Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Career Woman versus Kept Woman

Have any of you ever worked in a kindegarten? Or a zoo? Or even a loony bin? Well, I am unfortunately in the position of working for an amalgamation of all three which masquerades as the Retail and Online Marketing department of a large pharmaceutical company in the UK.

I have six immediate female colleagues and one male boss. He hides in a goldfish bowl behind us and never hears the cacophony of burping, belching, farting, impressions of Borat, choruses of Fraggle Rock and the ubiquitous 'baby talk' which comes mainly from my 30-year old 'assistant' (I use that term very loosely - if she understood the meaning of the word, no doubt she would choose to ignore it in favour of sucking her thumb).

She is not one of the slimmest girls, nor was she first in the queue when God was handing out good looks. Consequently, she garners attention by behaving like a two year old having a temper tantrum most of the time. In order to show she is happy, she skips her 20 stone frame down the corridor, singing songs from The Muppet Show (her relatives, probably), which makes my coffee pound in a way reminiscent of the glass of water in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex is on its way. If she is cross that we are not paying her attention, she falls off her chair in the middle of the room and petulantly pouts, You weren't listening to me! Look what I had to do!
I've even known her to faint when she trapped her finger in a door. Poof? Probably...Put on? Yup...

I feel like ramming my fist into her mouth half the time, and I deem myself a bit of a pacifist, deep down...

Another girl suffers with IBS and don't we know about it! We hear, in minute detail, about her daily bowel movements, smell and hear her flatulence problems, and are subjected to her medical history with vivid, gesticulative accounts. She is marrying her long-term partner in July. I guess OK! magazine will hear about it at some point, because, by Christ, we do, in stultifyingly dull detail, every five minutes. I, conversely, keep my mouth well shut about my own nuptials. Nobody knows much about my wedding, apart from the date and venue, and none of them are getting an invitation, either, let alone organising a Hen Night for me.

If I am asked about my own arrangements, and answer honestly, I discover next day, that she has done the same, but bigger and better. Boring? Yes. Irritating? Most definitely. Resolving to keep my mouth firmly closed? Absolutely.

She bought her wedding dress a few weeks ago. It fits her perfectly, we are led to believe. However, oddly, she is now trying to get pregnant. Now, call me old fashioned, but weren't children supposed to traditionally come after the wedding? And is there anything more off-putting than seeing a Bride, in virginal white, waddling down the aisle with a 6-month lump protruding from her dress? Yes, I know it's the 21st century, but I know what looks good and what doesn't!

Then we have Animal. I call her that in my own head because she reminds me of Animal, the Muppet drummer. She even talks like him when she is on the phone to her father. She has a very chequered love life which involves jealous lesbian ex-wives, homeless criminals, men on the verge of drawing their pension, and her most recent, a white Aborigine (her words, due to his plethora of tattoos). She regales us with her most recent 'romantic' mishaps (again, I use that word loosely because any story of love punctuated with every expletive known to man doesn't exactly conjure up images of doves, red roses and Barbara Cartland to me) in an exceptionally loud voice every Monday morning. I find them amusing to a degree, and somewhat smug in that I have been lucky enough to only ever get embroiled with peaceful loonies as opposed to violent ones. There but for the grace of God go I, I guess...

Out of the other three females, one is part-time, a new mother, and exceptionally quiet. I like her. Another is a middle-aged harridan who has had a sense of humour bypass and has become a bit of a diet bore. She goes on a new diet every month and has lost a grand total of 3lb. The last girl makes me laugh, but has a tendency to get rather over-emotional from time to time and can take off into day-long crying sessions. It must be her hormones, I reckon.

The boss is the best of them all. He possesses a fantastic sense of humour, is one of the laziest blokes I have ever met, wants us all to do his work for him, and effs and blinds like a Merchant Seaman. For some reason, he appears to view me as 'One of The Lads' as opposed to one of his 'Bitches'. He also told me at my staff review that he found me one of the scariest women he had ever met - Psycho Hose Beast were his exact words, which threw me marginally, until I recovered and held a carving knife to his throat until he retracted.
I've never had a boss like this before, and I would be very, very loathe to leave him...

And then there's me: The Techy Freak. That is their name for me because I understand what an XML feed is, I know how to write in HTML and I remember ALT functions. I also say very little because I realise that my sense of humour simply wouldn't be understood by them and it is easier to keep my thoughts to myself than to attempt to make some intelligently witty remark which would only be assimilated if they could interpret words of more than one syllable.

I actually enjoy my job - it is stimulating, full of new things to learn, and fantastic opportunities to develop oneself, but I cannot abide working with Morons. You never know until you get there, though, do you?

I continue to press home to Mr Parsnip that I would make a fantastic Retro Housewife as I enjoy having a clean home, can bake bread as well as The Dough Boy, and would love to wear gingham dresses, and sport a demiwave and bright red, indelible lipstick. I can also grow my own vegetables, shoot and gut pigeons, and dig over gardens, all whilst wearing aforesaid gingham frock. He doesn't seem to take the hint, so if there are any gents out there who fancy making me their 'kept woman', drop me a message with an outline of your earning potential, your bank account details and PIN number, as well as a photograph, and I shall assess your competency as My Hero and let you know...

16 comments:

Charles Parsnip said...

We had a couple of annoying characters in my old office. One refused to speak at anything other than a shout when he was on his mobile phone - pacing up and down the office. We printed out A4 sheets of paper with "Shut the f*** up John" and waved them in the air when he started another loud call. It worked.

