Thursday, July 12, 2007

New job, new after-work bars!

A new career comes with a host of changes to get used to. You're working for a new boss, you have a different company e-mail address, different workload, probably similar sexual harassment laws. But these are just the obvious differences. There are many subtle nuances to consider before you start your new job.

For instance, what kind of work environment will you now be in? A cubicle in a large open room? Or will you be sharing an office with one other person, so that when she is out sick for the day or even leaves to use the restroom, you ostensibly have your very own office?

Will you have fresh coffee brewed for you daily? Free bagels and cheese on Friday mornings and a fridge stocked with beer on Friday afternoons? State of the art computing systems? If you work for a non-profit, the answer to all these questions is likely to be "no."

Consider the environment outside your office building. Are you close enough in proximity to shops get a variety of errands and tasks done during the day? How far is the nearest Subway shop? Is a Starbucks within reasonable walking distance or will you be forced to go against the very grain of your being by switching to Dunkin' Donuts, thus further morphing yourself into a "Bostonian"?

In close relation to my last point, assess your new selection of after-work bars. For example, if you are moving from the Beacon Hill area (Mass. General Hospital terrain) to the Fleet Center area, you are presumably forfeiting the chance to mingle with a large population of doctors and surgeons. This is not true, however, as someone recently informed me that doctors don't actually go to bars. So it could be in fact a welcome change for you because that dream has already been shattered.

Are there enough colorful, eccentric homeless persons identifiable by a single trait (i.e. the one who always wears a pirate hat, the one who you saw urinating inside government center station) to keep you entertained yet slightly uneasy for the majority of the day?

A good job is likely to be one that is not chosen haphazardly or at random because you needed to make a car payment. Or because you assumed since the higher-ups would be traveling to places like Sydney or London, you would inevitably be invited to travel too, because that is probably a false assumption.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm not denying the fact that I'm on a power trip.

This is a very critical week for me.

Why is that? Because for the next four days, I will have my very own office. That's right: roughly 20 feet by 20 feet all to myself, in which to do distracting things like eat very crunchy foods (think apples, potato chips), and to develop irritating nervous habits like incessantly clearing my throat and clicking my pen without fear of creating inter-office animosity. Why the sudden power trip? A large promotion within a week of working here based on my proven excellence? Not exactly. The coworker I share the office with happens to be out of town until Thursday. Nevertheless, I still plan to take full advantage of the fact that I have my own office space by temporarily displaying my personalized gold-plated nameplate (Ashley E. Freeland: Chief Executive Senior President), and by periodically pacing around my office with a mug of coffee, furrowing my brow in a fit of imagined frustration. Because as I said, this is a very important week for me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Quiz. Time to tender your resignation?

Is it time to start looking for a new job? Take this simple questionnare to find out if you should stay put or if you should start filing for unemployment benefits. Add 1 point for each "yes" response.

Do you spend 30% or more of your workday on any of the following activities?

  • Looking for other jobs
  • Banging your head against your desk repeating "why God, why?"
  • Shouting profanities at office appliances (or your coworkers)?
  • Carving "HELP" into your desk with a letter opener and hoping someone notices
  • Animating your desk supplies and acting out elaborate soap-opera-esque dramas
  • Volunteering for things like blood drives just so you can get out of work for an hour or more?
  • Trying to relive college experiences by asking college friends to describe the kegger they had this weekend in full detail, no information spared
  • Contemplating the meaning of our existence
Does the sound of your coworkers voice give you an ulcer?

Estimate how many people at your company actually know your name (your REAL name, this doesn't count people who salute you as "Ted" instead of "Frank," etc.).
Is it:
a) 0. I don't think my boss even knows I still work here. (add 5 points. Your company may not notice your existence, but we applaud you. You're doing a great job, Ted)
b) 1-4 (add 3 points)
c) 5-10 (add 2 points)
d)10-15 (add 1 point)
e) 15+. Everyone loves me. I own this place. (add 0 points, you pompous ass)

Total your points. If you counted a sum of:
15 or more: Are you sure you can count? You need a new job, preferably something with no math involved.
10-14: Did you by any chance write this quiz?
6-9: You may not know it yet, but you need a new job. Keep something on the back-burner just in case. Hot dog stands not excluded.
3-5: Do you get to wear jeans to work? If yes, you may have 6 months or so before you will need to start looking for a new job.
0-3: You probably don't realize it, but you need a new job. In that case, can I have your job?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

