You’re Fired

It was a dark and stormy night.

Okay, it was the morning after. I arrived at my Day Job bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with my lunchbag full of mason jars, my regular bag full of gummy bears and caramel corn, and my heart full of song. Tomorrow was my six month anniversary in my new position and I was, in the words of my supervisor, crushing it. Finally I was going to get a formal Review with a tidy row of boxes and maybe a gold sticker at the top that said so. I had waited over two years for the system to catch up to my presence on the payroll. It was about time I had something stuck to my refrigerator for it.

The first two months in my new cubicle were delightful, the second two were surprising, and although I was the right person for the job, the last two had been filled with a determination to prove that I was the right person for the office, as doubts had been raised. I had been invited to play a game or two and politely declined, knowing my own abilities as an actress would have cost me a daily forfeit. Meanwhile, I checked in regularly with my supervisor to make sure I was on track with my tasks and my letter of resignation was stuck in permanent limbo. I hoped a work Review would override it altogether.

Moral of the Story.

Wow, the whole building was empty. I congratulated myself on arriving a few minutes early as I flipped on my computer and walked my lunch to the break room. From a far corner, my supervisor’s voice asked whether we could have a quick meeting before the day started.

Hmm. I hadn’t seen her there. I also hadn’t seen the senior staff guy who materialized at the far end of the table. Intrigued, I sat down, thinking, “There must be some new procedure or activity to work on. How exciting.”

“Things aren’t going entirely the way we’d expected,” she began, “so I have here two different items.” She slid them across the table, upside down.

“One is your termination paperwork and the other is your letter of resignation. All I really need to know is which one you want to sign.”

In that very telescopic moment, as I stood in the road watching the monster truck about to hit, I thought:

  1. Hallelujah, I’m free! (joy)
  2. Oh cr*p, I have a lot of work on my desk, who’s going to get it done? (guilt)
  3. Wait, she told me right up to yesterday what a great job I was doing. (betrayal)
  4. Where are all my office friends and why can’t I say goodbye to them? (loss)
  5. Wait, do they all know what’s happening right now? (shame)
  6. How will I explain this one to Hubby? (anxiety)
  7. Why? (rejection)
  8. Oh yeah…(gobsmacked)

…because, until an employee passes the six month mark in a new cubicle, said employee has no rights. Legally, my supervisor didn’t have to tell me anything and could fire me without cause. Personally, she owed me an explanation – unless of course, it was personal. Expressionless, we waited to see who would flinch.

It was one last shell game, forcing me to publicly lie about the circumstances of my departure and keep her hands clean. I glanced at the masculine presence in the room, realizing that he was here to watch the show. When it stalled, he baited us with some mansplaining; he was the opening act for the Femme Hysterics. How cool is that?

I handled myself like the professional I am and I hope everyone took notes. Perhaps she’d forgotten that I was in her exact position, not six months earlier. Basic protocol involves placing your items into a box, turning in your keycard, and being escorted from the building by a burly man. It took me two trips to my car and a Costco sized cart to collect the stuff I had squirreled away at my desk. And the break room. And my gym locker. The orchid I received for Admin Professionals Day perched on top of the pile like a saucy hat.

Then I timed the monster truck, leaped onto the bumper, and took that free ride right out of town.

The pep in my step may have come from the sure knowledge that I had a blog-worthy story.

But it was probably from the fact that I was now free to write it.

And you, my friend, are free to write yours in the Comment box.

The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

Administrative Professionals Day

Today, April 26th, is Administrative Professionals Day, and apparently it comes around as a way for In-Desperate-Need-Of-Administration Professionals everywhere to thank the person who keeps their papers spinning.

That’s me. I keep millions of papers in several colors and sizes spinning like tops. My home office alone resembles the NASA Mission Control Center.

But I question this method of acknowledgement.

Once upon a time, all the secretaries got together and decided that, darn it all, they were under appreciated and underpaid, overlooked and overbooked, and needed something else on their jam-packed calendars to fix it.

“Make a note of it,” they said.

Tappity tap, tap…I’m sure men know how to type too, yes?

And they did.

They made up Mother’s Day, Women’s Day, and National Dadgum That’s a Good Day, Day (March 1st). There’s Be Heard Day, Receptionist’s Day, Women’s Checkup Day, Lost Sock Memorial Day, and No Dirty Dishes Day.

This is just a drop in the waterfall of are-you-kidding-me national days.

Only a handful of these “Days” stick to my calendar, and today’s is just vague enough to make me wonder several things:

  1. What qualifies someone as an Administrative Professional?
  2. Who are the non-Administrative Professionals that are supposed to wish you well?
  3. What are their motives for doing so?
  4. Is the well-wishing preceded with “Happy”, “Merry”, or “I need this in today’s mail”?

My research (qualification #1) led me to the greeting card aisle of Target. If there’s one thing Target knows is their shoppers, and sure enough, they were prepared for our imminent need.

Target for the win.

Behold the end cap.

It’s clear that 10 out of 18 Admin Professionals are female (qualification #2). One out of 18 are multilingual. One is an animal-lover. Or thinks everyone else in the office are animals. Four out of 18 have no idea whether they qualify as Admin, and so will take what they can get.

Admin Professionals drink coffee and tea (qualification #3). They make a difference. Their job involves phones, books, clocks, and typing. They require a written “Thank You” once a year for their efforts. They don’t mind feeling patronized instead of professional.

And they can’t mind if you screw up the exact date, because Target has nicely advertised it as a whole week which gives others several opportunities to get it right because we all know who normally is in charge of getting cards out on time.

Who made this??

This one slays me. I am so offended by this bathroom door symbol. If this is the card you reached for when you thought of me, I quit. All 1% of you had better run and hide. These stupid stereotypes exist because you bought into it.

I want just one card that shows a manly man with a dark tie and a beard, sitting at a desk typing away with a real slogan hanging on the wall…Going Commando to Cover Your Butt.

Office Ninja. I could Take you all Down with a Click of my Mouse…

Payroll…Just Do It

Letting Concerned Citizens Scream into my Ear Because I like Money

Boss’s Day is coming up.

What goes around, comes around, and saying “Thank you” is always a good idea.

Flowers and cards and snacks are nice, and the mailroom guy would like some too, by the way. I think he stands with me on the obvious: a Professional is anyone who brings their job up the notch that turns it into a career.

If you’re a street sweeper, be the best darn street sweeper anyone has ever seen.

Here’s to the broom pushers and the paper pushers alike, you have my solid respect every day of the year.