Posted in Office Life, random thoughts, writing

To Whine, or Not To Whine?

Eh, what the hell, why stop now?

This place just makes my head spin. We have it all here: Drama, intrigue, grandstanding, backstabbing, power grabs, politics. Dilbert’s got nothing on us. Another reorganization of our entire department, worldwide, went into effect this morning, causing some peripheral damage but also some potentially good news. Let me try to sum up.

Cast of Characters:

  • Hawkeye – Good manager that I like (he actually does remind me of Alan Alda as Hawkeye from M*A*S*H*, same acerbic wit, same cynicism, and clear-headed, logical, smartass).
  • Nebbish – I think everyone is familiar with him by now
  • Overseer – ditto
  • Nebbish Minion – one and only direct report Nebbish has
  • Ol’ Sonnyboy – jerkwad who told me I look like Tonya Harding and thinks he’s a ladykiller. He’s gotta be pushing 70, just started growing a goatee, no doubt to try to look hip. Rides one of those monster motorcycles.
  • She Who Must Be Saved (SWMBS) – Co-worker I like who is a very classy, very nice lady.
  • HMFIC – (Navy acronym for “Head Mo-Fo In Charge”) my direct boss, the one who likes to hear himself talk, currently having coughing fits and choking on his phlegm after which he goes outside for a cigarette. Yep.

As you may recall, back in May HMFIC decided he needed to move to the other end of the building, away from the rest of our department so he could have his own private little conference room for all those important, super-secret phone calls with the head cheeses back at HQ. I dragged my heels, waited a full month after he’d moved to finally make the move myself because

a) I liked sitting where I was, near the group, and directly across from Hawkeye, with whom I have shared tons of chocolate and endless cups of tea (I had an electric tea kettle and teapot at work here to brew up fresh tea for us, it was that good of a work relationship. Honestly, best boss I ever had), and I tend to think it’s partly because Hawkeye and I get along so well that HMFIC decided to move away from that area, and try to stake his claim since I had been reassigned to report to him;

b) Big downer: It meant I would be across from Nebbish, who would have a direct view of me while in our respective cubes. It’s just creepy. So no one cool to talk to, and lots of creeps. Made my skin crawl. I never did put up the bead curtain, even though I went ahead and ordered them, because then everytime Nebbish came over to talk to me, it would effectively create a private little space, where whatever happened would be unobservable. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

Fast forward six months to yesterday. Hawkeye finally decided to make the move over to another building on campus where he has direct reports. Of course I gave him a ration, accusing him of abandoning me, told him he sucked, etc. But I dutifully set up the move for him, AND THEN, just to add insult to injury, HMFIC got wind of this and decided he wants to MOVE BACK to the area we were originally in. Can you see the smoke coming out of my ears?

I was so good, I didn’t hit him, I didn’t spit in his eye. I told Hawkeye I was going to call forth Cthulhu to deal with HMFIC. He had no idea what I was talking about so of course I sent him a link immediately. He already knew I served the Dark Lord and wanted to know if I had the dark mark on my forearm. That only comes with the first kill, I told him.

So then today, when doing an empty-cube recon mission to find out how many spaces we have available in the area, I stopped in with SWMBS (who I’m trying to get moved down with us, because otherwise she will be completely isolated down here by herself, with ol’ Sonnyboy in the cube next to her) we stopped by to say hello to Hawkeye. He gave me the astonishing news that he may not go ahead and move over to the other building after all. After the shakeup this morning, one of the developments is that he and HMFIC are now reporting up to the same bigwig back at HQ (it’s all been very fragmented and strange). Things were looking up, I thought this is good! I can survive HMFIC a little longer if I have Hawkeye to laugh with and help me keep things in perspective (and let me tell you, it’s been nip and tuck lately). There is other potential fall-out to come later, but one thing at a time, I guess. Drawbacks to this scenario include being once again seated kitty-corner to Overseer, and the Nebbish would be moving down as well, to the cube next to my former/future location. Ah well, at least he wouldn’t have a direct line-of-sight into my cube like he has now.

Now I’m trying to convince HMFIC that Nebbish should move to another building, where Nebbish Minion already sits, and where there is space available, rather than try to squeeze the two of them into the few open cubes we have left in my former area, thereby also saving moving costs for one additional person. Especially since I’m trying to finagle a spot for SWMBS so she’s not left alone down here when we pull up stakes and head east. She was very excited after we went down there, she got to meet a number of folks in the department she had never met before and liked them all.

Maybe calling forth Cthulhu like I did yesterday wasn’t such a bad idea.


Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.

28 thoughts on “To Whine, or Not To Whine?

