Thursday, February 17, 2005

Another week, another man

So for those keeping track: Wahab is gone (which all in all is a good thing, sleep apnea is not something I feel like dealing with), Brody (yes this is a Mallrats reference, and not his real name) proved himself to be even less mature than I could have imagined. How many racially stereotyped statements can one make in pleasant company? Which means I need to find a new grocery store. Bummer. I'd just learned where all the stuff was!

Which leads us, invariably, to New Guy. New Guy we shall entitle Tony. Tony is 35. Yes, I am approximately 2/3 his age. But, dear lord after more than half a year without a suitable bedtime companion, he is delightful. We'll see how this goes, but he's an interesting person who is amusing me for now. Perhaps more on that on another day.

So, at my job, my desk is the first one you see when you walk in the door. So, clearly, everyone thinks I am the secretary/receptionist. I am neither. Every man who walks in the office, seems to think I am there to serve him. One actually asked me to make him coffee. COFFEE!!! I feel like putting up a sign "Don't let the desk location or my gender fool you, I'M NOT THE RECEPTIONIST!" But, this would probably be too subtle. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But we are WAY beyond doubt here. It was fine when we only got occassional guests in our suite, but now 10 more men have taken up residence, and they all want my help with something. It's a minor irritation, but it pisses me off.
I thought my manager had taken care of it when he held an office meeting and stated "We do not have a staff assistant. Nicole is our Portal Administrator. At times, she has been so kind as to help us with some rather menial tasks, but she is in no way anyone's assistant." But apparently, no one gets it. Today, I was taken away from a meeting, which I needed to be at, because one of these morons couldn't find a felt pen. I will repeat this, because it bares repeating. I was taken away from a meeting to "fetch" a felt pen.
These are not old men, either. This guy was late 20's. I stared blankly at him for approximately 2 minutes. Then pointed to the supply closet. He continued to look expectantly at me. So what do I do? I find myself leading him into the closet and finding the pens for him.

I am clearly not helping the problem. I need to train them to do things for themselves. But honestly, I'm tired. I'm tired of men standing in front of my desk, leaning over the top at me, and smiling condescendingly until I stop doing what I need to be doing (there's already more work than I have time for, let alone when I am interrupted twice an hour) to tell someone where the nearest Kinko's might be located. And heaven forbid I don't know the answer to someone's easily found-for-themselves-question. It goes something like this:
Man: Hi Nicole.
Me: (continuing to work) Yes?
Man: I wonder if you can tell me where to find an Office Max, or Office Depot or something?
Me: No, I'm sorry I don't.
Man: (Continues to look at me with the same expectant face)
Me: I'm sorry, I don't know where one is. But I bet you can find it if you look online.
Man: (continues to look at me, as though expecting me to offer to find it)
Me: (answer the phone, continue to work, make a phone call)
Man: (Looks miffed and walks away, clearly unhappy)

They don't get it and I'm losing patience. I tried being funny "Oh, you must be so embarrassed, I'm not a receptionist." I've tried avoiding (you see how well that works). I've tried showing that I'm really just being helpful, but clearly doing something beyond my job description. I'm running out of ideas. I think I may just build a large wall around my desk so that no one can see me anymore. I wonder if that goes against a Kaiser Standard?

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