High Maintenance/AWK-ward.

I’m at my new job, which is in my field but part-time. It’s my third day, but they seem to like me, recognize the skillz and are grateful to have me there. Which is nice. (Also, money).

The guy who brought me in has a lot to do to be ready for tomorrow (today) and things are way behind because their network/email crashed for five straight business days since I was there last.  So I’m trying to be low maintenance while helping him. I’m just about finished for the day at 5:15, and want to say “That’s done and on the X computer. Anything else I can do?”

But he’s in a meeting with some chick in his office. There’s also some Other Guy standing in there too, asking questions and reminding him that he has to do things for tomorrow. I’m standing at his door for 10 seconds when My Boss gets frustrated.

My Boss: “I know I have to do that. But I have to meet with [Chick], and also do 60 other things, and I can’t because people keep coming in here, asking me about all kinds of things.”

Other Guy: “Okay, just making sure you know you’ve gotta-”

My Boss: “Well, I can’t until I finish this.  Why don’t you leave us alone and maybe they’ll get done.”

Other Guy: “But they have to be done.”

My Boss: “Would you just get out of here?”

Other Guy: (turning to me) “You see how he talks to me?”

My Boss: “Get out of my office!”

Other Guy: “And I’m a vice president. Would you talk to [Big Boss] that way?”

My Boss: “Well, he’s an associate VP.”

Other Guy: “I don’t think you’d talk to him like that”

My Boss: “I wouldn’t have to. He understands my time constraints.”

Other Guy: (opens his mouth to say something)

My Boss: “I have to finish this with [Chick]. And he needs something. (phone rings) And whatever this is. Just get out of my office!”

Me? ah crap! I’m an innocent bystander!

Now I’d been standing there for that entire conversation which took about five minutes (recapped here with heavy editing), just for my 10-second not-even-a-question, watching this be incredibly awkward for Chick and I.  Like watching daddy and mommy fight at the dinner table. I kind of want to make that joke to ease the tension, but I don’t know them well enough to know if they’d all laugh or get mad.

If I wasn’t on my third non-consecutive day on the job, I’d have tried to run some interference on Other Guy. Because I kind of get the idea that My Boss thinks Other Guy is a nice guy, but can be irritating. But I can’t run interference, because I don’t know what he does. Or his name.

Other Guy mutters “I just don’t think you’d talk to [Big Boss] that way” and storms off  while My Boss answers the phone. And I’m still standing there like Forrest Gump while his mom meets with the school commissioner.

My Boss just said he’s got tons of stuff to do, so I’d like to say “Let me help you, give me something to do.” Because that shows him I’m a team player. Also, I am paid by the hour.

But I can’t say that, because giving me another task means explaining what he wants and Chick is still there trying to meet with him. And I don’t know the guy well enough to know if he’s going to get completely pissed at me for being another interruption.

I’m completely screwed. I’m in purgatory, just frozen by the tension and my Catch-22 of leave them alone/be a team player.

And then after the phone call, he turns to Chick and says “So…where were we?”

ARRGGH. Now I’m thinking “Oh screw this, I’m just going to salute and go home.” But I’m getting paid to stand there, so I can handle minimum wage tension. And who knows how long I’d have been standing there if Chick hadn’t rescued me by asking “Does he need…?”

Luckily, My Boss collected himself and I got to relay the seven-word status update. And since I had eight minutes to develop the most succinct way of conveying it, I added “if you’re swamped, put me to work” for a total of 13 ruthlessly efficient words which showcased how valuable I feel his time is and how much I want money am a team player.

He gave me a quick “Alright.” (Emphasis on the ‘righ’ which acknowledges my team approach), and added “Go to computer Y and load the load video clips in Network Drive/Subfolder into the program. After that, you’re done. See you at 1 tomorrow.”

So my patience was rewarded with (whatever a quarter of minimum wage is, probably enough to buy a Coke), and I went downstairs to discover that Computer Y cannot connect to the Network Drive because of stupid network issues that have plagued them all week.

Now I’ve got to go upstairs and interrupt again.  Less succinctly, I gave him a can’t/because explanation and said “I’ll come in earlier and do it tomorrow” and fled the scene as quickly as possible.

So much for low maintenance.

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