February 14, 2000
I'm Not A Wimp.
(I Just Play One At The Office.)


Well ... I'm still employed at The Totem Pole Company. That's the good news.

(That could also be the bad news, depending on how you look at it.)

And no, I haven't wimped out. Not exactly.

My e-mail to The Human Resources Director Person went out on Friday, just as planned.  I closed my eyes and hit the *Send* button and off it went, into the ozone. It was delivered. It was read. No way to unsend or unread. (Although -- for about thirty seconds on Saturday -- I fantasized about sneaking into the building, breaking into the HRDP's office, and hacking into her computer ... just long enough to intercept my e-mail and trash it. And maybe to check and see if she has any groovy True Type fonts. But I didn't.)

So my personal dissatisfaction with The Totem Pole Company, and with Franz, and with the whole concept of me as Surrogate Office Mommy has now officially gone on record.

I'd say that was a pretty non-wimpy thing to do. Wouldn't you?

I spent some time over the weekend reading through the classifieds and tweaking the answering machine message, making it sound more "professional" (read this: no David doing his Sean Connery impression) ... just in case a potential employer happens to be calling sometime soon. I even faxed a couple of résumés in response to semi-interesting Help Wanteds.

Would a wimp do that? I think not.

I also spent a lot of time thinking, and talking to David, and rearranging numbers in my head. But I didn't come to any decisions.

And OK, yes. Now we're talking semi-wimpy.  But this is one of those decisions that isn't just going to affect me, it's going to affect a lot of other people. Including people with whom I've shared DNA and/or a toothbrush holder. And even though my motto for the past couple of years has been "Leap and the net will appear," this particular time around I think I want to at least be wearing a crash helmet before I take the plunge.

So, after a mostly sleepless, decisionless weekend, I came into the office this morning with absolutely zero idea what to expect. The Human Resources Director Person, looking murderous and betrayed? All of my personal belongings boxed up and sitting outside my padlocked office door?

The smoldering, burnt-out remains of The Totem Pole Company?

Nothing quite that interesting, I'm afraid. Instead ... the HRDP was sitting at her desk across the hall from mine, calmly drinking coffee. She waved at me. I waved at her.

Later in the morning I went into her office, and we chatted for a few minutes. I filled her in on Friday's companywide near-mutiny. ("The only people who weren't threatening to quit were the janitors," I told her.)

And then ... the moment of truth. Do I stay or do I go?

Deep breath.

"I still haven't made a decision," I told her honestly. We both exhaled.

She said that she understood ... both about my reasons for writing the e-mail in the first place, and about why I wasn't jumping into making a decision. She said she would try and set up a meeting with the three of us -- her, Franz, and me -- later today, so we can "discuss the communication difficulties here in the office." I said that would be great  --  I knew it would get blown off anyway: which it was  --  and then I retreated into The Isolation Booth, to begin my daily morning routine of caffeine and voicemail and Tickler Files. (Oh look. It's my resignation letter ... right next to a mattress invoice.)

Franz exploded into the office shortly afterwards, all smiles and boisterous "howdys!" and Valentine doughnuts for everybody. He was in what I call "Happy Franz" Mode. Usually it means that he's feeling guilty about something. I suspected that The HRDP had gotten hold of him on his cell phone, as he was driving into the office, and given him an earful about my e-mail. He blew up and down the hallway for a few minutes, shmoozing and micromanaging all over the place. And then he and The Human Resources Director Person disappeared into his office.

An hour later, The Human Resources Director Person popped back into my office and closed the door. "OK," she said. "Here's the scoop."

Uh-oh. Here it comes. Screw your offer to "stay and train your replacement," Secra. Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

"I talked to him for a long time," she said, "and the bottom line is ... we really really really don't want you to leave. Either one of us."

Oh no. She was playing the sentiment card. Shidt.

"Well, I don't really want to go," I said. "There are some things I really enjoy about this job." (This is not a complete untruth. I am extremely fond of my three-hole punch. There is always cold Diet Dr. Pepper in the lunchroom fridge. And I've got an actual office with an actual door. Things could be worse.) "But I need to think about what's best for myself, and for my family."

She nodded. "I know. But the truth is, you're the best Executive Ass he's had in a long time, and everybody here really likes you ... and we would be sad if you left." And she made a sad Boo-Boo Face.


I thanked her, and told her that I would draw up a list of topics for our meeting with Franz later, and that I wouldn't make any decisions "just yet." She smiled. I smiled. It was a warm and fuzzy moment, worthy of a Kodak commercial.

The moment she closed my door, I pulled the resignation letter out of the "Action Items/Week of Feb. 14" file ... and moved it to "March 2000."

Gawd. I am such a wimp.

self-important blurb #1 will go HERE: yeah, i know. i'm supposed to be writing about charles schultz, or valentine's day, or our broken subaru, or last night's 'x-files' episode, or the flooding in california, or just about anything besides my stoopid ongoing job woes.

so here we go:

  • charles schultz is gone. *peanuts* is over. i'm sad.
  • happy valentine's day to everybody i love! and to everybody i don't love ... Gaekkebrev/Fjörtende Februar!
  • our subaru is broken. again. good thing i'm employed, huh? sigh.
  • last night's 'x-files' was gimmicky and inconsistent and emotionally manipulative and it made me cry. i loved it.
  • it's still raining here in california. in some places, it's raining a little TOO MUCH.

[there. i'm covered, i think.]

a year ago

here's where i'll ask a *relevant* question:
it's funny. when i ask you people direct questions -- like, "do these pants make me look fat?" or, "which would you rather hear about: weather or kitchen appliances?" or, "so what CAN i buy for 5,000 goddamn waiterpoints, anyway?" -- my mailbox remains mostly empty. but when i DON'T ask a question -- like yesterday -- i wake up to a flood of responses ... mostly from people (like sandra) who want to commiserate ... or others (like jennifer) who want to warn me against quitting my job without having a NEW job already in place ... or still others (like RUX1190@aol.com) who want me to visit their "XXX Rated Cool Teens in Hot Wax" website.

thanks, everybody. it's always nice to know you're listening.

amazingly profound thought of the day: "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I just beat people up." ~ Mohammad Ali ~