Episode 25: No More Drama…For Now

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Wednesday, January 7th at 4:41pm:

Location: James Consulting, 20th and K Street

Scene:  Diane sitting at her desk.

I decided after work on Tuesday that I was going to de-drama-fy my work life.  You can say I should have decided this before the first day.  But when thoughts of grabbing Margaret’s aka “Maggie’s” golden ponytail and dragging her out the building with the sole purpose of wrinkling and ruining her always in place skirt and shirt ensemble (but not her Louboutin Platform pumps, of course), I knew the time for reform was now. 

So, I became determined to ignore the way she cuts off everyone at the Tuesday meeting.  I turned a blind eye to her always thinking she knows everyone else’s job better than them.  And I did not pay attention to her uninvited opinions and suggestions at the staff meetings.  Most importantly, I pretended not to see or hear the snide remarks she makes that leave her victims confused, when they see her for what she is whether to be hurt or pleased for the acknowledgement.  

But for others, she could do no wrong. For example, to Triste in PR (one of the “I am just here to work” types), this morning Maggie told her, “cute skirt”.  I knew she was disingenuous because everyone could tell that somewhere between walking out of her house and getting to work she had spilled some ketchup down the side seam of her skirt.  She also managed to have twisted the skirt so that the front was now the back and vice-versa.  Why not just tell Triste to check herself in the restroom. It was obvious her comment was probably a dig.  But,Triste did not think so because she was smiling like Brad Pitt had asked her out on a date. 

I was not surprised at Triste’s reaction, because on Monday she had confided to me in the restroom that she had lost 60 pounds recently via gastric bypass. Because of this, I knew she would be excited to receive any compliment or fashion acknowledgement especially from the most well dressed girl in the office.  I looked on and rolled my eyes yet after observing the “compliment” scene I knew Maggie was a true expert at the game.  I realized commenting to the naïve would not be beneficial.

Wednesday, January 7th at 6:20pm:

Location: Zola, F Street NW Capitol Hill

Scene: Diane sitting in lounge area near the bar waiting for Jaz and Cindi.

I planned on meeting Jaz and Cindi for happy hour. We chose Wednesday because it was a slow night and we needed to talk.

“Yes, I am waiting on friends, but I would like to order a French martini and hamburger and fries.”  I was starving and both Cindi and Jaz were running late.  I figured that they would have to find parking when they got here so it would probably be another forty minutes or so before I saw them.  And I just could not resist the Zola french-fries. They are the best.

Surprisingly, Jaz showed up twenty minutes after I placed my order.

“Hey lady, look at all this food! If I did not know how much you love these fries I would think you are doing the food consoling thing.”

Not sure that I wanted to complain on an empty stomach, I noted, “you got here pretty quickly, Did you take a cab?”

She shifted and started searching for some random, phantom object in her bag so I knew this would be good. After a while she responded, “George gave me a ride.”

George! Are you kidding me?!” I sat looking at her, my mouth opened, as I held a half eaten piece of French fry next to my cheeks. 

“We are just friends and maybe not.  He wanted to talk and I needed a ride so he obliged.  Don’t worry I will not be dating anyone anytime soon”, she said while poking her fingers into my fries, pulling out a few. The waitress appeared and she ordered her own batch as well as a French martini.  “So how is work?” she continued.

“It’s ok.  I am just trying to figure out how to get without getting involved in any drama.  Trying to make 2009 drama-free.”

Then my phone buzzed. It was a text from Cindi saying she was running late.

“That’s good. Because you have had enough work drama to last awhile.” She continued, “here are two complimentary tickets to the opening of my show in March, something to look forward to. Hugs hon.”

Episode 4: Expect the Unexpected

coco1(First Timer? Read from the start)

Friday, August 8, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Cindi and I had been on the phone all week salivating over the possibility that we would be meeting for dinner at the new place on F St., NW – Co Co. Sala for our usual divas night out.  The restaurant provided mini-meals but the main draw was their artisan chocolate desserts and pastries and the variety of chocolate-based drinks. Jaz was out of town with her students at Duke Ellington. They were on their annual summer trip to New York to watch a Broadway play. There was nothing exciting or enticing about hanging out with fifteen hormonal 14 year-olds in New York all weekend. This scenario conjured headaches and anxieties forcing me to brush away the frightful thought with last minute work issues.

I was running late as usual and it did not help that early-bird Cindi was certain to be on time tap-tap-tapping her feet as she stood outside for a smoke before I arrived. Thank goodness for the smoking indoor ban in DC-I literally breathed a sigh of relief when that law passed…no more smoke filled hair after a night of drinking and debauchery.

I finished the contract I had been drafting all day.  While walking towards the elevator I heard the uncanny hiss of a run in my stockings creeping up the side of my leg. Damn it! The stockings with a hint of purple were part of my “look” as they went perfectly with my Tory Burch Betty pumps and my What Comes Around Goes Around Tamara dress.  And I hadn’t even shaved my ashy legs in over a week.  Not a diva divine moment!  Since I knew I did not have any fr#$%king lotion I would have to remove the torn stockings and just try to buy some lotion on the way to the restaurant.  I was in a rush so I turned around and did not see anyone else in the elevator bank.  As the elevator appeared I stepped in quickly and tried to remove the unexpected “glitch in my plans” when I looked up and there was Jerry.  Crap! I snapped my head back and looked at him eyes wide open.  Crap again! Was my dress hiked up too high? I wondered to myself.  This was not what I wanted to happen at that moment. Seems like every Friday there was an embarrassing moment between the two of us. He cleared his throat. Geesh! At least this week I was not puking down his shirt after drinking too much and tripping in front of my co-workers.  He held unto his briefcase, pressed the lower level button and did not say anything to me. Hmmm…wonder if it’s time to start searching for a new job. I thought as I lowered my dress.

Friday, August 8, 2008 at 6:08 pm

As expected, Cindi was outside with cancer stick placed firmly in mouth.  She was once again wearing her work “uniform”. 

“What’s up with your legs?” she noticed wrinkling her upper lip as I approached.

“Do you have lotion? I am going to scavenger in the restroom for some.” I retorted.  Thankfully the restaurant was dark on the inside. As we stepped into the restaurant not only was the rich earth colored, modern tiled kitchen inspired bar décor and chic lounge fantastic but also the 6’1”, hot, fine as hell guy at front table who we assumed was the host.   He looks at us and says, “You two are the lovely women who were at Lima two weeks ago. How are you doing?”  Huh?! He remembered us. <jaw drop> I could not even remember seeing him.

“Yes! We were there it was so crowded that night.” Cindi saved the conversation…thankfully.  He took us to our table and proceeded to let us know what his favorite drink was on the menu. He came back again when we were ordering our meal and this time he let us know his favs were the classic macaroni and cheese as well as the Goat Cheese and beet salad and then he handed both of us his business card. Quick glance – he was the manager of this and a few other restaurants…even more fascinating.    Dinner was amazing and as we were about to leave he looks at us and says that we should call him next time we decided to stop by.

As we stepped outside, Cindi squealed “I think he was looking at you when he said that.”  I was taken aback since she was usually the male magnet and I was never able to find the lotion so I was not my usual confident best. Either way I can sometimes be oblivious to when a guy is paying attention to me. 

I think as of next week he and I will become email buddies.

 

Episode 3: Lima or Bust!

(First Timer? Read from the start)

Monday, July 28th – 7:45 pm

By the time I got to Lima I was so ready to hang out with the girls! As I arrived, the maître d handed me a complimentary drink with white foam on top. I had no idea what the drink was… it seemed like they were celebrating a Peruvian holiday and it was part of the festivities. The crowd was more than usual, so I had to pause for a bit in order to locate Cindi and Jaz in the crowd.  They were not on the lime green couches outside so I had to walk inside to find them. There they were sitting on the stools with a pitcher of my fav mango mojito. The pitcher and Jaz’s orange ruffled shirt would’ve been hard to miss in the crowd inside.

