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Resolution 2008: Fit, Finance & Deliverance from Dwight

10:04 AM, December 31, 2007 .. 0 comments .. Link

Each year gads of us envision a new year full of new promise;  a chance to resolve differences, get in shape, and be all around better people.  We champion good causes: better health, better lifestyle, so that we can be more productive and generally happier society members.  I'm in line with the rest of you. In 2008 I plan to start:

* working out 3x a week - (took about a 2 year work-out hiatus: the first was to have a kid; the second has been under the misguided delusion that chasing a one-year-old is equal to the marathon training pursuits I used to enjoy).  On the up and up: I'm doing this to feel better,  look better, be better and set a good example as someone that can juggle working, parenting and maintaining a modicum of self-preservation.

*  manage my money better: live by my parents credo: If you can't afford it, you can't have it.  (Is there a Nordstrom's sale shoe exclusion built into that rule for dire shopping emergencies :-) ? )

* get a new job. On the bigscreen of life issues, we all want to be delivered from the harbingers of work.  The drudge of getting up, going into an office, where we sit in front of our computers for 8 to 10 hours a day like veals in modified cattle stalls doubling as cubicles.  Like Pavlov's dogs, we get up when the bell dings, get dressed, scurry through the labrynth of morning routines to get to work ON TIME.  Once there, many of us - having perfected the art of LOOKING BUSY without actually BEING BUSY - work our way through e-mail responses, tackle the tasks at hand for the day and divot our schedules with the occasional websurf to favorite sites to see what's going on in the world. 

I've only had this job for a few months, but it only took me about five minutes to realize why I didn't get the office tour after the interview and why all terms were met.  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to be gainfully employed; to have been given the opportunity to learn something new and to have my name on a payroll.  However, on day two, I learned that each of my predecessors lasted 4 months before leaving for one reason:  In short, I work with the postal outrage equivalent of Dwight from the Office. Never before in my ten-plus years of working have I ever seen someone so uniformly hated by every co-worker.  In the same sense that the South Park movie was equally offensive to all majorities and minorities, this guy is equally loathed by everyone in the office. He comes in on his days off to make sure we're here on time; he exercises less tact than a sex-craved sailor with 1/2 hour shoreleave in a whorehouse (toned down example: commented on how my family is aging poorly when looking at a desk photo of my husband and me).  Snitches to my boss; is constantly looking to get people in trouble; and makes sadistic comments (e.g. "I told [my five year old] that if she wanted a jack-o-lantern for halloween that I would chop off [her nine year old brother's head] and and set it on her bed with a candle in it.")  I work on a city block that saw two shootings (one death resulting) and two sexual assaults in one week and yet my safety concern is still based on the belief that someday Dwight's gonna show up with a shot gun and blow us all away.  The news reporters will interview his neighbors and track down former classmates from one of the handful of colleges he was expelled who will all say, "Doesn't surprise me at all." 

I can actually picture this happening.  From a distance the faint waft of his smoke-laden jean jacket with a distant hum of the dueling banjo song from Deliverance will play.  Crescendoing with rhythmically gutteral symbol sounds that are actually ammunition fire will canonize the hallway of the circa 1960 administrative building in which we're housed.  The glass panels will shatter, gurgled screams will be mustered, and Dwight - standing all of 5'5"; 5'8" if you include his teased poof of thick hair atop his head - mechanically working his way from cube to cube.  I'm in the corner cube; so with any luck, his foot will get caught and he'll stumble on some of the latest duct tape additions holding down the carpeting giving me time to escape. 

On the one hand, my boss has been great. I have had zero issues with her. However, the fact that Dwight is enabled to treat people this way and assert this plague-style paranoia (there has been a history of union employee filed harassment complaints, screaming matches, known incidents where he has lied or misled people, and the people who had my job last each called me to warn me about scenarios where he got them in trouble for things like leaving five minutes early) shows not only a blatant disregard for treating people like professionals, but a complete failure to acknowledge the 800 lb gorilla in the room. 

When challenged or concerns raised to our superiors, the response is always:  "well, that's just how he is."  I have worked with people with difficult personalities that, while I did not care for them personally, I respected them professionally. But that's not the case here.  I can only speculate as to the reason(s) Dwight's been here for over a decade:

a. he's got some ADA disability to assert.  (espresso strength coffee all day; non-stop talking, smoking, talking, smoking, ranting, turret's [until my boss arrives] syndrome style swearing, more talking, smoking, walk around to make sure he's shared at least one offensive comment with each office person while conducting his pathetically obvious version of roll call).

b. he's got some special relationship with my boss.  I'm not just talking about the nasty; but maybe there's some other sympethico quirk at play.

c.  he's got something on someone higher up and/or is in cahoots with someone above him on the rank and file totem pole of institutional politics. 

Until tomorrow's tirade ...

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