Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Get Rid of Your Boss Without Really Trying

I slept in this morning, then finished The Secret Garden. I think I needed to read that. The classic story of two spoiled, unhappy children who are transformed by the encounter with a hidden garden in an old Northern English manor house was just what the doctor ordered. I've been feeling as crabby as Mistress Mary lately, and even less hopeful. I'm still a little confused, but I'm trying to set things straight.

I really didn't get to much else today. Got to the laundromat around 11:30. It wasn't busy, and I didn't have much to wash anyway. I was in and out.

I did find a very interesting book at the Haddon Township Library last week, Making Money With Your Computer at Home, and went through the first half while at the laundromat. The first part of the book has a listing of business ideas you can begin at home with little or no money, just using your computer. In addition to the obvious ones, like "Copywriter," I found many I liked, from ones involving condensing paragraphs for database companies and clipping online text and writing for indexes, to self-publishing and writing for web sites. Not all of that requires a portfolio, either. I'm really beginning to regret not having done this sooner. If I had a portfolio, I wouldn't be in the mess that I am.

When I got home, I put my laundry away, had leftovers for lunch, and ran 9 to 5. Given all my current work problems, I figured I needed this one. Now, I barely see my bosses, much less have problems with them. Things were quite different in the work place 30 years ago, as shy Judy (Jane Fonda) discovers when she joins a huge firm in New York as a secretary. Tough Violet (Lily Tomlin), a long-time employee, shows her around, but there's trouble a-brewin' in Consolidated Corporations, and it's all involving their obnoxious boss Frank (Dabney Coleman). He passes Violet over for a promotion because she's a woman and chases his sweet-natured secretary Doralee (Dolly Pardon, in her screen debut), despite the fact that they're both married.

All three women are quite fed up with their obnoxious boss, but it doesn't get beyond some very creative fantasies until Violet accidentally poisons him. Though the women initially try to reason with him, they discover that the lecherous boor is beyond listening. They do the one thing they can think of until some vital information on his activities comes through - they keep him bound in his own home while they proceed to make their office a far more pleasant place to work. However, he gets quite a shock when he returns and learns that the women have been running the place quite well in his absence, thank you.

I remember both loving and being a little mystified by this as a kid. Sure, the guy was mean, but the ladies sometimes weren't very nice, either, and the whole tying-the-boss-up thing just seemed a little weird. I do enjoy it more now that I've actually been in the workplace, including my two-year stint as an assistant secretary at the Stockton College Media Center that was a lot more pleasant than the ladies' experiences. (For one thing, by the late 90s-early 2000s, your standard copy machine could fit on a desk and only made a whirring noise. I never had any problems with them. And of course, I did all my writing on a computer and could easily backspace mistakes.)

Interestingly, while the clothes and hair don't look too bad (this being made in 1980, as the world was just beginning to go from 70s neutrals to 80s neon), the boxy technology and the sexist office morals, not to mention the drug-infused party that gets the ball rolling, date this one a bit. The party and the over-the-top tone make it kind of iffy for kids. For adults, especially women who have been secretaries or worked in offices, or for fans of the three leading ladies, this is still an awful lot of fun. (There was a stage musical version about a year or two ago. It wasn't a success on Broadway, but I think there is a cast album for it...and yes, it included the famous Pardon title song.)

It was too gorgeous outside today for work to be busy. There were lines during the rush hour, but otherwise, it wasn't too bad. I was in and out.

I also discovered why I've been getting so many hours lately. It's not just the college students being up to their elbows in classes. We're really short-handed. The head scan coordinator (head of prices and making sure the prices match up) husband just died, another manager is taking care of her sick husband, and I think someone in the meat department of another store recently passed away as well, and we had to send somebody to help them.

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