“Hey Loves!” I said walking quickly over to them since a Diva would never run in crowd.

Kiss Kisses to both of them. I missed my girls. I sat down tossing aside the complimentary whatever it was they handed me outside. Not that I was a lush by I knew already what would hit the spot.

“Jaz, I love that color orange on you. Those sandals are simply divine.“ Her shoes were a simple below the ankle gladiator with gold leather straps with orange, red and purple crystals. “Where did you get those?”

“Girl these are just another purchase from my trip to Italy last Fall.  I’ve been getting compliments on them all day.  So what is up with all the work drama?” Jaz inquired.

“Ahh. Yeah. Sorry I could not talk earlier – now spill it. What is up with you and crazy Maryanne?” Cindi chimed while removing her cardigan.

After my first sip, I told them about the entire day. I was so relieved when the story was over. I have to admit, I paused about whether or not to tell them what Maryanne said about me stealing Sam’s job. This was the first time I was beginning to realize that she might have stayed on at the office in-house happy hour a month ago to celebrate the closing of a deal. I thought Jerry and I were the only ones left in the building that night. I am not sure I wanted to tell the girls what happened that night and what I thought Maryanne might know. Or by now everyone else at the office, since I was still sort of embarrassed. I decided for now not to tell them.

“Girl, I am so glad you made it through all that drama. That girl was trouble from your first day. Let’s toast to a great night of fun and moving on.” Jaz yelled out excitedly. We all raised our glasses and then high-fived.  I just wanted not to think about it anymore.

Cindi gave me a hug and then she called out, “ladies, y’all hear the music downstairs? Thank goodness for mojitos. I think I wanna go find me a cutey.”  She got up to head out.

“Girl, you look great. Are you losing weight?” I noticed a difference in her.

“Yeah girl. My spinning class is working its magic.”

“I can tell. Your muscles are beginning to look cut. If you wanna go dance, I am right behind you.” I got up and we headed out. When we got downstairs Cindi disappeared into the restroom and came back with her long hair flowing. I called it her man-catcher look. Since, for some reason men, no matter what their nationality like long hair.

“Cindi why did I know you were going to do that.” I looked are her smiling while shaking my head. My own hair was a short pixie cut. I liked my hair short and easy to manage. Her response to me was some crazy salsa move. Before she got on the dance floor, this Hispanic looking guy grabbed her hands and started twirling her around. Surprisingly, she moved well in her striped Ann Taylor slacks with Brooks Brothers fitted short sleeved dress shirt. Even in her professional wear she still looked like a sultry diva.

Jaz and I moved on the sidelines. “Girl check out my new phone.” She showed me the new Verizon Blackberry. 

“Wow, that’s like a minimum of $130 a month!” I blurted out. I tended to be a conservative spender.

“I know but with all my freelancing gigs I need a way to answer emails.”

“Hey Diego, these are my friends Diane and Jaz.” Cindi came over smiling and perspiring. Diego was cuter up close than I would’ve thought. It so happened that he had four equally cute friends who were also friendly.

Jaz and I perked up immediately as we all returned to the dance floor.

To be continued …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 2: Dirty Job

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(First Timer? Read from the start)

Monday, July 28th –  5:45pm

In continuation…

After, slightly getting over my shock at Jerry’s directive, I took a minute to look outside my office window. Being on the 10th floor had its perks and getting a window office was one of them. It was turning out to be a nice summer day. I kept wishing that I could be outside playing somewhere. I had to just sigh and sit down trying to crane my head in the direction of Maryanne’s desk noting that she was still not in yet. Seriously, it was 9:30! Maybe she would quit and I would be freed from having to do Jerry’s dirty work.  It did not help that she was regularly late and that she hugged the watercooler for hours discussing everything but work.

