Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Was a Victim of Office Gossip

Office Gossip

I am in love with gossip. I gobble it up, lick the bowl, and then ask for seconds. For the most part this pertains to celebrity gossip. When Heath passed, I was the one to start the Greek chorus of 'oh no!'s through my office. I started a countdown for when Jaime Lynn's baby is going to pop (and another one with bets on when Brit is to going to get preggers again). And the scandalous photos of Miley? I have written on many a discussion board of my opinion on the situation.

My obsession for celebrity gossip, however, has given way to a new fixation -- office gossip. I know it's wrong and not healthy but I just can't help myself...literally. My desk's location is in a hot bed of scandal and too loud chitchat. I have a nice little corner cubicle that is surrounded by corner offices -- the COO, the CEO, the CFO -- and my desk also happens to be kiddy-corner to our human resources/legal department (aka our CAO). In short, I see it all. I have heard the CAO fight with his wife, have heard people get screamed at for shortcomings, and have even seen people get fired.

I've even heard the higher-ups have discussions about me (some good, some not-so-good). But my most recent foray in being a victim of office gossip was laughable so I had to share.

Last week I woke up and my right eye hurt. Upon closer inspection, I realized my right eyelid was significantly larger than my left. Of course I ran running and screaming into WG1's room asking whether she thought I had a tumor in my right eye. She laughed at me, and then handed me some stye ointment. Yes, I had fallen prey to a stye. To make sure my new little friend was gone before the weekend, I decided to forgo my contacts and make-up. Both are things I never do, so obviously this attracted some extra attention from my co-workers.

First thing that morning I corralled two of my work friends to inspect my eye, which is unfortunate normalcy in our everyday routines. The three of us bond over our illnesses (odd, I know). My friend A is a self-proclaimed hypochondriac and D has been having some weird reactions to cheese lately. Anyway, A and D both told me I should enlist The Boss's help confirming if it was a stye or not because she loves pretending she is our mother (which translates to she is very lax about taking sick days).

The Boss confirms I have a stye and has no sympathy for me. And I believe this will be the end of the talk of my stye. Only it isn't. Because rumor of my stye floated around the office and at least three people came up to me before lunch time to offer remedies and housewives' tales of how to get rid of this unwanted bump and I had not told this people about my malady. My stye was the talk of the office. I was Wednesday's office gossip.

This revelation that even something as trivial as a bump on my eye could be circulated around the office made me want to shun idle chitchat altogether. I swore I would be better about gossiping from now on. I would cover my ears when people were called into the CEO's office. I would try not to look into the windows of HR when people were being interviewed for new positions. I would not put my two cents in when we made bets on who would make out at our next holiday party.

I would stop for the sake of styes everywhere.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

I've always had celebrity crushes. The first was Taylor Hanson. I thought I was going to marry him. Then there was Nick Carter. I also thought I was going to marry him. I grew out of my celebrity boy craziness in high school. But the crushes have returned. Not on Taylor and Nick, although they will both hold a special place in my heart.

In between meetings and dealing with clients my coworkers and I e-mail one another about office gossip, exciting happenings in our lives and most importantly our Top Five. 

The Top Five is an easy concept that one of my coworkers recently brought to our attention. Choose your top five celebrity crushes, any way you want: by personality, looks, their music, their movies, etc. I have been known to choose my top five based on the most recent TV shows and movies I've watched. My list also includes guys that most people have to imdb

Let's get to my list:

1. Jim Sturgess - After seeing Across the Universe last weekend, he has skyrocketed to the top of my list. My teenybopper self fell for him after seeing just one face he made in the movie. Please see the face he makes at 2:00 in this video. It might just be me, but I love it. Not to mention he can sing and has a british accent. 

2. Scott M. Foster - He plays Cappie on ABC Family's Greek. I know you watch it, don't be embarrassed. For a long time I thought WG2 and I were the only 23-year-olds watching. I have since learned that two of my coworkers also watch the dramedy geared towards High Schoolers. Those poor kids are going to have such a distorted view of college. I mean, the Zeta Beta's would totally have had kegs in the backyard after Lizzy left and how come no one ever acts drunk? Right, it's on ABC Family at 8pm. 

3. Christian Bale - Newsies, anyone? Is it weird that I'm more attracted to the Christian Bale in Newsies than I am to the Christian Bale in Batman?

4. Danny Pino - I love a good crime show but they scare me to death. But after watching a marathon of dvr-ed episodes of Cold Case, I can sleep easy knowing that a detective like Danny's character Scotty Valens will save me. Although, Cold Case is about old homicide cases, so Scotty Valens saving me probably wouldn't be a good thing.

5. Matthew Fox - Matthew isn't a regular on my list but Lost is finally back and I just saw a preview for his new movie Speed Racer

That is my Top Five. Oh, I almost forgot my silver fox. My silver fox is Christopher Meloni from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. So Working Girls, you have a top five and a silver fox, get working on that list!

Note: my coworker who started this has made a rule that George Clooney cannot be a silver fox. He must hold a spot on the top five. Her reasoning: "he would be everyone's silver fox" and "there is just so much hotness that he needs a spot." But, she also had Top Chef's Tom Colicchio on her list for a while. So, take her rule however you'd like. 

Monday, April 28, 2008

Working Girl Wardrobe: Rainy Day

Weather Forecast for New York City:

Monday: Rain and thunderstorms
Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain
Wednesday: Mostly sunny
Thursday: Few showers
Friday: Few showers

Since a higher being (or the effects of global warming) has decided to make the next few weeks of my life very difficult by soaking New York City with a minor flood, I thought it would be appropriate to write about what a Working Girl should wear in the case of a sudden downpour or just a smattering or even a light sprinkle of rain during her commute to and from the office using my new favorite website Polyvore.

If you couldn't tell from my little rant above, I'm not a huge fan of rain especially because I now live in the city. This ultimately means that on my way to the office the humidity will make my hair frizz, my pants will be soaked, and therefore I will be cranky all day long.

To avoid becoming cranky, a Working Girl needs to make sure she has three items in her wardrobe - staples that every Working Girl should splurge on to make sure she is safe from even the smallest drizzle.

