August 1, 2000
A Commanding Journal Entry

Countdown to Daughter #1: Two days

Franz returned to the Totem Pole Company today, after a four-day mini-vacation. (It was a "mini-vacation" for ME, anyway: I think HE was visiting his in-laws.) He is in a pissy, fussy, horrible, ridiculous mood.

So am I.

In fact, I might go so far as to say that I am in THE pissiest, fussiest, most horrible, most ridiculous mood I can remember being in for at least twenty-eight days. Nothing's wrong ... and yet it feels like everything is wrong. Does anybody out there know what I mean? This is just the worst possible day of all days for Franz to waltz in here and pull his "I Am Soooooo Hideously Overloaded/Poor Overworked Me (Did the Jacuzzi Guy Call Yet?'") routine.

I don't know whether I want to scream ... or scream.

But it's not just Franz that is rubbing my last viable nerve bloody-raw with a soggy nail file today. It's men in general. Men everywhere. Men with their pathetic droopy facial expressions, and their useless busy running back-and-forth, and their endless posturing self-absorption. I just want to round them all up and ship them all off to a CareerTrack *Sensitivity in the Workplace* Seminar for the next fourteen and a half months.

Starting with the men here at the Totem Pole Company.

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For all of the men I work with: past, present and [please god] future ...

Ten Commandments For
Getting Along With The Executive Ass ...

... So She Doesn't Kick *Yours*

~ By Secra ~

  • Thou shalt not accost me in the hallway first thing in the morning.

    Yes, I know you're glad to see me.

    Yes, I know you've been eagerly awaiting my arrival, much like The Watcher of the Light awaits The Resurrection of the Dawn and stuff.

    Yes, I know I am the only person on the face of the planet capable of making those emergency triple-urgent last-minute airline reservations for you, right this very second.

    But you ARE going to allow me to unlock my door and put my lunch away and hang up my sweater and read my horoscope and drink at least half a cup of caffeine before you make any requests of me.

    Know why?

    Because if you don't ... you're going to find yourself sitting on the goddamn CONCORDE tomorrow morning.

    And I'm giving them YOUR credit card number.

          *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

  • Thou shalt thank me for stuff occasionally.

    It's amazing how much power those two little words -- "thank you" -- have over my mood, and over my performance, and over my ability to get through an entire day without wanting to kill you totally dead. (You will probably notice that your coffee tastes lots less saliva-intensive, too.)  Here are some other words and phrases that I like, and don't seem to hear NEARLY often enough around here lately:

    * Please.
    * Excuse me.
    * Would you mind?
    * Do you have time to ... ?
    * Good job!
    * You were right.
    * I was wrong.
    * I was sooo wrong.
    * I just can't get over how WRONG I was.
    * I'm sorry.
    * Can I help you with that?
    * Ghesundheit!
    * I appreciate your assistance.
    * Have I mentioned lately how wrong I was?
    * I don't know how you do it.
    * Whatever they're paying you isn't nearly enough.
    * Hey! Weren't you Miss Fire Prevention 1970?

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  • Thou shalt not bathe in eleven metric gallons of Brut Cologne, and then expect me NOT to gag when you lean across my desk to hand me your expense report.

    You smell like my PROM DATE,, forcryingoutloud. And that was in 1976. Dial it down, please.

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  • Thou shalt look me in the eyes when speaking to me.

    My eyes are up HERE.
    Not in the middle of my sweater.
    Not strategically positioned somewhere between the third and fourth button on my blouse.
    Not any place on my body that would enjoy the gentle touch of a stethoscope during a routine medical exam.
    Up HERE ... conveniently located directly above my mouth. Which, unless you stop addressing my chest, is going to report your leering ass to The Human Resources Director Person.
    (And I'm cc'ng your wife.)

          *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

  • Thou shalt not leave rambling eleven-minute voicemail messages for Franz, all about escrowed proposal documentation, every single minute of every single hour of every single day.

    The women in this company seem capable of communicating with each other via clear, concise e-mail messages ... brief but effective inter-office memos ... actual face-to-face conversations, once in a while.