She finally came in at 9:40, but since I had to prep for the morning meeting, I figured our “talk” would have to wait. HR already knew about her termination. I just had to be the one to tell her to her face. We had the meeting in which Jerry upset me again. It was beginning to look like his day for crapping all over me. I had to step away and use my lunch as manicure time. I just needed to get away and a quick trip to Tysons and the Modern Day Spa was definitely the lunch I needed. 

I snuck out of work resolving to talk to Maryanne when I was more relaxed. As I walked into the spa, I was happy to see that my favorite manicurist Ti was available. Our routine – I talked, she listened and complimented like an unorthodoxed therapist. I always wondered if she fully understood what I was saying. She always just nodded and smiled. Oh well. She finished my strawberry sweetheart color and massaged my hands just the way I liked. I gave her a nice tip and the session was over. I felt better and my nails looked fabulous. 

An hour later, I was back at the office and it was time to speak with Maryanne.

“Hey Maryanne. Do you have a second to come into my office? I need to speak to you.”

“Sure.” Maryanne answered.

As she entered the room I readied myrself for a potential smack down or the instant need to dock and dodge flying objects. Instinctively, I wanted to be ready for the unexpected.

“Hi Maryanne, Jerry and I were talking this morning and at his bequest we have decided to let you go. We’ve appreciated your work throughout the years but the mistakes in the last few weeks have been too much to overlook.  This latest mishap was irresponsible and has probably made us loose the deal. We have to let you go. Sorry this had to happen. I know you have been here for a few years and I wish you all the best. Please report to Agnes in HR and she will help you with the exit proceedings.” I said it just the way I had rehearsed in the car. I finished and only after the fact I realized that I was instinctively pressing my nails into my hands waiting for the worst to happen.

Surprisingly, just when I finished Maryanne stood up, hands on one hip as she bent over forcefully placing her other hand on my desk causing me to press a little more against the back of my chair. Crap she was going to hit or spit on me. I thought to myself. “Who do you think you are firing? I know you stole Sam’s job. I am so through with this place anyway. You can keep this ridiculous job!”

“Stole Sam’s job?” That one through me off a bit.

And with that, she walked as briskly to the door as her mermaid cut knee length skirt would take her, pausing briefly as she pulled the door and firmly slammed it behind her.

And like that the drama was over. It was now all up to HR to play clean up crew.  I called Cindi. Voicemail. I sent her a text message.

6:20pm:

I had 20 minutes left to my work out. I was sweating now and in my groove. Out of my mental lull, I was now paying attention to the news. The same old stuff was on … the police check point in Trinidad NE is still working, the rest of the week would be hot, Obama and McCain were focusing on the economy. I decided to listen to the radio.

6:55pm

I just finished my shower and my phone was already ringing.

“Hey chica! I just got a new phone. Are you ready to roll?” It was Jaz. “I’m at the Verizon Store on 13th and F. Heard from Cindi and she is on her way too.”

“Girl, fifteen minutes for makeup and dressing and I am so there!”

 To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 1: She Works Hard For Her Money

Monday, July 28th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

“Jerry is such a jerk!” I screamed to myself when I was in my car and out of hearing range. “People in my office were clearly out of their minds today and now I knew for sure I will not be at BA Consulting for another year,” I had to say this out loud with my eyes closed and lips tensed.

“Crap! 5:05! Cindi was on her happy hour date!” I grew more frustrated at this realization and left a quick message. I needed to talk to her to sort this out, after all why else would she be No. 1 on my speed dial.  I also had a thirty-five minute drive to the Washington Sports Club on Wisconsin Ave. from Tyson’s Corner and I needed to regurgitate all the details of my drama filled day – to someone!  I vowed if Cindi did not call before I arrived at the gym, there would definitely have to be the self-imposed  cardio therapy. I could not even call Jaz, since she lost her cell phone the day before.