  1. Lol, great story and too funny. Your comrade Hawkeye moving to the next building and one of your emissary HMFIC decide to come back. Now three pains in the butt in one building HMFIC, Nebbish, and Overseer. Girlfriend you have all the reason to whine, complaint, and rant. Sound like an occasional headache coming in your direction. But I notice reading that it won’t be for too long. Your moving cubicle soon and sound like you are getting all the like minded down to earth people in one area πŸ™‚ Great idea for a peace of mind!


  2. I sure hope so! HMFIC keeps saying “IF we decide to move back…” like he still can’t make up his mind. I think he almost has to, though, with a new project he’s supposed to be managing. But never fear, I’ll keep you posted! πŸ™‚


  3. Before even seeing the body of your post, I read the headline and thought, hellYEAH you can whine a little. Having reviewed the cast of characters and your excellent statement of facts, it seems to me that you are no WORSE off, plus you have the potential to make a really persuasive argument re: why Nebbish should move to the other building, with his minion. If Nebbish clears out, what are the odds of putting She Who Must Be Saved in his old space?

    p.s. Is the Overseer really in charge of you in any significant way, or is he just one of those tattletale middle mangers whothinks he’s in charge of everyone, especially if they are female?


  4. Overseer is, as you may recall, the one who liked to speak French with a coworker at his last job, which I have no doubt made him feel very superior to the rest of the rabble he had to suffer there. He’s the high-maintenance one who calls me for all sorts of pissy reasons. Just today, for example (yup, here it comes) he called me to ask what some appointment on his calendar was. So I pulled it up and looked at it (this is in Outlook), and whatever it was clearly had not been sent by anyone else, it was an appointment he had put on his own calendar, and now had no idea what it was. How I was supposed to divine this for him I have no idea as I had no animals close at hand whose entrails I could study :::sigh::: He’s not really in charge of me, but I do have to support him. I have about eight managers that I have to support, plus all their teams, roughly 40 people. Most of them are pretty self-sufficient, luckily.

    If Nebbish goes to the other building, SWMBS will stand a much greater chance of being able to move down with me and HMFIC. If Nebbish moves down to my old/future area with me and HMFIC they will no doubt want to move his Minion there as well, which will suck up two more cubes that could go to other people. What I’m afraid of now is if Hawkeye does not move over to the far side of the world (yet another building across the campus), HFMIC will decide he doesn’t want to move down close to him again. I think Hawkeye makes him nervous, and makes him feel insecure and inadequate, and I firmly believe that was a large part of the reason for the move to the back 40 to begin with. HMFIC knew my loyalties lie with Hawkeye, and always will. I know I should be more adaptable and flexible in the biz world, but I just can’t respect this guy.

    If they ever find this blog and figure out who I’m talking about, I am so screwed! I may have to flee the country.


  5. Oh they’ll never recognize themselves in any negative description. You could probably print the whole post out in large bold type, leave on their desks, and they’d say, ” hey, isn’t this funny? Some blogger works in an office just like Dilbert’s.”


  6. *wipes away tears of laughter*

    Oh, goodness. I feel for you…but this post is too damn funny.

    I had this image in my mind of Nebbish going behind the bead curtain…and suddenly you hear this scream of agony. And out he comes, limping away. πŸ˜‰

    Can’t say I blame your boss for speaking French. I absolutely love the sound of it. Not that I’ve started dabbling in it at all…. πŸ˜‰

    Seriously, though, I really do hope things become better for you at work.


  7. Well, I figure I can either laugh about it and poke fun at these people here, or I can open fire. πŸ˜‰

    Seriously, though, should Nebbish ever attempt to make physical contact in any way (this includes attempting CPR should I inexplicably go into cardiac arrest) he will pull back a bloody stump.

    Y’know, I’m with you on the languages, but this guy just does this stuff to be pretentious. It’s rude, and the people around them knew they were just doing it so they could talk about them with no one able to understand. He’s a total elitist, one of those smug people who constantly likes to point out all the ways their lifestyle is saving the planet and therefore superior to everyone else’s. Like when he went out and bought that hybrid car right before the gas prices skyrocketed over here a couple years ago. He loved to brag about that. That’s what irks me about him. Fine, drive your hybrid car on the days you don’t ride your bike to work (and you know I love to ride myself), but don’t be so goddamn sanctimonious about it.


