Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Welcome to the Jungle

It's rough in here.

Let's all pretend you don't see me.  And then don't bother me, m'kay?

First things first.  I love my job.  I'm so grateful for my job.  My boss took a huge chance on me almost 10 years ago when he didn't have to and we are doing swimmingly all these years later.  The main reason I love my job so much is because my boss is an excellent man with character and respect and shows appreciation for what I do constantly.

Now, things I've learned and seen while here for almost 10 years.  In the CORPORATE JUNGLE.  a.k.a. Lessons from a Desk Jockeyess. I'm a round circle trying to fit into a square peg.  And I've calmed down a lot.  I don't fire off office wide emails bitching about something ridiculous and get scolded by the Office Manager nearly as much as I did back in the day when I thought I knew everything.  Guess what asshole (meaning me)?  You work in a corporate office.  Get with the program. 

Once I learned to keep my mouth shut and not fight every fight, things got way easier.  It's not my business to feel offended by every single slight that happens to me or to someone else. Jesus, I was a huge asshole when I first got sober.  Which, when I started working here, I was one year sober.  CRAY CRAY.  My boss knew I was one year sober and he did it anyway.  He didn't have to.  I probably should have been fired about 46 times by now.  I couldn't get through a background check back then, I don't know if I could get through one now due to my stays at state run facilities and firings from other jobs, but because I started out temp to perm, I didn't ever have to do one. 

I've learned if I zip it on the whole, the times I do chose to open my gob, it's more powerful.  I pause, I ask opinions of others, and I sit with it for a while before reacting.  And 95 percent of the time, I find I don't need to react.  What a gift.  All tools I learned from the 12 Step Program I work.   I never did that shit before.  I just popped off.  Over and over and over.  It's life changing to be able to pause. 

My reviews from co-workers used to say things like, "Katy is not a team player and her skirts are too short."  Seriously, they said that.  Now, they are glowing and beaming about my attitude and the general length of my skirts and praising my "wicked sense of humor".  When I make a fuss now, it gets taken more seriously than if I make a fuss about every little damn thing.  This is huge stuff.  And it's not to say people actually like me here.  But they don't have to.  That's something I learned as well.  This is a job.  We aren't friends.  If we happen to make a few friends through work, that's just a bonus. 

I'm playing in their world and they are paying me to do so, so it's best I keep my opinions to myself.  Now, if only my co-workers could do the same. 

What I have learned.  Nothing earth shattering, but damn is it tedious and soul sucking.
  1. People love to say "Good Morning!"  Seriously, they will fall all over themselves to make a big fucking deal to say good morning to you, and then go on to remain utterly quiet the whole rest of the day.
  2. People love to say "Have a good night/weekend!"  See number 1.
  3. If you sit in a common area, which I do, in a cube without doors or walls or barriers from the masses, people think you are there as ornament and for their own amusement. EXAMPLE: while I have my headphones on and it's clear to a self-aware human that I am in the middle of furiously typing something, say this blog, humanity stops and stares and wants to talk about something very important. Say, how the football game (everyone knows I hate football) was last night, or "WOW, YOUR PLANTS ARE SO BIG, IT'S LIKE A JUNGLE IN HERE".
  4. You know what people don't like?  You making fun of what they say every time they walk by. 
    SO STOP FUCKING SAYING THE SAME THING EVERY GOD DAMN TIME.  I made this helpful sign and put it up one day at my cube so I wouldn't have to answer people.  It caused more confusion than it helped. FAIL.
  5. "IT'S FUCKING COLD IN HERE".  The single most common phrase I hear from humanity walking past my desk.  I have heard it 846 million times in 10 years.  Without the "fucking" part, of course.  People just cannot help themselves.  How the hell do I respond to that?  If I'm feeling plucky or even hear them, I respond with, "really?  I think it's perfect" and then awkwardness ensues.  If I'm crabby and tired of the bullshit, I don't say anything.  And then awkwardness ensues.
  6. THE LADIES ROOM.  Whole. Nother. Level.  WOMEN of the world.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.  Do your business and get the hell out.  No talking.  No loitering.  It's simple.  And for the love of all that is holy, don't talk to me while I'm in a stall.  Did your mothers teach you nothing? 
  7. THE OFFICE KITCHEN.  When you enter the kitchen, don't look at whatever is in there and comment about it to whoever is in there.  NOBODY CARES.  Really and truly, nobody cares.  Don't discuss what people are eating or not eating or what they SHOULD try or not try.  It's the most soul suck-and-destroy mission to engage in this type of conversation.  Which is why most times, I walk right back out when someone else is in there.
I don't care.  About most of the shit people say and do here.  But guess what?  They pay me, so Imma shut up and keep my head down.
As I was writing this rantarific post, this quick note came in from a co-worker.  Not all of them are annoying as shit.  At least not all the time.  There are a few co-workers I genuinely like and so appreciate.  Just knowing they are here helps my sanity.
"I just have to say how fantastic you look.  I was going to mention it to you in the kitchen but then ____ walked in and I didn't want to embarrass you.  You have motivated me to get back on track and lose some weight myself.  I've been making a lot of excuses lately and I'm at the point where I'm mentally ready to fight this battle ;-)" 
I met my closest friend, My Lynnie, here at work.  She sat right next to me her first couple years here.  We clicked on every level.  The way you only do with a select few people in life.  Then she had to move aways from me.  Then another good friend moved in right next door.  Leigh Anne is funny and a spaz and exhausting all at once.  I love her heart dearly.  She plays with me like a champion.  She takes my ribbing in good fun and keeps coming back for more abuse.  Eventually she had to move away from me too.  I know they didn't WANT to move away from me.  RIGHT?  RIGHT?  Of course I have my Young Jonathan to keep me laughing and fully plied with pickles and snark.  Other than that and my Boss, I am now alone in my island of cubicles, which Management finally figured out is the safest solution for everyone here.

