Friday, September 30, 2005

Would you like sugar with that?








When I started my temp job this week at a high-end-shall- remain-nameless furniture dealership, the office manager spent twenty minutes explaining to me the intricacies of making coffee. Twenty. Minutes. This has happened before at other jobs, this coffee-creating tutorial. The sessions vary in length and minutiae, but they do, most often that first Monday morning, occur with predictable frequency. At first my Mormon self was grateful for the education, as the sight of the large, seemingly impenetrable coffee maker, and the knowledge that I would soon be required to produce something drinkable from it, produced slight pangs of anxiety. My mind conjured horrible breakroom scenarios in which my ineptitude caused the coffee maker to explode, spewing scalding liquid all over myself and the president of the company who just happened to enter the kitchen at that precise moment, and also less violent but equally humiliating predicaments in which the entire coffee maker was reduced to a pile of molten plastic because I'd forgotten (silly me!) to put water in it before I turned it on.

It's not that I think these givers of coffee tutorials think I'm stupid. (Do they??) I try to give them the benefit of the doubt whilst hoping they are doing the same for me. These office rituals seem important to them. Very. Important. Not to generalize or anything, but, in general, I've encountered the same type of office manager personality over and over again. Answering the phone the right way ("It's a great day at Drinkworks!" "Thank you so much for choosing Steiner & Son!", "How can I possibly thank you enough for calling Andrich and Associates!"), putting the mail face-up in the mailslots ("Rhonda likes hers folded like this."); these details bring order and purpose to their office world, holding the fabric of their cubicle universe together. Often during the phone lessons ("And then you put them on hold by pushing this big orange button that says 'hold'"), I have an almost overwhelming desire to leap onto the desktop and exclaim with all the force of my Globe-trained diaphragm: "I have a MASTER'S DEGREE!! I think I can FIGURE IT OUT!!!" But I am checked by the realization that they would probably look up at me and ask "A master's in what?" and I would say "Theatre." and they would say "Great! Anyway, this big blue button that says 'speaker . . .'"

11 comments:

José Pedro said...

lol

José Pedro said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mortimer said...

A hugely encouraging "R0x0rz!", Em!

eric d snider said...

Welcome to the world of blogs, Emmy! It's a fabulous first entry. Also, we are glad to know you are not deceased. Post more! And send Lunchdate an update!

Emmie said...

Thanks, Eric! I will update Lunchdate soon. And just so you know, I still consider myself the future Mrs. Eric D. Snider.

Azúcar said...

That makes two of us! Heads or tails?

I'm a firm believer in displaying superiority through apparel. Some people have Chanel purses or wear Jimmy Choo shoes, we should wear our educations like the badges of honor (cudgels of dominion?) that they are.
You should have T-shirts made in assorted colors that say "I hold a Master's Degree." That way if someone says something ridiculous you could just point to your shirt. Worked for Jack Welch.

I'm so glad you found me!

Em's Husband steve said...

Sweet! I am comforted to know that should I die, and Mosaic Law doesn't kick in (much to the disappointment of my brother), Em will have a happy future with Eric assured -- unless Carina goes and messes it up; Carina, should I tell my brother about you?

Azúcar said...

What kind of friend would I be if I took that opportunity, even if it's a backup, away from Emmelyn?

Plus, I have my own chain-smoking brother-in-law to contend with at the passing of my husband. Hooray.

Anonymous said...

Jannah said - Not to ignore the current topic of post-mortem in-law engagements, but jumping back to your posting... I myself also had the fondness for temp employers who are angered at having to share any information, like what the company does, or what password to use on the computer. Kudos for bringing relevancy to the plight of the professional temp!

Emmie said...

Jannah! How delightful to see your name appear!

Ah yes, the withholding of information - another joy of temping. I worked for a week at a car dealership where they wouldn't give me a list of employees or their extensions. And I was the receptionist! But knowing you understand comforts me.

TnD said...

Emmie, I am so excited to find your blog. I've been surfing through your wonderfully funny stories of life as an actor/temp/adoring wife for the last 30 minutes and having so much fun. Of course you are Elizabeth Bennet, that makes perfect sense. I must link your blog to mine, so that everyone knows what smart, sassy and beautiful friends I have. Tell me if you oppose, but otherwise I'm hooked. I'll read every post. :)