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The job isn’t bad. I hate the first few days of a new job, where you feel useless and someone else is not getting their own work done because they are spending all their time training you. I am working for another Entrepreneur, but this one is more focused and less spastic than the last one I worked for. The Last Entrepreneur was 50ish, and he threw money into all kinds of projects at once to see what took root and bloomed and what blew away. The New Entrepreneur looks to be in his 30s or early 40s, and he focuses on insurance. This has allowed him to grow one of the top 100 privately owned insurance agencies in the United States (it just misses being in the top 75) after a dozen years. He’s not as flashy as the Last one. A case in point: the company cars with the logos wrapped all over them are Honda Civics. They don’t even have power locks and windows. He’s not out to impress anyone with glitz. He just want his logos to be seen.

The offices are nice, unlike the Civics, and are adjacent to the food court of a very nice shopping mall, which is full of a sort of retail glitz. When I look out the window to the left, I see a two-story Barnes and Noble bookstore. When I look to the right, I can see the carousel in the mall food court. Today I figured out that if you walk around the food court at just the right time and look like you are reading the menus and trying to decide what to eat, you can collect enough samples on toothpicks so that you are no longer hungry and don’t need to buy anything. I’m not sure how many days in a row I can get away with this, but it worked out nicely on my second day. On my first day, the COO (Chief Operations Officer) bought me lunch. If I’m lucky, I might get fed again on my birthday.

Jack’s Mom Has Got It Goin' On )
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All day Friday, I waited for Mike to tell my not to come in on Monday. The man never spoke a word to me. Never acted like anything was up. For some reason, he never liked speaking to me. I specifically told The Owner in the letter that I wrote to him that I would stick around until Mike let me go. Which he didn’t. He just hired someone else, and acted all surprised when I walked in the office on Monday. What a dolt.*

On the upside, I did get to see my replacement – about half my age, half a foot taller, and slender, and pretty. I thought she had too much product in her hair, making it look like it would be sticky and gloppy to touch, but what do I know? Maybe that’s just her style.

Jeesh! Do I have to do everything around here, including fill out my own termination paperwork? )
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I mean, I was all psyched for it. Ready. Mentally prepared. At 10 minutes until 5, I cleaned off my desk and got everything tidy, because I didn’t want my replacement to think I was a slob. I wanted her to think, “Wow, this woman was really with it. How am I ever going to be as awesome of she was?” She can’t be, of course, and I wanted her to know that from the moment she sat down. I had everything prepared.

And for what?

Nothing.

Mike was in Dave's office, talking, when I got ready to leave. I thought maybe he lost track of the time.

At 5:02, I stuck my head inside of Dave's office to wish them both a good weekend (I only meant it for one of them), and to tell Dave that it has been nice to know him since next week he will be in Honduras on a missionary trip for his church and for all I know he will get cholera and die. I figured this would give Mike a chance to say, Oh, by the way...do you have a minute before you go? and I could smile knowingly and say, Sure, Mike, no problem. If it's that important, I can stay a minute or two longer.

But he didn’t. He laughed when I told Dave he could die of cholera or dysentery and leave us all in a bind, but he didn’t call me back to his office to fire me. What the hell? All those candidates parading out of his office, and he didn’t like one of them? Unbelievable!

So I still have a (tiny, cruddy, little, pathetic) paycheck coming in, and I don’t get to sleep in on Monday like I was thinking would be nice.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I really am.



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Knowing I am about to get fired is at once liberating and annoying. On one hand, I'm happy that I won't have to quit, and looking for work while you already have one is awkward. The whole thing about wearing a nice suit to your office-casual workplace "just because you felt like dressing up" one day and then claiming you might be gone a little longer at lunch since you have a doctor's appointment" is always suspicious. As it is, I can send out resumes guild free, and I won't bother hiding where I’m going should an interview come up (which it is hasn't yet).

I just hate not knowing when my last day will be. I mean, I think it will be this Friday, but then another candidate came in today which makes me believe Mike has not picked my replacement yet. Maybe the gorgeous brunette last week turned him down (for a girl who looked like that, I think he's a fool for not paying her whatever she asked). A woman called and asked for his line this morning, and I heard him giving her directions when I put her through to him. I had to step out and get something out of my car, and I saw Dave outside smoking, so I stepped over to kvetch a bit.

