Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We belong to a clandestine, global network

Okay, not really. But executive assistants do get to be pretty tight. We know the hottest spots in town, we're tight with political aides, and deal with corporate secrets on a daily basis. One of them invited me to Los Angeles to hang out. I might take him up on his offer; the weather in Toronto has been hella shitty. It was sunny, cloudy, windy, and SNOWY all on the same day. Like, remember how Hugh Grant walked through a bazaar in Notting Hill and he experienced all four seasons? It's like that, except REAL.

Anyway, I contracted a cold from my colleague, who had been sneezing and sniffling up a storm all of last week. Not only does she not believe in taking time off work (because she's a keener), but she also doesn't believe in using hand sanitizer.

When I told her I was sick, she assured me that it was the wonky weather's fault.

"I don't think so," I shot back. "You were coughing all over me. I'm pretty sure it was you."

Did I mention that she doesn't "believe" in hand sanitizer; the bottle she has on her desk is for other people to use so they can stand around long enough to chat. What's there to not believe? She says superbugs are spawned that way. Say what? Alcohol doesn't work the same way as antibiotics!

She also believes the earth is going to end because of polar shifts and tried to get me to eat granola bars with her because they were healthy and she's a vegetarian, so she's an authority on what's healthy. "This has 13 grams of sugar!" I admonished. "It's just a candy bar."

Well, now that I'm on track to vent about her, I might as well keep going. She has this extremely annoying habit of thinking out loud. Every minor thought that pops into her head is verbalized to me. From the steps in which she'd take to lock up an office ("I'm going to get the key, open the door, turn on the lights ...") to the cute emails her boyfriend sends her that I told her I found "revolting".

"He says he's going to buy groceries. Isn't that sweet?"

Who cares?!

Even when I told her it would be helpful to distinguish what to say out loud so I'd know what was important and pay attention, she told me to ignore her. The problem? It's not easy! "What are you reading?" None of your business!

Or the way she rushes to get water for the executives and takes credit for other people's work. I mean, really?

Today, she had to arrange a conference call for the execs. She called me three times when all I wanted to do was rest (I had taken a sick day). I always find myself asking her what exactly she's calling about because she loses track of what she called to ask.

In one insignificant conversation, I said, "Look, I already told you he was free for the time you stated so go ahead and organize it." I mean, how the hell was I supposed to know what he does at home with his family and whether the call might be intrusive to him? Am I a psychic?

That's what's truly annoying about her. She factors in every single possible scenario including completely hypothetical ones before taking action. Just do it and if it doesn't work, we'll notify you! Everything has to be an ordeal with her.

And she takes it personally if you tell her to back off. Why do I need to explain to her that she's not necessarily a bad person, but her behaviour is overbearing. Since assistants are by nature discreet, you'd think she'd understand that I can't tell her everything just to make her life easier. Not to mention her constant yakking regularly gives away the whereabouts of her bosses. "Oh, so-and-so isn't in the office right now. He's in LA." Why would you tell strangers this?

She's 28 and acts like she has no worldly experience. Even the girl who picked her as her replacement is irritated. But what can we do? She's not evil, just simple and insecure.

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