Fortune Cookie

We all know I have re-entered the workforce. Finally. For how long is anyone’s guess, but hoping for long term. This assignment is strange and the people are weird (New Mommy says I say this about every assignment) but it is also different because my attitude towards it is different.

I have been through a lot of assignments and dealt with a lot of attitudes, personalities and bosses…much like my personal relationships, I have learned lessons along the professional road and this time around, I am applying lessons learned. While I am happy to be back in the administrative arena (where I have always felt most comfortable as far as skills set), I am finding out there is a lot I don’t know or have forgotten. Of course that frustrates me because I feel I have to be perfect and pass all the tests because if I don’t, I get dumped. I am learning to shed that mentality; it doesn’t matter how perfect or imperfect I am, if someone doesn’t want me around…I won’t be around.

So I am learning to be patient with myself and also realizing that one cannot just jump into relationships of any type….people need to get to know each other, learn each other and grow from there. I have also learned that I tend to take and make everything (relationships, assignments and TV shows come to mind first) my One, Only and Forever. It has been rare that I have really just let go and enjoyed the moment with anything. With jobs, I am always worried that the contract won’t last as long as they say, that I am not/will not catch on quickly enough, that I won’t make permanent status; granted all of that has happened but because I worried constantly and kept searching for the next job, I really never enjoyed the time I spent with the various teams and clients. All things come to an end and I worry so much about when the end will come, I don’t enjoy the time I have with people, places and things.

In this way also, I am approaching the assignment differently. It’s open-ended so no one knows how it will end or when and this time…not looking for the next assignment. I can learn from this assignment and I can see the potential for both professional growth and enjoyment here; I want to stick with it to see where it can go. Sure, it can blow up in my face and leave me hanging in the wind but worrying about that will just make it manifest that much faster. Of course, now that I am ready to be settled for however long in this little corner of God’s Professional Space, everyone and their brother is calling and emailing with great jobs and offers I would be perfect for. I have rejected them all but one gnaws at me…they keep saying they want a face to face interview (even after being told I am currently on assignment and not interested) but they are not flexible on interview times and when a telephone interview seemed a possibility, they flaked and never called. Forget them.

Now going to tell you about the job and the folks I work with. It is a non-profit in the heart of downtown DC and a public transportation dream: I have three options to get to work. Rail (20 minute trip, no transfers) or I can choose between two buses (about 45 minute trip, no transfers). The hours are wonderful (9:30-6pm) although I am still getting used to leaving work at 6 versus 5.That extra hour is killer. Hours are on the honor system since everyone is pretty independent and always coming and going. My one complaint would be the lack of lunch places in the area but I am also lazy and don’t want to wander too far in search of something other than pizza, wings and Starbucks.

We are on the top floor of an historic building in the heart of the K Street corridor and the building is so old, the windows actually open! The office is small: 5 perm employees, two interns/law clerks and me.  It is diverse enough I suppose…5 are Asian, 1 white, 1 Ethiopian and me. Everyone is polite but again, very independent and very busy which makes them seem distant. Although they did invite me to a Happy Hour with them on Day 2, so maybe not so distant. Meetings on the Hill, meetings at the White House, conference calls that last all morning or afternoon, out of town conferences and conventions, monthly staff bonding outings, briefings/hearings/lectures everywhere…when folks ARE in the office, they are in their offices with the door shut.  They trust me: I have made bank deposits, I hold checks until they are ready for deposit and I have used the company credit card to make online payments on their behalf. And I learn stuff! Every reason to not worry and every reason to enjoy. I’m trying.

You guys know I compare jobs and its people to things folks can relate to: the Island of Misfit Toys, The Team, The Breakfast Club…this assignment I liken to Grey’s Anatomy…  a non-profit version of Seattle Grace without the bonding friendships and steamy sex in on-call rooms. Allow me to introduce you to the attendings, residents and interns of the Seattle Grace Mercy West Grey-Sloan Memorial Non-Profit Association:

Christina Yang:  The woman is the Executive Director and she has a little crazy and a lot of bipolar in her. If this were actually Grey’s, she would be The Chief, no question but she has a lot of Yang’s qualities and characteristics. She even resembles Yang. She is focused, driven, accomplished (her achievements are intimidating) and can be very dismissive and distracted. She expects you to know everything and be a mind reader but doesn’t mind teaching and giving praise. Every once in a while, she loosens up enough to snack, eat Jolly Ranchers, chitchat, dispense advice and even share a laugh with the office. And she likes that I am devious when dealing with vendors and timely with completing work. Of course this is still the honeymoon phase where we are on our best behaviors with each other, so who knows what will happen if I stay longer than three months. For right now, she may be the boss I need and we seem to be happy with each other.

