Posted in Office Life, writing

Dispatch from the Zone – Controlled Experiment

In which our heroine decides to conduct a further experiment regarding the Nebbish and seating choices.


As you may recall, a few weeks ago I mentioned how Nebbish managed to plunk himself down in the weekly 2-hour staff meeting, sandwiching himself between yours truly and Manager Sporty, rather than avail himself of one of the ample empty chairs at the other end of the table (how cozy, no?).


To give some background for those who may have missed an earlier episode, Nebbish has always irritated me. (If you want, you can read more about him here, and here) It’s some kind of visceral reaction to his presence, mannerisms, just something about his persona. No doubt you yourself have encountered one or two such individuals in your lifetime. He’s an officious, self-important, whiny, pathetic little dweeb. What’s not to like? But here’s what started the creepfest with this guy. One day as I was sitting at my desk, he wandered by, poked his head into all the adjoining cubes, ostensibly looking for one of the managers by whom I am surrounded. Finding none, he betook himself to stand in front of my desk (at this time I had a half-wall with a counter on top, kind of like a ‘help desk’ set-up, which is what they like the admins here to have), leaned on the wall looking at me, and simply stood there. Staring. Had to be a full minute went by. Oddly enough, I was expecting him to say something (I don’t know where I get these ideas, honestly). He didn’t. I finally stopped what I was doing and simply stared back at him. I’m not sure how much time passed before he finally asked some utterly lame question which I have since forgotten. I was within half an instant of asking if he was having some kind of petite mal seizure when he finally spoke. Needless to say, that put him squarely at the top of my “Creep” list. Now of course I’m completely freaked out when he sits next to me in these meetings, which he always seem to contrive to do. At least that counter and half-wall have now been replaced by full size wall panels. No more fishbowl desk for me!

But back to the staff meeting seating arrangement.

Last week, I decided, fine: If he won’t go to the other side of the table, I will. As I arrived at the meeting on time (which he never does) the choice of seats was mine. Hawkeye had also elected that day to sit on the opposite side of the table, two chairs to my right, but there was still an empty chair on my left, then Sporty at the head of the table like usual. Now, where do you think ol’ Nebbish sat when he finally showed up 15 minutes fashionably late as always? You got it, the chair between me and Sporty, once again leaving the cluster of empty chairs at the other end of the table. So today, I decided to head down to the other end of the table, and see what happened. Nebbish was even later than usual, but he had e-mailed me saying he would be (like who cares? And how is that any different from any other week?) so when he finally arrived, I watched to see what he’d do. Sure enough, he walked around to the side of the table I was on but despite my expectation (and fear) that he would come all the way down to where I was sitting, he did not. He plunked himself down up towards the other end, in between Overseer and another manager not previously discussed, who shall be dubbed Shutterbug (he’s an excellent photographer, and a nice person). PHEW! So, guess where I’ll be sitting from now on?

AND, this is my 300th post!

Posted in Office Life, random thoughts, Tarot, writing

Dispatch from the Zone – Tarot sticks its neck out

I think I’ll start titling all posts that deal with my office “Dispatches from the Zone — (something more specific)”. That way you’ll know right away what it’s about and can skip it if you’ve heard enough about Cubeville here.

I hadn’t been doing my daily card draws for awhile, but managed to pull one yesterday. And wouldn’t you know it, it happened to be one of the few days Overseer popped over to my cube to ask me something and saw the card sitting in the little acrylic frame I use to display them.

Now, apart from his immediately ribbing me about “black magic and voodoo,” he instantly recognized it for what it was. He knew it was a Tarot card, and even asked if it was my ‘daily card’. Hmm. If it hadn’t been for the instant reference to ‘black magic’ (insert eyeroll) I might have been persuaded to believe he had some esoteric leanings or past involvement, maybe through a previous acquaintance or even a family member. Stranger things have happened. I am mildly surprised, somewhat relieved that he did not ID this bit of artwork I have on my desk when it showed up last summer:

It’s a notecard that Beth Seilonen sent me with my Tarot of the Red Jester, and it’s an early version of the Sun Card from that deck. I liked it so well I framed it and put it on my desk at work, and also sent these photos to Beth so she could see. It just cheers me a little to have it there. Right after I got it, Overseer had come by my cube for something and commented on it, but apparently didn’t realize what it was. He did make some comment about the fact that I was not getting my artwork from Target. Whatever. I sort of deflected his inquiries, mumbling something about the artist had sent it to me with something else I bought.

