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Six years ago when I worked for the web-based company, I used to go lean up against the wall between Astro Joe’s desk and Señior Matt’s* desk whenever I had something I wanted to announce to them. The first time I did this was shortly after we moved into the new office, when I assumed the leaning position with my arms stiff by my side while I stared up at the ceiling, and blurted out that there was something I needed to tell them. The blood drained from their faces: they both thought I was about to quit.

“I’m knocked up,” I said instead, “You’re going to need to get a temp in here in a few months.”

They let out the breaths they had been holding.

“Congratulations!” Astro Joe said, and Matt concurred. I looked at both of their faces to see if they were being sarcastic or not, and forced a smile when I saw they were sweetly sincere. I was nauseous, feeling fat, and uncertain about whether I was really cut out to be a parent. Every time someone congratulated me, it sounded like a sarcastic thing to say. No one ever meant it sarcastically, though.

Text goes here )
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Almost every place I have worked, I have run into a woman like Big Death's Dixie. Her face is different, her name is different, but she is – in essence – the same woman. At Big Death, Dixie was 50ish with an out of date haircut and jowls. At the technology company where I used to work, her name was Candace and she was in her early 20s; she was briefly a manager over me before it became clear that she'd lied about her credentials and got laid off. At the toll road authority she was in her 40s and her name was Becky; she was the administrative assistant in the personnel department. Because I did not have to work directly with Becky she and I got along quite well, but she made life a living hell for my friend Joy, who had to work closely with her.

A Dixie is always charming, but rarely pretty. In fact, two out the three Dixies I've known have been on the plain side, but they made up for their lack of attractiveness by having 10 times the moxie of everyone else around them. A Dixie can kiss up to management in a way that is almost pornographic in how far she is willing to take it. When a Dixie decides she doesn't like you she will talk to your manager with a sad, serious expression and will explain with great earnestness how she has tried to work with you – tried, tried, tried! – but that despite her best efforts you just won't get with the program. You are the problem, a Dixie will make it clear. Every little mistake you have made will be magnified and every quirk you have will be presented as a character flaw.

There Ain't No Good In an Evil-Hearted Woman )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the day it was determined by the women I worked with one part of my body is substandard, and that I don't have to worry about men watching me from behind because there is nothing to see there.

No back to this baby )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the role of the "courtesy flush" in the world of office politics. Everyone takes the idea of the courtesy flush for granted until they work with someone who doesn't subscribe to the protocol. It's hard to find out who these people are without placing a sentry outside of the restroom to catch them in action (or, in this case, inaction). Then, once you have one of them cornered, what do you do with them? Do you march them back into the stall and make them flush until the job is done? I say yes, if that's what it takes to get the idea through their inconsiderate heads that no one wants to know if they had corn for dinner last night unless we ask them the question point blank.

Meet me in the Ladies Room )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the fact that I am making 8.34% less than I was at my old job, but doing 5 times as much work. Funny how life works out that way.

I really miss getting paid to sit at my desk and blog all day.


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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about how I miss working with my old friends, Melanie and Astro Joe. While there are some advantages to working for a big company, it lacks the intimacy and closeness of being part of a small company. Not to mention that my lack of importance is truly humbling. In my old job, if I got sick and decided to stay home, it meant that an epidemic had knocked out 25% of the workforce of our Houston office. It was the closest thing to being powerful that I have ever achieved. In this job, it means that a corner cubicle on the 8th floor is empty, if someone bothers to look over the wall and notice.

In my old job, I was friends with everyone in the whole company. In this job, I can say I've met a few of them. It's just not the same.

Trivial Pursuit )
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These last few days I've been replaying the day I got laid off in my mind. As far as layoffs go, it wasn't that unpleasant. Getting fired is unpleasant. Getting laid off is only sad.

Don't Let The Door Hit You On Your Way Out )
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Today on my drive into work, I wasn't even thinking that I would be layed off today.

Boy, I'm going to need a new opening line...
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about how a good storyteller is not afraid to adjust the facts to make a story better. For them, accuracy is not as important as the greater truth and entertainment value of the tale.

I learned this a few years ago from The Cajun Queen that I worked with. At the time, people all over the US were angry with the French for their position that our invading Iraq was not a bonne idée. In response, some people in America started boycotting all things perceived to be French and renaming things that had French as part of their name. In the cafeteria of the US Capital, congressmen no longer ordered French Fries - they ordered Freedom Fries, instead. As far as I know, they still do.

The Cajun Queen and the Bonne a Rienne )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about, Sharon, the Korean woman who used to run the deli in building where I work. Everyone in my office adored her, but the rest of the building regarded her with terror. The idea that a plump Korean grandmother standing less than 5 feet tall could intimidate anyone might sound strange, unless you met her. It then became perfectly clear.