A nice trench coat
The coat featured above is a Burberry Islington nylon trench that is unfortunately sold out (due to popular demand) -- not to mention very much out of my price range. But a good quality, classic trench coat is a must-have for any Working Girl. Not only does it keep the rain away, it is a timeless wardrobe piece that has never gone out of style. The look is not only very Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" circa 1961 but also very Blair Waldorf in "Gossip Girl" circa 2008 (yes, I watch teen drama - don't judge). I snagged my classic khaki trench from Banana Republic on sale last spring so look for some good deals as spring turns into summer.

A snazzy pair of rain boots
Rain repellent galoshes are essential in keeping puddles in the streets where they belong and therefore off your pants and out of your shoes. There is nothing I hate more than having wet shoes/socks/feet all day at work. I know, not a pleasant visual. The rain boots featured above are both colorful and playful and will make a great addition to a classic trench. The ultimate, timeless pair of rain boots to have are Hunter boots from the UK. A way to make them more memorable? Try them in this lime green hue. If you're on a budget, try Target for more reasonably priced version of the classic Scottish wellies.

An umbrella (ella, ella, eh)
The most important of all accessories when preparing to battle the rain is having a truly invincible umbrella. An umbrella that deal with crazy throw-you-to-the-ground wind and can beat off sleet and even snow if need be. My vote for best umbrella goes to the "bubble umbrella" featured above. Not only will it not turn inside out if faced with extreme wind conditions, but it will also help keep your hair frizz-free since it creates a "bubble" over your shiny locks. Another definite plus to this umbrella is its price tag - $16.99 at Target.

My rainy day wardrobe almost makes me want the rain to stay a few more days. Almost.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Would Like Chicken Fingers and a Midori Sour Please

Bartender: Here you go.
Dwight: Wait a minute what is this? I didn't order this.
Bartender: For you. [points to basketball players] From them.
Dwight: Oh. [pours out the drink]
Ryan's friend: What are you doing man?
Dwight: Not safe. Anything could've been in there. [to the girls] Nice try.

And the quest for someone to “bear” Michael’s fruit continues.

Ryan, former temp turned New York manager, comes back to the Scranton office to talk to the branch about sales and why they need to stay in on a Saturday to convert their sales that they made on the phone to sales made on the Internet which couldn't originally be made on the Internet because of a little sexual predator problem the new Dunder Miflin social network had. To which Kelly responds, "If I had made a website that had this many problems, I would kill myself." Classic. Which reminds me, can we please get more Kelly-isms on this show? Thanks.

While there Ryan admits that he gets “unreal" girls at the clubs in New York, which of course translates to Michael as an open invitation to stalk him by getting Ryan's whereabouts from his assistant, because according to Michael it's not the horniness, it's the loneliness and he needs a girlfriend STAT (yes, caps were necessary).

Michael and Dwight enter Club Prerogative (love the Britney reference!) and surprise, surprise Ryan is actually excited to see them. And it seems that they only friend Ryan has is a very, very short bearded man who Dwight says resembles a J.R. Tolkein character. I have to agree with Dwight on this one. Later in the episode Dwight makes out (yes, full on tongues a real woman) who he refers to as an Amazon. To Dwight, New York is like a sci-fi fantasy novel. And again, I would have to agree with him.

Back in Scranton, Jim & Pam come up with the brilliant idea to convince the whole office to just work late on a Friday instead of coming into work on a Saturday. Everyone agrees and are then stunned to find out that the parking lot has been locked and they are now stuck in the office. Ok, so blah blah Jim calls the security guard, they can't remember his name blah blah. The best part of this entire plot is when Pam winds up to throw a football and clobbers Meredith right in the face.

And I would love to high-five whoever wrote the extra super awkward scene where Toby practically paws Pam right in front of the entire office. He then announces that he is moving to Costa Rica and is "going to jump the fence and jog home now". Superb writing.

Ryan has a drug problem? Yikes, bikes. Even more frightening, letting Michael and Dwight sleep in his apartment. I wouldn't want to see the aftermath of that in the morning.

Sidenote: As WG1 and I watched Michael order chicken fingers and a Midori Sour at the nightclub, WG1 turned to me and said, "That sounds like the greatest meal ever."

Indeed, it does WG1. Now I know what to get you for your next birthday meal.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cause I Had a Bad Day

Today I feel like complaining. Today was a bad day. It wasn't the worst day I've had at work. I didn't cry in the bathroom, but I wanted to. 

This morning it took me a half an hour to get dressed. It usually takes me a while; I stand in front of my armoire and stare at my clothes. I put on one outfit and then take it off. I put on another outfit and then take it off. And another. And another. I usually end up with a combination of outfit number one and outfit number three. For one reason or another it took much longer today and that frustrated me. 

I didn't get a window seat on the bus.

I forgot to have coffee this morning which caused me to have a headache. 

I had it in my head that when I got to work this morning I would be able to send promotional listings to clients for approval right away. Long story short: I stayed in the office until 7 p.m. sending e-mails to clients because I didn't have the listings earlier than 5:30 p.m.

Today my guy boss (I have two new bosses: a girl boss and a guy boss) had to approve the layout of a mircosite that I was responsible for. Of course I didn't look over the copy beforehand because I was just showing him the layout. But he looked at everything and there were mistakes in the copy. It didn't help that he has once before told me to look over everything I show him (it was okay then because it was the first time I messed up) and it didn't help that I had no idea I was responsible for this project until Tuesday. He said to me "Working Girl One, you have to look over this. I can't be the one editing it." He didn't talk down to me and he wasn't mean but there was something about how he said that made me feel like shit leaving his office. Every day since I started this position, it seems that I have done one thing wrong and this boss has noticed.  One day, I just want to do everything right. 

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today in New York. It was one of those days that made everyone want to eat lunch in the park. I went to the cafeteria and brought my lunch to my desk. I didn't have time to leave the office. And the sandwich guy forgot to put red onion on my tuna sandwich. 

I had to work late. I know, I already mentioned that but it sucked enough to be mentioned twice.

After work I thought I'd enjoy the weather by walking to Port Authority rather than walking. I stubbed my toe. Twice. 

Today was one of those days. The only word to describe it is draining. Working Girl Two and I just watched The Office (look out for her recap tomorrow) which made me feel better about my work life. In twenty minutes Lost is on and a great episode would make my bad day not seem so bad. At least let me see Jack or Sawyer without his shirt. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Working Girl in the Big D

'A Working Girl in the ...' is a post written by a contributing writer that appears on Working Girl twice a month. This week's post was written by a Working Girl from Dallas, Texas about her career as an entry-level advertising executive.

