Monday, February 8, 2010

The Visitors Are Coming!

Today was most definitely a Monday. I got to work and started a project that I thought would be simple. Alas, being Monday, nothing is ever simple. It turns out that even though I knew for certain that I'd updated a web page a few months ago, my changes were gone and I had to start from scratch. This realization came after quite a few attempts to find my edits which took up rather a lot of time. By the time I realized I had no choice but to start all over again, I had wasted valuable minutes trying to undo the undo-able error.

Still, even though it was Monday, I was in a scarily chipper mood. I have no idea why. It's remarkably easy to alarm people when they ask you how you are and you say enthusiastically, "It's Monday! YAY!"

I think that enthusiasm from me at work is always sort of a shock to most people. On a Monday, it's just plain alarming. I exacerabated the alarm by reading the motivation poster in the kitchen aloud to anyone who dared seem un-perky. I did not win a lot of fans. In fact, one of my coworkers even swore at me.

I think the saddest part is the more I alarm people with my perkiness, the more it encourages me. In our department staff meeting today, my manager told us we all had to download an application for our computers. When he realized they had to create a download just for little old me, the lone PC user in a sea of Macs, he stared at me and said, "you're really the only one?"

I beamed at him and said, "yup." He stared some more. "Really? Well, aren't you special?"

I merely smiled in my slightly loony way and said, "why yes, I always thought so." He didn't say much more on the subject. I think the fact that he acknowledged that I am the lone banana in a sea of Apple's was enough for the day. It's the teeny, tiny victories that really count, even if they only last a couple of hours.

This week is very special in our office. We have outsiders coming in to be trained on our software. It's very exciting, at least that's what I'm being told. This means for my area that we might be paraded out on a break just to prove that we exist. We also must dress nicely each day. For me, this isn't exactly an issue. I like to dress nicely for work. However, I do find it slightly ironic that we have to dress up to impress the visitors who most likely won't see us. I suppose we're supposed to give the impression that we're highly professional. Given that we actually are quite professional and still manage to be that way in jeans and t-shirts, it's rather interesting that we have to pretend that we dress nice every day.

I'm not against dressing nice for work as I've stated many times. Normally, I get odd looks and questions when I wear something other than jeans to work. It's just that we're pretending. The construction on our building has been working top speed to be done by tomorrow so that the visitors think we're perfect. It's still not done though Neon Einstein and the Motivational Bathroom Pictures are hung so that our guests know we're all perky and upbeat. Of course, given that there are only two bathroom stalls in our entire building and we're going to have quite a few women in for the training, I'm not quite sure how upbeat you can remain when you really need to go and there's a line but, well, they didn't think of that when they gave us our two bathroom stalls.

It's all a charade, really. I suppose any workplace is when you look at it. I watch The Office regularly and I have to say, though we don't have a supervisor quite as incompetant as Michael Scott, some of the events on that show are a little too familiar. I think every workplace is the same. You have to be on your best behaviour when outsiders are in the building to make them think you're perfect. When they leave, then you can start acting crazy and breaking out the jeans. One of the reasons I'll probably never be a boss is that I tend to think the output and work product is one of the things to look at, not what the workers look like who get it there. Also, if you're nice to the workers, they might output a little more, up that ratio of work to salary. My office isn't mean to us per se but, well, they don't exactly have staff appreciation days or parties. Even our Christmas party didn't happen this year because no one could be bothered to plan it. Also, I suspect we had no budget. I don't see why we couldn't have turned on the flat screens, cranked up the popcorn maker and had a party in our little Cubicle Land but no one seemed to go for that.

Now the time for holiday parties has passed. A President's Day party just didn't seem to appeal to anyone. Still, at lunch, we've taken to having little parties in the kitchen area. I think we might have to close the doors when the visitors are in the building; my perkiness might really frighten them. It's one thing to unleash a loony grin on your coworkers but I'm not mean enough to do it to complete strangers.

Of course, it's only Tuesday. By Friday, I might feel differently. I'll let you know.

Happy Monday!


Ladyaero said...

Ah, the logic of the corporate world...shall I make a spreadsheet for your boss showing how the cost of maintaining a single "banana" in a sea of "apples" (including maintenance, man-hours for making special downloads for one user, etc) is probably WAY higher than just buying you a new damned machine?! Just let me know and I'll have it out in a jiffy ;-P

Ladyaero said...

P.S. I won't guarantee it will work, company gave me the hand-me-down computers for years (since I'm part time). It wasn't until my boss had to come use my computer himself (and almost kicked it in frustration at its slowness and crashing) that he finally got me an upgrade. They were mightily impressed with themselves at my sudden surge in productivity.