...'til my current temp gig's over. I've held it since late June and the summer's been pleasant and things were A-OK up until we moved to a new building at the start of September. Up 'til that point, I'd been starting to wonder what I would do if they asked me to stay on full-time. As with the last 4-month gig that I had, last October through January, I don't at all like the secretarial work and how you're condescended to as a secretary, but it's easy enough, the people are (for the most part -- see below) pleasant enough, and the real job pays 50% more than I make with the temp pay (plus benefits, etc.).
But here's the thing: At the old building, I had a cube to myself. The three main office ladies were all nice to me, but I was happy to sit away from them. I didn't WANT to know anything about office politics there, etc. I'd announce my presence upon my arrival every morning, ask if there was anything I could do (and, if not, say cheerily "You know where to find me!"). And then I was pretty much left alone, allowed to read, surf, etc.
Now, I'm sharing an office with one of them. She is a super-nice lady, but... For one thing, she's been there for 30 years. And I see why: She agrees COMPLETELY with anything anyone says to her. Myself included. So I can talk to her and think we're really on the same wavelength. But then I hear her having agreeable conversations about everything with everybody, which makes me start to wonder if she actually has ANY opinions of her own. Which is mildly irritating. I like to know what people really think and why.
Another -- this time literally to my nasal passages -- irritating thing: She smells VERY STRONGLY like she still uses spray deodorant. I remember that heavy, suffocating scent from my own use in junior high/early high school, before solids came on the market. (God, the two choices then were the spray and the roll-on -- the latter always gooey, never drying quickly enough, and so I always used the spray.) I've never been that sensitive to products that people use, but whatever she's coating herself with is almost nauseating to me. (I noticed it every time we'd chat at the old building, but there we were just meeting briefly in the break or elevator area so I could quickly escape the scent.)
This nice lady's agreeableness would never, of course, stop me from wanting to work there, but, seriously, the constant spray-smell would!
And there's one more thing about a different person: There's a 25-year-old Communications person there who's hyper-on-the-make for career advancement. For instance, at one meeting of the larger group, I was sitting with my boss and another office lady. The youngster comes in the room, looks at us and walks by us, calling back, "I can't sit with you because I already KNOW you!" Then she plops herself down at a table with some higher-up execs and starts schmoozing with them. I absolutely HATE that kind of sucking up. We also have a new COO (Chief Operating Officer), and this Communications girl is in the new boss's office EVERY SINGLE DAY. Again, at the old building, the layout was such that I didn't have to witness any of the sucking up. Now, it's right in my face.
Another thing I dislike about the girl: We've now got a very small supply room. At the old place, she too was in a cube, but had room to put all of her conference materials in the large supply area. Now, she's got her own huge office, but still tried to squeeze her stuff into the tiny supply room. I was the one responsible for unpacking everything and arranging the new supply room; I moved all of her boxes into her office, after asking my boss (who is also the girl's boss) if that was OK for space reasons. My boss agreed with me. But when I returned after lunch, all of the girl's materials were mysteriously BACK in the supply room. Again, I moved them back into her office (when she wasn't there). This time, she came marching back to the supply room with her stuff while I was there unpacking: "This doesn't belong in my office." Me: "There's no room in here; I asked D----, and she said to put your stuff in your office. Go ask her." Humph, she humphed out. Long story short: Our boss finally decided just to let her have her way. And now the girl refuses to even look at me.
My revenge: When she sent out a newsletter last week, I printed it out and marked up every single one of the many grammatical/style errors, which I then took to the COO's office, saying "innocently": "I'm a professional copy editor; in the future, if you need me to, I can read any news releases ahead of time to make sure we get rid of all of these kinds of errors before anyone else sees them." HA!! I mean, I say "Ha!" but in actuality, I hate this kind of BS gamesmanship. I'll DO it, but I don't want to HAVE to do it.
The good thing for me: I don't NEED this job. My freelance boss (who pays me $27 an hour) just extended my contract through the end of December. That work's sporadic, some weeks 30 hours, some weeks 0, but it puts me in a position of being completely self-sufficient through next January or February whether this secretarial job continues past October or not.
My soul, of course, wants my mind/body to run, run, run away from such an environment, away from both the complacent "lifers" and the shallow career-advancers. Because these kill Soul. Pre-recession 2007, that's exactly what I used to do. It's a new work-world, though, and I can't be anywhere near as picky as I used to be. ("Dammit, Mind," says Soul. Shriveling ever-so-slightly, but still hoping...)