Thursday, May 9, 2002

Remind me...Why am I here?

Today's one of those days where I wish to hell I had chosen a different field of ditch-digging or taxidermy. The phones are ringing off the hook, sometimes three calls at a time, there are letters coming down the pike fast and furious, people are showing up at the door, there are copies to be made, things to be mailed, mail to be opened, people talking all over the place in seventy directions. EEEEEEEEEE!

It's almost funny how much I loathe the telephone. Every time it rings, I forget what I was doing and get all discombobulated; if I wasn't doing anything to interrupt, I still cringe a little, fearful of the unknown quantity at the other it someone angry? is it someone stupid? is it someone trying to sell me something? Every time I have to dial, I worry about what's going to happen when I'm done...will I have to talk to someone? will I have to listen to a cutesy answering machine? will I misdial and get the wrong party, totally upsetting some random stranger who had to get up out of her chair and schlepp across the house to pick up? It's like having a loaded pistol on your desk. Too many possibilities, many of which can be deadly.

So why did I become a secretary, for pete's sake? Not only do I hate the phone, but I absolutely loathe filing and making copies. So what am I here for? Oh, wait, now I remember: I'm a whizbang word-processor, that's why. I can churn out utterly gorgeous business-form letters, throw together fliers and newsletters without breaking a sweat, merge documents into form letters and mailing labels, and write anything that needs to be written, from agendas and minutes to financial statements and fee-payers reports.

I can also maintain a database and manipulate spreadsheets with a certain finesse. I can also do two or three things at a time, so long as they are in the reading/writing the last two hours, I have produced four letters while simultaneously reading all of my morning blogs. Easy breezy! The only thing slowing me down is having to answer the damned phone, which always makes me lose my train of thought.

Oh, well, at least it pays the bills. Or most of them, anyway. Today is payday, and I have to get the check into the bank ASAP so I can shop again! I have a bunch of auctions I'm watching at eBay and a bracelet at HSN that I have to have, and I can't have them if I can't pay for them! Thank God I don't have to pay rent or anything like that.

I often wonder what those poor people with children and houses do for fun. I guess they must live on credit. That must be an unpleasant be so far in debt that you can't ever afford to quit your job? I mean, some days the only thing that keeps me here is my shopping addiction, and since I don't have any real credit cards (I use a check-card, it works the same way but won't sink me up to my earlobes in debt), I don't have to worry about having bills I can't afford to keep up...all I have is my cable, car insurance, and student loan payments to keep up, which are only about $300 a month, easily covered with Unemployment...but I can't bear to interrupt the flow of jewels into my coffers long enough to look for another job.

Besides, looking for a job is more fraught with peril than being near a telephone. Every time you turn in an application, you are inviting rejection. And if you don't get rejected, every new job comes with a zillion unknowns, from Byzantine office politics to freaky neurotic coworkers. I mean, I do have other reasons to stay here. My coworkers, with whom I am very good friends; my casual office, in which I often have time to spend on personal projects, where I can websurf and email and blog to my heart's content anywhere I like so long as I get my work done, where I can dress any old way I feel like, from suits to sweats to drag if so inclined; the sheer convenience of the location, only three miles from the house. And let's be frank with ourselves, where else could I earn the hourly salary I currently get, considering the shoddy state of the economy? It's not a lot, but it's a lot more than is being offered for starting salary in similar jobs.

But today, it's the bracelets that are keeping me here. And the shoes, the sweaters, the magazines. Working sucks, but poverty sucks much, much worse.

And with that warming thought, I will be able to get through the day, taking solace in my two Suzanne Somers bracelets and my new DKNY powder-blue boatneck sweater and tan Bass deck shoes (I finally found a place to buy canvas sneakers) and the latest issue of W. And let's not forget this particular fringe benefit of my job:

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