So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

new mantra

Wherever You Stand
Be the Soul of that Place.

this is my new mantra, which i read the other day and which i needed to hear this week.  

you see, i'm working in a place that has no soul.  or -- i should say -- in a place where it's hard to see any soul. (yes. that will look much better on the transcript of today's proceedings.) maybe because everyone at the firm is too busy to have soul. 

my new office is vastly different from my last one, which i'm starting to view as a good thing.  it just takes a little time to get used to the huge change.  my last firm had a lot of soul.  and i had a lot of freedom. to blog, to take long lunches, to go to the gym in the middle of the day.  but the place had a little too much soul, with an office alcoholic causing commotion next door and an egomaniacal boss trying to rule the world three offices away.   every day was a new load of crazy.  nothing of the sort in my new office.

there's just no time for that brand of craziness nowadays.  too much work piled up.  not enough time in even a 12-hour day.  which is amazing and very good news IN THIS ECONOMY.  but the place moves so quickly and has such a buzz to it that nobody takes time to smile or to get to know anyone else.  until i came along, i'm not sure the words "thank" and "you" were put together much.

my first week, i thought that everyone at the firm was just rude.  nobody asked me how i was. nobody said "good morning."  rude.  the second week, i realized that nobody takes time to eat lunch, unless they can do it while doing work.  people who have worked together for months don't know each other at all.  where is the friendly banter? where is the water cooler talk?  there just isn't any, i've realized.   and there's no soul.

yet there has to be some hidden soul in the place, i've decided, because i work with three gorgeous 20-something paralegals and a bunch of old Jews. that's a recipe for a lot of personality.  i know the Jews are overworked. and the paralegals are pretty young sluts, so maybe they're just tired and hung over from partying the night before. every day. 

at any rate, back to my mantra.  i've decided to Be The Soul of the place.  first, there will be no more walking past me at 9 AM without hearing a "good morning."  second, i've spent all week asking people how they are, what they've got planned for their long holiday weekends, etc.  and they're responding well.  they're smiling.  give me a week, and they'll love me the best.  especially my 20-something paralegals.  they will be my work harem.  i charmed one of their kind at my old job, and she loved me so much that she moved in with me and now cooks me dinner.  i may have to get a bigger house.

i know that the office is a place to do business and be professional and focus.  but i can't do that with strangers and without smiles.  and sometimes jokes.  like today when i told my boss that he needs Xanax.  (did he laugh? no, but he will later. maybe over the weekend.)  jokes are important during a stressful day.  i think it will continue to get better, and maybe someday i'll have a personal conversation with a person who works there.  or at least i'll witness such a conversation between two persons who work there.  

for now, it's just me. i'll be the soul.


L said...

You sound like you'd be a fun colleague. My current workplace is like your former one-- long lunches, people chatting a lot, socializing. Like you said, it's got a lot of soul and I think it's a really nice environment, but at the same time it's too much sometimes and not fast-paced or serious enough.
I enjoy your blog!

Lifebeginsat30ty said...

I had the same thing happen when I started the job I have now. Everyone sat at their desks for lunch typing away as they stuffed sandwiches in their mouths. So every day I started asking every single person if they wanted to have lunch in the park. Some people always say no. But after a while there was a good group of us that went every day. Now it's the norm. Funny how that is, huh? ;) It only takes one! Be that soul :)

anastasia beaverhausen said...

Be the soul, baby, be the soul...

My old workplace used to have soul-less moments and sometimes I was the person to knock people out of it. They will appreciate it, even if they don't say anything.