So imagine my surprise when he correctly ID’d the Nine of Cups from the New Palladini Tarot (even though it does say “Nine of Cups” across the bottom) *as* a Tarot card.

The upshot of all this is now I’m a bit paranoid about having my Tarot card for the day displayed on my desk. I know, I’m not violating any company policy, but I’m so used to being completely in the broom closet even admitting to people that I read Tarot cards tends to stick in my throat. I really don’t want a lot of questions (which yes, I know, are nobody’s business and I don’t have to answer but you can’t really spit in someone’s eye at the office and tell them to mind their own beeswax, much as we might like to) about my Tarot interest (ok, obsession). :::sigh::: I guess it was bound to happen.

Posted in cyberpunk, music, Office Life, Punk/Alternative/Indie, science fiction, writing

This Devil Can’t Even Spell Prada

More stories from the Zone (aka my office).

Most of you are familiar with the cast of characters in my department, and my direct manager popularly known as HMFIC. Today just reinforced why I hate this man so much.

When I first started working for him, he made a big deal of not having me keep his calendar for him, reiterating again and again to anyone who would listen that he preferred to take care of it himself, book his own meetings and so on, how much easier it was for him to just deal with it himself, in the time it took him to explain to me what he wanted he could have it done, blahblahblah…

I hear you snickering, knowing what’s coming.

I don’t think he books anything for himself anymore, except his own doctor’s appointments (and I had a manager in the past who actually had me make dental appointments for him). So I guess he gets props for that.

Anyway, I’ve been enjoying taking the train to work, but this morning I drove myself because I had a bunch of extra stuff I wanted to haul in and didn’t want to be an obnoxious train commuter with bags of junk taking up excess space. So I’m struggling into my cube just after 8:00 (traffic. This driving stuff sucks), just barely walked past his cube, and he’s out like a shot saying “Well as soon as you get settled I need to have you set up a meeting for me…” and proceeds to tell me the details of who, when, what this meeting will include. While he’s talking I’m going about setting my purse and bags down, digging out my glasses from the purse, taking my coat off, etc., etc. Did I bother to stop and write down what he was saying? Hellz no.

Additionally, I’m the only person in the department who still has a desktop computer, not a laptop. When I boot this beast up on Monday mornings it takes a good hour to load all the programs and patches/fixes/spyware/bloatware/keylogger programs the company has loaded on it in over the last five years. So I did the only thing I could: Walked off to the cafeteria to get breakfast.

By the time I got back ten minutes later he was busy with Overseer discussing some football game. Uh-huh. Instead of sending out the frigging meeting request himself for the few people he needed in attendance at 9:00 THIS MORNING, it was clearly more efficient to wait for my computer to boot up while he talked football. Not that it really mattered, most of the people he wanted at the meeting don’t typically show their faces here until after 9:00 anyway.

So feeling rather martial and cyberpunky this morning, let’s have My Chemical Romance “SING” us out with some post-apocalyptic laser blasts (I wish there was a video for “Bulletproof Heart” but there’s not yet so this will work for now) This is from their latest release, “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”. The whole album is fantastic, not a single throw-away track. (if an advertisement starts in the video, pause it and you’ll get the button to skip it)

Posted in writing

What a long strange week it’s going to be

I should be happy, but it’s not that simple. My direct manager (I qualify that because I support a bunch of managers, but directly report to Boss) is out of the country for the week on business, and you’d think that would be cause for celebration. Well, yes and no. This means there’s no buffer between me and Nebbish. I think Boss stops him from tasking me with lots of little bs, which I suspect is either Nebbish’s way of forcing interaction between us, or just his own laziness at dealing with details that he feels are beneath him. At least Nebbish has finally apparently gotten the message that I do not wish to engage in idle chit-chat with him. He’s one of those guys who if you give them an inch will take a mile, so I rolled up the welcome mat as soon as I heard I was being moved to sit across from him. Another co-worker observed to me the other day that Nebbish has the annoying habit of talking over anything you might say, there is no two-way conversation with him.