It seems like only a year ago I was graduating from UNC, planning my big move out to Dallas, Texas, and patting myself on the back for snagging a job in advertising. Oh, wait, rewind and retract -- that was only a year ago. Is it just me or do we automatically age five years after college graduation? Since becoming a Working Girl several phrases have entered my vocabulary that I didn't think would pass from my lips just a few months after being able to win five straight games of beer pong. "Oh, no, I couldn't possibly have another - I wouldn't want to be hung over tomorrow," or the common, "I should be getting home. It's getting late." Check your watch after I let these words escape and it's probably only 9:00 p.m. But since graduation, I start getting tired around 8:30 p.m. and once I hit that couch there is no peeling me away.

Contrary to what you might believe, we Dallas girls don’t wear cowboy boots to work (at least not every day) or talk about the latest country diva to grace CMT around the water-cooler. In fact, Dallas jumps on the bandwagon of every new trend in dining and fashion making Dallas essentially the New York City of the Southwest (or at least that’s what Dallas-ites would like to believe).

Dallas is most famous for its pro sports, shopping, restaurants, nightlife and the ever present $30,000 millionaire. Not familiar? This is the Working Girl or Boy who leave their house in the latest designer threads and drive a BMW 3-series (but live in dumps and eat Ramen noodles for every meal unless they are throwing down hundred dollar bills at the trendy, new restaurant down the street). It’s a whole different breed of the Working Girl and Boy.

Not able to reach the exclusive status of a $30,000 millionaire based on my entry-level salary, I settle for a simpler life as an Assistant Account Executive at a small advertising agency in an area just outside of Dallas. Day to day my job consists of proof-reading advertisements, dealing with some of the most uneducated clients you can imagine, and writing new business proposals (this being the most entertaining part of my job), along with several other menial tasks. While I may complain a little about the menial tasks, I do enjoy my job and I’m especially proud that I’ve managed to snag a career in the same field as my college major. I can’t help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that I actually learned something in between the late night eating and fraternity parties.

Eventually, my goal is to tack on “senior” to the front of my semi-legit title (I must say having the word “executive” in my title does make me feel smidge important - but only a smidge). My other major goal is to master the art of balancing the different working world dynamics and personalities. For example, I’ve mastered the acting-like-I-care smile when my boss feels the need to delve into the details of her oh-so disgusting sex life. Now I just have to perfect figuring out who you can trust and who is just out to step on you to get to the top is a tricky one.

That, and how to stay up past 9 p.m. on a weekday.

Monday, April 21, 2008

All Play, No Work

Last night's episode of The Hills had nothing to do with work, with the exception of the first 3 minutes. At first, I wasn't going to post about the episode but I like to think you all come back here every week for my witty comments about Lauren, Heidi, Audrina and Whitney. So here we go:

I love it when episodes of The Hills begin at People's Revolution. It means Kelly Cutrone is lurking around somewhere, wearing black and looking greasy. No work talk though. Only that Whitney is glad she has someone to talk to now that Lauren is working with her. I thought Whitney would be better at making friends. Maybe Jessica made the staff turn on her.

I love it when Lo makes a guest appearance. She always seems to make statements that create awkwardness. For example, "maybe she'll bring Heidi."

Heidi is too obsessed with this girls night thing. Just let it happen Heidi.

Yes, Justin Booby!

Am I the only one who has enjoyed Dove Fresh Takes?

Justin Bobby and Audrina go on a date, as friends.

"I haven't showered in weeks." - Justin Bobby
Did he get cuter? Not that he was ever really cute, but he's not looking to shabby. And, are he and Audrina having a real conversation? I think I like the new Justin Bobby.

"No, he didn't burp at all." - Audrina

Heidi and Spencer drain me beyond words. I think I say that every week. Imagine if you're job was to edit The Hills, Spencer and Heidi would be the bane of your existence.

"I mean, if you guys want me to move in with you." - Audrina
I don't think they want to live her.

And the episode in dunzo. Not the best episode ever. I'm looking forward to Stephen Colletti's return to Lauren's life.

Got Interns?

I know I have mentioned an obscene amount of times on this blog just how much work I’ve been doing since I got promoted in February, so I apologize but it has to be done again. I have a lot of work. One might even say that I was being overworked. So instead of quitting (which was ‘Plan A’), I asked The Boss if I could hire an intern (which was ‘Plan B’). My wishes were granted in the form of our new intern for the sales and marketing departments. This means I have to share her with the sales team which is fine as long she knows I like my coffee black, piping hot with a pinch of sugar (just kidding – I don’t even like coffee nor would I make her serve me like that).

I have spent my fair share of time serving as an intern – and I use the term ‘serve’ because being an intern is almost synonymous with being a personal slave. Or at least that has always been my take on it since my internships were always at small publications where there were no mail room coordinators, no copy machines, no secretaries to answer the phones and therefore I became the resident secretary/personal assistant/editorial assistant.

But even though my three-two days a week in the office were crazy busy and I sometimes had to do hard manual labor (like schlep around the city buying baby supplies for my editor’s pending trip to Barbados or the times I had to walk many, many avenues to Staples to get paper for the printer/fax machine and then literally strap said paper to my back for my walk back to the office), I wouldn’t give them up because of how much I learned and the relationships I formed.

So I’m hoping this is how my new intern (my very own intern!) will view her internship in a few years down the road as she reminisces about her time underneath my wing learning the ropes of marketing. And in this case, the ropes is entering data and doing all the projects I don’t feel like doing. Like last week she entered almost 2,000 names into our newsletter database because The Boss determined that I didn’t have time to do it. Enter intern to do the dirty work for me.

I felt like I was coming-of-age in the working world when the new intern started two weeks ago mainly because I was no longer at the bottom of the corporate food chain. Now when the President of our company needs her magazines alphabetized while she is at a conference in Australia, I won’t be the youngin called in to bat. The intern will take it from there.