    Why can't you guys?

    Why does every single communication between two Totem Pole Company Testosterone Units have to involve lengthy VOICEMAIL messages? What is the deal with VOICEMAIL, anyway?  (And why are your VOICEMAIL messages always so goddamned BORING? Are you all a bunch of frustrated eighth-grade Algebra teachers?)

    Why, if you are sitting thirty feet down the hallway from the person with whom you wish to communicate, can you not simply rise up out of your chair ... walk thirty feet down the hallway ... and convey the message in person?

    Here's a little factoid for you: Franz doesn't even listen to your voicemail messages. *I* do. He listens to the first four and a half seconds, maybe ... just long enough to ascertain that it's from YOU, and that it's you yammering on and on about escrowed proposal documentation some more ... and he immediately forwards it to me. I transcribe it, throw a copy of it into his *Super-Critically-Urgent-Voicemail-Messages (All-About-Escrowed-Proposal-Documentation)* file ...

    ...  and it never ever ever sees the light of day again.

    So why not save your breath  --  and my sanity  --  and get up out of that chair once in awhile? I swear to god it's not going to kill you.

    (*I* might. But a little exercise won't.)

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  • Thou shalt pitch in and change the fudking paper in the fudking fax machine once in a while.

    It's not as scary as it looks. Honest! Here's what you do:

    1. Open the top drawer, conveniently marked "paper tray."
    2. Insert paper into "paper tray."
    3. Close "paper tray."

    Vóila! The little red light stops flashing, six hours' worth of critical faxes *magically* slide out of the chute, the incredibly annoying little beeping noise stops beeping ... and all of your fellow Testosterone Units back here in Corporate can stop pretending they've come down with sudden unfortunate temporary deafness.

    Tomorrow's Lesson: How To Turn On The Overhead Lights!

          *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

  • Thou shalt not rummage through my desk drawers/poke around in my bookshelves/otherwise violate my space.

    I keep all the good stuff in my purse, anyway.

    (Unless you're looking for an Extra-Hemorrhage-Strength tampon or a spare pair of No Nonsense. Bottom right-hand drawer, behind the envelopes. Knock yourself out.)

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  • Thou shalt make at least an occasional attempt to spell my name correctly.

    It's "T-e-r-r-i." With an "i" on the end, not a "y."

    You've seen it spelled correctly often enough, over the past eighteen months: it's written that way on every single phone message I've ever taken for you ... every letter or memo I've ever typed for you ... every updated Totem Pole Company phone list I've ever posted on your bulletin board for you ... every e-mail I've ever sent to you ... every little Post-It note I've stuck to your chair.

    It was spelled that way on my name tag at the last couple of Totem Pole parties. Pinned right to the front of my sweater. I know you saw it there.

    It's on the little plaque on my door. Stop and knock next time, and maybe you'll see it.

    I know this probably seems like an extremely picayune thing to harp about ... but it's my name. Spelling it correctly seems, to me, like a relatively small, relatively painless way to display respect for a co-worker.

    Especially a co-worker who knows that YOUR middle name is "Vivian."

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  • Thou shalt not "borrow" me from Franz.

    I'm not a ballpoint pen.

    I'm not a pair of golf gloves.

    I'm not a three-hole punch, or a PowerPoint projector, or a parking pass to the executive level of the garage.

    And I'm not something you can trade back and forth, like a Pokémon card.

    Franz signs my timesheet -- and my paycheck -- every week.  Unless you're willing to make me an offer I can't refuse (read this: unless you are starting up the 21st century version of Microsoft, and you need an overpaid, underworked Executive SecraTerri to ignore ringing phones, drink lots of coffee and diddle around with the corporate website ... preferably from the comfort and relative nudity of her apartment), then quit giving me all of your stoopid little administrative shidt-jobs.

    I've got enough to do.

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  • And finally ... thou shalt remember that YOU need me more than I need YOU. Especially in today's job market.

    Is that the fax machine beeping again?

throw a rock