Arizona Robbins: Does anyone remember when Arizona Robbins came on the scene? She was all blonde, blue-eyed and sparkly. Chewing bubblegum and roller-skating through the hospital. THAT is this chick except she’s Indian (turban, not the teepee). She has a happy voice and is always cheerful, both of which I attribute to too much Starbucks. She is a manager there and excellent at both her job and in her dealings with Yang. Seriously, she goes in to see/meet with Yang happy, cheerful and confident and walks out the same way. We (meaning everyone else) go in to see/meet with Yang happy, cheerful and confident and walk out looking and feeling stupid, dazed and confused. Arizona doesn’t mind answering questions I have AND gives me the resources and research needed so I can learn it on my own (you really do retain information better that way), she gives me tasks to help her out and she was super impressed when I had the UPS guy taping labels onto packages being shipped out. In addition to her job duties she organizes monthly staff bonding activities, is the travel coordinator and generally the go-to person.

George O’Malley: This guy is Arizona’s ride or die. He is brand new (he started the week before I got called in) and a manager also; apparently George and Arizona grew up together or something. I think they are boyfriend/girlfriend: they ride into the office together, they leave together, they hold all kinds of meetings together, they go to Starbucks together, they lunch together….they are joined at the hip the entire workday. But Arizona is married and George has promised to be my date to the (totally imaginary) Old Folks Prom where Lawrence Welk will be the DJ. My dealings with him are limited because unless he is going to lunch, meeting with Yang or popping into Arizona’s office he stays in his office with his door closed. He does give me a cheerful good morning every morning, wishes me a good evening every workday at 6pm and we make small talk when he passes my area but other than that, nothing. I think he is kinda cute but it’s been awhile for me so more than likely, George is just average looking, boring and his polite but distant demeanor is sending me the wrong signal of the man being mysteriously alluring.

Lexie: Raise your hand if you are still missing Lexie Grey. Well, put them down and rush on over here to the office because she has been channeled, reincarnated, resurrected…she has been something. This young lady is quiet, soft-spoken and sometimes has trouble expressing herself. She is a slight people pleaser and is so smart/intelligent, it is surprising especially when she just took 10 minutes to explain what she had for breakfast that came complete with a rundown and general location of the ethnic supermarkets in her neighborhood. She does not like tension or drama and works really hard to be likable and make others feel the same. She has not been with the organization long…9 months now and has no immediate supervisor as she likes to put it. Yang is everyone’s boss of course, but Non-profit Lexie works in a department that does not have a manager; she says she is happier this way.

Meredith: First thing you need to know, this Meredith is not a girl. Meredith is a guy but he has a Meredith vibe. Specifically, Meredith-dealing-with- her-mom vibe.  He has the longest tenure in the office (behind Christina Yang), has the most experience dealing with Yang, knows a lot about the organization and has given me lots of tips and pointers. He started out as a temp doing the job I have now, was made permanent and got promoted…all within 18 months! Yet, despite all these accomplishments and insider knowledge, Meredith still gets tongue tied around Yang and always, always has to stop right outside her office door to take a deep breath and do one last review of the work before knocking and entering. He leaves Yang’s office with a look of frustration and resignation on his face and basically spends his time in his office trying to avoid direct contact with Yang.

Karev: He’s one of the law clerks/interns and is a loner with swag, confidence and flippant/sarcastic remarks at the ready. I call him Junior Partner, which he loves….he puffs up like a peacock when he hears it. Not a lot to say about him: he speaks when he passes me and makes small talk about the various snacks people bring into the office. He does spend bro time with George O’Malley when Arizona is out of the office (meaning they make Starbucks runs together) but that’s about it. The rest of his time, he is in his office or heating up meals from home. I get the feeling that with the right person, he would open up and allow himself to be friendly and a friend. As it stands, he is the guy on the metro who barely lets you pass and says “whatever” to everything.

OR Nurse: You know the middle aged Asian nurse in every surgery on the show? The one voted to be The Last Remaining Original Character? That’s this girl. There is absolutely nothing to say about her. The other law clerk/intern, she is extremely quiet and the only time I see her is when she is going to the bathroom or to Starbucks, usually with Lexie. Her last day is this week and where she’s going, no one knows because she doesn’t say anything.

Callie Torres: I’m Callie. Remember when Callie first made her debut on Grey’s? She was the ortho nurse with a crush on George (they ended up marrying only to divorce after George cheated with Izzie) and she just did not fit in. That is how I feel: that I don’t fit in. But the entire office seems to lack cohesiveness; there is no sense of teamwork. It is as if everyone is an independent contractor brought together to put together a house. One is responsible for the foundation, one for the roof, one for the floor plan, etc. and no one consults with the others to make sure we are on the same page. I sit in the middle of the office where I feel as if I am on display….I can’t do anything without someone seeing it. There is no one here I want to have lunch with and some days, small talk is an effort. Thank goodness there are errands to be ran at least once every 10 days to get me out of the office. I am there just to do a job but I would love to make a friend. Lexie is my best bet (she at least asks about weekend plans) but she’s still a little distant. I guess I am being distant also but that is because I have to be conservative with this office and I don’t do conservative well.

So this post was longer than I thought but this is the new assignment (one month and counting). Should Yang offer the job to me permanently, I have no issues taking it. Stability and consistency are the most important things to me now…if lack of office friendships and a little bipolar action is part of the package, so be it. I have dealt with worse. Okay, going to let you guys go now and I will return soon with new posts. As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!




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