Monday, May 7, 2012

What I Learned In The Working World

It wasn't long ago that I was a "Working Mom". You know, one of those cool people that actually got a shower every morning, put on something besides yoga pants, made it a point to wear lipstick and perfume and look like a "girl" before I left the house in the morning. Someone who got to have grown-up conversations during the day about spreadsheets and marketing and sales projections. Someone who had something besides mac-n-cheese and tator tots for lunch. Someone who felt a little bit more "important" in my stiletto heels than I normally do now sporting my flip flops and "I heart playdates" T-shirt. Someone who came home smelling of the wind in my hair and business and not like formula and applesauce. I miss those days. I will admit it. There are days when this "stay-at-home-mom" gig is a whole lot harder and less rewarding than those quarterly bonus checks and the fellow salemen's words of flattery and flirtation for closing that "big deal". But hearing my son be the one to tell me I look like a "princess" in the mornings in my nightgown and wet hair far outweigh the compliments and "good jobs" of co-workers.

If I were to reconsider coming back into the "working world", there would be quite a few things I would need to reach back into my memory-bank and re-examine as to not make a fool of myself.  And for those moms (and there are many currently) who are finishing up their maternity leave haven and assimmilating back into the realities of their desk job, I've come up with a few key points to remember. Here are the highlights:

The Office Survival Guide for Parents

Be nice to the receptionist. Receptionists are people too.

You think the receptionist isn’t listening. The receptionist is listening. She knows pretty much everything about you and your mom and everybody else in the office, on account of everybody assuming she isn’t listening.

Do not wear black bras under white blouses to work.

Do not wear low-cut trousers and g-strings to work.

“You cannot just say everything you think to the attorneys you work for.” (Yes, that is a direct quote.)

Copy machines have top-loaders. (Wish I woulda known THAT little tidbit before I spent that summer at a print publication company making copies by hand, one by one. If I ever find the jerkfaces who watched me do that all summer without telling me about the top-loader – I’ll kill ‘em.)

The “reply-all” email feature can ruin your life.

On a related note, there is no sarcasm font.

If you set up your cubicle in accordance with Feng Shui principles, you will not work more productively, but everybody will think it’s cool.

Burning popcorn in the microwave will make it stink for the duration. Nothing will fix it ever. Buy a new one.

The most annoying expressions in the world are: “At the end of the day;” “playing catch-up;” and “touch base.”  Oh, and “paradigm shift.”  You will cringe when you hear yourself saying these things but you will not be able to stop.

Talking on the phone while chewing is not okay under any circumstances.

There’s always somebody who knows more about whatever it is you think you know everything about. That person is in the room with you right now.

Emergency drills are scary, much scarier than the ones in grammar school.  {In the case of a real emergency, I would run full speed out of the building giving no thought or concern whatsoever to those around me.}

“Lower your voice” is uniformly solid advice.

Extreme pressure generally turns an ordinary project into an absolute disaster.

If you are wondering at all if you should say something, you shouldn’t.

The computer is not broken. You did something wrong. Re-start it. You’ll be fine.

If you think the project is going to take a week, tell your boss it’ll take four.

Even if you have no idea who or why a person is calling you, but they claim to be “returning your call,” assume they are correct and roll with it.

Some people walk around with paper on their heads and do other such silly things. You cannot do these things. People already think you’re weird.

Take notes as if your life depended on it, even if the note contains: “10/10/07: George told me about his trip to Madagascar, detailed incident with monkey.”

Don’t skip.  People frown on skipping in the workplace. Also ballet moves. Total no-go.

You will become the woman who shows everybody pictures of her kids and talks about them too much. You will. Because you miss them.

Accept that you will never become completely professional again. Aim instead for “professional enough to not get fired.”

1 comment:

  1. OMG your work place survival guide is epic!! These are so true! Gosh I wish I could bust out some ballet moves at my office...