This bodes well for my stage debut on SNL, if there’s a prat fall in the script.

5 Jul

My office has an open environment, where we all have cubes instead of doors. It’s generally a fine set-up, unless you need privacy or your colleagues get a bit rowdy. Fortunately, I have a wireless ear piece, so if it gets noisy, I can generally grab my laptop and find a conference room without interrupting the call.

Last week we had network issues, which does to office workers what too much sugar does to infants: it causes melt-downs. My cube-mate (by which I mean: the woman on the other side of my cube, with whom I negotiate when I feel it’s necessary to fire up my space heater, and who, for the record, is awesome) expresses her frustration by pounding on her desk and hissing the F-word under her breath.

Like a rheumatic joint that predicts a storm, I can gauge our network speed by the way she’s pounding her desk on any given day. Thursday she was practically playing the bongos. “I think someone replaced my cord!” she said.

“What cord?” I asked.

“The cord that makes my internet work!” she told me.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“Because my cord was not blue. And this cord is blue. And my internet is not working!”

Got it. I pointed her toward the box that has the extra CAT-5 cords, and a few minutes she came back with a new one. “This looks like my old cord. People think I’m clueless when it comes to technology, but I’m not that out of it,” she informed me.

Then sheepishly, lifting the cord, she added, “Does it matter which end I plug into the laptop?” And she started laughing, despite the fact that the question was serious, which is EXACTLY why I love her.

About 30 minutes later, however, the desk-thumping resumed. “What’s the problem?” I asked.

“It’s happening again! My internet keeps cutting in and out. Are you doing something over there?” She called out.

I wasn’t, but I do sit near the cable jack. Because I have a wicked bone in my body, I realized the potential this situation offered: I could set-up a video camera, then sporadically unplug her CAT-5 throughout the day, filming her escalated frustration with her network. I imagine it playing out sort of like THIS prank.

Alas, I like her too much to be sadistic, so I duct taped her cord into the wall and decided to swat the devil off my shoulder.

Why is this frightening? A) Because it might represent your next interview with me; and B) Because it looks real but is actually CGI. Which is just disturbing.

Thirty minutes later, I was on the phone, conducting a second interview with a candidate. It was a tough part of the interview, during which I shredded the weaker parts of an account strategy he developed, putting him on his toes to defend himself. I started to ask the question, and then I heard the frantic pounding of palms on my cubemate’s desk. Uh oh.

Before I could finish my sentence, I heard an abrupt, “For f*ck’s sake! The internet is down again!”

Eager to make sure my candidate didn’t hear this verbal weathervane, I grabbed my computer and started my Nomad’s Walk, searching for a quiet room. Miraculously, I maintained my train of thought as I walked past two occupied conference rooms. At last, deciding to camp out in our conference room, I had just finished my sentence when I pulled out a chair, sat down, and…

COLLAPSED ONTO THE FLOOR.

That’s right. The folding chair I had selected was BROKEN, but had been left sitting as if it worked. Not knowing that (and too distracted to see the screw dangling suspiciously from its joint), I pulled it out, sat on it, and proceeded to land on the floor, on my back, one hand suspending my laptop in the air over me, while my other hand dumped a tumbler of water on my face.

“I’m sorry,” the candidate interrupted. “But what was that noise? It sounds like something broke.”

Lying on my back, blood running down my wrist from where it had hit the chair during my tumble, clothes soaked, I looked at the ceiling and had to fight back laughter. Seriously? Um.

“Sorry about that,” I responded, willing myself to hold it together. “Long story, but I seem to have landed in the trick chair. Now back to my question…”

And lest you think I’m exaggerating, let me assure you: the noise was also loud enough that my co-workers came running into the room to see what happened. Because my ear piece is so discreet, they couldn’t tell that I was still on a call, conducting an interview. “Are you OK?” They asked, sizing up the flattened chair.

I softly snapped my fingers pointed to my ear, and responded to the candidate I was interviewing, showing them that — despite the blood — it was business as usual.

Once I was off the phone? Totally different story. I was laughing so hard, I had tears rolling out my eyes as I tried to explain to my co-workers what had happened. “Why didn’t you just pause the interview and offer to call him back?” Someone asked.

Because: If you work in my office, you need to roll with the punches. And I do mean roll. Because sometimes, it’s like the WWF, yo. This ain’t no desk job.

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51 Responses to “This bodes well for my stage debut on SNL, if there’s a prat fall in the script.”

  1. chancy717 July 6, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    hahaha AWESOME. I want to work with you – you sound like a hoot!

  2. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife July 6, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    How did the candidate not burst out laughing? My nervousness for the interview would have for sure caused some of that uncontrollable giggling. Until I saw the bloody wrist…

  3. Mikalee Byerman July 6, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    It’s TOTALLY like a set-up in a Steve Carell movie. Which begs the question: Who will play you in the movie version of your life?

    😉

  4. Kathryn McCullough July 6, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    This is absolutely hysterical! So f*cking funny, I could spit! You clearly have SNL all wrapped up!

    And congrats on freshly-pressed! This post realy, really deserves it!

    Now hang on for the ride–cause it will be a wild one! And watch out for that chair in the corner———————

    Kathy

    • pithypants July 6, 2011 at 9:43 am #

      Thanks! I just fell out of my chair when I saw I made Freshly Pressed! Much better than breaking a chair with my ass!

  5. SPO July 6, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Haha

  6. Byron MacLymont July 6, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Great post. I’m positive that computer maintenance requires swearing. It works on the same principle as plumbing repair.

