Thursday, April 17, 2014

In which the county Stripes ask Primo to run for Congress

The Magic County Stripes (or is it Polka Dots? whatever - Primo is a Stripe and I am a libertarian/moderate/polka dot/armadillo) have asked Primo if he will run against the sitting congressman.

The congressman who has held office since 1978. Which is before Primo and I graduated from high school.

Primo has met congressman Bob before. He always writes to him to tell him when congressman Bob is not doing it right. Congressman Bob always answers. He signs every single constituent letter himself. "If people are going to bother to write to me," he says, "I am going to sign my response back to them." He sees it as a matter of constituent respect.

Primo was on a flight home from Washington DC a few months ago. He had flown there to ride a Delta DC9 or whatever the plane was that Delta was about to retire. This must be a guy thing, because I couldn't care less about what kind of plane I am in. I just want one that stays on the ground when it should and stays in the air when it should.

Anyhow, congressman Bob was on the same flight home and sitting one seat in front of Primo. Primo took advantage of the proximity to discuss about the Patriot Act or something like that. They were civil to each other, even though they disagreed.

The MCS don't think Primo has a snowball's chance in heck of winning. He doesn't.

But apparently there is money from the national Stripes that comes with such a campaign and they want that money so they need to put someone on the ticket.

I would have been a lot more flattered if the MCS hadn't asked MaryJane first. Remember MaryJane? The Stripe in the next district over who ran when Primo did? The chain-smoking, non-stop talker MaryJane?

The MCS asked her first. Before Primo. So if it wasn't clear before that they are not taking this race seriously, it is perfectly obvious now.

"How could they even put MaryJane up against congressman Bob?" I asked. "He would be eviscerated."

I am not an academic snob. Much. I mean, I went to a nice school, but it's hard for me to believe that the only form of intelligent life emerges from the Ivies and the near Ivies when I have so many bright people in my family who never went to college. That's one of the things about being part of the transition from blue-collar, maybe didn't go to high school world to the white collar, of course you go to college and maybe even grad school world.

You see your grandparents, who didn't go past eighth grade, and how your grandfather read voraciously and craved knowledge and how well informed he was and how your grandmother studied art and told you once that if she could have done anything, she would have studied painting in Paris, an admission that shocked you because who would have thought this woman, this woman who reared her own seven children and then four more foster children, including one who was developmentally disabled and had to move to a group home, on a farm, who baked her own bread and canned her own vegetables and re-used rubber bands, plastic bags, and string, would have such dreams?

You see that there is intelligence that never had the chance to be nurtured formally but is still there. You see your uncles - who didn't go past high school- and your grandfather building a business that lives to this day - a business that is probably worth a couple of million dollars, which is not bad for a small town that has only two stoplights.

You don't think that going to a top school automatically means someone is smart and you don't think that not going to a top school automatically means that someone is stupid.

However.

When you stack MaryJane, who did not complete her stint at the local community college, against congressman Bob, who went to Yale and then the state university law school, which is one of the top ten in the country, you see how it could make MaryJane look not so good.

And you realize that the MCS just want a sacrificial lamb. They are not even trying to make it look good.

But MaryJane turned them down. Blessherheart.

So the MCS asked Primo if he would run.

He knows he would lose. But it might be fun. "Only," I said, "if they do all the work. All of it. All you would have to do is show up at events."

Primo agreed.

"No money. We would put no money into this. They want you to do this for the money, then they have to get the volunteers to circulate the nominating petitions and they have to pay for the campaign lit and they have to do the phone bank and all the data entry. Everything."

Primo is flattered that they asked, but not sure he wants to do it.

I am not so flattered that they asked him after they asked MaryJane, but it is still kind of cool. "It would go on your obituary," I said. "Ran for Congress in 2013."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

In which Bertha continues - yes, continues - to cause problems

Primo resolved the timeshare deal. He sent them the death certificate and then paid the past-due monies.

"It's in my name," he said, "and it's my credit rating that's affected."

Which makes sense.

The next part of the plan is to give the timeshare to Laura and Kate, who will reimburse him what he paid.

But - Primo also got a statement from Merrill Lynch about an account that was supposed to have gone to Bertha. She never took his name off the account.

Bertha blessherheart was very financially irresponsible and incredibly disorganized.

