Monday, January 4, 2010

Small Changes and More Awkward Bagels

The strange thing about a new year is that even, as I said, it's just a date, it's a time when, for me, at least, there's a little expectation that things are going to change immediately. In a way, I can't complain- today at work, two things changed. One, I got my chair back. If you remember the Saga of Captain Monkeypant's Chair, you'll remember that it got broken in the move from our old building to our new, I got accused of breaking it myself and then our HR manager took it to glue it.

Well, the gluing didn't go so well. Apparently, my HR manager had trouble getting the glue to dry. She discovered that the chair was under warranty and so requested a replacement back to repair it. In the meantime, I was relegated to the Most Uncomfortable Office Chairs in the World. At one point I did inquire as to my old chair and our HR manager offered it back to me with the warning that 'it's still broken and it's worse than ever." Well, given that it was pretty bad before, I politely told our HR manager that I'd hate to have to file a worker's comp suit if my chair did cause me to take a nasty spill. Yes, there is irony in the fact that I had to remind our HR manager of things like that. Today, when I got my chair back, I was happy. My coworkers mocked my enthusiasm but, let me tell you, until you lose a really good chair with back support to a crappy one with no wheels and no give, you don't know how much you're going to miss.

The second thing that happened was that my boss finally wanted to talk to me about the issues I brought up over a month ago. These were issues where I told him that I wasn't feeling like I was being utilized in the best way and that I needed to do other work as well as my regular duties because I was bored. Well, one meeting later and....well, the nice thing about having no expectations is that you're not disappointed. Essentially, I was told to continue just as I was doing. So...yeah...that happened. There's nothing like a meeting where you walk out wondering what the point was.

However, as I said, I no longer have any expectations. My current mission is to do my job well, let the irritating stuff roll of my back and enjoy the fact that I can escape from my office at the end of my day.

It was, however, a promising start to the year. At least my boss remembered I wanted to talk to him. Ok, so he did, as usual, invite my coworker to join us in the meeting which took away from the fact that I'd talked to him personally about my responsibilities but, well, he tried, right? It was progress, at least.

It is a decent start to the year. The bad part is that one of my coworkers, someone I actually like a lot, lost her sister on Christmas Eve. It was a similar situation for her family as one I went through with some good friends almost two years ago. It's hard to know what to say to a person who is grieving as hurting as much as my coworker. There's a desire in me to be that person who knows the right thing to say or not say, to give a perfect combination of words that shows wisdom, friendship and caring. Unfortunately, there are no perfect words, no perfect gesture. It's just a matter of letting her know that we're there for her, that there's nothing to fix the badness of the situation except time and even then, it doesn't get fixed, just merely distanced just a little. It made the air feel a little more somber than usual, no one knows what to say because it's impossible to know. She's someone who is usually the life of the party, the person who can always come up with a joke. Seeing her try but not have her heart in it was a slightly heartbreaking thing to witness.

It was even more awkward because the day started with an Awkward Bagel Situation. We have another new employee. This one is a receptionist. She seems nice. Her boss is our HR manager. I already feel sorry for the receptionist. Our HR manager did bring in bagels to our Awkward Bagel Meeting. Unfortunately, we weren't actually allowed to eat them during the meet and greet because we might have got crumbs on the table so we had to meet, greet and then go grab bagels before we went to our desks. I find this ironic and slightly amusing. At least when we have bagels, we can make conversation about the bagels. Today everyone shuffled into the conference room, half the staff had to stand up because there weren't enough chairs. Then our HR manager barked out the order for our new receptionist to tell us about her. Then we had to go around the room and say our name, just like any awful first-day-of-class. The thing with situations like that are that, well, they're awkward. The poor newbie knows he or she will NEVER remember anyone's name until they interact with them and even then, she'll still get confused about which one is Bob or Chris or Alan or whoever for at least a couple of months. There was the mandatory joke about whether she'd have to take a pop quiz later or not. She laughed. We laughed. That's what we do, you see.

Then we were immediately dismissed to get bagels. Personally, I think it might have been a wee bit smarter to take her around and introduce her to us at our desks. That way she can at least have some idea of where we might belong at least by where we sit.

Still, there were Awkward Bagels and that made it worthwhile which is probably the point.

All in all, it was a rather strange yet interesting start to 2010 in the office. There were some changes but I know the big ones are going to be down to me. I'll keep looking forward. Maybe there will be more bagels in the future. At least next week, there will be cookies or cake. It's my birthday, you see, and I'm encouraged to bring treats to share. I plan on baking. I say plan because sometimes plans because waylaid by lack of time, lack of ingredients and, most commonly, lack of desire. Still, right now, my intentions are good.

I think I might just leave the cake in the kitchen and tell people to help themselves. I think an Awkward Cookie/Cake Day would be rather worse than bagels because what if they don't like the baked goods? I always have this fear that when I bake, I'll be pelted with the leftover cookies that people don't eat because they take one bite and decide it's the worst thing ever.

On second thoughts, maybe buying cookies might be a better idea.

Happy Tuesday!

1 comment:

JillO said...

I'd have to say that was one of the awkwardest bagel situations yet!

The "HR person" just might have a cow when she sees our clients who attend the workshop eating their lunch in the conference room. It might be rather entertaining!