    (Congratulations on FP – hopefully this doesn’t mean you’ll start hurling yourself at furniture everywhere in an attempt to score a second one.)

    • pithypants July 6, 2011 at 10:21 am #

      Byron… I’ve resorted to MUCH more painful tactics trying to get FP to notice me — including going off the windshield of a car in February (http://tinyurl.com/3mhm4gt). Apparently office antics are funnier than potential manslaughter. Who knew? Thanks for reading! 🙂

  7. Kristen July 6, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    This was hysterical!

    You’re such a good sport for keeping the interview going. On the plus side, at least he wasn’t there to see your fall!

    • pithypants July 6, 2011 at 10:22 am #

      No kidding. I usually Skype with candidates. That would’ve looked REEDONKULOUS.

  8. Garrett McKenna July 6, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Isn’t it lovely how much time we can waste in offices because the internet/phone/fax/illegally downloaded version of Word doesn’t work right. Oh joy!

  9. I Made You A Mixtape July 6, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Wow!! You get the most dedicated employee award!!

  10. ournote2self July 6, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Hahaha! You had my laughing (out loud) at my desk. This is totally something that would happen to me. Glad to know that I’m not the only one. 🙂

  11. Eva McCane July 6, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    very entertaining! good stuff

  12. lexy3587 July 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    hilarious!

  13. Sharon July 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Why couldn’t I have been on the call with you when that happened?!! Why?!??!?!

    • pithypants July 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      I’m sure someone in this office would be happy to booby-trap my desk chair to stage a re-enactment.

  14. deezahoney July 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Oh my word, that is HILARIOUS. Very impressive that you kept the interview going, too!

  15. James M. July 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Very Funny!!!! I love the CAT5 picture!

    • pithypants July 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks! Wish I could take credit for it… but instead I’ll just give a nod to the contributors at icanhascheezburger!

  16. yogibootcamp July 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    I am with you on the CGI. Imaginative use of photos… oh, the things you say, without saying them! You have an active mind, and I like it!

  17. mickeymurphy July 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Very funny!

  18. Devin M. D. July 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    That made me chuckle heartily. Great post my fellow blogger. Keep up the good work and keep the laughs rolling!

  19. My Camera, My Friend July 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Sounds like you have a very interesting office. Also, I love the picture. Not much more funny than kitties in a computer.

  20. theothercoworker July 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Love it!!!!

  21. Damian Trasler July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Oh boy, office life! I just got a job where I work in a pod after a year of shop-floor-talking–to-customers-have-to-be-nice work. It’s a blessed relief, I tell you. The Promised Land!

  22. Trevor July 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    sounds like a pretty jam-packed day! lets just hope she doesnt get her plug replaced again…. I dont think anyone would appreciate the person that did that. 🙂

    • pithypants July 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      Trevor – I must have a dirty mind, because when I first read this comment I thought it was spam. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  23. Tattoos, love and lunacy... July 6, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Perfectly written – great job!

  24. Peas and Cougars July 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    So, did you find out, was it a “trick” chair placed by one of your deviant coworkers?

  25. heidihappened July 6, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    You sound like a person I’d love to work with!

  26. charlywalker July 6, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    very funny!

  27. helenbaby July 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Very interesting ~ haha

  28. Kim July 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Where do we apply!!!

  29. ennospace July 6, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Wow, if the computer works, the little cats must be scared!!

  30. Deletrius July 6, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    I’d love the share work with you! You sound like so much fun! I’m glad you have such an entertaining colleague 🙂

  31. Allie July 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Great anecdote. Made me feel better a bit better about my horrendous, tear-inducing entry level retail job. 😀

    Honestly though, you should re-evaluate your dismissal of the hidden camera idea! Your cube mate sounds like a lady who with a sense of humor. And who knows, maybe she can match your new WP fame by becoming an internet sensation.

  32. Dan Bain July 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Great story!

  33. Auspicious Wedding Dates July 7, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    The cat photo is so cute!

  34. Deanna July 7, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    Make sure your boss reads this – you could potentially be upgraded to the corner office. Keener!

  35. nikkie July 7, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    Hilarious, almost fell off my chair while reading this. Had to stay silent though because of the coworkers.

  36. richannkur July 7, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    nice

  37. gaycarboys July 7, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    LOL Brilliant. Mind you I don’t think I could have been bothered trying to work it out….:) Great posting.

  38. Ms Mary July 7, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    Love this! I sit in a cube surrounded by offices and I have to basically threaten people when I know I’m going to be on a call. (I don’t have the techno ability to relocate self during call.) I’ve had to put a call on hold and shout “WORKING HERE!” to get them to pipe down. Congrats on FP! Looking forward to reading more of your posts … probably at work – HA!

    • pithypants July 7, 2011 at 7:22 am #

      I’m pretty sure the guy who invented the mute button was a pioneer of CubeVille.

  39. Mimi July 7, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    The photo with cats is wonderful! They are soo sweet, wanna have one 🙂

  40. thesinglecell July 7, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Second time today I’ve LOL’d at a blog post. I rarely LOL. This is totally awesome and I think we should be friends in real life. (Is that weird to say?) And congrats on the FP!

  41. Lorna's Voice July 7, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Funny and engagingly written. Love your style!

  42. J. Boudreaux July 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    Sounds like a typical day in a typical contemporary office. Unfortunately I’m retired and don’t get to do that kind of stuff anymore . . . and I love it! Well written. J.

  43. Penelope August 10, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    You should see how crazy it gets in our office. Cat#4 seems to be the team leader :).

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