Tall, Dark, and Mysterious


Back among the working

File under: Know Thyself, Hubris, Welcome To The Occupation. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 8:48 pm.

Throughout the conference, I was trying to figure out how to blog about the conference without…well…blogging about the conference. And then, on my last night out of town, it came to me in a dream.

On my last night out of town for the business conference, I dreamt that one of my coworkers found my blog. But the blog that he found wasn’t Tall, Dark, and Mysterious as you know it; it was more like what Tall, Dark, and Mysterious would be like if 1) I worked with complete nutcases, and 2) I had absolutely no discretion whatsoever, as opposed to the small amount that I actually have. For instance, in this dream blog, not only did I routinely violate my company’s non-disclosure agreement in my posts, I also violated the non-competition agreement. On my blog. No, I don’t know how that would work, either, but apparently I was doing it.

In this dream TD&M, I was also writing at length about the accountant’s embezzling of funds from petty cash, the receptionist’s costly cocaine habit, the company’s use of migrant workers in the shipping department, and the boss’s affair with the girl who works at the taco stand in the mall. None of these, by the way, bear any resemblance whatever to fact, but the last of these in particular is something my subconscious cut from whole cloth. First of all, there is no taco stand in the mall. Second, the boss just got married, and everything’s all “new wife this, new wife that”, so as if. But third, and perhaps most important, I would bet hard cash that if ever my boss discovered that someone else was sleeping with the girl from the taco stand, he would call that person into his office and say, “I hear that you’ve been sleeping with the girl from the taco stand. It’s not for me to judge you; however, I want you to ask yourself, ‘How is spending so much time with the girl from the taco stand going to affect my performance at work? Is spending my off-time with her really the best thing for the team?’ Because I think we both know the answer to that question.” And I will say one thing for my boss: the man practices what he (fictionally) preaches.

Anyway, that was the blog that my coworker found.

In my dream, my coworker sent me an email telling me that I’d been discovered, and that the boss was on his way to the basement to check out my blog. (I don’t know why he needed to go to the basement to do this, but he did.) I had five minutes to try to delete my whole blog before the boss discovered it! But I couldn’t, and the boss read the entire blog, and I sat in my office cowering as I awaited the inevitable. Half an hour later, the boss sat down at my desk, and said, “I read your blog.”

I sat there, waiting for him to fire me.

But then my boss continued, “I was extremely impressed with your writing; I didn’t know that you could write. And clearly you know a thing or two about webdesign, and blogging software. This is excellent! We have an important project that we’d like to give you. Of course, we’ll pay you accordingly.”

And you know, that’s kind of how the conference itself went.

I am not especially proud of the way that I behaved during the conference. I was not - am not - very good at networking; I spent most of my time with the woman from accounting, with whom I’d felt a kinship ever since she started grumbling about how they were making her go to this stupid, stupid conference, the bastards. I was rather negative about things. I made snarky remarks to people who, I learned the hard way, were either less negative, or (to give them more credit) more tactful than I. In a stunning manifestation of irony, I fell asleep, so help me God, halfway through Get Energized: Developing a Motivated Workforce. In defense of the motivational speaker for that last one, I was sick. In defense of my general crankiness, the activities I was negative about included the one with the big group hug and the candies and the how did you feel when you were handed the candy? Honestly, halfway through that one, I was willing to confess to whatever feeling that that activity was supposed to induce (it wasn’t “annoyed that we have to do this crap”, by the way, as I found out when someone - the woman from accounting, for what it’s worth - gave that answer a little too loudly under her breath; the correct option was “like I was being ignored”) just to get this thing to end. I wrote down the entire activity a few hours after it happened, for my own reference in case I ever find myself wanting to run it. The only circumstance, by the way, in which I can anticipate wanting to run the hug-and-candy team-building exercise is one in which the other activities I had considered running violated the Geneva Convention, if you catch my drift.

I am an introvert, in the purest “people make me tired” sense of the word. Unfortunately, I am a snarky, aggressive, outspoken introvert, so when I am stressed - for instance, when I am being group-hugged, and yes that is apparently a verb, the HR rep said so herself - I start blathering, and I start saying things that I would later come to regret if I were a bit more humble. In other words, I am not at my best during these events, and I was not at my best during this one.

I am, however, at my best at work.

On the first day of the conference, the Supervisor3 sought me out, and told me that she’d been looking for me, because she’d personally taken a look at the project I’d helped manage during my second week of work, and damned if it wasn’t just great. Welcome aboard, she said.

On the second day of the conference, the Supervisor5 provided a bold vision for the company; among other things, he called on everyone in my position to acquire a certain set of qualifications by the end of next year. I have it on good authority that I am the only person currently working in my position who has the soft skills to acquire those qualifications by next year. On the third day, I spoke to Supervisor2 about that, banking on the possibility that he’d forgotten my whining from the previous day. (He had. Now that’s a useful managerial skill.) Supervisor2 confirmed that yes, I was indeed the only person in my position with the relevant skills, and it sure is a good thing they just hired me, because they’ll be needing me for this one.

I’m not very good at networking and schmoozing and team-building. I am, however, rather good at my job.

I hope that that continues to be enough.