Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A glimpse of normalcy- A new office job, and then a happy hour with an office friend

Hi friends! Thanks for tuning in. In this scene, I've found a new temp job and maybe even met a new friend- my first in Winterville!
It was with much trepidation that I even answered the job posting, which stated that the ideal fit for the job would be “able to complete several short-term projects every day as well as provide support to executive management.” Quote: “Must be able to work in a fast-paced environment and deal with constant interruptions.”
Some people love that.  Some people want to fight through every day, argue every point, run from place to place, yell, negotiate, and make deals.  These are people who work on Wall Street or in any position with the word “aggressive” in the description. They are also people who die of massive coronaries in their fifties.
People who loved that constant sea of conflict and stimulation didn’t have much in common with me. However, in an effort to bring in more money than an unemployment check provided, I had to loosen my standards a bit.
In my new position, I tried to make friends with some of the people around me.
Since I emanated the stench of someone who didn’t grow up in Winterville and had a bachelor’s degree, I gravitated toward people like me.  It was a big-enough workplace for that to be possible.  That’s where I met Patti Anderson.
Patti was thin and wore business clothing to work every day.  She may have enjoyed dressing the part more than playing the part, but her work persona was very dignified, in control, and professional.  Her hair was always up, and her shoes were always sexy. That’s what I liked about her at first; she didn’t seem like a stupid hick.
My job, while busy and ever-changing, wasn’t very challenging, so I didn’t need much coaching, but she and I would talk from time to time. I was amazed one day when she popped up with an invitation to Happy Hour. I felt like a contestant on The Price Is Right; I’d been in Winterville for over a year and never had the opportunity to take part in this type of workplace ritual[1]. So, I went.[2]
At Chili’s, the de-facto Happy Hour hotspot in our area of town after Bennigan’s closed, the drinks were flowing, and skinny little Patti was downing a great quantity of them while I nursed a rum-and-coke and promised myself I wouldn’t be too tipsy to leave if the evening got lame.
“Stressful week, Patti?” I asked her.
“You don’t know the half of it.  My boyfriend who lives 100 miles away dumped me last weekend,” she slurred.
“I am so sorry!” I said.
“Yeah, he said the distance was too much, yadda yadda, although he never made the effort to come see me here. Seemed put out when I didn’t have 4 extra hours in my weekend to make that drive to see him. Didn’t want to make the effort himself. He’s a Taurus, you know? His way or the highway. Or in my case, his way AND the highway.”
“I always choose the highway,” I told her. “It’s why I’m single.”
“The reason you’re single is because you’re here!” she said. “When was the last time you had a date?”
“That I could get excited about? 2006.”
“That sucks!”

[1] Note: Finance professionals tend to drink excessively.
[2] Note: Diva and I are allowed to ridicule finance professionals as much as we want, given that both of us worked in that anti-female, semi-toxic environment at a time when finance jobs were plentiful; we had to learn “new marketable skills for the workplace” to keep our heads above water in our post-college twenties and early thirties. Our foray into the financial world didn’t last for either of us, but we made some money and learned about finance as businesses mutated and shrunk due to the Great Recession. Besides, some of our best friends used to work in the financial industry- and a few still do.

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