I’m not just excited about having a new wingman at work to help me out with all the boring and tedious projects that get thrown my way, but I also get to (in a very minor role) be able to practice managing someone’s work. For instance, if I give my intern a project and she does it incorrectly, I will be the one to blame. If my intern is sitting at her desk doing homework, then it’s me that gets put on the chopping block. While this is a scary thought, it’s also somewhat exciting. She’s my responsibility and if I do a good job of making sure she does her work correctly and on time then I get a gold star.

I was also not-so-secretly hoping for a new friend in my new intern – one who might be able to tell me all about her college exploits, the fun bars she went to over the weekend, the new cocktails she created with her girlfriends in the dorm – but alas, my new intern seems more like a ‘do her homework on Saturday night’ kind of girl. She’s quiet, avoids chit-chat and gets right to business. On the one hand, this is great because I know I won’t have to walk by her work space once an hour to make sure she’s not checking Perez every five minutes because, unlike me, she seems to be completely 100% committed to her internship and not celebrity gossip.

On that note, I'm going to have my intern put together some media kits so I have more time read about Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson's (on again) budding romance.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bye, Bye Miss Chair Model Lady

"Hello Oscar Meyer Wiener-lover. I bet, that you have a bunch of very liberal girl-type friends, who trust you implicitly, because they know you'd never touch them given your condition." -Michael Scott

Michael Scott is single and has decided to swear off women (or rather just one woman and that woman is Jan). "Ladies and gentlemen, would you please open your supply catalogs and turn to page 85?" So begins Michael's search for a new passionate love affair. Three weeks ago Michael was supposed to pick a new chair to purchase for his office, but his recent break-up from Jan has left him pining over 'chair model lady' on page 85 - a woman who he claims is professional with a light in her eyes who looks like she would love to curl up on a couch. To me, she looks like a girl that got fired during my first week of work for being on Gmail too much (which scared me off Google Talk for a good two weeks).

This brings us to Michael's great plan of having each of his employees write the name of a eligible bachelorette that he can call to go out with on an index card. Insert Kevin's witty answer of his good friend Wendy, a hot and juicy redhead, who turns out to be the fast food restaurant chain. Sidenote: I think if Kevin and I could just meet once we'd be bosom buddies in no time that could enjoy snacking on Frosty's and baked potatoes.

Out of pity (or perhaps just to get Michael to choose which chair he wants to purchase so she can get his swivel, high backed office chair for herself), Pam sets Michael up with her landlady. Of course, Michael acts with the decorum of a -- actually, I don't know even how to describe him on his blind date with Margaret. I mean, he said she was like talking to a 'sweet old lady on the bus'. Oh, Michael, how you entertain me.

While Michael is out meeting Pam's landlady, Dwight has promised to bring the chair model lady to Michael so that she "can bear his fruit". Turns out (after much investigation), that Deborah Shoshlefski a.k.a. Chair Model Lady died in a car accident while driving stoned. To get closure, Michael and Dwight visit her grave site. Bye, bye Miss Chair Model Lady.

Subplot that made me laugh: Kevin & Andy's mission to get their parking spots back. I would love to see more of these "Five Families" of the five companies in the office building in later episodes -- particularly Paul Faust or "Cool Guy Paul".

Subplot that made me tear up: Jim is planning on proposing to Pam. Is it true that all my dreams could come true? I hope there are many more "will you wait for me to tie my shoe?" moments to come this season!

And later, I'm stopping at Starbucks and ordering a large hot chocolate with caramel and a shot of mint.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One of the Cool Girls

Every morning on the bus I see Working Girls on their Blackberries e-mailing their co-workers or playing Brick Breaker. Every morning on the bus I give those Working Girls dirty looks because I am jealous. When I see a Working Girl with a Blackberry, I think that she must be important and she becomes somewhat of a Working Girl Idol. "I want to be like her one day," I think.

Well, one day happened. Last Friday, I got a Blackberry and immediately felt more cool and more important. Every time I've pulled it out of my purse, I've felt like a powerful Working Girl. Now, I really shouldn't have felt this way because the only reason I received a Blackberry is for my upcoming business trip to South Africa. For one month, my personal cell phone has been replaced with a new Blackberry.


I oohed and ahhed over my shiny silver phone for the entire afternoon on Friday. I checked my e-mail over and over and over again all weekend. I'm finally making some progress on my Brick Breaker score. And now I'm sick of it. Every part of it (except for Brick Breaker). Sunday morning, it rang several times to notify me of a new e-mail. Why Sunday morning? Because apparently that is when American Express chooses to e-mail my company card transactions for the week (and my new bosses' and my old bosses'. I received A LOT of e-mail).

Last night after work I received an e-mail from a client telling me they get something approved by the time I need it approved (typical). Since I'm behind on this project already, having another setback put me in a frustrated and annoyed mood. I then took out my frustration and annoyance on my Working Boy.

Why don't I just not check my work e-mail? Because nothing bothers me more than having a number next to my inbox. And if I don't open it, it'll just make me more anxious and stressed about going to work the next morning.

Why don't I just turn the pretty little Blackberry off? Because it also serves as my personal cell phone. My LG Chocolate won't make calls or send text messages. I'm stuck with the Blackberry.

My boss saw me on Friday ooihng and ahhing over my Blackberry and she said that maybe after the trip, I could get a permanent one (that isn't also my cell phone). In some cases, like working events or assisting with a video or photo shoot that keeps me away from desk all day (this happened 3 times in my first two weeks of my marketing assistant career) having a Blackberry makes sense. But as fun a Brick Breaker is, I just don't think I want a Blackberry of my very own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"The Office" is My Office

It was week two of my first job out of college and I had just received a meeting request from my CEO for a "Family Meeting" that coming Thursday at 5 p.m. My first thought was, 'It's official; I am working for Michael Scott' and my second thought was, 'I wish Jim Halpert was here to raise his eyebrows and smirk at this e-mail'. It was there and then that I realized I was working at 'The Office' - as in if a camera crew followed me around my life would resemble Pam's (since I am also a lowly assistant).

I started watching "The Office" because of my lovely college roommates and it became a tradition to watch it on Thursday nights with a bottle of 'Mommy's Time Out' wine (one for each of us of course!) and laugh at these poor schmucks who have to work at a paper company. As I sipped my chilled white wine I always thought how great it would be to work in an office like that one - full of Olympic games and hilarious co-workers like Dwight. But let me tell you, it's not all it's cracked up to be.

