Friday, October 30, 2015

Lane/Kari: Performance Review

Before I begin this post, I'd like to point out the excitement I got from my last one. I got a comment! I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but it kinda was. When I saw the little notification I may have "eeped" a bit. Not a scared "eep", just a high pitched sound of excitement. Not quite a "squee", which is usually accompanied by rapidly clapping your hands together, but definitely an involuntary exclamation of excitement that I noticed girls do and that I somehow picked up from being around them more.

Seriously though, I began doing this to clear my head and while I know that people read this to have one of them interact with somehow made it seem like people were listening, and it felt a bit therapeutic. So to answer your question, Anonymous, no Jaime did call but he did text. Just not anything interesting. Just hi. I wasn't too keen on stringing him along so I just kinda...didn't answer back. I feel like a bit of a bitch but I think he took the hint.

On to the real reason I'm posting. Work stuff. I'd thought I'd caught a break when my new body had a job at the same type of company as my old body, but since I'm just the receptionist it doesn't really carryover. This company could make novelty wigs and I would probably be doing the same thing and using as much knowledge of investing as I do working at this investment firm.

The thing is, I'm a great receptionist. Like really really good. It isn't rocket science, but it can overwhelm you if you don't stay on top of it. Clients can be left on hold or even forgotten, wrong extensions could be used, messages could be lost, important faxes might go to the wrong place. Within a week I had learned the system that Kari used and withing two weeks I had improved on it, using parts of the software that she either didn't know about or didn't bother using.

It didn't go unnoticed either since my co-workers seem appreciative, especially the women who have started being nice to me. The men were always nice to me, even if it was mostly poor attempts at flirting. A lot of them think that this is The Office and they're Jim Halpert and they can impress the pretty (and humble) receptionist by walking up and telling some lame joke they just saw on Reddit because they don't know that she had just read the same joke a few hours earlier. But the women? The women were cold to me. Not anything catty or mean directly, but a few looks here and there and a couple of times they'd stop talking when I entered the Ladies' room, which is perfectly fine by me because that isn't a place for talking and one of the more irritating little differences of being a girl.

The women? Less of a warm atmosphere. I don't know if they knew that Kari was screwing the boss or they just suspected it and observed evidence of it, but you could understand how someone who went to college and worked to get a job would look down on someone they thought was only there because of who they slept with. I might sound a bit arrogant if I say part of it was that Kari is the prettiest girl in the office, by a landslide, and she used to dress a lot more sexily and I can see how that would be construed as unprofessional.

In fact I know it was, since the first compliment I got from one of them was how much more "professional" I seemed lately. It was from Joanne, the woman who had filled in for Kari while she had been in Maine. She was in her late thirties it seemed, but she was low on the totem pole of analysts at the firm so she was the one who filled in, but her resentment seemed to have evaporated in the last four months (Has it been that long?!). She and the other ladies have stopped with the bathroom cold shoulder and have commenced with smiles and greetings when I walk into the break room. They also ask me to sign office birthday cards now. So, you're welcome Kari, you're co-workers don't hate you anymore.

My new, hard working, reputation was part of the reason I was kind of excited for my performance review last Thursday. In my old job performance reviews weren't just how you behaved at work but also a rigorous review of your portfolio and work and how much profit you made the firm, and if it wasn't enough you didn't get a Christmas bonus, and if it was too low you got fired. Very stressful stuff. This time? I wasn't in charge of anything that important and I was doing a bang up job at it, everyone seemed to think so....which is why I was annoyed but not truly surprised how it went down.

Walking into Latherman's office I could smell the cologne in the air, not cheap stuff but even a little bit of decent cologne goes along way. I sit down in the chair across from his desk, hands crossed in my lap, ankles crossed on the floor. A very professional yet feminine way of sitting that I've been working on perfecting so that I'm not slouching confidently with my legs spread open.

Latherman gives me this look as if he's trying to either make me feel small or make himself seem bigger. He holds up the paper that has my performance review. "I have to say Kari, I'm a little disappointed in you. This review is significantly worse than last years, and you were doing so well this year before falling off."

I cock one eyebrow a little, knowing what a complete load of bullshit that is. If anything the opposite is true, my work has gotten a lot better in the last four months. "How do you mean, Mr. Latherman?"

"Nick" he says

"How has my performance fallen off, Nick" I repeat.

"You used to go the extra mile" he begins "You'd stay late, work weekends. You had a real commitment to this company. Now you just come in at 9 and leave at 5."

Not seeing just how being able to do the same work in less time was a detriment, I pressed further. "If you notice, all of my work has been done before I leave, I've just needed to spend more time at home in recent months."

"Really?" He says with a sleazy smirk "That's not what those photos on your Instagram show." I'm not sure which is weirder, a man that age using Instagram or following his secretary. "It just seems you aren't making the same effort. The last time you and I worked overtime together was that trip to Maine."

Something about the way he said "Work Overtime" made everything click in my mind. This wasn't "I think your a bad receptionist" this was "We used to have sex and now we aren't having sex and I don't like that so I'm going to make it seem like its your fault"

I looked at the photo on his desk of him, a woman who I presumed was his wife, and two kids. Shameless. "And what do you suggest I do, Nick?" I say, not breaking my poker face.

"Well for starters, the way you've been dressing isn't up to snuff. Remember, you're first face clients see when they walk in the door. You want to be looking your best. That means dressing like you give a damn and maybe putting on some makeup."

I was livid. Boiling inside. I've worked long enough that I've had to sit through enough sexual harassment videos and this was a pretty clear cut case. I should have walked out. Quit and called HR, the Labor Department, and a ball-busting lawyer. I should have at least told him off, that he wasn't nearly as successful as he thinks he is and his small potatoes regional financial firm would be a mid afternoon snack for some of the brokers I've worked with, both male and female. I really should have punched him.

Thats what I would have done, if I had been me. But I'm not me. I'm Kari. Me has an MBA and a sizable nest egg if I ever had to make a move like that. I have options. Kari doesn't. She doesn't have her GED even, she has a kid, an apartment, and a car payment to make. She needed this job and she wasn't likely to find one better. It disgusted me that she had to sleep with the boss and be office eye candy to get it, but that was her decision. Quitting would probably put her on welfare, with me having to fill out all the paperwork.

I bit my lip and said "I'll take that into consideration" before heading home for the day.

When I got home I poured myself a drink and headed to the bedroom, looking through the closet. Now I was really glad I went out with Rosita to the club. I found the outfits that Kari normally wore to work. Short skirts with pantyhose, tight pants, low cut blouses. If I could survive a night of being grinded and groped I could survive 8 hours a day with some dirty old man staring at my ass. Its not like he wasn't doing it before.

And for the last week that's what I did. Receptionist-ing isn't any harder in a skirt or 3 inch heels, although you are more cognizant of the fact that youre wearing them, and some of the ladies gave me a couple of dirty looks, but overall my increased job performance allowed them to overlook the cleavage.

Latherman seemed to approve, he gave Kari a small raise.



Anonymous said...

Your handling it but still sucks. Sounds as if there is more turns ahead. Keep updating

Tori said...

Quite a dilemma... handle it however you deem appropriate, but don't get too far in over your head! We're here for you!