Friday, November 13, 2009

Just One of the "Chicks"....

This has felt like a rather long week, work-wise, at least. This is my second to last Friday in this office since, a week from Monday, we'll be moving to our new location. During the week that we are moving, we're all supposed to work from home until we're given the 'all clear' to go ahead and go into the new building. We have been told that is likely to be the Tuesday or Wednesday of the week before Thanksgiving. I'm not quite sure that works, whether it'll be a 'summons' to go to the office but I'm interested to see how it goes.

I've worked at home a couple of times although never for a full day. Usually it's because I've had a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day and since it's closer to home than work, I've been permitted the break from driving back to the office as long as I work at home.

Our office is strange about employees working from home. Often, our managers decide they're doing that for the day. At the risk of sounding slightly bitter, our office is actually rather sexist about it. For the most part, only men are allowed to work from home. I know because I have a female coworker who would like nothing more than to save a day of commuting every week and work from her home office. However, because she has a young child, she's been told that the child would be a 'distraction' and working from home is not an option for her. I'm not exaggerating this. What is even more ridiculous is that she would have someone at home to babysit for her son while she works. The matters stands firm, though. She's even asked to just try it and been denied.

Now, the more interesting part of this is that the men in the office also have young children. Sometimes, they'll send an email saying their kid's sick and they need to work from home. There's no angry summons for them to find care for their kid and come to work anyway and there's no cold shoulder treatment the next day. It's an interesting contrast, particularly since they're staying home primarily to take care of their child because their spouse has to work.

I think if this were a different company, the issue wouldn't exist; there would be someone willing to be more pushy about the discrepancy between the men and women here. I haven't really tested my bounderies; I have a strong feeling that, provided I didn't do it regularly, if I wanted to work from home as a single, childless employee, the response from my boss would be, 'uh, ok.'

My boss is very low-key about things. He's also very much a 'guy'. This is a generalization but having worked for him for a while now, I can safely say that he definitely relates far more to his male employees than us females. It's nothing for him to grab a couple of his male employees and grab lunch but if the girls are going to be included, it has to be a group thing where it's all the employees who work for him, not just the girls. The president of our company is the same. He mentions quite regularly that there's a big difference between the 'chicks' and the 'guys'. He jokes about it but, on occasion, as a chick, it's rather annoying to be ignored because it's a 'no chicks' lunch. We have our own 'girls only' lunches on occasion although usually there are men that join in and we don't not let them. I'm trying to get used to it because I know the only solution, if I don't like it, is to leave and work somewhere else. This isn't the kind of company where you can threaten discrimination. From what I've been told, former employees has become ruffled at the president for his reference to 'chicks'. Those employees are no longer here; the president is. That pretty much says it all. Also, since the president tends to say that valid complaints are 'whining', it doesn't really encourage confrontation. He respects us and values us, that I know. Yet I also know that his philosophy is that if someone isn't happy here, he'll be sad to see us go but reminds us that we're all 'replaceable'. Truth be told, he does have a point, especially in a bad economy.

Yet it's not all bad here, sexism aside. For example, back to my original topic: We all get to work from home for three days which is not such a bad thing. I'm not sure how it works- whether I have to be online and ready to work at the same 8 a.m. time as usual. All I know that is my alarm, technically, doesn't have to go off until 7:55 a.m. and I'll have the shortest commute ever from my bed to my office. I like that idea. Also, I can do the quintessential 'work in my pajamas' thing that seems such a treat when you work from. Unfortunately, I'm not good at staying in my pajamas past 9 a.m. For some reason, as soon as it gets to be a certain time in the morning, I instantly feel that it's time to put real clothes on. I'm not sure why. I love pajamas. I just don't like sitting around in them for long periods of time during the day.

But our move isn't for at least a week. I have one more week of commuting before I start being able to set my alarm later, drive for a lot less time and still be at work by 8 a.m. Of course, as is always the case, my reward is someone else's punishment. The complaints from the current 'locals' are becoming louder because now they're the commuters and those of us that live near our new building are the new 'locals'.

I can't blame them for their complaints. My favourite coworker is a single mother who has three kids. Not only does she now have to pay for extra gas on a weekly basis but she also doesn't have any way to get home quickly in case something happens and her kids need her. I can understand this. After all, it's the reason that Sausage and I have not yet been united in my house. I didn't want to go off and leave him all alone. Now I can think about it because I'll be ten minutes away. The other coworkers are annoyed because they specifically settled in this town to avoid commuting and, for the most part, I understand their complaint too. It is a lot easier for me, as a Singleton, to go with the flow. I didn't have to check with anyone, uproot any kids from their schools in order to move. I could just do it.

We still have a week. People have started to repack the boxes that we packed on our last 'clean-up day' and unpacked between now and then because they needed to use the stuff they'd packed. I actually didn't both to pack much because I knew I'd need it. Now it's getting to be time when I actually do need to pack. Fortunately, we've hired movers. I've been told that they'll move everything but our computers which we'll take ourselves. In my mind, I'm hoping it'll be like in Harry Potter where, when the kids get off the Hogwart's Express train in Hogsmeade, their trunks are magically escorted up to the castle and the next time the kid's see them, they're waiting at the foot of their bed. That'd be lovely if I get to my office and my boxes are there. I know it'll be a moving company that did it but I shall imagine magic because that's

For today, however, it's a Friday. It's also a Friday the 13th, I've just realized. That doesn't tend to mean that much since bad luck is bad luck and it doesn't tend to just fall on one day. The same goes for good luck. I've always wondered if that we have Friday the 13th to represent 'bad luck days', what's the converse for 'good luck days'? Why don't we have a Friday the 1st or something as well?

Nevertheless, I know I, for one, don't care about the date. It's a Friday and that means that the weekend lies ahead, promising and open. I don't think there's anything unlucky about that.

Happy Friday!

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