First off, those "Family Meetings" could not be more painful. Our CEO talks about the state of our business, birthdays are announced, two year anniversaries and promotions are celebrated and then the "Employee of the Month Award" is given out. Ring any bells? Yes, we have our very own Dundie awards. And I'm not gonna lie, I would like to win.

This is only the beginning of the similarities between my work place and the fictional one on NBC. For instance, the way Michael Scott is constantly putting his foot in his mouth by insulting his employees. Welcome to my life. These family meetings are open game for our CEO to insult us. He called out one of my co-workers who had gotten divorced, married, and then divorced again in her 5 years at our company (eek!) and once told a horrifically inappropriate story about an employee's hare lip (yea, I don't even think I need to say 'eek' for you to know that is oh so very wrong).

As the Marketing Coordinator, I often have to plan office parties. In this respect I am like Angela the resident party planner with almost no budget (I'm lucky if I can the OK to purchase a cheese platter). In my almost year long career I've had to help plan a few office parties and they all stand out for one reason or another.

At our holiday party, our legal team (which is oh, just one person) sang "I Like Big Butts" by Sir Mix-a-Lot. A sexual harassment lawsuit in the making? I think so.

I also helped plan a 'tea party' for some beauty bloggers and was then forced to play maid/waitress and serve all eight bloggers plus The Boss and the President of my company while being videotaped for a streaming video for the beauty blogger's website. I am now famous for being able to serve green tea and organic muffins and low-fat brownies. Embarrassing? I think so.

My favorite party I planned was what I have dubbed the 'Funeral Party'. In an effort to make our company more green, more global, and more fresh and young, our company turned our magazine completely digital. And then our CEO decided to have a party to celebrate the 'death' of our print magazine...with quesadilla platters, cheese & crackers, and those 'brownies from that place I love down the street'. Was he serious? Of course.

All we're missing is our very own Dwight. We are currently taking applications for a paper-loving beet farmer. He'll fit right into our little 'family'.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Together Again

We begin this Hills episode at Epic Records and Heidi points out that Audrina's place of work has a real cafeteria. As opposed to what, Heidi, a fake one? Nevermind, I forgot this was LA for a second. As Audrina and Heidi dine in the real cafeteria, I notice no one else is dining. I immediately picture angry Epic employees waiting to eat lunch while The Hills is shot. I, for one, have to eat and have my diet coke at approximately 12:30 pm and would be pissed.

From one workplace to another. What's this line at People's Revolution? Models? Lauren walks right in. "Is Kelly here?" Lauren looks terrified as she tries to spot Kelly before Kelly spots her. I know Lauren, she's like freakin' Cruella DeVil. Seems like Kelly forgot all the Teen Vogue drama.

Is it just me or does Kelly Cutrone sounds like she's drunk all the time?

"Omigod, you guys are so slow" - Kelly Cutrone
Kelly sits the girls down and teaches them a lesson. No, not a "I'm going tell you who is boss" kind of a lesson, more of a "I want to be your mentor lesson." Jessica get bumped from her desk and when she asks for Lauren's help is told by Kelly to do it herself. Lauren - 1 Jessica - 0.

More Britney as the scene cuts to the girls night out at S Bar (reason #25 why I love The Hills).

Girls night out is bor-ing. Back to work.

"If you impress Kelly maybe she'll hire you" - Whitney
I'm loving the foreshadowing going on here.

More Girls night: "They're taking shots?!?!" - Heidi. Calm down Heidi it's not like they're doing the nasty on the bar.

The three-minute scene at the fashion show has taught me that no matter how fabulous and glamourous working in fashion looks, I could never do it. It's too stressful. I crossing my fingers that Whitney and Lauren don't f*ck up. Not only does the fashion show go on without a hitch (I can finally breathe) Lauren is offered a job at People's Revolution. She's gone from slow-mo to fashion glow (whatever that means) according to Kelly and that means a job offer. "We want to make some changes in our LA office," she says. Lauren - 2 Jessica - 0.

This is going to be like Teen Vogue all over again and I can't wait.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Working Girl Idol: Lilly Rush

Name any police drama on TV right now and I most likely Tivo it every week. CSI: Las Vegas, CSI: Miami, Law & Order: CI, Law & Order: SVU, Without a Trace. I love them all. WG1 and I have spent many a weekend holed up in our family room watching rerun upon rerun of these shows. I'd probably be embarrassed to know just how many hours we really spend watching crimes being solved and tried. I'd estimate thousands, but my math can't really be trusted. 

While WG1 and I won't say 'no' to any of these fabulous crime-solving shows, our favorite by far is "Cold Case" because of the main character on the show, Lilly Rush played by Kathryn Morris. She is officially our Working Girl Idol. Or girl crush. Either one. Take your pick. 

Lilly Rush is not just the main character on the CBS show, but is also the only female detective in her Philly homicide unit (well, up until last season when she was joined by female Det. Kat Miller played by Tracie Thoms). Rush is smart, strong, and can keep her own in a male-dominated work force. She is a determined and strong-minded detective who stands up for the cases that she thinks matter -- the trait of a true Working Girl who loves her job. 

The show revolves around Rush and her colleagues solving crimes that are sometimes decades old. Now I did not know this originally (since I started watching the show during season three), but not all of Rush's fellow detectives were so keen on solving old stale cases at first. In fact, in just episode three, Det. Vera tells Rush that a 1983 case can wait. Rush's response sets the tone for the whole series, "No, it can't. It's waited long enough." Or her even more brilliant line, "People shouldn't be forgotten. They matter. They should get justice too." Pure poetry that gives me goose bumps. 

What truly stands out to me about this show is the strong female protagonist in a central key role. Most of the shows that WG1 and I love to watch while hung-over with pounding headaches stick with a strong middle-aged male character with strong fists and a hardened face. "Cold Case" breaks the mold and it gives me hope for strong female protagonists in the cold, harsh world I call reality. A little ass-kicking girl power is just what this world needs.

And it certainly helps when I get to watch "Cold Case" that ass-kicking Rush has a very, very attractive Working Boy as a partner.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hey Babe

"The Office" is back on NBC and I've never been happier that the writer's strike is over. I've even had a personal countdown going on my calendar at work (slightly embarrassing to admit but I'm committed to this TV show 100%). 

