Monday, September 6, 2010

Figuring Out Who Likes Me. Like, At Work, I Mean.

Well, this week was my first week flying solo.

At the end of my first day of work, two of the higher ups sat me down.

SkinnySuperior: How do you think it's going so far?"
Underemployed: Good. There hasn't been any yelling so I think that's a good sign.
Awkward laughter since nobody ever makes jokes at this office.
SkinnySuperior: Well, this is the smoothest transition we've ever had, and HipsterSuperior and I are both going to be out of the office after tomorrow so we're just kind of paranoid.
Underemployed (knocking on wood) : Well, let's see what happens tomorrow.

Each day sort of went like this, and by the end of the week I ended up having down time. The thing is, and I don't want to sound like an ass, but the girl who trained me was sort of a moron. That doesn't mean she wasn't good at this job. But maybe this job is totally her speed. I mean, I just haven't found it that challenging to file, to be a receptionist, be an office manager (aka office supply orderer) and to do reservations in one workday. But after the scary Cutrone-esque speeches I was given, I too am waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I was warned ahead of time that Chef is a diva, and likely to yell at me. He depends on HipsterSuperior to do his travel arrangements and personal assistant stuff. I was told that I will be assisting with the personal assisting later in the month, once Chef gets to know me more. Well, HipsterSuperior was on vacation this week, and Chef was in Europe doing food-related work. And he had plans in need of changing. So I took care of it. It just didn't strike me as that big of a deal, and my superior was out of town, out of the office.

So yes, I spent time at the office investigating airfares at the last minute. And yes, I spent hours over this long weekend on the phone trying to get hotel rates in foreign places and figuring out how to minimize last minute cancellation costs. And you know what? Chef apologized for asking me to work over the weekend. He thanked me for my work almost every email. I know that he's supposed to be so scary, but so far, so good. And this I feel is a small victory.

But my real victory of the week has been developing a friendship with the business partner, the most senior person in our office, Mr.Money. My predecessor described Mr.Money as a jerk, one in front of whom you had to use only the precisest words. "Just think about what you want to tell him before you open your mouth, he'll hang on your every word."

Yet, in the office he and I get on great. He laughs at my jokes. He likes to taste test coffee blends with me around the office coffee machine. He sent me a huge list of restaurant recommendations when I went out of town this weekend. And when he pontificates about the restaurant industry, not only do I hang on every word, I seem to be the only one asking follow up questions. HELLO PEOPLE. The information and ideas he waxes about are why this job is worth taking, why it's best to work for the best people, even if you're at the bottom of the totem pole.

I've only had one project from him directly. As I went into his office to collect waste paper (it was my cleaning day) he looked up from his computer.

Mr.Money : Thanks....Shit!
Underemployed: What?
Mr.Money: I didn't read the email you sent me.
He finds Underemployed email amongst several in his inbox. Reads her findings.
Mr.Money: This is great. This is fascinating. Thank you so much. This is just what I was looking for.
Underemployed: Great. Let me know what my next step is whenever it's time to move forward.

My thinking is to do 110% on any and every project/task/favor asked of me by Chef and by Mr. Money. If I keep them lovin' it, it will be a lot harder for the Superiors to get rid of me when the month is over, even if the girl who trained me does return from Cali and resumes working.

I've been stressed out this week, figuring out what my role in the office is, who I can trust, and how important any given task is. But in spite of all of that, I think I'm kind of hitting it out of the park.

Stay tuned for week 2!

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