May 18, 2000
Dibs on the Window


The little corner office is up for grabs.

Now that the Accounting Department has been abruptly exiled to the first floor, a handful of offices -- of various sizes, shapes and ugly furniture configurations -- have suddenly become available upstairs here in *Corporate.*  And one of the newly-available offices is located right next to Franz' office.

(Think about that. Look at the layout in your head for a minute. Next to him.  Not directly across the hall from him, the way I am now. That means that even though I would be closer to him geographically, by about ten feet, I wouldn't be nearly as *visible.* He would have to actually get up OUT of his chair and walk next door to give me The Big Frowny Face.)

I've already taken the tape measure into the empty office: surreptitiously researching desktop space (an extra foot on each side!)... calculating bookshelf space (an additional six shelves, total!)  ... figuring out if my filing cabinets would fit (they would: with about ten inches to spare!) ... checking out the view from the window (!!!).

That's right. You heard me correctly.

The window.

Not a "borrowed" window, either, like the one I'm stuck with right now. My current office is a claustrophobic's worst nightmare. Stand in the middle of it, spread your arms straight out, and you can touch the walls on either side. There are no windows. I have to look out my open door and across the hallway, through Franz' window, for my spectacular view of downtown Oakland.  And not a fake window, like the stoopid *trompe l'oeil* painted window in the reception area of Betty Barfy's CENTURY21 office, four or five jobs ago. 

Nope. I'm talking about a *real* window, with a *real* view ...

... of the parking lot below us.


No more comforting, life-affirming view of David's Trib Tower, in other words. But oh well: some things just might be worth the sacrifice.

E-mail from an irritatingly wise friend, re: Barbara's advice that I stay here at the Totem Pole Company for another year:

" ... She's 100% right. Your resume would look absolutely dynamite with another year's worth of pain and suffering (I have no illusions about what it would be like ;-).

Yes, you can shop yourself around now and yes, there will be companies who will hire you. And they will probably not feel comfortable giving you the kind of upper level assistant job you currently enjoy (Franz is no picnic, but you've been quick to point out that it isn't ALL horrible). A new employer will more than likely stick you with several people to babysit and see how you do, but you'll also be competing with other secretaries who've been there longer than you.

Giving yourself another year gives you a MUCH better chance at the jobs you really want. You'll have proven yourself to be a highly competent Executive Assistant, one who is capable of sticking it out when things get rough. If you leave now, you're right: nine years as a receptionist and one as an EA means there will be doubt as to whether or not you can cut it.

As someone who had to tell a consultant yesterday that if he didn't hang around the job he has for at least another year, he would render himself unmarketable (and boy did THAT go over well... NOT!), I can assure you that longevity is highly desirable and a critical factor in choosing new employees.

Take Barbara's advice. She's clearly a wise lady and she DOES know what she's talking about. And look at it this way: you'll have completed all your time in purgatory BEFORE death, so when you arrive at the pearly gates they'll let you get in the Express lane.



I'm not going to lie.

The idea of staying here at the Totem Pole Company for another year fills my heart with the sort of dread usually reserved for death row inmates ... expectant parents of octuplets ... ushers at Celine Dion concerts. I would rather spend the next twelve months regurgitating rotting mice into the beaks of hungry baby condors, frankly. But Jennifer's e-mail -- along with the other 43,897,621 messages I've received this week via e-mail/voicemail/U.S. Postal Service/Ouija board [Grandma says *hi* btw], advising me to hang tough for another twelve months -- has convinced me to seriously consider it.

So I am. Considering it, I mean.

But if I do stay here? I'm going to get something out of it, dammit. (And I'm talking about something more than an extra year on the résumé or another ugly Totem Pole Company sweatshirt.) I'm going to spend that extra year squeezing as much opportunity, experience, and self-serving tactical advantage (and maybe a couple of those groovy Papermate Gelstick pens)out of this place as possible.

And I'm not going to waste a single solitary *guilt molecule* in the process.

  • I'd like to get some extra training, mostly for computer-related stuff. Microsoft Outlook would be a good place to start. After a year of maintaining no less than six separate calendars for Mr. *Just Because It's On My Schedule Doesn't Mean I'm Obligated to Attend* -- including two paper calendars, his personal Day-Timer, a company-wide calendar that is always four weeks out-of-date and two wall calendars -- we've finally managed to convince Franz to let me move everything to Outlook, with the rest of the company. I've got a decent working knowledge of the program -- and a groovy new Dummies book -- but I would love to get some hands-on training. Excel is another program I'd like to get some formal training in. So is PowerPoint. So is anything to do with graphics or with web design (which I could probably justify as "newsletter-related").
  • I'd like to attend a professional seminar or two (or eleven). I've got a brochure sitting on my desk right now, as a matter of fact -- for something called "The 2000 Northern California Conference for Administrative Professionals," to be held in SF in August -- that looks sorta semi not-completely-terrible. These brochures cross my desk every single day, and I usually toss them directly into the wastebasket. I've always figured, What's the use? The coffee sucks, the chairs are uncomfortable as hell, and all you come home with is another audiocassette you're never gonna listen to. Now, however, I'm thinking how groovy something like "The 2000 Northern California Conference for Administrative Professionals" might look on a résumé ... listed under "Related Experience."

    (Plus it would be another fully-sanctioned, Franz-free paid day off. What could be better than that?)

  • This next year might be a really good time to take care of some of those nagging medical/dental problems I've ignored for the last forty-two years. Like that crumbling molar on the lower left side of my mouth. The big bumpy thing on my foot. The little hiccupy/fluttery heart thing.

    (Or that breast reduction surgery I've always dreamed of.  But that's another story -- and another chance to completely mortify The Tots -- for another day.)

But before I do any of this other stuff ... I'm going to go see the HRDP this afternoon and put in a bid for that corner office.

What can I tell you? A window is a window.

throw a rock