The episode is almost completely shot outside of the office at a dinner party in Michael's condo. Michael has been trying to get Pam & Jim to come over to his and Jan's condo since they started dating but they have always dodged the bullet. While I don't think Jim & Pam could ever run out of excuses (a flood, a fire, a avalanche), Michael finally tricks them into attending a dinner party with Andy & Angela. Jim + Pam + Andy + Angela + Michael + Jan = my new favorite "The Office" episode. I can hardly sit still as the Scranton sign welcomes me. 

Pam & Jim enter Michael's abode and I can't stop thinking about how awkward it would be if I had to go to my boss's apartment for dinner. He'd probably make me ride his motorcycle and call him "Boss Hoss". And you think I'm kidding. 

A tour of Michael's condo reveals that Jan has an office and a make candles. Jan is now a candle-maker. 

Andy & Angela arrive and Jan announces that the dinner needs to braise for three hours before they can eat dinner. This means that three hours of awkwardness will now ensue. Jan plays her old assistant's new CD and tries to get Jim to dance with her (awkward), the party plays charades while Jan & Michael play "Who Can Make Their Guests Feel More Awkward?" (super awkward), and during a "girl moment" in the kitchen Jan tells Pam she knows all about her and Michael's past relationship (super, super awkward). 

As a small side note, Pam & Jim's relationship will forever be my favorite in television history (Meredith & McDreamy, Joey & Pacey, Ryan & Marissa all pale in comparison). During the dinner party, Jim tries to leave by making up a lie which ends up only being able to save him - meaning he'd have to leave Pam behind. Is it just me or would only Jim be able to get away with this? I'm still in love with him. Sigh.

Dwight shows up (YES!) with his former baby-sitter as a date (DOUBLE YES!) and his own Tupperware filled with beet salad and chicken legs. 

It's official. This dinner party episode has made my Thursday night. I just watched Michael being driven away by Dwight in his souped up car to avoid Jan's abusive ways after the cops broke up their loud dinner party.

7 days. I've already started my countdown for next week's episode. I'll see you there babe. 

Lookin' Good

Hi Working Girls.

Welcome to the new redesigned Working Girl! We hope you like the new look. Special thanks to Jess at Delicious Design Studio for her great design. We love it!

-WG1 & WG2

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Working Girl in the Insurance Capital of the World

'A Working Girl in the ...' is a post written by a contributing writer that appears on Working Girl twice a month. This week's post was written by a Working Girl from Hartford, Connecticut about her career in the world of insurance.

When my good friends WG1 and WG2 asked that I be the first of many contributors to their ever-growing blog, I must admit my intimidation. While I share their love of writing, reading, and all things blogospheric, I don't quite lead the glamorous life they do. I say this because while they're busy climbing the working girl ladder in New York City, I'm stuck in central Connecticut with one foot still firmly planted on the ground.

Last May I left college with a degree in creative writing, multiple internships in publishing under my belt, a very unfortunate beer belly, and not one clue as to what I'd be doing when I left. It's been ten months now, and my fancy resume, (almost) disappeared beer belly, and I have somehow landed in the tan cubicle of an insurance company in the city of Hartford. I told you it wasn't so glamorous.

When I was a senior in high school I made a strict itinerary for the next ten years of my life. A year in California, two years abroad, a novel by age 28, and so on and so forth. Fast forward five years and half-way through my timeline and all that's fully crossed off my list is graduating college. The truth is that I spent so much time dreaming when I was younger that I never thought that maybe, just maybe, reality was going to kick in. And man alive, did it kick me in the ass.

I suppose I could have made the move to the Big Apple. I suppose I could have even moved in with Working Girls Uno and Dos (ladies? yes? no? maybe?). After all, New York does offer far more opportunities in editing and writing than Connecticut. And I mean
far more, like a 20:1 ratio. But the truth is that (and I know this is going to sound blasphemous to some of your little ears) I don't like New York - not one bit. I interned in Lincoln Center during my senior year and it just didn't do it for me. It's chic and exciting for some, but claustrophobic and chaotic for me.

So where does this all leave moi? That's pretty much what I'm trying to figure out. I'll regretfully mention again that I've been working for an insurance company for the past 6 months. In that time span I've looked into dozens of apartments, been in correspondence with multiple European landlords, contacted numerous potential "flatmates" in Ireland, began the registration process for more than one African volunteer group, looked up Hawaiian real-estate, and convinced myself out of quitting my God-awful, car-sickening job at least a hundred times.

When it comes down to it, I just want to have a job that makes me happy. My best friend once told me during my post-college despair that being overwhelming happy with your 9 to 5 isn't necessarily the most crucial part of life. If you're happy with your personal life and not completely miserable with work, then consider yourself a success. I have a sneaky suspicion she was just trying to make me feel better about all the insurance job interviews I had lined up (I mean, really Connecticut? Really? You have nothing else to offer but insurance?). Either way, it worked.

As it stands now, I'm slowly beginning to piece together what I'm meant to do. I want to write, I know that. I want to have a career that let's me be creative, I know that too. And I want to travel, and learn to surf, and open a store, and move to the beach, and become an interior designer, and have a gazillion children, and all of those delicious things. But for now, while I'm 23 and paying loans up the wazoo and living with my Mum and Dad, I'll accept working at an insurance company. I have open house for grad school coming up, and it looks like becoming the next great (emphasis on great) high school English teacher might (another emphasis on might) be in the cards for me. Then I'll have time to get my MFA in fiction writing so I can try to trump J.K. Rowling.

I suppose what I'm trying to say, maybe if only to convince myself of it, is that not being 100% on track with your future career is more than okay - it's normal. You just need to stay on track, otherwise you'll for sure end up hating life. So, as I continue to chip away my mountain of loans with my terrible, horrible insurance job (which I am on the path to replacing, btw), I'll also go home and write a little and, should I decide to, go to class to get my Masters.

And in between the interviews and short-stories and applications, I'll remember to not lose site of the list I made for myself 5 years ago. It's a tricky little balance, teeter-tottering between hoop-dreams and responsibilities, but hot-damn I plan on fulfilling what I set out for myself in high school...even if it takes me till I'm wrinkled and drinking prune juice to complete it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Hills: Working Girl Whitney

Lauren turned 22. Heidi and Spencer fought then bonded over Stephanie's betrayal. Stephanie and Spencer fought over her betrayal and over a fish tank. Brody looked yummy. I've seen this all before. 

