My life and times in Corporate America

My dealings with life at a corporate job straight out of college and fooling my employers into thinking I'm really smart. Rantings about my co-workers, work, and life in general.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Office Rule #71: Avoid Office Potlucks

If an office potluck meeting notice ever comes your way, heed my advice: don’t bother bringing anything. We recently had a Thanksgiving potluck in our office. (Which is basically our bosses way of saying they’re too cheap to treat us to lunch, so they will just help themselves to the fruits of our labors and don’t have to expense so much as a plastic fork.)

Fortunately, my office is full of moms and grandmas whose second favorite thing, after slaving away in a windowless cube pouring over computer print-outs, is cooking. Not so fortunate though, is that fact that for as many moms and grandmas in our midst, there are an equal number of clueless men and young people, who don’t have a strong grasp of any meal that doesn’t require microwaving. So along with all the nice, homemade goodies on display at our potluck, were the random, store-bought, plastic trays of grocery store foods. We had a 20 pound turkey, a slow-cooked ham, and a tray of store-bought sushi. (Did the Pilgrims bring sushi?) We had home made pasta salad, mashed potatoes from scratch, and a platter of frozen shrimp cocktail from Vons. Then, there were homemade brownies next to Chinese noodles from the take out place down the street.

The randomness of the food made my stomach queezy by the end. And not only are there so many types of food, there’s so much of it! Apparently, while cooking, each person thought theirs would be the only side dish. We had enough to feed our entire company. We invited random strangers in from the street. The Fedex guy who happened to deliver a package during the potluck was sent home with a doggy bag.

And of course you’re forced to try everything. If, heaven forbid, you scoot by the stale-looking pink sugar cookies with the price tag still on them, there will inevitable be someone from billing screeching at you, “Hey, didn’t you try the cookies I brought?!” So my plate became a rainbow of colors, a clash of ethnic foods, a massive pile of slop.

I paid the price by having my stomach rebel against everything for two days, and I subsisted on soup and toast before my stomach would ever trust me to eat real food again. When people asked me why I wasn’t eating much, I had to tell the strange truth: “Oh I got a little sick from Thanksgiving dinner. That spicy tuna roll didn’t go down so well.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Office Goes to Dland

It was a tough day at work a few weeks ago. Riding Splash Mountain really takes it out of you.

A few weeks ago, my entire department got to go to Disneyland for the whole day and had lunch at the ultra exclusive Club 33 restaurant! The event was considered by our department as a “teambuilding event,” but the only type of team building I participated in was holding onto my boss’s shoulders while riding down the big plunge on Splash Mountain and shielding the girl from accounting, who sat behind me, from getting wet. But if they want to call it teambuilding, teambuilding it is. I’m not saying no to a free day at Disney. Actually, I got paid to go there, since it was a normal work day.

We carpooled up there in my new office friend’s family van, moving her carseat and other kid accessories out of the way to make room for everyone. I learned that she hadn’t told her kids she was going to Disneyland that day or they would have staged a fit. Wow, having kids doesn’t seem so tough if you’re allowed to lie to them.

We got to Disneyland just in time to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean (which is my opinion has been forever tarnished by the inclusion of Johnny Depp robots) and then found the doorway of the secret restaurant Club 33. For those of you not in the know, Club 33 is a private club in the New Orleans district which is open only to private members of the corporate elite. You would really have to know about the place in order to find it, because it consists of only a door with a plaque that stays “33.” Since no one else from our department was around, we fumbled around in the doorway for a while trying to figure out how to get in. We found a little latch with a buzzer and were then asked our name by a crackly voice. Then we were let in. That’s all I can tell. I’ve been sworn to secrecy not to reveal the secrets of Club 33.

The rest of the day at the park was so fun too! Somehow I was talked into waiting in line for 70 minutes for Splash Mountain. But during that long wait I got to now some of my coworkers.