In spite of rumors to the contrary, I have it on good authority that I don't cause trouble. )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about Joe, the Brainiac in my office. I'm not just calling him that, it's official: the folks at Yahoo! Answers have deemed him a Brainiac and flown him out to New York City to sit in a building shaped like a giant purple brain and answer questions for them this week. The only reason he got to be an official Brainiac is because he has a competitive streak, and when he started answering questions on Yahoo! Answers he gave long, insightful answers with links to his sources, which resulted in 55% of the answers he picked being deemed "best" and getting him more points. All of us in the office were playing for a period of time, but the rest of us got bored before Joe did. He also had a better strategy than the rest of us. He answered questions about things that he happened to know a lot about. I answered questions like, "What would you do for a Klondike bar?" (For the record, I got Best Answer for that one; the problem is, not enough people asked it.)

After a while, he had such a lead in the number of points he had accrued over the rest of us that we had no chance of catching up, so we stopped trying. I was in 2nd place in our office next to Joe, but I was still at least a thousand points behind him. I don't like playing any game I can't win, so I closed up my browser and got back to work.

Brainiac and Accordion King )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the copy machine in my office and how it functions less as a copy machine and more as a cruel joke on people who may think that they want a copy of something. By the time you have spent 15 minutes figuring out the quirks of the machine, you have rethought just how bad you wanted a copy in the first place.

Instructions for using Archaic Office Equipment )
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Today on the drive into work, I was thinking about casual Thursday and how it came about at my office while I was out on maternity leave.

The Birth of A Trend )
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Today on the drive into work, I was musing over the fact that the ambulance chasing lawyer in my building was actually a very nice guy.

Personal Injury Sans Litigation )
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The woman on the door to the Lady's Restroom on my floor has lost her head. Every time I pass by her, this makes me sad. I've felt that way so many times myself.

Her head was only a black dot with no neck to secure it to her body. All that is left of her is her upside-down triangle of a body and her arms and legs underneath the word "Women."

I keep thinking that maybe I could take a marker and draw her a new head, but it would look odd. The rest of her would be 1/8th of an inch thick raised plastic, with a flat head drawn above it. As a woman myself, I know that this would make her feel out of sorts and uncoordinated.

Her counterpart on the sign for the Men's restroom has his head floating confidently over his rectangle of a body. I've considered stealing the Men's room guy's dot and pasting it over her body, but it seems sort of Frankensteinish to give her a male dot when she is a female. It wouldn't make a difference from her previous appearance; the dots are identical. But it might make her think differently, to have a male dot for a head. On the other hand, it might make the male dot think differently to look down and see that he now had a woman's body. I think it might alarm them both.

I've also considered going up to the 9th floor and stealing the dot from their Women's room. I've never liked them, anyway. I've always suspected that they come down and use our restroom on the days that they aren't feeling so well and I resent them for this. Let their Woman's room be the one missing its head. The women of the 9th floor are vile and nasty; they deserve to have their restroom decapitated. My goodness, how much trouble could it be anyway to stick around for a few seconds and make sure you have flushed thoroughly?

That decides it - off with their head!
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Driving into work this morning, I was thinking about my bluejeans.

My office has casual Thursday and casual Friday. Why we don't have casual Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I don't know. We are an Internet-based company - our clients don't know if I'm wearing a Chanel suit or if I am sitting around in my underwear. Dressing up seems pointless. There are three other people in my office, and I'm not out to impress any of them.

I love my bluejeans. A good pair of bluejeans is sensuous to wear; they hug and caress your thighs like a lover. They feel like hands holding each side of your behind, pulling you close to some anticipated delight. A good pair of jeans is arousing, thrilling and warm. They are of a course fabric that is soft to the touch. They are just yielding enough to let you know they will be gentle, but firm enough to let you know that they want you and can't wait to wrap themselves around you.

I love wearing jeans.

No wonder I'm smiling right now.
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A man held open a door for me today as we were leaving the parking garage and made small talk.

Just after, another man made small talk with me on the elevator, wanting to know what it is that I do on floor 8. He works for AFLAC on floor 9.

Neither man was ugly. In fact, the guy on the elevator was actually quite yummy looking. Quite.

I must be looking less frumpy than usual today. Or maybe October just suites me.
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Running late this morning. Thinking about how late I was running all the way into the office, practicing my running-late-couldn't-get-out-of-the-house speach all the way in.

Get to the office, and no one but me is here.

At 10:33, and still no one is here but me.

I'm guessing it's Monday all over the place.

But I'm all alone and it's kind of creepy.

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