Most of the annoying idiots in our offices have been in a minority. Usually, the majority will win out with such childish practices as sellotape over the mouthpiece of their handset (so that no one on the phone can hear them), unplugging their monitor from the desktop (if they're daft - they'll call IT), and (in one instance) pinching their car keys and moving their car to a different place in the car park, returning the keys without a word.

But then... I am a peaceful loon and that's how I work.

Nice post. Hope it was cathartic.

-CP

sabrina said...

Hahahahahaha!!! God you are a riot!

Why is it that people who have the 'nastiest' problems seem to love goin on and on in vivid detail about them?!!! I mean seriously la...you couldn't pay me to listen to someone talking bout having the runs!

Agnes Mildew said...

Mr P: I am sure you are behind most of the practical jokes in the office. When you go in, that is. Are you pretending to work now?

Sabrina: Welcome to Hex My Ex! Unfortunately, listening to aforesaid work colleague telling us about her bowel movements is the only way I do get paid. When I get a promotion, I will be moving into an office of incontinents...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

A former manager - and still a friend - has a habit of trying to outdo everyones holidays. If you tell him you're off to Buenos Aires, he'll go there a month before you and boast about it to everyone. We started telling him we were planning to vacation in the Gaza Strip ;-)

Kathleen Mortensen said...

Perfect descriptions. I laughed out loud! I used to work for a large insurance company, here in Canada. The women employees far outnumbered the males. I left my job mainly because the women were driving me mad. I used to work with kindergarten children and it was a piece of cake by comparison!
I now have the company of cats and backyard wildlife. Except for the odd feline skirmish and the hourly wail for food, I am in bliss.
Check out Poetikat's for a new post - an anniversary of sorts - a year ago my first published poem appeared.
Kat

Hope said...

I say if any of them steps a toe out of line just punch them in the throat and 'run like you stole something.' Got that last bit from this jarhead I know...I love it.

Keli said...

Your vivid description pulled me out from behind the computer screen and into your office. How do you put up with your gargantuan, yet oddly child-like assistant? What fortitude you must have! At least you have your boss under control.

Agnes Mildew said...

Fish: That's a very naughty but clever thing to do to your boss. I'd have probably offered up Siberia too in case he fancied a two-centre holiday.

Kathleen: Your way of working sounds idyllic. The only way I would achieve that is if I could work in the Parks & Gardens dept of the local council. And even then I would probably end up clearing out the dog poo bins...

Hope: That is a very good expression. I like that! Greatly!

Keli: I don't put up with my 'assistant' (note, assistant begins with 'ass') she just permanently annoys me. I don't think I have ever dislike such a shirker as her...

Linda and her Surroundings said...

I work with guys mostly. Plus my assistant who is ten years older and ten stone heavier so I don't feel any competition when the tradesmen come in and drop off their time sheets. She spoils me, cleans up my messy desk and makes me coffee. In return I hear her long winded stories of her many friends none of whose names I remember. My boss farts in front of me and uses the excuse that I am almost family so that makes it okay - I disagree.

Matt Chingduvé said...

Urgh! What a nightmare working scenario. I'd rather clean out festival toilets than work with your hop-skippy chubby infant-woman work colleague!

Karen ^..^ said...

I laughed so hard at this post, I nearly fell off my chair!!

At MY new job, we actually use Gmail, so I will be able to read your blogs throughout the day.

I am so new there, I know nothing about the odd habits other than the annoyingly "Christian" people who have already come up to me on my first day to "witness" to me. Unfortunately, the owner is just such a devout Christian, so I need to keep my mouth closed for now.

Keep 'em coming, you make my day!

Hahn at Home said...

I've stopped in from time to time and I have to say, this post really made me laugh. Or should it have made me cry for you? Not sure. However, color me green with envy, because I would love to talk about my coworkers like that, but my blog was outed a long while ago!

Agnes Mildew said...

Linda: Give me blokes to work with any day. You always know where you stand with them; the bitching from them is never nasty - just hilarious; and they don't hold a grudge (but best still, as the only woman, you can use your wicked wiles to get them to make your coffees!)

Matt: The insult is that I moonlight as the bog cleaner in the evenings...

Karen: You have been wonderful at commenting on so many of our recent posts and we are all quite taken aback at what you have done! Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments and praise - none of us can get through our front doors any more due to our swollen heads!

Hahn: Welcome and thanks for the comment! Yes, that's the problem, isn't it - when your coworkers know WHO you are...I have never confessed it, nobody knows I am a blogger, and nobody would recognise me from my Avatar as Mr Parsnip has Photoshopped me so well that I actually look almost nice for a change! Thank God for CGI, is what I say!!

Karen ^..^ said...

If large heads are a problem for you, please do consider a visit to Florida! We have very large sliding glass doors in which to fit all shapes and sizes.

I really am enjoying your site. I am so looking forward to a new post. But no pressure...

Agnes Mildew said...

Karen: I shall endeavour to get into some scrapes this week so I can devise a new post for you! Something tells me this morning's annihilation of my forthcoming presentation will be worthy of note!
Florida doesn't sound too appealling to me, unfortunately. I would be likely to stand out like a sore thumb due to my dark hair, white skin and many, many lumpy bits.

Karen ^..^ said...

Yippee!! I cant wait for the new blog. New blogs from HEX MY EX make my day.

And I don't beleive you at all. Lumpy bits? Don't forget, I have had two children also. As for white? I am as white as they come after 2 skin cancer scares. Pasty, even.

No worries... Maybe some day my dream will be realized and I can visit the UK.

Blog on, amusing friends!!