There have been many lessons learned here in almost 10 years.  The best part?  They pay me for this shit.  And I am so very grateful. 


  1. This post immediately threw me back to when I was working. All of this ^. ALL OF IT. EXACTLY as you wrote it!

    You made me miss my cubie-mate fiercly, remember how much I do NOT miss my heart-attack-waiting-to-happen-throws-shit-accross-the-room-because-he's-slightly-pissed-screams-at-everyone boss. And the nosy-ass lady who always criticized how everyone's food in the fridge was "sooooooo disorganized".

    I heart you... and this post!!!


  2. Do you have those TPS reports done yet??

  3. Aww, I wish I had a job I felt like that about. I'm more like Office Space over here. (Don't get me near the printer; I carry a bat.)

  4. I hate work place small talk. Please do not talk to me unless you have something important to say. PLEASE.
    Oh, and I just noticed you have me on your blog roll. *blush* Thank you.

  5. Once again, I love all of this post, but there's one part in particular I want to sing all across the land. Every land, actually.

    Oh, how I wish everyone understood this, and acted on it:
    When I make a fuss now, it gets taken more seriously than if I make a fuss about every little damn thing.

  6. It IS pretty amazing how you have to arm yourself and figure out a whole new way of going about your day when you work with other people. SOunds like you've managed admirably. I love that you actually have a boss and a job that you are happy to have.

  7. I so need to learn to pause - and keep my mouth shut - more often!!

  8. Thank you. I need to learn to shut my mouth too. I'm just starting a new job on Monday after being unemployed for a month and a half. Not very long in comparison to other people but long enough for my head to get really cray, cray. Thank god for meetings. I'm sober too and I already feel like an alien in the work place because I don't gossip and i don't go for happy hour..what is that? My happy hour now is when I get to nap. Ok...more later. Thanks for your blog missy.

  9. I'm thinking about me in this blog post. My boss took a chance on me nearly three years ago. I genuinely am grateful for this man. He is like a real-life person with compassion and understanding. I spent 10 years in the Navy and I got all of my filterless speaking out then thankfully. The one great thing about working where I'm at now is you can say fuck ALL the time.

  10. Shut up and don't react to everything. One of the best lessons I have learned in the program.


  11. Truth! Truth-truth-truth!! I remember my cubicle-cell days...and I made friends...and I hated the corporate jungle. I am an abstract peg trying to be forced into a perfect hole. No worky.

    You are awesome! I love your brainy-brain. This is all so perfectly true. Yes indeedy-doo!

    Plug onward, my dear. Keep looking snazzy & being snarky. Humor gets you thru so much...even if no one else gets it.

    Love & smooches & stuff!