet again, take a deep breath, and send out a little “thank you” to the universe for the painkillers the doctor sent me home with. And then we had yet another talk about professionalism and what it means when one person is the employer and the other is the employee (i.e. I beat my head against a brick wall yet again).

I thought DEVIL was one of kind, but clearly (scarily) there are more of her kind out there.

Oh, and the boyfriend’s secretary is just the worst. He shares her with several other people and they all trade horror stories on a regular basis. She regularly tells people calling that she hasn’t seen said associate/partner and so said person must not be in yet (a huge no-no) and refuses to do basic secretary things like answer the phone.** What I don’t get about her is, all things considered, she has a pretty cushy thing going. She’s got benefits and makes a very decent living (a little less twice what I made working for George.town), considering she only has a high school degree, and it’s not a horribly demanding job – she gets to leave at 6. So I don’t understand the refusal to actually, you know, do her job.

Clearly my expectations of how people should act in the workplace are just out of line.

Goes off to cry quiet tears of frustration and rally against a world that promotes such insane entitlement.

*Whose wedding I will coincidentally be at this weekend.

**There was some problem last week where all her charges kept getting fax calls to their individual lines – I don’t know why – and she told them that she was tired of picking up the phone and hearing the fax trying to go through and so she would not be answering their phones and would just let all the calls go through directly. Two of them, including the boyfriend, were closing deals. They were thrilled, let me tell you.