Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ps & Qs

Learning manners is a very tricky process.

As a Young Wanter, you have to go through a progression of being impolite – and being the brunt of impoliteness – in order to learn that people respond more positively to pleasant requests for assistance than they do to demands.

How many times have you (as a Seasoned Giver, a Young Wanter or a bystander) witnessed this exchange:

Wanter: “I want [a cookie/a pony/some other desirable noun]!”

Giver: “How do you ask?”

Wanter: begrudgingly “PUH-LEEEEEEZE.”

If the Seasoned Giver is astute, they will phrase their request politely in order to set a positive example.  For instance, “Could you please ask nicely?” would garner a more expedient reaction, I would think, than a demand for good manners. In the strictest sense, it would be ironic**1 to demand the use of polite manners. But the main point here is that many Young Wanter-hood wishes are met not with the giving of the desired item, but with a response requesting the application of some manners. Only once these manners are interjected does the process begin of garnering what one sought in the first place.

As the Young Wanter begins to age, Seasoned Givers need no longer moderate the requests that escape their offsprings’ lips. The Young Wanter begins taking it upon themselves to ask nicely from the very start in order to avoid unnecessary conversation with adults. Indeed, a “May I please borrow the car?” will get you out the door to your booze-fueled orgy in a much more timely manner, and without as many pesky questions about Purpose of Travel and Intent to Return. It’s almost safe to say that Seasoned Givers ask more questions if you’re impolite, just to create greater inconvenience.

So it stands to reason that, in some time during conception and graduation, most Young Wanters**2 come into contact with and learn the proper application of manners in family, social and educational/professional settings.

And that’s where I get confused.

Seasoned Givers seem to have a grasp of manners, in order to train their spawn in the Polite Ways of the Universe. Young Wanters seem to have a basic understanding as well, in order to escape their Seasoned Givers’ incessant nagging. Somewhere along life’s path, it stands to reason that approximately 85% of the world would have found themselves in a situation where being impolite just wasn’t an option.

So where have all of the miscreants that litter the world come from?

The number of individuals within professional establishments who are unable to request things with even the most sarcastic, curmudgeonly shmear of politeness is mind boggling.

As a small smattering of examples:

“I need you to take care of [verb].”
 For instance: “I need you to take care of placing that order.”

“I need [noun].”
 For instance: “I need Post-Its.”

“[Verb, barked as a monosyllabic order].”
For instance: “Help.”

Sometimes, I’m sure these are meant to be requests for assistance instead of demands for action. Busy schedules can get in the way of manners, as can stressful deadlines, and it behooves one to act expediently and deal with the fallout later.

But, more often, I think that this behavior continues because it is justified by the individuals who allow it to take place.

Think about it:

As a Young Wanter, how often did you receive That Which You Desired if you didn’t apply the appropriate layer of politeness to your request? 20% of the time was my top percentage. Those were times when either A) my Seasoned Givers were busy and wanted me out of their hair; B) I was being monitored by an only-slightly-older-than-me individual who didn’t care what I did or how I acted so long as she got her $20, or C) I was pitching a tizzy to my grandparents. And even in these instances, I only had about a 50% success rate. On a normal day, under normal circumstances, I didn’t get anything I requested impolitely… And outright demands were only met with a warming of my posterior. No chance in hell that I would get what I wanted if I didn’t shine up my niceness and put it to good use.

And yet, as an adult, this behavior of “Demand and You Shall Receive” is not only acceptable… It’s almost expected.

When working with a Polite Asker and a Grumpy Demander, whose project are you more likely to hurry off your plate so a difficult individual will get out of your hair?

The Grumpy Demander. No question.

When face with a “Could you please” and a “Get it done,” which will you tackle first to avoid unnecessary Strife?

The “Get it done.” Again, no question.

Again and again, instances arise where the Nice Guy is pushed to the back burner in order to “handle” the pushy, negative, and rude individuals that plague society.

And all because, as an adult, it’s “Impolite” to request manners from peers.
But don’t think I don't try.

**1 - Ironic: eye-RON-ick [adj] See: Parenting.
**2 – Not all. Some are raised by heathen Seasoned Givers, or by wildebeests.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Really, ReaderFriends?


It's been three weeks today since my last post.


And you didn't say anything!

It's like I'm not talking to anyone.

Or, conversely, I'm talking to a bunch of people who are worried they'll frighten me away with feedback.