The next morning back at work, a game of “who’s going to come in the latest” began. We were all camped out by the door laughing about stories and passing around the picture my boss bought of us going down Splash Mountain, where you can almost see my tonsils I am screaming so much.

At about 10 AM a few people were still missing from their desk. Then I got a phone call from a girl in my group.

“Heather? Is everyone there already? Um, I just woke up.”

Our surprising winner was the Senior Accountant who sat in the corner and spent most of her days at work rearranging her cat photos on her desk and tearing off pages of her cat day calendar. She had apparently had a rip-roaring good time at the magical world of Disney and met some random strangers there, who talked into spinning around on the teacups with until midnight when the park closed and the rest of us were home in bed.

I think I’m officially getting old if I’m the one yawning at Disneyland at 6 PM, telling everyone that we’d better hit the road because it was a week night. Someone please reassure me that I am still cool!

Friday, July 13, 2007

My latest fetish

Those of you who know me might know that I am famous for going through “food phases.” I become addicted to a random food to the point of exhaustion and then suddenly drop it like it’s out of style. Some of the more notable ones include:

-the great blueberry waffle phase of my freshman year of college.
-the Pokemon popsicle phase of my sophomore year, during which I once snuck an entire box of them into a movie theater and when Maria and I stood up to leave, our shoes were stuck to the movie theater floor with leaked Pokemon popsicle juice.

Well my latest food fetish is much healthier, but only marginally less sticky. While at Costco a few weeks ago, I was shopping with the boy. And after I sent him on a mission into the giant refridgerator room to find some blueberries (Hey that room is too cold for a little girl like me), I noticed that they had a huge stack of flats of white peaches in the produce section. I bought a tray of 12 peaches.

From there the addiction was born. These peaches were so giant and sweet and tasted like candy. I had to have more. So I decided I had to go back to get more.

I then become the crazy peach lady, stopping by Costco after work every other day to spy for newly delivered peaches. But they were never there. Was peach season over? Did I miss it? Will I be forced to temporarily move to another climate that is currently in the boom of peach season to live out the end of this latest food fetish?

One of these times at Costco I was stopped by someone who worked in the produce department, probably because he saw me lifting up boxes of apricots to see if any peaches were stowed beneath them and thought I was some homeless, crazy person. He told me that fresh produce was delivered every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday. I marked my calendar accordingly. Yet I was sad to discover that even if I went to the Costco on a Saturday, Tuesday or Thursday, there were still no peaches. For weeks I was returning to the Costco in vain. Was I unknowingly at war with another peach fetished person who was raiding all the same Costco mere moments before me? (And by the way, it is nearly impossible to leave a Costco without buying something. Don’t even try it, there’s no way out!)

Finally, last Saturday, Dan and I went back to Costco. I foolishly stopped to try a sample of Hebrew National hot dogs, forgetting the whole reason I was there. What was I thinking?! To the produce department! Then I saw Dan in the distance proudly holding up a flat of peaches. Hooray! I bought two.

The Costco employees must think I’m crazy. For the peaches thing and also because my Costco ID photo on the back of the card makes me look like a pirate. Seriously, it looks like I have one tooth and usually if the cashier doesn’t laugh at it first, Dan will. Every time. Ask me to look at it sometime and you will laugh your ass off. But be sure to say “That looks nothing like you!” as you hand it back or I will think I look like a pirate.

So anyway, back to the peaches. Dan says I’m like a mother hen with her eggs because I check on the 24 little peaches in their tray every few hours. I turn them and squeeze them a little to check for any ripe ones.

So if any of you would like some peaches, I’m sure in a week or so, this latest food fetish will have run its course and I will have bushels of peaches to spare. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some peaches to check on.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Studying again

OK, what's with all you people? No one has posted much on their blogs in the past month or so. Especially Claire. And after starting at a new job and having lots of time to kill during the first few days, since I'd already located the copier and the bathroom, I needed some blogs to read!
Well I will post on mine then, since I am also guilty of blog neglect.