Was my girl Whitney even in the first episode that aired Monday night? I don't think so. 

Episode Duex: Yes, Whitney is there before I even hear the words "Staring at the blank page before you..." And they played Britney's "Break the Ice," this could be the best episode so far. 

We're back at Whitney's workplace: People's Revolution

"Let's gather around like the family that we are," Kelly Cutrone says. Does that make you the mother Kelly? That scares me, I think she might emotionally abuse her "children" by making them wear all black.

Kelly Cutrone's rules of LA fashion week are basically to cover or hide anything that makes you an individual. This is one messed up family. Do you think Kelly will make Whitney go brunette?

Jessica isn't good at her job. I think she spends too much time trying to look miserable. Whitney pulls through with a bright idea for getting celebs to the shows. Kelly's impressed and so am I. Whitney voiced her idea without deliberately making Jessica look like the lazy employee that seems to be. 

At Teen Vogue, Lauren is looking lonely in the intern closet. She calls Whitney and busy Working Girl Whitney doesn't have time to talk. 

There is time to talk at the gym. Whitney isn't scared of Kelly Cutrone; I guess I'll take her word for it. But she's talking smack about Jessica (she's the boss of the LA office?). "She brought out her fangs." - Whitney

Back at People's Revolution it's like Lauren and Whitney are back at Teen Vogue only with a more industrial feel. Lauren's helping Whitney inventory the clothes and what's that, there is a possibility of the girls working together again? I knew it wasn't the end of the dynamic duo. 

I can't wait!

This Doesn't Feel Right

Black tights from Duane Reade. Gray BCBG skirt. WG2's black and gray tweed pumps. Silk navy blouse from Forever 21.

That's just a small list of items in my Working Girl wardrobe that I hate to wear, but wear them anyway. I pull them out of my closet - from my dresser drawers or off the floor depending on how far I got folding my laundry the last time I did it. I hold the item in front of my face, then up to my body, and think to myself, "It won't be as uncomfortable as last time."

It usually is uncomfortable at first. But then as I start commuting my gray skirt starts to ride up, as it always does, and my black tights start to sag in an awkward way.

If my day's uncomfortable item happens to be shoes, which only happens if WG2 leaves the apartment before me and a pair of her shoes happen to work with my outfit perfectly, I think, "It'll be fine, I'll wear my Uggs on the way to work and just slip these bad boys on when I get to my desk." I convince myself that I won't be on my feet that much. Then by 9:30 my feet are throbbing and I've switched into my go-to black pumps that live in my shoe closet.

Shoes are easy to deal with; you can change into a more comfortable pair or take them off when you're at your desk. But the rest of the outfit, well, you can't exactly take your skirt off in the middle of the day now can you? And it'd be a little obvious if you completely changed your outfit around lunchtime.

When I wear an uncomfortable outfit, I usually deal with it. But there was that one occasion where I had to go to the Gap and purchase a cardigan because I didn't realize that my dress was very low cut. Another day, I barely left my desk because I was wearing leggings with a dress (or should I say shirt?) that hugged my tush a little more than I would have liked it to. At first, I didn't think it was that bad, but it didn't help that one of the men in my office gave me a weird look from the conference room when I first walked into the office that morning.

Then, there was the time I took off my undies. Yes, my underwear.

I wore a red cotton dress from Forever 21 - top quality couture right there. Underneath I had worn a dark green thong. Let's just say I wasn't really thinking that morning. It wasn't until I got to the office and went into the bathroom around 10:30 that I noticed my thong was fully viable through my red dress. I kept it on for a while but my self-consciousness escalated and I eventually went to the bathroom and took it off. 

The 'no underwear' thing made me a different kind of uncomfortable, but thankfully the the kind of uncomfortable that none of my coworkers would notice.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Working Girl Rents "North Country"

I was almost a women’s studies minor. Almost. This is a fact that my friends constantly like to tease me about because halfway through my junior year, the chairperson of the women’s studies department sent me an e-mail telling me I only needed to complete two more women’s studies courses to graduate with a double minor. Up until that point I had no idea that this was even possible – I took “The Woman Question: Early Feminism and 19th Century Literature” and “Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations” just for the fun of it, not because I wanted to delve further in the female psyche.

What this e-mail from the women’s studies chairperson made me realize was that I was a little bit of a feminist (something I like to remind people of when I’m drunk) without even knowing it. Which is why my most recent rent “North Country” really tugged at my heart strings because when you say women combating sexual harassment with a class-action lawsuit, you grab the attention of the almost women’s studies minor in me.

“North Country” stars Charlize Theron as Josey Aimes, a female worker at a Minnesota mining company who is sexually harassed by her co-workers who believe that women don’t belong in the mines – “some work is just meant for men”. Statistically, this seemed true. The first female miner hired in the iron mines of Northern Minnesota wasn’t hired until 1975. By 1989, male employees still outnumbered females thirty-to-one making them the underdog to be picked on.

And man do they get picked on. They get called bitches and whores and get brushed and touched inappropriately. They have dildos put in their lunchboxes and have obscene things written about them on the walls of the bathroom stalls. One of the female workers even gets trapped in a Port-a-Potty by her male co-workers, who then rock it back and forth and eventually tip it over so she is covered in human feces. Aimes is the only one who complains and when she does, management tells her to “take it like a man” and even encourage her to quit.

Aimes quits after being physically abused by a co-worker and hires a lawyer, played by Woody Harrelson, who helps her file a class action lawsuit against the mining company. The other women, desperate to keep their jobs and afraid of the consequences if the lawsuit will fail, refuse to participate. Josey Aimes must face her harassers alone up on the stand and convince the rest of her female co-workers to stand up for themselves while on the job.

Inspired by the true story of Jenson vs. Eveleth Taconite Co., this story inspires me to be a stronger, more independent woman who can stand up and earn the respect that women in the workforce deserve.