When Television Attacks

The quality of the television show should be determined by the number of people that made life-altering decisions as a direct result of watching it. For instance, though I never would have admitted to it six months ago, House, M.D. prompted me to pursue a career in healthcare. Where did I end up? Working for a hospital in an office building across the street from the hospital, buried in a stack of regulatory binders and Institutional Review Board comments.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A schedule from today and a schedule from 10 months ago: A Side-by-Side Comparison

10 months ago:
9:30 am. Wake up. Spend morning watching television and drinking coffee in bed.
11 am. Consider going to class as a viable option.
11:30 am. While watching Jeopardy, realize that I'm on a roll. Opt to skip class to further my knowledge of trivia.
12:30 pm. Eat 1/3 box of Oreo cookies for lunch. Vow to seriously consider going on a diet. Realize that fail-proof method of "willing yourself thin" may not actually be fail-proof. It's actually just a sophisticated version of denial.
2 pm. Attend afternoon class. Commend self on very true-to-life rendition of History professor drawn in notebook. Brief nap.
3:45pm-7pm. Work as cashier at union grill. Hate the very existence of customers. Help self to free food. Make lots of plans about how productive I will be after I get off of work.
7pm. Prime-time television. Finish remaining Oreos.
12 am. Realize 7 page paper is actually due at 9 am tomorrow. Panic. Make coffee for the long night ahead.
12:30 am. Continue to panic, but even harder as coffee has heightened level of anxiety. E-mail teacher for extension.

5:30 am.
Wake up to sound of not one, not two, but three blaring alarm clocks, all going off at different times. Realize that no one in their right mind is up at this hour. Head to gym.
7am. Arrive at gym. Realize that given the fact that it's 7 am and I'm on a treadmill, and that I haven't just fallen asleep on a treadmill somehow, it might officially be time I check myself into a psychiatric clinic for help.
9ish. Arrive at work. Leave again to get coffee.
Check e-mail a minimum of 105 times during work.
10am-5ish. Contemplate places I'd rather be. Make big plans for what I will do after I get off of work.
6-10pm. Arrive at home. Top off a frozen dinner with six packets of Sugar-free, fat-free hot chocolate or 7 popsicles. Prime-time television.
10:30pm. Set alarm clocks. Go to bed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Babies: Part II

While we're on the subject of babies, I was just looking through my work inbox, and uncovered the e-mail proclaiming the baby's arrival to the world. I wonder what Jesus' birth announcement e-mail would have looked like had it been sent around Mary & Joseph's places of employment. I thought I'd relay the message to you, in case you are the person in charge of announcing the birth of babies in your workplace. Or if you are in charge of announcing rapidly approaching natural disasters. I think they use standard formatting, you can just insert the appropriate baby's name. Any removal of exclamation points is strictly discouraged.

Subject: Baby [insert last name here] is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Message body:

Hello All,

[Name of mother] has just given birth to a beautiful baby [boy/girl]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do not know the weight or height yet, but will pass this information along as soon as I hear! CONGRATULATIONS [father] & [mother] and welcome baby [last name]!!!!!!!! We love you!!!!

[Your name here]

You may want to consider adding the following:
"Any Christmas bonuses/tuition reimbursements/weekly paychecks you would normally receive at this time or in the next three years time will be donated to the baby's college fund. If the baby is too stupid to get into a state or community college, but demonstrates potential in modeling, this money will be used towards color headshots and modeling school, and to foster an eating disorder. Additionally, any of your unused paid time off will be donated to [the mother], so that she can spend six extra months trying to lose the weight she gained from her pregnancy before she comes back to work. WELCOME, [baby]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Babies at the office.

No matter how much I like you, I am probably not that excited to see your baby. I assume this will change once my friends start having babies, or if I manage to spontaneously adopt some kind of maternal instinct, but for now my excitement level upon seeing a baby is probably equal to seeing a Golden Girls rerun on television. When someone brings in a baby (their own baby, I'm assuming, I don't think the hospital would show the same kind of enthusiasm for an abducted baby), there is a buzz created around the office. Multiple people approach me to inform me that there is an actual baby, right here, in this very office. It has a little baby nose and a pair of baby eyes and flexible limbs, just like people always said babies would have. I know I'm expected to share the same kind of reaction, after all, I am a woman, but I'm incapable and unwilling to fake such excitement.

Inappropriate reactions to seeing someone's baby for the first time:
"God, that kid is big. You probably have to change its diapers a lot!"
"Yeah, he doesn't look like he'll be walking anytime soon - not the sharpest kid in the playpen, eh?"
"Man, his head is huuuuuuge. I bet you have to buy him adult-sized hats."
"Sooo, where was he conceived?"
"Corrective surgery is making some real advancements. You'll probably be able to get that fixed in a few years."