In keeping with tradition, I have decided to post on my blog instead of study for my next CPA test. I think there has been an entry for each part I have taken, explaining how I'd rather write on my blog then study. And since I found out that I've passed the third part (yay me) I have decided to do everything exactly as I've done it before, to keep the luck rolling and the jinxing away.

So yes, I have passed three parts of the four part CPA exam! Woohoo! And all on the first try. I am very proud. And now the last part is this Thursday. It sort of snuck up on me, since I started a new job at the beginning of this month and then went on a trip to New York and DC for a week, only to return on Tuesday night to realize I had a 1,000+ page review book to learn like the back of my hand in just over a week. And I just HAD to watch all ten season finales of all my favorite shows that had been happily Tivo'd while I'd been gone. So there goes Wednesday night. Another few days of procrastinating and here I am on Sunday night of my three day weekend, only half way through the tortuous book. But I will forge ahead.

In more interesting news, my trip to NY and DC was fun! The boy came too, mostly because after I recently learned he has never been east of Arizona, I told him I couldn't date someone that unworldly and this needed to be remedied. So to New York we went. Some highlights were:

* a freak thunderstorm happened in New York on an 80 degree day, which was followed by a 55 degree day that left me looking foolish clad in only my flip flops and summer clothes that I'd packed

* I lost my favorite pair of flip flops somewhere between Grey's Papaya hot dogs on 72nd Street in Manhattan and the Marriott hotel in Washington DC. (If found, please leave a comment on their whereabouts.)

* Dan and I bickered about everything from which direction a metro train was going to how tall the guy was who sat next to us at the airport. But don't worry, we are still together.

OK so that's my blog post for the month. I'd better get back to studying, since this test, titled Financial Accounting & Reporting, appears to be a doosey.

Now you can all follow my lead and start posting again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Suzie Blood Donor

Yesterday I donated blood. I hadn’t donated since 2004, but still trotted along my little paper blood donor card to proudly announce that I was O-.

I have constantly been harassed by blood bank phone calls at home. Everyone’s after my O- blood. They always try to sucker me into making an appointment to donate by telling me sad little stories about kids who need blood. Then they mention I’ll get a free t-shirt. I politely say that I’m busy and go back to watching The Real World and eating Funyuns. The next time they call, they up it a t-shirt and a coupon for a free car wash. OK, now I’m listening. I’m sure the kids are cute and everything, but I was looking for maybe a free lunch and a massage? Could that be arranged?

But after negotiations between myself and Helga, the blood center caller, looked like they were going nowhere, I conceded and agreed to make an appointment just out of the goodness of my heart. And the promise of a free bag of cookies.

So I took Dan with me to my appointment. I have donated a few times before, but Dan was a newbie. I was taken into the room by the nurse who went through the medical questions and she noticed in the computer that I was O-. I think this lady was secretly as a little grandma who reads children’s books aloud at the library during story time moonlighting as a nurse, because she had a soft little voice and felt the need to dumb down everything she was saying. I told her I didn’t like the part where your finger gets pricked with a needle to test your iron. She said “Oh don’t worry sweetie, we changed it, now it’s not bad.” As she pulled out the little needle pricker. I was like “Uh, really? It changed? Because it appears to still involve a needle.” I got stuck with needle just like last time. Apparently little grandma nurse thought I was four and that I would fall for that.

But then she pointed out that since I’m O-, they were going to run a special test on my blood. She then said “If you blood is all good and clean and pretty then they can use your blood for newborn babies!”
“Yes. We will just run a test to see if you have this very common virus. And if you don’t, you’re a baby donor! And next time you come, I’ll say ‘Oh it’s Miss Baby O Negative‘ and I’ll use a special baby sized bag for your blood. Isn’t that exciting?!”