  8. Oh yah, there’s a big diff between telling someone she looks nice today in French, or yelling “oh MERDE!” to break the tension, and gossiping in somebody’s face, which in any language is still petty and rude.
    The only thing worse is the people who speak English peppered with overly-pronounced French phrases thrown in – at a staff meeting last year I was listening to a colleague go on and on about some article she had assigned in her research course on Fashion (it’s the same research course in which my topics included women in crime fiction, and law & order in media. I point this out b/c in my course, I bend over backward to assign scholarly articles from peer-reviewed academic journals – stuff written by people who are acknowledged by other authorities in their field of study – because our students are less likely to find and read stuff like that on their own, and that’s what I get paid for.) Miss Fashion, on the other hand, seemed all proud of herself because she’d found this great article about COUTURE in Vanity Fair. Now I love me some Vanity Fair, but the folks who write for the mag are commercial journalists, not scholars, and their admittedly excellent prose is intended to sell magazines, not advance scholarship in any particular field of study. In other words, why do you think you are such hot sh!t for recommending as “research,” an article that any of us could pick up at any newsstand – is this what passes for academic research in your class? Now it probably wouldn’t have bugged me half as much if she hadn’t kept over-pronouncing COUTURE (kind of sneezing the word thru her nose) in a blatantly self-conscious high-school French class accent, while the rest of her conversation was taking place in a pure, recognizable North Jersey brogue.
    (I regret to say that I speak a paltry few words of German with a terrible American accent – Didge knows why – but I don’t go around belaboring the point to in order to sound edumacated)


  9. Thanks for the good laugh, tho i’m sorry it comes at your expense, DD. It’s kinda weird, but the best friends I’ve made via jobs came from the most dysfunctional environments. maybe kindred spirits cling to each other when it seems the whole (office) world has gone mad. i’m with MJB — these dolts would NEVER recognize themselves in print.


  10. Heh, I’m sure you two are right. Nebbish is also very short, and has a classic case of Short-Man Syndrome. Very obnoxious, interrupts, talks over someone when they’re speaking. It looks now like he will be staying put, and his Minion will be relocated to the area I am leaving!! Yippee!! πŸ™‚ Seems HMFIC doesn’t have much good to say about the Nebbish Minion either, he seems prone to being very negative, so I don’t think HMFIC is too eager to have him seated near the area we’re going back to.

    I will probably make the move next week, if all goes well. Oh joy! Oh rapture!


  11. Oh, I agree. There’s a big difference between speaking a language because either it’s your native one, or because you like it/are studying it and speaking it to show off/be pretentious.

    And it’s pretty easy to tell the difference.

    On the Nebbish front, glad to hear you won’t have to be sitting so close to him anymore. Let’s hope he doesn’t find a way to visit your side of the office to often!


    1. Right??? I don’t think he was too happy when it was suggested to him to move down to the other building. Turns out he’s not staying where he is, which is what I had thought HMFIC had suggested, along with moving his minion down to my present/soon-to-be-former cube. Seems he’s being moved back to the area he used to be in long ago when he held another job here. They bounce these managers around into new roles about every six months, without exaggeration.

      I’m really eager to see what’s going to happen in the next couple of weeks as the dust settles from this latest shake-up, and what our new VP at HQ has in store for us.


      1. Heh heh. I’m eager to find out what happens, too!

        Your work escapades are like a sitcom.

        How far away is that location he is being returned to? Far enough to make your life Nebbish-free, I hope?


      2. It’s a little bit of a hike to where he’ll be located from where I’m going back to. The buildings are actually connected, although they are considered separate and distinct. Too bad he’s not going to the one on the other side of the campus where Hawkeye may or may not be going (he’s still not sure, depends on what the new VP wants to do). That’s like 1/4 of a mile away.


    1. Oh, that’s to be expected, since you’re living there and all. One of my all time favorite students – bilingual, equally fluent in Spanish and English – got nervous once as we were starting an exam and started asking me something in Spanish (yo no habla, not even a little) – the goofy thing was, for a split second I started straining my ears, somehow thinking that if I just paid close enough attention I might follow what she was saying.


      1. That actually doesn’t sound so goofy to me. I had a similar experience with French recently. Maybe I was just enamored by the sound of it, but I felt that I might possibly be able to understand it, if given a chance. Whereas for the longest time, I was certain that I’d never be able to understand German at all.

        In fact, I was half convinced German was really Klingon. πŸ˜‰


  12. That’s a good sign, though, it’s becoming ‘natural’ and second-nature to you! Before you know it you’ll be thinking in German. I hope to reach that level with my Norwegian someday.


    1. Thanks! I think it does in those cases, because I’m totally relaxed versus when I *must* speak German. There’s none of that “am I/will I say this wrong”- to block my speech. So it just tumbles out.

      Do you know people you can practice Norwegian with?


      1. I don’t, I know very little about Skype. If it requires a high-speed connection I can’t do it. I’m still on dial-up at home, and my boss would frown on me doing it at work, I think πŸ˜‰


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