Being a little bit of a feminist never felt so good.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I Lost (But Not Enough)

It truly pains me to announce that I have officially lost the title of 'Biggest Loser' of my company. I think what really pains me about this fact is not that I rightfully lost more weight than my competitors (because I don't think I lost as much as Nikki who lost all her baby weight to stay in the game), but because I could truly taste my victory. I could smell the citrus lotions that would be used for my spa treatments at Rancho La Puerta. I had picked out what hikes I would participate in, what fitness classes I would take, and even what meals I would partake in with my fellow spa-goers. 

Even a week later, I sometimes find myself thinking 'don't eat that piece of cake or you won't be eating your spa cuisine in Mexico in a month'. My dream of a week-long spa vacation has been ruined by the Finance Alliance.

The Finance Alliance was formed back during week one of the competition and has been dominating the votes the entire game. I thought I had flown underneath the radar long enough to stay in the 'Biggest Loser' competition until the final four but I was wrong.

While I was vacationing in sunny, 80-degree weather Las Vegas for my faux Spring Break 2008 I slept in until noon almost everyday (it was a vacation after all). The time change was really a killer for me and when I called the office to put in my ballots for vote-off's it was already almost the end of the work day for my co-workers.

It was then that I found that even if I had called in on time to vote that it wouldn't have mattered – every single competitor left had voted me off! To say I was shocked and appalled would be putting it lightly. It did help, however, that we had just ordered room service that morning and I had already had a mimosa and was preparing to sit at the pool all day instead of sitting at my dreary cubicle being taunted by the remaining 'Biggest Losers'.

While I am truly upset I didn't get to vacation to Mexico for a week of spa treatments and utter relaxation, I am proud of that I lost fifteen pounds during this game and that the competition has brought me closer to people in the office I wouldn't have known otherwise (like my Board Member teammate and the new girl that worked in our office upstairs that I had never met).

I'm a loser – just not the biggest. 

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Welcome to the Dark Side

I have finally started my new job in marketing. In other words, I have crossed over to the dark side.

It's been four days and I am loving the dark side. Now, let me just point out that magazine marketing is called the dark side for a reason: long hours, smaller salaries, demanding sales people, the list goes on. But it's just so FUN!

My job description has completely changed. While I still have the word assistant in my title, I'm not an assistant like I used to be. It took me a few days to realize that I don't need to assist my new bosses the way I did my old ones. Instead of answering phones, filing papers, entering data, and teaching my boss how to use excel (and her phone, and her e-mail, and her get the point), I am working on projects that will appear in the magazine, helping plan a sales meeting in South Africa, assisting with advertiser promotions and I've even used my new corporate card.

My feelings that marketing was for me and sales was not were confirmed during my first few days as a marketing assistant. Those days went by faster than my fastest day as a sales assistant and I'm enjoying them. My nerves have also eased. I jumped right into the middle of preparing an online promotion and in-book promotion that are due next week. It's something I can handle and I'm really excited to do it.

Maybe I'm in that part of the honeymoon part of the relationship with my job. But one thing if for sure, this is a much better honeymoon that one I had with my sales assistant job.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Hills Doubleheader

Episode Une: "I think Whitney doesn't want to work for Teen Vogue anymore." 

Looks like this is going to be a nice little Working Girl episode. Lisa Love makes her first appearance on the extended season three of The Hills when Whitney quits her job at Teen Vogue. Congrats on the new job Whit! Oh, what's that? You haven't even interviewed for this job yet?

During her time at Teen Vogue Whitney learned that working behind the scenes at at a magazine wasn't her dream job. Her internship taught her that she is more interested in styling and she took Kimball's earth shattering advice from last week's episode and pursued what she wanted to do. That's the great thing about internships, if you don't learn what you love to do, you learn what you hate to do. That's pretty helpful. 

Meanwhile Heidi is back at work. "Here's the files," she says to her coworker. Now that was staged. I truly believe that Heidi's job at Bolthouse Productions is completely fabricated. As for the rest of The Hills, completely true. 

"I don't really see how I could pass up an opportunity like this."

Whitney interviews for a job at People's Revolution, owned by Kelly Cutrone. 

Kelly Cutrone scares me already. Didn't she say she was going to kill someone in the phone conversation that Whitney overheard? I would not want to work for her. And she looks like she's homeless. She's supposed to be a stylist? When I'm rich and famous, remind me not to ask her to dress me. Remind me to ask Whitney. 

"You're basically making a deal with the devil." - Kelly Cutrone 

Now, I'm really scared. But I'm impressed by Whitney for asking "why do you say that?" I would have awkwardly giggled, smiled and nodded. 

On Whitney's last day, she and Lauren reminisce about their early days of interning, specifically the Young Hollywood party and almost getting fired for letting in Heidi and her posse. I wish we had this blog during that episode. I remember WG2 and I sitting in our NYU dorm (where we lived for a summer while interning at magazines) and our jaws dropping as Lauren earned the crown of "Worst Intern Ever." 

Now, one thought on the non-work related happenings of the episode. Heidi's conversation with SheSpencer at lunch. I believe it went something like this: "I remember when Spencer ordered muscles and I said 'why, because you have no muscles?' And he said 'Shut Up.'" 
Uh, What?
Episode Deux: Toto, I don't think we're in The Hills anymore. 

Whitney's in the Big Apple for Fashion week. She walks into People's Revolution office in New York. Everyone is wearing black and ignoring her. "They are so New York!" - WG2

It's a rule to wear black? Okay, I work in New York and it's typical to see many Working Girls wearing black from head to toe, but a rule is a bit much. Also, that rule book (!), reason #5 Kelly Cutrone scares me. 

"I'm willing to do whatever it takes." -Whitney

She really did sign a deal with the devil. 

The Australians look scary too. What is happening to The Hills? It's supposed to be sunny and happy. 

Looks like Audrina is still employed. Is it weird that I'm surprised?

Whitney is rocking this new job and impressing the Aussies. 

"How was work?" - Lauren
"I'm tired" - Audrina
WG2 and I have this conversation everyday. 

Whitney seems to be dominating Fashion Week, but my stomach is in knots right now. I'm so nervous for her. Phew, she totally rocked it and Kelly is smiling and complimenting her. Whitney, say "thank you," didn't you see America's Next Top Model? The girl who didn't say "thank you" is no longer in the running to become America's Next top Model. Maybe Kelly isn't that into manners because it sounds like Whitney is already getting a promotion. She's my new Working Girl Idol. 

Alright, I may be going overboard but Whitney will be fun to watch this season.