Friday, June 17, 2011

Chapter 3 - HELP WANTED: Tales of a Free Spirit Professional

The only way to get on Gina’s good side was if you could make her laugh. I learned this one day, when out of frustration, I imitated Scott - hunching shoulders and pinching my nose to replicate his nasal and whiny voice. Gina loved this, clapping her hands like a five year old with delight.

“Do it again! Do it again!
And so it went. I became the sideshow in our tense little corner, imitating the partners and making private, inappropriate comments at their expense just to keep the peace with Gina. Her reaction was a little odd and it made me wonder if there was much laughter in her own home. She’d become almost giddy to the point I thought she might shed tears of joy if I took my antics too far. Still, she was a good audience, laughing right on cue which only encouraged me to go further.

I didn’t mind. Life at The Madsen Group was losing its luster. Two years in and I was bored out of my mind. Scott didn’t really want to get organized.  He liked to keep his desk piled high with papers to make it look like he was busy. The respect I’d had for him in the beginning had dwindled down to almost nothing.

The irony was that the crappier I treated him, the nicer he was to me. Go figure. I sure didn’t. I just went with it, rolling my eyes when he asked me to make copies and pleading, “Do I have to?” It wasn’t right but Scott ate it up and shuffled off to the copy machine.

I’d always had an innate respect for my superiors, but I wasn’t a kiss-ass. I never cowered either. Gina’s boss sent many-a-partners into an uncomfortable squirm with a soft pat on the shoulder and a “Have ya got those numbers for me, Kevin?”

I never understood that. He was just a person too. He was also a bit of an asshole, but I never minded him. Several times, he’d call out from his office for Gina and in her absence, I’d appear at his door because if I didn’t, he’d go on screaming until somebody went to him.

I had dreadlocks at the time which was often the topic of conversation around the office slating me as the “cool assistant.” Tim, though, didn’t quite know how to take me. Whenever he had to address me, he’d scrunch up his face and look over the reading glasses that sat on the tip of his nose with confusion as if to say, “How the hell did you get into my corner?”

He was equally miffed when he’d ask me for something and I’d get it to him quickly and efficiently, looking at me with uncertainty and mumbling, “Uh, thanks” under his breath.

I wasn’t a bad assistant. I was a bored assistant.

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