Let's review. Since her death, we have learned that she

1. had paid years of storage fees for a wine locker even though she had room at her new house to store the wine. She never even got any wine out of it.
2. never took Primo's name off the timeshare and she borrowed money to buy more timeshares, even though she had to borrow money from her mother to pay her medical  bills
3. never took Primo's name off the Merrill Lynch account

Let's not forget that she came to Primo for money to pay her taxes last fall. If I had been smarter - again, always fighting the last war - I would have asked Primo to ask her if there were any expenses she could cut, like the timeshare.

Seems to me if you are having problems paying your taxes, you don't invest in vacation property. But that's just me.

So Primo got the ML statement. There is enough money in there to cover what he paid on the timeshare.

He is going to send the death certificate to ML, take the money out of the account, keep what he needs to cover the timeshare, and send the rest of the money to Laura and Kate.

Don't be Bertha. Don't be irresponsible and leave all the work for your family after your death. People will not think kindly of you.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

In which I discover a former co-worker was trying to undermine me all along and I just about lose faith in humanity

I have moved, as I mentioned, to a new group at work. That means I left my former group behind. I am, however, still friends with the people in my former group. Let's call them Isabel, Monica, and Bob.

The woman who was my boss' administrative assistant is no longer there. She quit at about the same time I did. I volunteered to be a reference for her. I understood how crazy making our boss was - we all speculated that perhaps he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's or had had some mini strokes or that he was having a reaction to medication he might be taking. His behavior was irrational and unpredictable and it confused us and made for a very uncomfortable workplace.

The admin - Brenda - was a basically nice person, but sometimes a little prickly. She seemed efficient and capable to me and seemed focused on getting her job done. She didn't gossip about our other teammates to me, although she and I together would gossip about our boss, mostly because we were trying to figure out what the heck was going on with him.

She stumbled across the fact that I was interviewing with a different division of the company but promised she would keep it a secret. As far as I know, she did.

She had already confided in me long before my job search that she was looking for a new job. I listened to her stories about interviews and encouraged her and wished her well.

When I traveled outside the US for work, I brought back little presents for everyone in the office, including her.

I didn't think we were friends, but I thought  we were friendly.

I didn't try to  undermine her. I tried to support her and tried to help her with her job search.

She got a new job. I did serve as a reference.

And then, last week, when I was telling Isabel and Monica about the crazy in my new job, they told me that Brenda used to complain about my two-hour lunches and how I left early a lot.

"She would come to me and say, 'Did you know that Goldie left early today? Are you going to do something about it?'" Monica said. By the way, Monica was officially my boss, but our big boss wouldn't let her manage. He still wanted to run everything.

I gasped. "But why would she care?"

Monica shrugged. "I told you not to trust her. She said that to me several times until I finally told her that I did not care and I did not want her telling me."

I told the story to Isabel. "Oh yes!" Isabel said. "She would tell me that, too, and she would complain that you took two-hour lunches!"

I shook my head. "But I didn't take two-hour lunches."

"I know," Isabel said. "But she didn't like that you blocked your calendar from 11:30 to 1:30 so she would deliberately schedule meetings to start at 1:00."

I gasped again. "I always wondered why she seemed to ignore my calendar, but it was always for meetings with the Big Boss and I just assumed that was the only time he had to meet, so I wouldn't ask her to reschedule."

It's not a good idea to tell the Big Boss that you want to reschedule his meeting so you can attend body pump or spin.

"She did it on purpose," Isabel said. "She would say that you shouldn't be taking such a long lunch."

"But I didn't!" I said. "I blocked my calendar so I could get to the noon class and stay for the entire class, but I wasn't taking two hours."

"I know," Isabel said. "And even if you were, it wasn't her business."

I got indignant. "Did she know that I had actually cleared a longer lunch with my boss? Did she know I work on weekends? That I would have conference calls with the Middle East at 6:30 a.m.?"

Isabel said, "Does it even matter? It was none of her business! That's the main issue! She was not your boss and your boss did not care. Why was she tattling? What was it to her?"

I guess I am lucky to have made it this far in my life before encountering someone that spiteful and mean, but I still don't understand why someone would care so much about what someone else does when it has nothing to do with her. Have you guys encountered people like that?

Monday, March 31, 2014

In which I win Cuban coffee from my friend Marta's blog

You guys, I am so excited - I won the coffee package Marta had on her blog! Go see - and read her blog. It's fun. I have been a Marta fan for years. I even have her cookbook and have made several of the recipes in it.

Oh! And she was on the BBC website this morning! Can you imagine what a shock it is - maybe it isn't a shock for  you - maybe you are used to such things but I am not - to see someone you know quoted at the BBC? They did a story on the cold war and talked to Marta about it!

I know the neatest people. (Not in person, but if I ever get to LA, I am totally inviting myself to Marta's for homemade pastelitos de guayaba.)

(I have met Lisa in person and Holly and Rubi and have a long list of others I want to meet.)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In which Tanya complains loudly that she is tired of "this petty shit" and the radio is killed forever

I moved into the office, but not before someone sitting near to my cubicle sent an email to Kyle complaining about how I identified the company and myself on the phone.

Have I already talked about this?

Let's say my company is called Apple. We have that degree of brand recognition in our market.

But Sergio decided that with the growth of the company via acquisition that we needed a new identity. So we changed the company name from Apple to The Sunshine Company.

1. Nobody has ever heard of The Sunshine Company
2. Nobody has ever heard of me.

So when I called customers to introduce myself I said, "This is Goldie at Apple" so they would take my darn call. Then, during the call, the customer would say, "Haven't you guys changed your name to The Sunshine Company? Why would you do that? That is so, so stupid. We hate it."

And I just had to smile and toe the company line, because badmouthing the CEO is poor form in most places.

Someone sent Kyle an email complaining that I was saying I was from Apple and not from The Sunshine Company.

Kyle sent it to my boss because why should Kyle deal with this crap? My boss emailed it back to me and said what's up with this?

I went to my boss and said, "Is this a kindergarten? What is this tattling crap? If someone had a problem, why didn't she just say something to me? And HOW IS IT HER BUSINESS ANYHOW?"

I was cranky.

My boss is in a big corner office with windows and a door. He is insulated from all of this so he doesn't care.

Whatever.

Then Bridget pulled me aside.

"Trust no one," she said.

Well. That's not something I am used to hearing from a co-worker. But it was valuable advice and certainly fit with what I had figured out so far.

Fast forward a few weeks. I am in the office. I have a door. I close it. When I close the door, it is blissfully quiet. So I no longer need to comment on the radio. I no longer have a dog in this fight. My problem has been solved. I am happy.

I work at home one day because I have a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day. I check my email when I get back from the doctor. There is an all-office note from Kyle: Effective immediately, there will be no radio in the office.

Wonderful!

Except - wait. Crap. Somehow, this will be blamed on me.

The next morning, I go straight to Kyle's office. "What's the deal with the radio?" I ask.

"Close the door," he says.

"I was just up in HR, minding my own business, taking care of an insurance thing," he said, "when the HR director, Bill, asked me to talk to him. I went into Bill's office, wondering what I had done wrong. Turns out that someone had complained to HR about Tanya."

Well. Now I was interested.

"Tanya came into the office late on Tuesday. The radio was off. The radio was off because there was a problem with the reception and they couldn't get a good signal from any station, so everyone who was there agreed just to turn it off for the day."

"She walked in and without even asking for information, went straight to the radio, turned it back on, and said loudly enough that everyone in the office could hear her, 'I am TIRED of this petty shit!'"

My jaw dropped. Whoa! This was even better than the Hand of Stop Talking!

But why hadn't I heard this?

"When was this again?" I asked.

"About 10 on Tuesday," he answered.

Ah. Right when I was across the street at the public library in one of their tiny conference rooms, having a phone interview with Big Company. No wonder I hadn't heard anything.

Kyle continued. "So someone complained to HR about her. And you know Bill - they think they need to deal with everything. I don't know why someone didn't just come to me if they were unhappy about Tanya. I'm Tanya's boss."

He sighed. "So Sergio got a phone call and so did Sofia and everyone had to get involved and I'm going, 'This is all about a darn radio?' and I cannot believe this is how this organization is run - that the CEO has to be involved in this kind of decision, but the new rule is no radio."

If Tanya had just kept her mouth shut, she would still have her tunes. She has nobody to blame but herself.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In which the CEO kicks Bridget out of her office and me into her office

The radio continued to play. I continued to wear earplugs and a headset and to listen to the sound of a B52 bomber and the rain and the waves crashing into the shore. By the end of the day, my temples hurt because of the pressure of the headset on my glasses and I was cranky.

A few people continued to mention that I should have an office. I hadn't said more about the radio. Well. Not to the other people in the open area. I had gone to Kyle, Tanya's boss, who is my peer, and asked him to find a solution for the radio. He shook his head and said, "That radio has been an issue since the day I started. The CEO doesn't like it to be too quiet. He wanted the radio."

"Oh man," I said. "So the radio is A Thing."

"It is," Kyle agreed.

May I note for the record that the CEO works in the headquarters office in Buenos Aires and cannot hear our radio - we are in North America - from there.

May I further note that the CEO is deadset against cubicles because he doesn't like people being separated from each other.

I have not seen the CEO's office, but could I get an "Amen!" to the idea that he is probably not in an open area with no walls.

I explained to Kyle what had happened with Tanya and that if I went to my boss, he would happily throw the radio away without consulting anyone. Kyle said he would do some looking around for a long antenna and we commiserated.

On my way out of Kyle's office, I looked at the org chart on his door. Bridget was in the office next to his. Bridget is lower on the org chart than I. I was the only person reporting to a director not in an office.

I sighed, looked longingly at Bridget's office, and returned to my little cube, which was only half the size of the cube I had had in the other division with only 1/4 of the storage space, including no place to to put my coat.

I longed for that office but I was not going to ask my boss about it. I was not going to displace someone else out of her space. I didn't know why someone at a lower reporting level than I would be in an office while I was in a cubicle, but I did not think I should make waves about it.

After I had been there a month, the CEO showed up from headquarters. At 7:50 a.m., after an overnight international flight, he appeared in the office. My boss was not there yet. I'm glad I was. The CEO - let's call him Sergio - walked over to my cubicle, introduced himself, and asked why I was in a cubicle rather than in an office. I told him this was where my boss had put me but I would eventually like walls and a door.

"I think everyone should have a door," I said.

"I'll take care of that," Sergio said.

I shrugged and said, "OK," thinking that he meant that if they ever did the office remodel, they would build me a space.

Then he sipped his coffee and made a face. "Thees coffee, eet is not very good," he noted.

"Let's go to the coffee shop across the street," I suggested. I agreed with him on the office coffee. How quickly I went from being excited that I was finally back in an office where they supplied coffee - the other division did not, which is the first time in my life I have worked someone where they didn't have coffee for employees - even when I was a Peace Corps volunteer, we had coffee - to being an ingrate unhappy that the free coffee - free coffee! - was bad.

We walked and chatted and he paid for my split shot latte' after laughing about it - "What ees these split shot?" -- and drank his cafe' American with two shots of espresso and he was quite charming. But I already had evidence from my job negotiations that he was not a man to be crossed, so I was careful.

Two hours later, I walked back from the ladies to see Sergio standing with Kyle and my boss. He looked at me. "You have an office now."

He turned to Kyle. "Tell Bridget that Goldie is getting that office and she needs to move out."

Sofia, Kyle's boss, who was also visiting from the BA office, smiled and said, "Now, you are one of us."

I looked at Kyle. My jaw dropped. He shook his head very slightly. I clamped my mouth shut. Didn't want to catch flies or any other kind of trouble. I had nothing to gain by protesting to the CEO that I should not have Bridget's office, as much as I thought the process was handled poorly. And if I have to have someone angry with me, it should be Bridget over the CEO.

Except the problem with Bridget being angry with me is that I see her every day. But Bridget can't fire me.

Quelle dilemma.

I walked back to my cube. I saw Kyle go into Bridget's office and close the door. A few minutes later, she walked out. She wouldn't look at me.

Oh great. Now I was going to have everyone hate me because of the radio and because I had gotten Bridget kicked out of her office. Joy joy joy.

I put my head down, put on my headset, and worked. I went to lunch, came back, and worked some more. I passed Bridget in the ladies.

"Bridget," I whispered. "I promise I did not say a word to Sergio about your office. Not a word!"

She said flatly, "OK," and walked away. She had always been friendly to me. Now she wouldn't even look at me.

Sofia came over to my desk. "I talked to Bridget."

My face reddened.

"I didn't ask Sergio to do that," I said.

"I know," she said. "And I talked to Bridget. She is not angry with you. But she was surprised. She needs some time to adjust."

I nodded. "OK," I said. "But I don't like the way this was done."

She shrugged slightly with the Latin shoulders. What is one to do? The CEO orders, we ask how high.

The next day, Bridget came over to my cube. "Do you have a minute?" she asked.

"Sure," I said. I followed her to her office and she closed the door behind her.

I took a deep breath. I was preparing myself for - for I don't know what. Nothing good.

"I just want you to know that I'm OK with this," she said. "I don't like the way it was handled, but I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at Sergio, but not at you."

I exhaled and bent over. I hate it when people are mad at me.

"Oh good!" I said. "I promise you I didn't say anything to Sergio. I mean, when he asked why I was in a cube, I told him this is where Mark put me and I would rather have walls, but I didn't say that I wanted him to kick you out."

She shook her head and smiled. "It's OK. I know."

"Because I like you and I want us to be friends," I confessed. "So I would never have had him kick you out."

She smiled again. "OK."

And then we hugged, because that is sometimes how women roll.

And then I talked to Kyle, who said he had suggested to Mark that they put me in Bridget's office before I ever started but Mark didn't want to do that, which made me cranky because all this could have been dealt with before I was ever involved but it wasn't and now it was just one more strike against me with the hoi polloi.

Next: Someone complains about how I identify the company on the phone and Tanya pitches a hissy fit about the radio and the radio disappears.






Thursday, March 13, 2014

In which I have an altercation with a co-worker about the office radio

I moved to a new job within my company. New job, same company, different division. There has been drama since before Day 1, but I don't want to get into any of that while I am still working there. If, however, I get a new new job at a completely new company, I will tell all. Let's just say that I keep learning questions I should ask before I accept a job, like, "Is this group financially stable or are you way behind in revenues and will there be mass panic and thoughts of layoffs in the near future?" and "Will you be changing the job description dramatically once I start and be wanting me to make cold calls?" and "This promised trip to the company headquarters in Buenos Aires in January - will this actually happen?"

Unfortunately, like the generals, I keep fighting the last war, so who knows what new drama I might encounter at a new new job?

On my first day of work, my boss showed me to my space: a desk in the middle of the office. A desk as part of a pod of desks. No walls. OK, a short wall between me and the other three desks that were clustered together, but no other walls.

I thought it was bad being in a cubicle. I didn't know it could get worse - that I would be demoted from an office (pretty much every job I've had) to a cubicle to - a desk.

My boss said, "We can build you a cubicle if you want, but you might like this."

I looked around me at all the space. At the way the desk was completely open to everything. Then I looked at him and wanted to say, "You have a window office in the corner. Do you think you would prefer to have this space?" Instead, I said just, "I expect I will prefer a cubicle so I can have some kind of walls."

"Well, we can't get maintenance to do anything for a few weeks," he said.

Note that I had accepted the job a month before I started. The long notice period was because of Drama that I will not divulge now, but there was Drama and there were Red Flags and it was too late to do anything about them because my former boss already knew I wanted to go and it's hard to stay working for someone who knows you want to not be working for him.

I was going to have to suck it up.

I sat down at my new desk. There was no nameplate. There was no computer. My phone had not been connected. I'm not sure what I was supposed to do without any tools to do the job.

They had known for a month.

But then - then I realized at least there was a distraction.

There was a radio playing not ten feet away from me. I was in the desk closest to the radio.

Some people may thrive in a noisy, crowded atmosphere.

I am not one of those people. Indeed, I do not know any one of those people. I will bet if you ask everyone you know, almost all of them would prefer an office to a cubicle and definitely to an open desk in a cluster.

Not only was I in an exposed area, I was in an exposed area next to the radio.

The women behind me in the old job used to chat all day - which actually didn't bug me - but also would eat noisy things, like carrot sticks and dry Cap'n Crunch, all day? Crunch, crunch, crunch, all day long.

Although to their credit, when I asked them to tone it down, they did, but only after apologizing for disturbing me.

See, the thing is, professional people, adults, who work in shared spaces get that we all have to make little sacrifices to make up for the cheapness of our employers, who refuse to provide people with the proper space and privacy to do a good job.

I do not want to listen to the radio at work. I want to work. I need to be able to concentrate. I need to be able to put together contracts and analyze pricing and speak to customers in Spanish and think about strategy and do things that require concentration. I can't do these things with a radio playing.

But it was my first day at work. I was not going to say a word.

Instead, after lunch, when my computer finally arrived and had been set up, I took it into the conference room so I could read all the training materials in peace.

After an hour, my boss, Mark, came in the conference room. "What are you doing in here?" he asked.

"The radio is distracting," I said. "I came in here for the quiet."

"Why don't you just turn the radio off?" he asked.

I sighed. "I am not going to be the person who comes into a place on her first day of work and tries to change everything. It would make everyone hate me."

Mark rolled his eyes, walked out of the conference room, and turned off the radio. Then he stuck his head back in the room and told me that the radio was off.

I took my computer back out to my desk and started working again.

One of my new co-workers, Jan, came over to me. "You don't like Christmas music?" she asked.

"What?" I answered.

"The radio. Mark said you didn't like the music."

"He did what?"

"When Mark turned off the radio, he said it was because you didn't like it."

Oh great. I shook my head. "It's not that I don't like Christmas music. It's that I have a hard time concentrating if there is music playing."

"Well," she said carefully. "We all like the music." (There are seven other women in the open work space, although most of them were gone for the holidays.) "It keeps us from going insane."

"I'm sorry," I said. "I don't know what to tell you. I will try to work with it and we can see what happens once they build me a cubicle. Maybe the walls will baffle some of the sound and it won't be an issue."

She smiled. "We really like the radio."

I brought in a headset and listened to the sound of rain falling and the sound of waves crashing and the sound of a jet engine all day long. It still didn't drown out the radio. So then I put in earplugs underneath the headphones. Still didn't drown it out, but made it easier for me to tune it out. Still, I could hear Elton John and Billy Joel and Meatloaf and the Beatles all day long and if I didn't hate their greatest hits before the new job, I sure hated them now.

They built me a cubicle that was half the size of the cubicle I'd had in the old job. I looked longingly at the office occupied by a woman who was below me on the org chart. But I said nothing to Mark other than, "I will say this only once. I want a door. I want a door and walls. I cannot concentrate with all that noise out there."

He dismissed me. "We were supposed to do an office renovation this year, but now there is no money for it."

I moved into the cubicle. It was still noisy.

Finally, I went back to Jan. "I am really sorry," I said, "but I can't stand that radio. Is there any way you could have it closer to your desk?"

I had already checked into jango.com and pandora.com. Both were blocked. I had asked IT to make an exception, but they said the request had to come from Mark. I was not going to get my boss involved in this. I had carefully asked a few of my other new co-workers what they thought about the radio. Two of them took out their earbuds and said, "What?"

Jan said she would try. "The problem is that it's hard to get good reception in here," she explained.

"I have tried," I said. "I wear my headset and earplugs and I listen to white noise, but the headset bothers my ears after a few hours."

She moved the radio. She couldn't get a signal.

"Our work is so boring that we really need the music," she said. "I can't believe they don't have you in an office."

I just shrugged and smiled slightly. I was not going to get into the office issue with anyone.

OK. I lie. I did say, "Yes, it would be nice to have an office."

So I sucked it up. And I started looking for a new job.

But one day, after I had tried to have a conversation with a customer in Mexico over the phone and had to press one hand against my free ear so I could concentrate on what he was saying - it's hard to understand a foreign language over the phone because you don't see the person's face and body language, I went over to the radio and turned it off.

Tanya popped up from her desk.

Tanya had not been there when Mark turned off the radio. She is about 20. This is her first job.

She marched over to the radio, turned it back on, turned to me, and said, "You don't get to come in here and do whatever you want."

"Excuse me?" I said.

"This is how we do things here. We listen to the radio. You don't just get to come in and change things."

I sighed. "Look. It is really hard for me to concentrate with the radio on. I need to be able to work."

She pushed her hand out in the Hand of Stop Talking move. "Don't be talking to me like that!"

"Like what?" I asked, genuinely puzzled.

"All mad and moving your hands!"

I hadn't realized I was moving my hands and I didn't think I had raised my voice, but I took a deep breath and said, "Look. I'm sorry. But we need to be able to work something out. I cannot work with the radio playing."

She folded her arms, shook her head, and said, "You need to talk to your manager about this."

This left me dumbfounded. I have never in my entire life gone to my boss about an interpersonal problem. Never. Speechless, I walked slowly back to my desk.

I sat there, fuming. Then thought, No! I need to deal with this!

I returned to the radio, where Tanya still stood.

"Look," I said. "We are both adults. We should be able to resolve this ourselves without going to out bosses." What I did not mention to her, although I was sorely tempted to, was that if I went to my boss, he would take the radio and throw it through the window.

She just shook her head. "You need to talk to your manager."

I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and walked away, shaking my head.

Next: I talk to Tanya's boss about the radio, someone complains to Kyle about how I talk on the phone, and the CEO kicks Bridget out of her office