Thursday, April 15, 2010

Work-Related Post With No Real Work-Related Substance

I have had a song stuck in my head for three days. I don't even like it. Or at least, I didn't use to like it. But now, I'm starting to like it. I told one of my friends today that it's like a version of Stockholm Syndrome. It sticks around torturing me for long enough, and I start feeling like, hey, it's not so bad.

I had to take some time away from work today to blog because I needed some distance from it. I really need to get some perspective on what I’m working on right now. What was an almost finished document draft is now morphing into a never-gonna-end treatise on the subject. I can’t seem to stop myself from adding more info. It will surprise no one when I say that I suffer from what I call “over-explaininess.” I’m not as bad as some people out there, but I do tend to go a little long. It's not just the blog posts, folks! It happens at work, as well. And my coworkers appreciate just as much as you do.

I don’t really have much to talk about because I don’t do anything interesting at home and I’m hesitant to talk about work too much for fear of getting discovered and then fired. Not that I would talk about anything confidential, but there are definitely some people here who are a little on the sensitive side. As far as I can tell, they do not actually have a sense of humor. But what they do have is the ability to fire me. So. I don’t talk much about work.

But there are some topics about work that I do feel reasonably safe talking about. They aren’t very interesting, though, but that’s what we’ll be talking about today.

(same old coffee rant)
I would first like to spend just a minute to remind the people I work with (who don’t actually know about my blog, so, yes, this is just me venting) that if you leave the pot of coffee sitting on the burner all day, it congeals into something disgusting. That’s why we have a carafe. Please use it. I love coffee, and, what’s more, I need it, so please don’t ruin it for me, and don’t force me to drink gunk. It’s not like we start with high quality stuff to begin with here, so the experience is already pretty much downhill from the moment the brewing starts. Also, I would like you to take a moment to read up on how the coffee brewing process works, so that you will understand that (1) if you don't use enough grounds, the coffee will be bitter, and (2) when you put your cup under the drip to take the first part of the pot of coffee as it brews, you are taking the part that tastes the best and leaving less of the flavor for the rest of us, because (especially when you don't have enough grounds) the part that comes out last is the part that's bitter. So thanks for that, all of you. You should know that for a few seconds of every day, I hate you just a little bit.
(/same old coffee rant)

I managed to get our of our work group lunch this week. Victory! I won’t get into why that makes me happy (see coworkers with no sense of humor, supra). It just really, really does.

[warning: nerdy legal writing discussion begins here]
And continuing on the topic of talking about work without really talking about it, one of my coworkers edited something for me today, and he tried to tell me to change a citation from something that was correct to something that was wrong. Look, dude, I know you don’t know this about me, we’re not that close, so let me just tell you this now---do not mess with me on the Bluebook. The BB is my BFF. We’re tight, man. But he totally had me doubting myself, because wouldn’t he make sure he was right before telling someone else that she had made a mistake? I should have known better. This is the same guy that once tried to change my “Id. §” to an “Id. at §.” You do not “id. at §” statutes, dude, you “id. §” them. Sheesh. I admit to accidentally making BB errors sometimes, so I’m not going to judge if you forget to italicize “see” or occasionally forget your pinpoint cite. It wouldn't be right for me to judge you for your mistakes considering how lazy I’ve gotten about proofreading my own writing. But if you are going to tell someone she’s wrong about a rule, shouldn’t you make sure she’s actually wrong? So that kind of bothered me. This is just another reason why I don’t like editing anything for most of my coworkers. I spend soooo much time making sure that I’m right about anything before I’ll tell anyone to change something that it takes me way too much time. But apparently some people do not feel that pressure.
[end of nerdy legal writing discussion]

Now let's talk about coworkers and binge eating. I’ve noticed something about my coworkers and myself when it comes to the matter of free dessert.

About my coworkers:
Let’s imagine that somebody brings in some dessert for everyone to share. Let’s say it’s a cake. At first, everyone comes in and takes some, so a good portion of it is taken pretty much right away. But then people start coming in to the break room for seconds. But nobody wants to look like That Person, the person who eats all the cake, so people just take a little bit, or they don’t take any but keep coming in to look and see how much is left, only taking some if it looks like it’s going to be all gone soon. So the day goes by, and after the first round of snacking, the amount of cake that’s been consumed stays pretty stable, riiiight up until the end of the day. Then, suddenly, around 4:30, all gone. It's like there is this collective agreement among all office workers that whatever is left at the end of the day is fair game, and you can't be judged for taking whatever you can get your hands on, so everyone rushes in to grab some as soon as it's late enough to qualify as the end of the day. You could go in at 4, even 4:15, and they’ll be pretty much the same amount as there was after lunch, but by 4:30 or 4:45, no cake. Well, I say no cake, but sometimes there’s a teeny, tiny piece left because nobody wants to take the last piece (and note that this piece will be left, sitting on a table, uncovered, all night, and yet the next morning, someone will eat it). But basically, it’s gone. Which means that there are people who are sitting around their offices spending the day planning out when would be the best time to take more cake, judging what time to go into the break room so as to be able get the cake before someone else does but not so early that they look bad. I’m not judging because I’ve certainly done that myself for really fantastic dessert before. I’m just saying that it’s apparently really common.

About me:
I am petty, and I like messing with people. This is what I’ve learned about myself. Because if I am the person that brings the food, I sneak into the break room about 3:30 or 4:00 and take everything that’s left back to my office to take it home with me. Even if I don’t really want it. And if anyone says anything about, “oh, is the [fill in the dessert here] all gone,” I either make vague, noncommittal, “oh, I don't know, is it?” comments, or I outright lie and say it’s all gone, even though I’m usually very uncomfortable with telling lies.

I don’t do this every time, but, yeah, it happens. Because there’s a part of me that thinks, look, if you want to be the person that eats several pieces of cake in one day, I’m cool with that. It’s not a good idea, but I’m in no place to judge. I have, on more than one occasion, consumed an entire large bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups just in the time it took me to drive from the grocery store to my house (for obvious reasons, I’m not allowed to eat these anymore). But you gotta own it. Just be that person. I’m just not going to help you if you want to pretend that this isn’t what’s going on, that you aren’t obsessing over food–food!!—and getting really weirdly possessive and predatory about eating way too many empty calories. Especially if you are going to then tell me that I don’t get enough nutrients in my diet and proceed to give me advice on eating a balanced diet. Not that that’s ever happened. But if it did ever happen, that might make me enjoy messing with you by taking your food away and then denying it, which you can't challenge me on even though you want to because that would basically be an admission that you have food issues. Hypothetically.

So that’s basically work these days. I don’t want to give the impression that I dislike my coworkers, because I actually really, really like 95% of them. Just not the 5% who don’t know how to make coffee.

1 comment:

RR said...

I can't believe someone challenged you on Bluebook. Pshaw.