Sometimes even the most simplest of jobs can be the most difficult to accomplish successfully. Ever heard of the perfect cup of coffee? That’s right, it doesn’t exist. For one person, the taste is bitter. For another person, the foam should be frothier. Etc. Etc. Etc.
You can’t please some of the people half of the time, and you can’t please all of the people half of the time. And, some people are never pleased with anything.
Those people are strange creatures. And, I always
end up working for them.
While I’m organizing my pile of duties on my desk, I hear C’s voice from across the room, beckoning me to come over to her. She must have something for me to do. Like a good employee, I do as I’m told.
“Steven, I want you do to something for me,” she says as I approach her desk. I knew it. The woman can never leave good enough alone. “You’re not busy, are you?” Of course, I’m never
“We need to know the publisher’s calendar year for 2005. Do you know what that is?” she asks.
“No. But, I assume it’s a calendar of some sort.” She’s not impressed with my answer, and doesn’t consider sardonic retorts amusing.
“A publisher’s calendar is the template publisher’s use to determine which issues cover what throughout the year,” she huffs.
“Like December is the Christmas issue, right?”
“Right,” she exhales. “So
, what I want you to do is go through the filing cabinet, find the old ones and see which ones we don’t have. Then, if you can’t find them, go on the database, or the net, and contact them. We need to have all of these by the end of the week. Do you understand
? Can you do this
?” She pronounces the words understand
like I’m an ESL student.
“Sure. Will get right on it.” I turn on my heel and go back to my desk.
For the next few hours, I’m flicking through files in her disorganized file cabinet, looking for the right calendars. Some are way out of date, and some publications don’t exist any more. When that is done, I make my pile and start researching publications – both ones we already have and need to update, and ones that we don’t and would want to include in our roster.
Some are easy to find since they place a link on their sites, others require an e-mail or a phone call (which can be difficult since several people have to use the same line for the phone and fax machine) after finding the correct contact information.
When my initial research is finished, the phone calls done and e-mails sent, I organize the folder according to what we have, what we don’t, what is coming and what needs to be found. Very simple and straightforward.
In the folder is a 2004 tearsheet of a Toronto-based magazine that has been published for several years. They are so set in their ways, their publisher’s calendar has remained the same for the past decade. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
When the folder is passed along, C takes a look inside, flicks a few pages, and her face registers disgust. Boss lady isn’t too impressed. She calls me over.
? What is this
?” she barks as her fingers dangle the paper in front of her like it’s laced with arsenic. “Why is there a 2004
tearsheet in the folder?”
“They’re going to use the same format in 2005. They haven’t changed it in ten years.” Presumptuous, yes, but also correct.
“But, how do I know if they’re using the same one?”
“Because they are.” I have a feeling this is going to take a long time to resolve.
“I need you to contact them again
, and make sure they’re going to use the same format.”
“But, they are.” My head tilts to the side and my mouth forms a pout of disapproval.
“But, how can you know? Go and call them
“I don’t have to call them again
, because I know
they’re using the same
format in 2005
“But are you sure?”
“But are you sure
“Yes. I. Am
.” Are you deaf, or just a fucking idiot, lady?
? How sure are
What is she trying to prove? That’s she’s right once
? Ever since I’ve been here, I have never given her a reason to question my work. Yet, she’s persistent in trying to prove me wrong, time and time again. She’s like a professional pitbull – vicious and terrifying.
This goes on for another few minutes, until I tire of the exercise. Fine, I give up. Let the bitch win a hollow victory.
“Ok. I am not that
The expression on her face indicates a smug happiness.
“Well, then you must go back and make sure and get the right 2005 calendar. We can’t make any
I go back to my desk and pretend to be studiously working on the completion of this asinine assignment. In all realities, I’m just tapping away at the keyboard, hoping that my day will fly by like a gale force wind.
A few days later, the mail is brought in and inside the pile is a publisher’s calendar I requested a few days before. Removing it from the envelope, I find the folder I was working on and place it inside.
On top of the pile lies a copy of the 2005 calendar of the argumentative clipping I brought in. Each month in 2005 is in identical correspondence to the 2004 edition.
It seems like my boss was wrong. Obviously and obliviously wrong. But, I can’t gloat in front of her, or she’ll escalate her histrionics to another level, and my ears can’t handle that kind of aural irritation.
Although my self-esteem has already taken a few too many knocks, I can always rest assured that, in the end, I am always right.