If my dad thought that someone was trying to take advantage of him he might call them a bloodsucker. Not to their face of course, this is the Midwest, but he might safely denigrate them behind their back like a good Christian boy by calling them a bloodsucker. Lawyers, politicians, contractors, they were all potential bloodsuckers. Malibu Al, the used car guy who sold me my first car, a red 1991 Plymouth Sundance 4-door, he was for sure a bloodsucker in my dad’s book.
It’s a funny old fashion kind of thing dads say. Every once in a while I’ll hear someone other than my dad call someone a bloodsucker and it will startle me because I forget that’s not a thing what was unique to just my dad. I never thought the actual word much. Does it mean leeches or mosquitos? They’re both parasites. They’re both gross. People hate them both.
One type of bloodsucker I had never considered was the vampire.
When I got back from lunch (fifteen minutes late but who’s keeping track?) Fred told me that Duke wanted to see me. That’s my boss’s name. Can you believe that? Duke. That’s his actual name. I could maybe see some super old man being named Duke, that seems like a name people would have used in the 1900s, but Duke is younger than I am.
Duke and I don’t get alone great. I mean, no one really gets along with their boss, but us in particular we don’t get on. He’s not completely incompetent, but his dad owns the company, you know what I mean? I’m not mad because I want his job or think that I should be the boss, but it would be nice to have a boss who wasn’t halfway an idiot.
So that’s part of it. Another problem is that he’s short. That doesn’t bother me at all, but it clearly bothers him. It doesn’t help things for him that I’m tall, not tall-tall, but lady tall. If I wear heels he gives me the shit-eye all day. More than once she’s told me that when we’re in a meeting with clients I shouldn’t stand up because it makes him look bad.
So we have those two problems. He’s no good at his job and the height thing. Another big part of the problem is that he wants to bang me. He’s not grabby or pushy about it, he doesn’t have a Matt Lauer rape-button or anything (for one thing Duke’s “office” is just a cube with a door so the installation would be tricky) but he does leer and I for sure caught him sniffing me once.
According the horribly awkward actors in the sexual harassment video I watch every year I should report him to HR for this behavior, but since “HR” is his cousin Petra and his dad owns the company there’s no point. I just make sure if we’re both going to be working late that I have my sharpened screwdriver in my purse. Just in case.
What do I do? I work for a company that sells and installs thermostats for industrial refrigerators. It’s even more boring than it sounds.
When Fred told me this I thought about hiding at my cube but Duke has spotted me and he was on the move towards my desk. I stood up and intercepted him before he could sit on the corner and put his crotch right at my eye-level.
“Fred said you wanted to see me?”
Duke looked at Fred for a moment like he had just betrayed some terrible secret and then swiveled his little head back to gawk at me. He does that sometimes. Just stand there breathing loudly and looking up at me for 2-3 seconds before he says anything. Like I’m a mountain he’s going to try to climb and he needs a moment to gather his courage before he sets out.
He waved me into a conference room instead of his office-cube so I knew it was going to be bad. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s usually bad at his office-cube too, but when he calls me to his desk there’s at least a chance it’s just going to be boring instead of stupid, like when he wants me to watch him put numbers in a spreadsheet for his dad. When he takes me into a conference room it’s always going to be something stupid.
I let him sit down first so I could sit across from him, if I sit down first he’ll sit right next to me like we’re on a rollercoaster together. He had to pretend to check something on his phone for a minute first to make himself seem important by keeping me waiting before he set it down and looked at me with his weak soggy eyes.
“We need to talk about your Q12 results Ela” he said with an attempt at gravitas undermined by his annoying voice and stupid face.
If you don’t know what that is, first of all congratulations on choosing a better career path than me and a lot of the people in the country. Second, Q12 is the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Questionnaire. I don’t know who or when this monstrosity was birthed, but at some point someone in a big office high up in the sky looking out a giant window thought “the people we have trapped here seem to be sad about their souls being bleached out of existence by the absurdities, contradictions, crises, injustices, inequality, and exploitation created by modern business, how can we make it worse for them?”
The answer my friend is my making them fill out a survey about how much they love the company and then no matter what the results are forcing them into endless meetings to talk about “action plans” and “engagement versus satisfaction” and “finger banging a moose”. Okay, maybe not that last one, but I don’t pay attention in those meetings so I can’t rule it out.
Duke was still gathering steam to say whatever dumb thing he wanted to say next so I launched a pre-emptive strike.
“I thought the Q12 surveys were anonymous.”
He nodded his stupid little head like one of those plastic dog dash-board bobble toys “Yes, the Q12 results are completely anonymous and confidential. Now, for question three, at work, do I have the opportunity to do what you do best every day, you wrote ‘no, because what I do best is jam out with my clam out’, do you think that’s an appropriate statement . . .”
I know what you’re thinking. Time was, long ago, that I would have pointed out that he clearly doesn’t know what the word anonymous means. It would have turned into a whole “thing”. That’s really the main reason we don’t get along. When he first became my boss I wasn’t smart enough not to question him when he was saying or doing something that was 100% completely wrong and he’s never forgiven me.
In those early days whenever he would come in fresh with new wildly misunderstood knowledge from some retarded (sorry, I know we’re not supposed to say that anymore) management book like Who Moved My Cheese or the Orange Revolution or some bullshit about “servant leaders” and he was talking out his ass I would call him on it. I should have known better. I’ll take the blame for that.
Point is that I’ve seen realized, too late but still, that there’s no reason to engage with his stupidity. Yep, whatever you say boss. When there’s only two options that does mean the chances of either of them happening are 50%, absolutely boss. You know math. Who want the results for the whole quarter before the quarter is over? Sure, why not. You do know how time works. You’re the man boss. A leader of men. And one woman.
I was pretty zoned out while he rambled about whatever he was talking about. I snapped back into frame when he turned into a vampire. That got my attention toot sweet. Toot sweet. That’s a weird phrase. Where did that come from?