Monday, November 20, 2006

What have we learned?

Friday was my last day in the office at Die Bank. So, how was the close of my two year career celebrated in the office celebrated? My two year tenure in which I highlighted helpful subway routes, was constantly called in to fix Microsoft Word margins, crawled around on the floor to rewire the phone system and set up printers, generate lists of helpful German train station vocabulary, constantly fought with travel agents and vendors, oohed an aahed over someone's birthday gift for his wife, sucked up to Germans, sucked up to Americans, listened to everyone enumerate the finer points of their Iced Tea preference for the kitchen, cleaned up after exploding toner cartridges and rest room floods, planned team outings and booked lunch reservations the likes of which I would never be invited to; after all the expense reports, the pots of coffee, the call screenings, the translations I thought would kill me, what did I receive on my big day? Nothing. Business as usual, folks.

Now, I need to clarify that my German co-workers took me out for dinner after work at a nice restaurant that I picked out (Zarella's on 2nd Avenue) of their own initiative and on their own dime. And I am very grateful for this gesture. However, as far as the office doing anything to recognize my efforts on their behalf or my departure: nothing. No lunch ordered in. No cake. No Hallmark card. No "let's all go into the conference room and take a minute to say goodbye to Nancy." Nothing. At 5:25pm as everyone made to grab their coats and dash off to catch the train, I got a hand shake or a hug, depending on the coworker, and everyone wished me well and said to keep in touch.

Now, I understand that this is a job that I quit. I didn't retire after 25 years of service, I'm not going out on maternity leave and I'm not moving to the other coast. But you may recall that we had that program where we would get a credit analyst from the home office to rotate through our office for a month, and at the end of four weeks, we would all go into the conference room and have a glass of wine and say goodbye to the guy. And sometimes, if they really worked him to the bone, they'd even present him with a gift. So what? No freakin' cake for little Nancy?

So, Cupcake was a little, how do you say? Pissed off. No one even asked me to lunch on Friday. Some people already had appointments and some were too busy to go out. 'Fine,' I thought, 'I won't eat a thing, then I'll have a nice empty stomach for those margaritas tonight.' But as the afternoon wore on and it became apparent that I wasn't even going to get a greeting card tossed my way, my blood pressure started to rise. "Come on," I said to the Memp (= man temp and my new spiritual guru), "let's go hide in the kitchen so everyone has time to set up the conference room for my surprise going away party."

"About your going away party..." said the Memp. "Do you remember when you told me about when your dog got put to sleep and the Vet sent your Dad a card that said not to be sad, because Mandy was waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge?"

"Yes, what's your point?"

"Well, your surprise party is waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge."

"Interesting. So what you're saying is that when I die, I'll be reunited with my dead Shi-Tzu and I'll get to have my going away party? Hey, that makes me feel better. Wait a minute! You're an atheist!"

So, what have we learned, cupcakes? Well, when someone at your job tells you, "We're like one big family here," that's probably true, if you come from the kind of family where everyone is considered expendable. Every time I've ever had a job that I've liked and I've used the family analogy, my father has corrected me, "That's your job, your family is your family." And, of course, the old man is right. I guess if you come from a strong family unit, it's only natural to project that institution on other areas of your life and likewise, if there is something about your family you'd like to change or escape from, every new social grouping is a chance to start again. Especially in New York work culture when you're away from your own family and you spend more hours per day with a group of strangers, hands down, than you do with your own self-chosen friends. Sometimes my Pop gives me bad advice, but sometimes he gives me good advice like when he told me this four years ago, "Never love your job, because it will never love you back." There's the core tenet of the Tao of the Temp right there.

Happy Thanksgiving, I'll be home soon.


Dizzie Diva said...

That is so cold. Maybe you should take their behavior as a compliment. They are so upset that you are leaving they are all pissed…

Cupcakequeen said...

Cupcake: That's worse than cold. I think that SUCKS! I mean what the F? That does just not make sense. I think you should just quit...just inserting a little humor here....but really, it's unconsciousnable. I would take you out for a Gold margarita if I lived nearby! Plus, I think you're dad's right!

Ana in SF said...

Congratulations on being rid of that job!! You deserve flowers and a pile o' cupcakes with lots of frosting and sprinkles.

MCMCMCLY said...

we always have parties with cake and gifts for those who are retiring, or moving on to bigger and better things within the company. But if you are changing companies there's an unspoken code that you get no cake or present. Instead, you go to the nearest bar with all the co-workers you care about, and they get you drunk. Its a shame, but thats how corporations work.

Cupcake said...

I know, that's why I'm kinda conflicted about how to feel. Some people are like, "That's horrible, I've never heard of anything like that! We usually throw a going away party when we get rid of a long term temp!" and other people are like, "Tough shit, that's business."

I guess you don't throw a party when someone quits. "Congratulations to Cupcake, who is blowing this clam bake for greener pastures!" Whatever. I'm putting the whole thing behind me.

Anonymous said...

They could have at least taken you to Olive Garden. That is where all the classy people eat, at least at the one in Times Square. That one is really nice. The bar especially. You seem like the chicken-parm type. Nothing taste so good after a long train ride and a casual stroll through Times Square in the rain looking for a restaurant that moved. You know, like Ellen's Star Dust diner. You don't strike me as the type to ask directions in Times Square, like a tourist would, but sometimes people have to ask at the popcorn store, the hoagie seller, etc. I'm just saying...

Best wishes in your new job and I hope you don't get sick during your transition or Thanksgiving.

Your biggest fan.


Cupcake said...

That was our secret! I told you no one must ever know we ate at the Times Square Olive Garden. It was a night for breaking the rules.

I can't take you anywhere, Snowman.

Clementine said...

I can't believe they didn't even get you a cupcake, Cupcake!

Your dad's a wise man. I'm taking his advice to heart.

hazelblackberry said...

That's not only cold, it's brutal. Thank goodness for the compassionate wisdom of Cupcakepapa.