Thirty minutes later my phone rings I look at the caller i.d. and I am immediately elated. 

“Hey Girl, thank goodness you called! You would never believe the day I had. I am most definitely going to start searching for another job!” I yelled into the phone while switching her to speaker phone.

“Why? What happened? Is everything ok?” Cindi was concerned.  She has known for the last few months that I’ve had a lot of trouble at work.

Jerry once again not only took credit for the report I wrote but he also proceeded to call me out in front of everyone at the morning meeting for something simple as a misspelled word in an email I sent out to him! I know that everyone attending the meeting know that I did most of the work on the report. It is so frustrating to work with someone who keeps taking all the credit for your work. But the really kicker today was that he wanted me to fire Maryanne.”

Fire her?! Why would he want you to do that? Oh my, looks like it’s definitely time to start updating your resume. Where are you now?  Did you really fire Maryanne?” Cindi rushed through the questions like a prosecutor with limited time for direct. 

“Yes girl. I did and it just stressed me out for the entire day.”

“Crap Eric is on the other line? Are you heading to the gym? I’ve got to finish this motion before I leave. Let’s meet at Lima afterwards. First round of mango mojitos on me!” I already knew from experience that I would get frustrated if I was telling this story and in the background I heard her typing away. 

“Aaah! Ok. Let Jaz know. She should be home in 15 minutes.” I said as she hung up.

I stepped into the gym and almost immediately spotted X, the cute and superfine trainer who had been asking me out for the past month. I kept turning him down because I knew it would go nowhere – trainers are notorious for being manwhores and his strength training class was one of my favorites. It was the perfect ying to my Zumba class and drama was not something I needed at the gym. 

On the way to the locker room, I waved at him while he was helping a client with some light weights.  My wave caught him just as his muscles were flexing while he grabbed another weight off the rack. He flashed me a seventy-five watt grin and already some of my stress was beginning to melt away. <le sigh>

I changed into my usual gym uniform of black, calf length yoga pants and Under Armour sleeveless tank. I stopped in front of the full length mirror to tie my ponytail but also to admire the new bump of a butt I was developing from my weekly squats.  I got on the treadmill, set it to one hour of manual at 6.0 speed and was off. Even with my focus and attention on the television I could not help but think about my crazy day. My thoughts drifted back to my morning.

At 8:01am my morning started with a thud when Sylvia, Jerry’s secretary, informed me before I was able to read my first email that I was being summoned. I walked into Jerry’s office and observed at his well groomed profile, adorned by gold cuff-linked, Thomas Pink shirt and Hermes tie while I waited to be acknowledged. He was intimidating in more ways than just being 6’2”, a full 1’2” taller than me.

He turned to look up after having me wait for 5 minutes with not even a hello. Obviously I was not as important as his conversation with the contractors at his house.

He started abruptly, “you have until the end of today to fire Maryanne. She forgot to send out the Genderand contracts again and on time and this time the deal fell through.” I was taken off-guard.

“How the heck am I going to fire someone?” I muffled under my breathe after walking out of his office and behind the safety of mine.  I had only been at the office for 2 months and I never got along with Maryanne, who was the assistant inherited from my predecessor Sam.  Curiously after Sam left many of the other employees started intimating at the probability that she was fired because of a failed tryst with Jerry. No one new for sure but all agreed if anyone was aware of what was going on it would be Maryanne who was close to Sam always seemed to have a blatant dislike for Jerry.  This of course did not help me since I relied on her for support in accomplishing many on the projects we had to juggle in a week. Maryanne was also officially the executive assistant to everyone in our group so technically Jerry could have given her the ax himself. Now I was left with the unpleasant responsibility of having to fire someone for the first time in my career.  This was definitely the downside of climbing the corporate ladder.

 >The story continues…stay tuned<