Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tueday - The Boss is On Vacation

Tuesday Part I. Get Up and Get to Work

This morning started off in a way that has become normal, my phone rings, lets just say more than 2 hours before I was intending to get out of bed. Caller id says it's my boss, but she's out of the country, so I wonder, is she back? Does caller id work when you're calling from another country? It's too early for my brain to figure it out...so I just say "Hello?"

"Good morning Florence." followed by a few lovely words describing the wonderful vacation she's on. My work day starts, as she begins the conversation, "You know those scanned documents? They were not sent out before I left; we need to email them out to our clients today." "Remember Mr. X, we need to get him in touch with Mr.Y in the U.S. since they will both be in Paris next week", also, "M is looking for extra keys to property N, so you need to get in touch with O to get the keys over to property N.", and "Please call Mr R and tell him to get in touch with me today about Mrs C to discuss her contract.", " T called me yesterday wanting to pick up a check for project Z, but we since were not able to connect before I left she did not get the check, so I need you to get in touch with her and let her know I will take care of everything when I return", "Also remember, the email you sent out to Mr T yesterday?" uh, I reply as I start looking for a pen to take notes. "Uh, Mr T? Yeah, yeah, I remember....", "Well, go ahead and let him know that I am out of the office and I will be back next week." "Don't forget to have Mr R call me, it's really important..."

Oh, and one last thing, she says just as I am finally getting ink to flow from the pen after frantically scribbling circles on my notepad, "You'll need to go to the office this morning, but not right away to prepare the files for Project Y., and once you're finished, go ahead and place them in the outbox and I will get them when I return." "How's the website project going?" she asks.

Isn't she supposed to be on vacation, sitting on a beach on a wonderful island, doing nothing? I wonder. "The project is going fine." I lie. I can't get any of the software to work, besides that, I've never used the software before in my life, and the learning curve is huge. "The property manager is also coming by the office today to give me more training." I tell her, disguising the anxiety of meeting up with him in person. "Oh great!" she replies. I ask, "Are you having fun?" "Amazing!, Here..., I will take a photo of the view with my iPhone and send it to you...Okay, gotta go, Thanks for everything." she replies.
The photo, taken from her hotel suite on a Greek Island, instantly pops up on my computer....I sigh...
Photo from Adrian's Vacation in Greece
And my morning begins.

I shower and make a cup a tea before taking the metro to the office. During the metro ride, I feel like a real Parisian commuter since I am actually on the metro so early in the morning, surrounded by business suits, leather briefcases, dresses, designer handbags and shoes, people reading,.. real working people. I feel like one of them as I drag my wheeled laptop case down the street through the Maris and to the office.

As soon as I get to the office the phone is ringing..."Adrian Leeds Office, May I help you?" Questions, requests, demands, inquiries, recorded messages, and telemarketers...in French!?...who knew? How will I find time to get everything done? How does Adrian find the time? Her office is always impeccably neat and organized, I try to keep it that way. Before I know it , it's almost 2 in the afternoon. I have a training session scheduled with the Not so Mr. Friendly in Paris Manager. I wonder if I will see a new side of him in person?

Tuesday Part II. Afternoon Training Session - Property Management

2PM on the dot, the intercom buzzer rings. "Hello?" I say. "Management." is the reply I hear. No need for names I suppose, so I buzz him in.
"Since you obviously cannot learn via REMOTE...I am here to train you again, turn on your computer." he says as he walks through the door and past me. Oh, this is going to be great, I think...Hello to you to.

"Okay, Lets start. Book an apartment!" he demands as he sat next to me. I start typing the name of the apartment website in the toolbar, but before I can finish, he immediately snaps, "Just click on the Homepage! Geeze, if you don't know how to book the apartment, how can you possibly...." he didn't finish his sentence as he rolled his chair closer to mine, I could literally feel him breathing down my neck. "Which apartment should I book?" I asked. "Any One!" I click on one owned by Adrian, but then changed my mind and clicked the back button to select another one. Obviously another mistake in training. "Why did you click the back button, you should know by now that all the apartments appear on the next site, you're wasting time, just pick an apartment." he says just as I look back to see him rolling his eyes.

He makes me nervous and flustered, I need to get up and away from him to breath, so without thinking clearly, I make up an excuse. "Excuse me, I have to go...uh, wash my face, uh, I mean wash my hands, uh, I'm going to get some water in the kitchen." I didn't care if that did not make sense, I didn't want him to know why I got up in the first place. So I left to take a break. When I returned, his chair is further away now. Ah, he's giving me some breathing space. "So how's your vacation planning with your friend going?" he asked as I return. What does he care, I think as I reply, "I can't go now, because it conflicts with your vacation." "Oh?" he laughs, he literally laughs a wicked laugh, "Well, I am so sorry to hear that. Please tell your friend that I am sincerely sorry to hear that." "So sorry, that you'll change your vacation dates for us?" I ask. "No." he says smugly.

During the training session, my mind was a blur, was this really the reason I moved to Paris? Do I really want to work this closely with him? He's so mean to me. Why does he yell? He makes me want to cry. I know he has a good side, because I've worked with his good side last year. Why is he so serious now? So I ask him and he says, "I want to make sure you get this. You said you want to do it, so you're going to do it now and you're going to do it well. This is serious business and we can't mess it up by f------ around." "Okay, I think you're being a little mean, but I understand." I said. "Good, we'll continue on Friday at 10AM. I have to go now." He picks up his briefcase and leaves.

I start working on the website for a few more hours and then I leave. Too exhausted to attend the 6:30 PM French-English conversation group. I march to the metro, blending in with the crowd of other "real working people" on the sidewalks and heading home after a full days work on a Tuesday.


  1. Wow, that was a seriously intense wake up call. You might need to sleep with your planner next to you. :) Again, it probably isn't working in your favor that Adrian put Mean Boss Guy on notice if you don't do well. But, since you are in Paris, he should understand that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Duh.

  2. Oh, I totally agree! Thanks for your comments.