Two great assets )
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I emailed the owner of the company a letter on Friday, letting him know that I was aware of my impending termination, of the steps I was taking to make the transition easier on my replacement (I bear her no ill will, only pity), and of some other issues, such as the fact that I may have made more than my fair share of mistakes in September due to what is going on with my son. I do not care what Mike thinks of me, but I respect The Owner and I do care what he thinks.

He stopped by my desk and told me that he got my letter and is sorry "that things are moving in that direction." He said he never had the impression that I was not doing my job, and that he was sorry about the situation between Mike and me.

"You can use me as a job reference," he said, "Have them call my cell direct."

For the entire time I've worked here, I have been told not to give out his cell phone number; that anyone who needed it already had it.

I feel strangely vindicated.


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Sometimes, I can be slow on the uptake. For example, I was almost finished with my nervous breakdown before I noticed I was having one. I blame the DNA from my Swedish ancestors; we are just so subtle and quiet with our emotions, even when we are falling apart, that we have even been known to not notice them ourselves. In the meantime, the Scots-Irish DNA I got from my mother kept pointing out to me what a damn shame it is that I don't drink. That half of my DNA wishes that I did; those are my recessive genes, though, so I don't have to listen to them.

Lost In Office Space )
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One of these days, I will learn that I should just skip the month of October, perhaps by slipping into a coma and sleeping through it. Something about the way the stars are aligned in my horoscope mean that if something lousy is going to happen, it will happen in October. My diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes when I was 8; my mother's death when I was 15; the fact that the school tells me that my 6-year-old son may be autistic (or maybe crazy) on the same day that my boss starts interviewing candidates to replace me – all of these things happened or are happing in the month of October.

On the other hand, crisp cool autumn weather has finally arrived in Houston. It is a beautiful time of year to have my life fall apart. At least I can comfort in the scenery.

Really? But of course. After all, this is how my life works. )
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The week my boss was on “vacation,” his office was kept locked. We all suspected he might not be coming back, but none of us were sure. I have the key to his office, so I opened it once to forward his phone to my extension so that his calls could be taken care of, but I locked it behind me after that.

You can’t always get what you want (unless no one is looking). )
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We have yet another new sales guy at the North Houston franchise, S.M. I don’t mean S. and M., the two sales women who worked here when I started back in January. The S. and the M., in that case, were two separate people. Now we have a guy with the first initial S and the last initial M. I am sure this coincidence of initials is not unrelated to the general rule of serendipity that governs my life.


Women's tongues are as sharp as two-edged swords, and wound as much… )
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I felt sorry for the job applicant waiting in the lobby when I left for my lunch break today. She seemed nice enough, and was well spoken enough when I told her it would be a few more minutes before the operations manager could see her, but she was wasting her time. She wasn’t going to be hired. I could see that from just looking at her.

I want to work, but I don’t know how. )
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“This place is a joke. So why is no one laughing?” I said to Dave this morning.

“We’re laughing, you and me,” he said, and flashed me a cheesy grin.

“Yeah, but we’re laughing to keep from crying. I’m not sure that counts.”

“Oh, it counts. Trust me. It counts.”

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It’s the quiet ones you have to watch; at least that’s what I hear. As a quiet one myself (though once I get to know people I let down my guard and they tend to forget this and even scoff at the idea of it) I can tell you why you might want to watch us a little more closely: because we are watching you.

Tell about yourself without using the word I )
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Lately it’s occurred to me that my life feels like I am lost in the woods and that I seem to be walking in circles and running into the same landmarks over and over again.

Take my job, for example. Not only do I work with two guys (Frank and Dave) who have the same first names as the two guys I dated before I met my husband, but in the office around the corner from me there is a guy from New York named Mike, just like there was a guy from New York named Mike in the office across from me at Big Death. Frank just hired a new guy to work with Dave, an intense semi-obsessive guy named Ron, like my intense, semi-obsessive kid brother who is also named Ron. The landmarks I recognize from my days at the tech company are the guy named Joe in the front office and the opinionated Cajun woman in down the hall (to be fair, all Cajun women are opinionated). The Entrepreneur is identical to the other entrepreneurs I’ve met, with his love of coffee and his drive constantly in overdrive. I'd know that air of affable ruthlessness anywhere. I’ve met him before wearing a different face and different clothes, but it was definitely him.