Yeah... let's go with that.

SO... We've moved!

We're safely in our new location. I have a new cubicle, far from the madness of my former life.

And it's fantastic.

No, for realsies.

I have four walls, that go all the way up. I can tippy-toe and see over them, but I'm not a rat in a cage on display for my coworkers to antagonize. And I love it.

I have neighbors who whisper their conversations in an attempt not to interrupt my work and what I'm trying to get done. They speak on the phone as if they're normal people. They don't yell, they don't cuss* and they treat each other with respect.

And when I say each other... I mean me, too.

I've gotten more work done in the last two weeks than I had in months. I'm caught up (almost entirely, except for the stuff that just came in) on my invoicing, I'm caught up on my typing and I'm getting a handle on the record keeping that's been hanging over my head since before I started as an administrator for this company.

It's fabulous!

However, things are going so well and I'm staying so busy that it's been hard to keep up with writing. So I wanted to send you this.

In my free time, I've been working in a very sexy production of a classic Christmas ballet. It's helped me both to bolster my self confidence by working with people who make me smile, and to help me keep a lid on my Christmas Spirit by keeping me in a state of moderate exhaustion throughout the Christmas season.

But it's been fabulous. Full of glitter, full of feathers and full of fun.

SO: I hope you have a wonderful holiday, ReaderFriends. I hope it's fabulous and I hope that it brings you all the sparkling things you desire.

* Not aloud, anyway. I hear they're pretty rude-and-crude people once you get to know them, but I don't hear much of anything from them. Maybe they're scared of me, too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Load 'Em Up...

So... I guess we're moving.

(Understatement. I've known we were moving since June. It's just
now that it's real.)

"Why is it only real now?" you ask?

Good question. You wouldn't know if you hadn't been here. And you weren't here (because there is almost certainly not anyone loitering under my desk), so I should tell you.
My awfice has been taken over my boxes. 

And when I say my awfice, I don't mean just my little cube-shaped slice of professional world heaven... I mean the *whole damned floor.* 

And the other floor in this building that we occupy. 

And our satellite building two miles away. 

And possibly the moon.

There are boxes *everywhere*.

Which wouldn't be so bad, I suppose. Right now they're empty, and are standing around in intimidating piles lurking in corners and empty cubicles. 

It's not the lurking boxes that bothers me, though. I'm used to them. Boyfriend of Amazingness works for a company that handles big moves, so he has some castoffs that we store things in. They're really cool - they're these huge plastic bins with interlocking plastic lids that pop right in and keep all your stuff safe and cozy inside. Like my shoes.

No, the crates themselves aren't scary at all.

What intimidates me is that they are all going to be full.

Of stuff.

In a week.

Which is terrifying.

I suppose I would be able to handle it better if I knew that everything would come out okay once we unpacked. But I don't know that at all.

In fact, all I know is that I have to load up everything in the Reception area, which includes the mailing stuff and most of our deliverable packaging and even a toolbox. 

And then there are the copy rooms, with their piles of paper and their copying goodness.

And I have to package it all and get it into crates - four high per skid, please: we must be ergonomically conscious! - for the moving company to take away.

A week from tomorrow.

I guess it's the timeline that creates the greatest of my discomfort. I left the office Monday for my stint at our new location with the other employees who already live there. I left at noon on Monday with a smile on my face and an excited gleam in my eye. (Because, let's face it - any time not spent within these confines are well spent moments indeed...) 

And when I came back Tuesday, all hell had broken loose. We suddenly had confirmation that we would indeed be moving out of our current location before Christmas. 

As in, well before Christmas.

As in, less than two weeks from the official announcement.

Tuesday was a day of meetings: Meetings with movers, coordination with employees on site, coordination with superiors off site, and a flurry of phone calls to start the process.

Wednesday I was again slated to go over to the new location. I looked forward to it with even more focus, as my coworkers had become Hell Hounds bent upon one common goal: Bringing me to my inevitable stress-riddled demise before the last crate was packed. 

So, this morning, I came in to these boxes.


I thought briefly about crawling into one and hiding until the whole mess is over with... But that didn't seem feasible. There are no breathing holes, and my feet might stink.

For now, I have to go coordinate the secure storage guy who just showed up to take away my last four days of work: 

I'm not sad to see them go. Those suckers are heavy.

So I'm forging onward and trying desperately not to lose my mind. Please stay tuned for more moving fun as the next week goes by.