Subject: Following up
I hope you are liking your first week here at Micromanaging, Inc. Please let me know if you need some assistance as you place your first Costco order. Remember the order is to be delivered on Friday. Moving forward, please used the attached list as a guide for what to order. Also, Reginald* said he had to remind you to book his rental car for next week. In the future, please book all travel (hotels, flights, rental cars) at the same time. Also, did you figure out how to make the coffee? Please set a reminder on your Outlook calendar to do this every morning. Do you know how to do that? Let me know if you have any questions at all. :)
Rhonda Chafeton | Senior Royal Pain in the Ass
69 Condescending Road
I slouched down into my seat and sighed. It was my first week as the receptionist at Micromanaging, Inc*. This job marked my 3rd reception gig in one year. A lot of people don't understand that being a receptionist requires a lot of attention to detail, which I was not blessed with. "This is an important job," my recruiter informed me in an attempt to try and glamorize this thankless profession. "You're the face of the company. You're the first person people see as they walk in." I was also the person who was in charge of
doing all the bitchwork ordering Costco and Safeway, cleaning the kitchen, doing the dishes, booking travel for Execs, refilling the tampon basket in the Ladies Restroom and making sure the conference rooms were tidy. These seemingly easy tasks were extremely daunting to me. I'd never been good at tidying up and my short-term memory is weak to quite weak. There's no way I'd remember to restock the super-pluses every Thursday at 10am. I even needed a reminder to set my outlook reminders.
I had resolved to really try hard to succeed as the receptionist at MI, in spite of my aforementioned shartcomings. It was my ultimate goal. Rhonda was my
master supervisor. From the knee down she reminded me a lot of Hillary Clinton. She was intense - one of those people who took her job (as the Hall Monitor Receptionist Supervisor) REALLY seriously. She was also a hoverer - she would sneak up behind me (enveloping me in her coffee breath) and watch me type as she gave me instructions. I knew she was going to be a giant CHAFE extremely helpful and informative, especially during my first week. I had to do a good job, if only to get Rhonda off my back.
|rabid rhonda surrounded by dark clouds|
So I did what she told me to do and believe me, she liked to tell me what to do. It was as if she would orgasm a little every time she gave me some bitch task to complete. "Alexandra! I need you to faaaax this to our New York offiiiice!" (I swear the pitch of her voice would become higher and airier every time she'd command me to do something.)
I felt like I was killing it during the first couple of days. I transferred calls to the right people, I greeted clients like I was geeked up on lithium, I made coffee every morning, I had an overtly positive attitude and I constantly had a shit-eating grin on my face. I was the Santa Clause of receptionists - just really, really jolly. I fetched people's coffee and I did it with gusto. I cleaned the conference rooms, kitchen and front office until they all shined. I felt like Cinderella on adderrall. I refused to be defeated by yet another reception job.
Then, Friday (AKA Costco day) arrived. We had practically run out of food so everyone was chomping at the bit and asking me when Costco would be arriving.
"I'm on it, Assahn! Costco should be here in a half hour! Dontchu worry."
I'd spent about an hour making sure I had ordered the right foods from Costco. Keep in mind, Micromanaging Inc was a start-up of about 100 people. I didn't want to piss a bunch of starving engineers and HR people off by not ordering the right shit.
You know how I mentioned earlier that I'm not good with attention to detail? Well, this fact become abundantly clear on this fateful Friday. I sat at my desk eating my 5 dolla foooot lonnng when I heard the doors open. There stood two HUGE Costco delivery men. I thought it seemed odd that my order was large enough to necessitate 2 sumo wrestler-esque delivery guys. I stood up to help them with the door. In they came, pushing 2 GIANT carts filled with food. I went to shut the door behind them when one of them uttered the 3 most terrifying words that will haunt me until the day I die.
"Ma'am, there's MORE."
"Sir! Are you sure you sure you have the right place!? This is Micromanaging, Inc. You have the wrong place! Right!!?" I said, hoping that merely saying these words out loud would make them come true.
"Is this 56 Condescending Avenue? Suite 69?" Mr. Sumo Costco retorted.
At this point people were starting to flood into the kitchen, eagerly awaiting this wretched Costco order like a bunch of rabid piranhas. My eyes welled up with tears. This was it.
"Follow me," I mumbled as I ambled solemnly toward the kitchen.
My great aunt Edna* always told me "You learn something new everyday. So don't get down on yourself if you fuck something up so badly that people assume that your brain size must rival that of a fetus's."
This is what I learned on that fateful Friday: Costco is a "bulk" store. People go there when they want to buy 20 of something. So when I ordered what I thought were 5 jugs of milk I'd actually ordered 5 CASES of milk. Each case contained 10 jugs. That's like the equivalent of 4 breast-feeding cows. I'll break it down for you a little more:
- 4 orders of HoneyNut Cheerios = 5 boxes per order= breakfast for the entire financial district
- 6 orders of apples = 20 apples in an order = a FUCKING ORCHARD OF APPLES
- 2 orders of cream cheese = 8 giant tubs of cream cheese = enough cream cheese to spread on all of the bagels in the bay area
As we entered the kitchen people began to crowd around us. Some commented on the number of carts being wheeled in. Others began ripping boxes of food open. Like 3 soldiers headed into battle, the Sumo Costco Deliverers and I began unloading. After awhile the refrigerator became more filled with milk than Octo-mom. One guy suggested I put some of the milk in the freezer. He told me that freezing milk was a thing. I wasn't sure if he was fucking with me or not so I stashed a few in the freezer only to be reprimanded by Rhonda who looked like she wanted to hurl her outdated Tory Burch flat at my face.
For the rest of the day I sat at my desk, hiding behind my computer trying to escape from the embarrassment of my Costco blunder. I'd found a huge basket in the kitchen that I stuffed with apples. Every time someone passed my desk I'd look up awkwardly and quietly say "Want an apple? 10 apples a day keeps the doctor away! There's also fresh milk in the fridge and freezer. It will make your bones strong." :(
The day was coming to an end and I couldn't wait to go home and get in to bed, far away from all of the apples and milk. When the clock struck 5pm I beelined it for the door and rushed home. I got home and poured myself an enormous glass of wine. Then, my phone rang. It was my recruiter. My heart sank.
"Hi Alexandra. It's Genvieve*. I have some very bad news. Micromanaging Inc. does not need you to return tomorrow." (I am confident that I will remember these words and how they made me feel for as long as I am an egg-roll eating, Haribo abiding American Citizen.)
I screamed. I sobbed. I begged and pleaded with her to help me find a way to get my job back. Failing at another reception job!?! Is that even possible? I felt beyond sad and disappointed in myself - which is probably why it took me so long to write about this on Toe Pick. Seriously, it's taken me nearly 2 years to be able to laugh about what happened. It took me 2 more Administrative Assistant jobs to learn that I should never, ever be in charge of managing an office. Like, it should be illegal. But just 'cuz I can't make it as a receptionist, office manager, Executive Assistant, etc doesn't mean I can't place them. Now I'm a recruiter and I meet with them all the time.
And guess what? I admire them. Because they can do what I never could: Not fuck up a Costco order.