Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fly in the Ointment/Spanner in the Works

And there always has to be one.

I've been temping since late September in a tech/info security environment, mainly male bosses, but one woman. The men have been super-nice. The woman has been...a stereotypical bitch.

A few days after I started temping, she came up to my secretary desk and said, "So, what's your story?" (An odd introduction, but I gave her a brief summary: Master's in English; copy editor; Austinite since '83, except for my 2 years in San Fran for grad school and my recent 3-year NYC sojourn; currently poor, one-room apartment while seeking full-time work...)

The very next day, she came up to me and asked if I'd contacted her through "LinkedIn"---under a different name!! I was completely puzzled: "HUH?" Turned out that someone from San Francisco--who looked nothing like me and had a completely different name--had contacted her... Why she thought that person was me, other than my brief mention that I'd gone to grad school in SF back in the '90s, was utterly beyond my comprehension.

A few days after that, she came up and asked me if I'd had a "security check" done before I started working there. ME: "Uh... I dunno." She got agitated about that answer, actually asking me if I had something to hide! I, after some minor research (looking through my temp agency paperwork), finally figured out that, yeah, when you apply through my temp agency, they do a background check.

During the same time frame, she glanced at my computer screen one day. There's blatantly nothing for me to do for 75% of the day, and the rest of the time I either read New Yorkers or browse online (with permission to do so from my boss). In this instance, I was picking out shoes on Amazon. When she saw that, she said, "No wonder you don't have any money!"

When I hurt my ankle weeks ago and couldn't come in to work for 2 days: On my first day back, random people were nice and asking how my ankle was. She, on the other hand, said to me, only semi-facetiously: "You like the attention, don't you?" A few days after that, when I still limping about, she asked how I, an "obviously intelligent woman," didn't have any health care so I could go get the foot checked out. (When I explained that I'd only made $17,000 each of the past 2 years while freelancing and thus didn't have the $200 per month for any health care, she briefly shut up.) And then just today, she said to me: "How do you live like you do, without a car?"

Yesterday, she took it upon herself to give me some "advice" about keeping my temp job: Suck up to the big boss. (Not my immediate boss, but HIS boss, whom I have had little contact with.) I then had to tell her my meager "philosophy o' life": "I can't suck up to anyone. Sorry."

Which led to a very odd conversation about the old secretary that I've replaced. ME: "What was wrong with her, exactly?" The woman exec said to me: "She didn't know her job very well, didn't do much. I once asked her about getting creamer for my coffee. And you know what she said? 'I don't know anything about coffee.'"

Whoa. This woman exec had had this EXACT creamer conversation with ME -- not the old secretary -- a couple of weeks ago. I honestly didn't know where the fuck to get creamer, and I did tell her that I didn't know anything about coffee. But I found out, and that very day, I made sure there was fucking creamer in the fridge. It creeped me out, though, that when she and I were talking and I asked what was so horrible about the old secretary, that she somehow told ME the "creamer story" as if it were about the other person and not about me...

Luckily, she's only a very small part of my current work-picture. And luckily, this temp job only pays $12 an hour---I can find something else like it in a second. But... DAMN, this kind of weird thing freaks me out. I consistently mind my business, do my work, etc. WHAT THE FUCK is this woman's deal?

She's in her mid-50s, married but kinda butch, so the thought crossed my mind that maybe my male boss had passed along to her the link to my Joan website that I shared with him, and that he'd said he'd looked at. In the "About" section of the Joan site, I clearly state that I'm gay. My male boss didn't think anything of it. But maybe this woman saw that and DID think something of it. There is indeed something a bit odd about all of the negative attention she's been showering upon me!

No comments: