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.


  1. The more you disclose about your office, the happier i am to work at home! Seriously, tho, what is with the management of your "local office"? It should not take the CEO to move a higher level employee into the appropriate office space. You got a bunch of wimps above you!

    Hope you and Bridgit work it out, since you need a friend at work. Can't wait to see what Tanya pulls next. Best keep wearing your asbestos panties to work for a while.

    1. Yeah, I couldn't believe that the CEO is the one who addressed this. It should all have been done before I even started.

  2. Doesn't every office have a Tanya? The nerve-- how awful. I could go on about generations but I'm sure seasoned workers thought my generation was horrible too. I am glad you got to talk to Bridgit. That was smooth on her part as well.

    1. I am not used to a Tanya, but perhaps I have just been oblivious. This is a very different environment from what I am used to!

  3. I came over here from Jen on the Edge --this is so fun, like reading a soap opera! Of course, I'll admit I'm glad it's your soap opera, and not mine, because I'm mean that way :-) I can't wait to see how Tanya reacts when someone grabs that radio out of her sweaty little hands.

    1. Oh Cassi Renee - just wait until you get to the stuff about my husband's parents. That's a level above soap opera!