W.T.F. Inc.

BrainRants has written about some of “those people” who don’t even have to go out of their way to piss the rest of us off, in an office environment.  Some of these asshats are inspired naturals, who keep the pot of pass-me-another-ammo-clip, filled to the brim.  Since he, and others, have covered the irksome, I felt I might expound about the odd but entertaining.  Anyone who has ever worked in an office will recognise some of these people.

When I was much younger, I worked at a metal fabrication plant.  What with sales orders, purchase orders, drawings, specs, billings, and general correspondence, there was enough work for a full-time file clerk.  The old gal who was there when I started had been with them since the days of quill and vellum.  She hadn’t turned 65, but her husband had, and he wanted to retire to Florida, or Buttfuckistan, so she gave two weeks notice that she was quitting.

I just lost the young crowd again.  Nowadays, there is no “notice”!  Especially with computers, it is so easy for a dissatisfied employee to seriously screw an employer.  If I were quitting, I’d order a lifetime supply of Mongolian porn and arrange for 87 loads of manure to be dumped in the parking lot.  As soon as you indicate that you’re quitting, an armed guard escorts you out of the building, while a couple of your “friends” ransack your desk, keep all the good stuff, and bring you the pitiful balance in a cardboard box.

The office manager interviewed a number of possible replacements, and settled on one in particular.  It’s hard to judge someone from four desks away, but she seemed like a nice person.  She started the next Monday to get a week’s training, and then Betty Rubble disappeared.

Dictionary.com just had a post about the name of the song we all sing when we do our ABCs.  It’s Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  In the discussion thread, I was interested to note a significant number of people who admitted that they had to sing the song, aloud or in their minds, to know that D went before E, or S before T.

It was painful to see the new clerk perched on a wheeled stool, in front of the filing cabinets all day, her lips moving as if in prayer.  She had a desk, but never got back to it except to pick up another pile of paper.  The old clerk had made it look easy.  Of course, when she started, there were only 15 letters in the alphabet.  She had time for three unauthorized smoke breaks a day, as well as finishing 15/30 minutes early, to gossip with the receptionist.  At the end of the first week, the new gal was behind by a pile of files almost as tall as she was.

At the beginning of the second week, the office manager took her desk calendar and wrote the alphabet in black marker, across the top.  It always sat on top of the cabinets as she worked.  That, and some assistance from a couple of the other clerks, and by the end of the second week, she was caught up and managed to stay that way.  I know jobs can be hard to find but, maybe that job was one she shouldn’t have applied for.

The company president travelled on business, and needed the paid travel invoices for tax purposes.  His secretary came out one day to look for one for a trip booked through Clare Miller Travel Agency.  The two of them searched and searched.  No file for Miller and nothing in M misc.  No file for Clare, and nothing in C misc.  No file for Agency, and nothing in A misc.  No file for Travel, they even looked for Ticket, nothing in T misc.  Finally, the irked secretary demanded, “If you had an invoice for Clare Miller Travel Agency, where would you file it?”  The response came back, “What color would it be?”  What side of your desk do you put your coffee on?  What difference does it make?  “Well,” she said, When I can’t find where things go, I look for other invoices the same color, and file it with them.”  Two weeks later we had a new, literate, file clerk.

This office was the first one I worked in that was air-conditioned, a pleasant perk on hot summer days.  It had been installed after the building itself was built, so some of the windows still opened.  Winters were when the problem surfaced.  There were two women in the office who were constantly fighting about the temperature.  This was also the first place where I saw one of those lockable Plexiglas covers installed over the thermostat.  I have carried a work knife since I was twelve.  Cheeky Monkey!  I knew how to use the blade to change the setting.  I never did it, and I never told either of the hens that I knew how.  What made it ironically amusing was that, the one with the short-sleeved blouse, at the desk beside the panoply of windows at the front (one of which she insisted on keeping cracked open), was the one who was too hot.  The one with the desk in the back corner, bundled up in two sweaters, beside the steam radiator, was the one who was always too cold.  A nice, constant 72 F, winter and summer.  Not having been issued ovaries, I never understood.

I see a few of you nodding your heads.  You’ve worked with some of these WTFs in your time too.  Perhaps we’ll wander down Nostalgia Lane and visit a couple more another day.