Tuesday, September 7, 2010

things not to communicate over IM

“I mistakenly told them you had Gonorrhea.”

She said that and then smiled. Her cheeks were like little cumulus clouds of delight as she found such humor in the mishap that managed to land me somewhere in the land of wild, unbridled promiscuity and her in the unaffected audience of the theatre of my demise. I wanted to punch the life out of those clouds. Not really. But, well, really.

It had come to my attention that sometime earlier in the week, after I had left the office building where I was temp-to-hire, my friend alerted the office that I had Gonorrhea in a horribly disastrous attempt to correctly name the tropical disease I contracted when I went overseas. (Noted here that the disease was called “Dengue Fever.” My friend told me later, “I just got stuck on the ‘G’ and then couldn’t get out of it!”)

Nonetheless, after things were cleared up (with a few over the counter meds and a vitamin regimen), I needed to make a point to talk to the HR manager about the full-time position they’d offered earlier in the week.

Enter: The intra-office Instant Message (IM) program used both professionally and unprofessionally by the office staff. Often the program is used in an effort to be polite and allow mildly-pressing business discussions to be submitted via IM and then responded to when convenient.

I then, took the opportunity to IM the human resources manager to ask if there was a time - at her convenience - when we could discuss the impending job offer in order to clarify roles and salary.

Jennie to HR manager: "Hey, when you get a minute, can we talk about the receptionist offer?"

HR manager to Jennie: "Oh yeah. About that. We've decided we don't want to move Elisa from her current position." {inserted FROWN-Y FACE}

Jennie to HR manager: “Oh. Haha.”

End of chat.

My own meagre "haha" was merely a cursory response to answer in like light-hearted terms. I literally had no idea what I was supposed to say to the fact that the job they offered was now un-offered over intra-office IM and with an, albeit empathetic, emoticon.

:( says: Goodbye income, goodbye benefits. Goodbye autonomy and ability to pay off debt. Goodbye Christmas. Goodbye Birthdays. Goodbye job offers and 401Ks. Goodbye stability. Goodbye steady regimes. Goodbye freedom from anti-anxiety medicines.

Hmm. I thought. It’s interesting though that despite the more-than slightly devastating news, the frowny face DID make me feel a bit better. Cheap empathy, maybe. But how would I have felt if she would have delivered that line WITHOUT the frowny face? Terrible! So, I continued with my temp work and reasoned, especially after I heard the Gonorrhea story, that their disinclination to hire me was not entirely unfounded.

During that same temp-to-hire stint, I worked in my brother’s office. We are pretty close, as family goes, and generally have been known to enjoy one another’s company. However, until working with him in the office setting, I had no idea that he maintained such an air of stodgy professionalism at all times. This obviously was hard to swallow since I had in my immediate possession some incriminating pictures of a certain office professional’s buttocks as he streaked through a Phi Chi party my sophomore year of college. At any rate, I played a few mild pranks on him during that time. Nothing detrimental or too distracting, but fun nonetheless.

Since he had a fetish with floss, I decided that should obviously work in my favor in my little pranks. One night I swiped one before I left and let it find a new home in a Jell-O mold that subsequently found its way into the office refrigerator with a large sign with his name on it. After the Jell-O mold-ed floss was planted, I plodded diligently along in my cubicle, waiting for the fun.

{overheard}HR manager: “John, I think someone just pulled a Dwight Schrute on you. I’m thinking maybe Jennie.”

John {walks to Jennie’s cubicle}: “Jennie, what did you do?”

I could see the big vein coming out of his forehead already.

Jennie: “What?”

John: “Did you put something in Jell-o?”

I couldn't smile yet, so I made myself think of something sad, like the fact that most of my college friends still can't differentiate between "your" and "you're" or my dog that died in second grade.

Jennie: “What in Jell-o?”

John: “I don’t know, in the break room?”

Jennie: “Huh?”

John: “Did you put a piece of office equipment in Jell-o?”

Jennie: “No.”

I answered sure and swift. He turned and marched so bow-leggedly to the break room that I was sure he was going to accidentally pivot on an axis.

HR manager: {peaks in Jennie’s cubicle}

Jennie: {smiles}

HR manager: {sits back at her cubicle}

John: {plops down Jell-O mold/mound container, now half-empty} “Where’s the top?" he said in a hoarse whisper, “Jennie, this is too soon. Are you trying to get fired?!”

My favorite vein of his to monitor was pulsating visibly now to the beat of something like "Hammer Time."

Jennie: {looks up meekly} “It wasn’t a piece of office equipment.”


Jordan said...

Jennie: {looks up meekly} “It wasn’t a piece of office equipment.”

haha. i love this story.

Fred said...

classic jennie.

layne said...

hahhaa. AGGGGHHHHH. love it!