10 November 2006

Mostly We're 13 Year Old Girls

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind." ~ Aristotle

We were unable to access the internet all day yesterday at work. I played a lot of solitaire, which is the only game I have on my hard drive. Boring.

My boss is getting ready to lower the boom on a couple of my fabulous co-workers. One of them (J.) is the guy who was working at our office in another state. He whined and moaned to come back because he wanted to spend time with his harridan, borderline personality disordered wife who hates him. The company owner, S., has a real serious dislike going for this guy. J. used to be the company darling, but not anymore. I have the distinction of being the first one here to hate him. My boss finally figured out why.

The other person, whom I'll just call "The Foot Lady" is a salesperson, but as far as I can tell, she hasn't drummed up any new business in a couple of years. That's what I hear, anyway. I call her The Foot Lady because if you're in conversation with her more than five minutes, she's going to take one of her shoes off and plop her foot up on her desk (or any other stable surface, I guess) to show you why she complains about her feet all the time. This cracks me up. It's so much more appealing than pulling your underwear down in my office, like one of my other co-workers. Yes, boys and girls, it's the Wacky World Where GGirl Works. It just doesn't get much more fun than this.

So S. has developed a job description for these two sales people that actually involves making contact with potential clients. What a concept! He expects J. to bitch about how the rest of us aren't really doing anything, so he's making us all submit job descriptions. In order to make J.'s life hell, S. is making the rest of us suffer. That just how it is here. Kind of like Purgatory.

It's been years since I've even had a job title. I'd sort of been going with "Employee Emeritus" because I like that name. I knew it wasn't going to be viable for these purposes, though. I just answered the email and listed all the disparate things I do here and suggested maybe S. would like to come up with a job title. Within 15 minutes, he had sent back 7 or 8 potential job titles. I could just pick one. I hope I can remember it, though, because it was pretty good and I'd like to be able to tell people that's what I do...while I laugh, because this place always makes me laugh when it's not making me want to beat my head against a wall.

I guess my job title could also be "The Only Person in the Office Everyone Likes." That's just my unofficial title, though. I'm always surprised that they all like me, but my therapist points out to me that I'm actually likeable. They're not. That's one of the reasons I'm willing to pay her money every week. She reminds me that the person I live with in my head is not the person everyone else lives with. I'm sad a lot or testy a lot (especiallyl at work), but that's not what shows on the outside. Because I move on. I do not hang onto the bad feeling and spread it around like the flu. We have the rest of the company to take care of that.

The accounting guy is especially grumpy and negative. He's completely in the dark about that. He thinks he's Little Mary Sunshine (um, no, that would be I). He's very pissed off about the whole job description thing. He brought it up a couple of days ago and I thought he was going to literally foam at the mouth. I made a joke and tried to get him to climb down off his high horse, but I was only moderately successful.

I can't wait to hear about how the meeting with the two salespeople goes. That should be fun. In the meantime, I whipped up a job description for myself today and sent it right off to my boss. I know who owns the company and it's not the accounting guy. The accounting guy acts like he owns the company, but that's just a grave misunderstanding which is going to ultimately cause S. to start focusing on making his life a living hell. Soon. Right now it's just at the stage where S. makes Accounting Guy go out to lunch with our banker and they gang up on him politically. Accounting Guy is a Rush Limbaugh freak, so S. always gets the banker going about her liberal political views. I think it makes it hard for Accounting Guy to digest his food. Things are going to get much worse than that, though.

So that's how it goes here. Mostly we're a bunch of 13 year old girls talking behind each other's backs and carrying around a permanent case of PMS. I don't talk behind people's backs. I just don't talk about my co-workers at all other than to my mom and Hubby. People can not count on me spreading the latest rumor. I don't do it. It's stupid. I'm not 13, not even in my head.

07 November 2006

Please Don't Make Me Talk To You

"A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation." ~ Bertrand Russell

Part of my job here is to manage workers' comp insurance issues. When someone gets hurt, I make sure the claim gets filed with our insurance company and track their progress if their injury is such that they miss work or are reduced to light duty. I also have to call the boys (and they are always boys) periodically just to let them know we're all thinking of them. Our insurance people tell us that calling the injured ones motivates them to get back to work because they think that means we actually care whether they get better. This is my least favorite part of the job.

In fact, I don't really care how they're doing. I just want them to get well and get their accident-prone asses back at work. Every day they miss work just adds to the cost of premiums next year. Workers' comp can kill a small company. Don't get me wrong. When people get injured at work, the company should ensure that the bills get paid. If they need to be at home recuperating, the company should make sure that's financially feasible for them. I just don't wish to talk with them once every couple of weeks.

Some folks are suspiciously accident-prone. We had this one guy who worked for us five different times over the course of several years. He would work a week or two and get hurt. I mean badly hurt. Hurt as in taking the next six weeks off. I finally told the owner of the company that he needed to keep his personnel folks from hiring him again. The guy's name was Wally. He's a Viet Nam vet who writes poetry and will tell you all about it, whether or not you wish to know. We were all relieved to see Wally go because it meant we could go to the company Christmas party without fear of getting stuck in a corner somewhere for a couple of hours, listening to Wally recite extremely bad poetry. Frankly, I expected some reward money from my co-workers for alleviating that anxiety.

We had another guy several years ago whose hobby was bull riding. Seriously. I live in Texas, where people do these kinds of things, but I will never understand what makes someone get up on top of a bull who is royally pissed off...other than just a serious streak of self-destructiveness. Anyway, this guy shows up at the doctor with a work-related shoulder injury. No one saw him get hurt and he came by the office the next day on his motorcycle. We had no way of knowing for sure that it wasn't some bull's fault (since said alleged impairment occurred first thing Monday morning), but we were all pretty sure that riding a motorcycle should be too painful for that type of shoulder injury. So we set up the Jose Ramirez (names changed to protect the idiotic) Memorial Film School. Every day he was unable to work, he was required to show up at the office, sit downstairs watching safety films by himself and writing synopses of them. This went on for about 30 days. He never got hurt again. I digress.

We have an office in another city in Texas and one in Virginia. They are responsible for their own injury claims, which only makes sense because it would add a lot of extra time to the claims process if they all had to come through me. Plus, I'd be calling even more assholes, trying to convince them that even though I've never met them, I'm just broken up about their injuries. Virginia has very different reporting requirements and coordinating everything to meet those requirements would require Herculean effort.

Suddenly the office manager in Virginia has taken to sending me copies of the workers' comp reports. They've been filing these reports for the past decade by themselvers and I never hear anything about them unless someone has a question about legal issues. Just opening the envelope and seeing the reports irritates me. I suppose I could call her and ask why I'm suddenly so completely in the loop, but then I'd have to talk to her. I dislike talking to her at least as much as the injured workers. It's nothing about her specifically, it's just that I'm most contented when I'm not interacting with people. (By the way, I referred to myself recently as "anti-social" when, in fact, I should have said "asocial." Thanks to my therapist for that clarification.)

I don't really have a point here, other than the fact that I got one of those reports today and starting yapping in my head about it. I just thought I'd include you in the yap. I feel better already.