As I’ve no doubt mentioned in the past, Boss also does this, so I long ago (I mean years ago, before I even reported to this guy) gave up trying to participate in a conversation with him when he starts talking and regaling me with tales of previous jobs, which EVERYONE here has heard ad nauseum. I’ve heard him get shut down on the phone when the person on the other end has had enough:

“Back when I worked for Company X doing this, we had to do… what? oh ok, talk to you later.” <click>

Apart from the endless chatter (and lack of English skills – he still says ‘irregardless’, he’s from Texas, whaddya gonna do? – and the coughing and choking on phlegm…), Boss is not a bad guy. He’s always pleasant, even when he’s stressed he has never been short with me. So really, props to him for that, because I’ve had managers who could get really ugly, and I still wish one guy a slow painful death…  One thing he does that is kind of creepy is everytime I go over to talk to him about something, I can see him give me the once-over. Do guys really think we can’t tell when they do this? I don’t know about other women, but I suspect most of us are not enthused about older men leering at us. Boss is 65, and without being too specific, let’s just say he has a number of  years on me. Just, ewww. So yeah, there won’t be any of that this week, which is nice.

The manager I used to report to and sit across from is also out of town for business, which is too bad. We have the same sense of humor, and the same attitude towards corporate bull. I could take the spare laptop down and sit in my old cube for the week and work there, since it’s down where EVERYONE ELSE in the department is located. Except for this other manager (let’s call him Overseer) is on that row. He doesn’t trust me. He used to make a habit of calling my desk at 4:55 with some stupid excuse of needing me to set up a meeting for him (like it couldn’t wait until the next day?), or calling or coming by my desk during the day with some pretext of asking me something. Then he’ll joke about “Just wanted to make sure you weren’t sleeping,” or some such thing. This, despite the fact that I am at my desk every single day by 8:00AM or earlier. Unlike some of his direct reports, I never ‘work from home’ or take off during the day to run personal errands. I haven’t so much as taken a sick day for over a year now. Why he’s got it in for me I don’t know. I guess because I’m one of the low-life hourly people (yes, he has made elitist comments along those lines) who I’m sure he thinks should be punching a time clock and physically shackled to their desks for nine hours a day.  He actually said something to me the other day (in the context of trying to be funny) about not trusting me to which I replied, “I know you don’t.” It irks him to no end that Boss usually tells me to take off by no later than 3:30 every Friday. This really chaps his ass. So do I need to go sit by him? I’m thinking no. He seems to think the less someone is paid, the less trustworthy they are, and the fewer perks they deserve. I’ve heard from others that at his previous company (someone who also worked there related this) he and another guy used to spend the lunch hour speaking French to eachother, thinking no one else would be able to figure out they were talking about them. Did I mention he’s kind of an elitist? You never saw anyone so smug as he was a couple years back when gas prices started to skyrocket, and he was driving his brand new hybrid car.

Here’s the really scary thing, though: If Boss decides to retire, Overseer is the heir apparent to head the department, which means he’d be my direct supervisor. :::shudder::: He’d have my resignation so fast he’d have whiplash. However, Boss has repeatedly told anyone who will listen he has no plans to retire for at least two more years.

But, I may go hide out in one of the other empty cubes periodically, where some of my other co-workers keep suggesting I take up residence. I can even take my desk phone with me, they’re plug-n-play now.

It’ll be interesting to see what time Nebbish comes in this week, since he normally doesn’t show up until around lunchtime, and I’m hoping he’ll stick to that pattern. I think a lot of these characters are going to end up in one of my novels. It’s all grist for the mill, eh?