Then there is the fact that I’m making the same salary that I made 10 years ago.

Oh, yeah. I’m not moving forward at all. This is one big circle. That clearing is the one I rested last time I came this way. There were berries to eat then, but I stripped them from the vines - at least the ripe and almost ripe ones - so there's nothing to eat there now. I’ve seen that tree up ahead before. Notice how the moss is growing in a pattern that almost looks like a laughing face when you look at it from this distance? It’s the same tree, the same moss. I’m sure of it.



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“Son of a bitch!”

I yell this at least three times a day while at the office. It’s Dave’s fault. He’s trying to kill me. Well, maybe not kill me exactly, but that may well be the end result one day. What’s he’s trying to do is give himself a fit of the giggles, because I am one of those people who startles very easy and it amuses him to no end, which is why he likes to walk up behind my chair and give it a “twack!” Without fail I will jump out of my skin and scream. Then I utter a few choice words in his direction.

It all balances out in the end. )
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Even on a day when everyone who works at my office is there, including the part time clerk and the head honcho who has no office exactly but who uses the big conference room with the marble table top as his private domain, there are only 10 people here. On a day when a few people are out, the place seems conspicuously empty. It was on one of those days when I notice the door to the women’s restroom wide opened, so I walked down the hall to close it.

That’s when I noticed a pair of feet under the first stall. They were facing the wall. Someone was standing up to urinate.

You better have lifted the seat, buddy, and you better have put it back down when you were done. )
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We all heard the crashing, breaking glass sound from the direction of Joe’s office this morning, at least those of us who are here on Good Friday did. The sound wasn't so alarming that we came running toward it, but a few of us got up to see what it might have been. Joe is the property manager and the son-in-law of the entrepreneur who owns both the office condo and all the companies we all work for. His office has a door that leads to the parking lot, and he was outside smoking. Donald, Cheri, and I poked our heads into his office, but could see nothing amiss.

“What was that?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Cheri said, looking into the kitchen to see if it might have come from there.

I left the funeral industry, only to wind up working with the dead. )
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In our office, W. owns everything and calls the shots. He is the boss of my boss, and entrepreneur behind all of the enterprises that operate under this roof. There are 4 different companies in the office condo I work in, and everyone answers to W. Behind his back, I call him “Big Daddy.” Big Daddy owns the building I work in, as well as all the little businesses inside of it. It is part of a complex of office condos he is constructing. They are all nicely decorated and landscaped. The signage is low key and tasteful. The landscaping is lush (or at least it will be once everything snaps out of its winter dormancy). The crown molding in my cubicle is Big Daddy’s touch. I sit in the kind of high-backed leather office chair usually reserved for executives, because all the chairs in my office are of that kind. Big Daddy likes people to be impressed when they walk in.

You can call back tomorrow for more of the same. )
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No rhymes, no reason, and no clever observations to this post. Just a few random photos of things I’ve written about in the fast couple of months. Why now? Because I finally loaded the pictures off of my camera last night, that’s why.

A teapot, Santa's air fleet, fishing for cats, red staplers, how to discourage free loaders, and tasty treats )
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Dave and I had worked together (or at least, close to each other) for a few of weeks when it came to light that we knew each other already. On that day we had to pick up some prospective clients from the airport and drop them off at a steakhouse for a meeting with people more important than we are. We drove them in the SUVs with the company wrap, and were taking my boss’s car back to the office when we started talking about places we’d worked before. I said something about the toll road authority. Dave, who was driving gave me a sideways glance.

“You used to work at the toll road authority?”

No Breaking the Law Of Unintended Consequences )
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Dave let me know last Monday that, after last week, there would be no more S. and M. around the office. This made me a little sad. I’ve only worked here for a month or so, but I liked S. and M. both and enjoyed having them around. They drove Dave crazy though. I think he liked M. a little more than he liked S., but neither of him were helping his bottom line any. Because of this Dave’s boss, the owner of both Dave's company and the company I work for, told him to let them go.

S. and M. are the real life initials of the two sales managers that worked for Dave. I won’t tell you their real names, but for the purposes of this story I will call them by names that sum up their personalities: Miss Saccharine and Miss Morose.

S & M: they were fun while they lasted. )

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