It was very exciting. I skipped out of the little booth over to the donating chair, quite proud that I am single-handedly going to save the baby population. Dan came and sat in the chair next to me.
“Hey. Psst. Danny. Guess what? I’m going to save babies.”
I explained the whole story to him.
“Wait, what virus are they checking for that’s so common?”
“Huh? Oh. I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? You didn’t ask?”
“Um.. Danny…. Did you not hear the part about the babies?!”

Then I noticed that Dan had a giant sticker on his shirt. It said “First time blood donor.” “What the..” I yelled. “I didn’t get a sticker!” Then I noticed that nice little grandma nurse was tending to HIM and not me! I somehow got lost in the shuffle and got Olga the evil nurse. She stuck me with a needle and ditched me to go count cotton swabs or something. But Dan got the royal treatment. The nurse put an ice pack behind his head because he said he felt tired. He got juice and cookies brought to him. And he had that damn sticker.

After we were done donating, Dan stayed in his chair and relaxed. My nurse yanked the needle out of my arm (no more talk about babies) and said “Thank you.” And asked me to vacate the chair. I had to go root out my own Dixie cup of warm apple juice and all the was left were the crumbs from the cookie jar. The system is so biased.

I will let you know how many babies I save.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

I've been gone for a while...

Wow it has been a long time since I posted. I hope none of my readers have jumped ship. A lot of things have happened.

I passed the second part of my CPA. Yay! I’m taking the next part on Monday, so obviously I’m doing my best to procrastinate and post on my blog instead of studying.

We have a new, fancy bathroom at work. It’s a big improvement on the dungenous swamp we used to have for a women’s restroom. I used to go in there occasionally and find a giant trash can poised under a mysterious drip from the ceiling. It would be there all day, and upon further inspection, the trash can would be filled with a brown grime that I didn’t want to know about. I’m assuming a class action lawsuit will be circulating shortly regarding all the women being exposed to ebola or something. So now we have our very own freshly tiled floors, three auto-flushing toilets and two auto faucets in the sink. It’s all very auto. It’s a new auto-bathroom from the future. The bathroom is beautiful, with a new mirror and shimmering new counter tops. It is the most exciting thing that has happened to our floor. Sometimes I go in there around noon and find women sitting in there having lunch. But I’ve found that using an auto bathroom for most of the day has its drawbacks. When things are too auto at work, I tend to forget they’re not auto everywhere, which leads to me leaving the faucet running after I washed my hands and walking away.

The boy and I are doing well. He is currently secluded in his apartment glued to the TV watching the final four basketball games. He is obsessed with this bracket he is part of at work. I don’t see what these boys get so worked up about, they’ve only bet 20 bucks on the thing, I spent that much on the manicure that I already chipped. But after every game, he’ll shoot over his computer and log into his bracket and check his standings. Then he’ll shout me an update “I’m in second, but only if Georgetown wins, if not this bastard in account payable will beat me.” Then “OK now I’m in third because…” I usually tune out at this point. I hate to think how much time some math nerd spent thinking up the scoring system for these March madness brackets, because I can’t figure them out for the life of me. All I really find interesting about the basketball games is how freikin tall some of those kids are. I mean, they’re like 19 years old and some of them at 7 feet tall! How do they walk through doors? Who do they date? What kind of beds do they sleep on? These are the kind of things I am interested in. Not their points per game or their shooting average. I want to know where they buy their pants.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Suzie Grammar on gchat

me: danny
you are very unchatty this morning
Sent at 10:02 AM on Thursday
Daniel: I was away from my desk
and unchatty is not a word...
Sent at 10:12 AM on Thursday
me: it is a word now
Sent at 10:29 AM on Thursday
Daniel: if you can just make up words then I can say "me and bryan"
Sent at 10:41 AM on Thursday
me: no
that will never be ok
people sound so much smarter when they say it the right way
Daniel: well being smart and sounding smart are two entirely different thing
damng it
dang it
Sent at 11:01 AM on Thursday
me: that was classic