Day of Sharing

5 years ago

For some reason, today seems to be the Day of Sharing at my office. Not 'share' as in sharing cookies, mind (although upon finding a cake with my name on it, I reckon that is the case, too). It's not - thank God - sharing workloads, either. It's sharing the... dirt? - I suppose - on other people.

First, when I got to the office, I met a former employee of my office. He was happily chatting about his new work, asking how everybody was, and talking about his plans with his new family. Then he wanted to know if I'd be interested in filling in for him for a year. I said: "Uh.. What?"

Next was an employee of the office, a lawyer who'd resigned three months ago, then returned. He was talking about his former staff and that they were resigning one by one. Then about his former workplace's willingness to pay him twice his previous salary for him to return. I said, "hey, whoever pays better, that's where you should be at!"

Right? Common sense.

Then another secretary was bawling to my ears about another secretary.

Let me explain by saying that I don't work as a permanent staff - by choice. I am working as a temporary secretary, and am now working on daily basis up to the next three months replacing another secretary on maternity leave. My essential duties is as a night secretary, as was the secretary I'm filling in for.

The office is a law office with almost 100 employees. Half of that number are secretaries. All of them women. The rest are lawyers - also about half of the number of lawyers are women.

See where I'm going here?

With more than two women working daily in close encampment (I think of offices as enacampments), there's bound to be disharmony and/or strife. It's given. It's human nature. People (read: them secretaries) will bitch around and about. They're the ones who created the dynamic that is office politics.

Personally, I've given up on office politics. I'm not the kind of person who can kiss people's sitting ends - especially those of my bosses. I believe in being accounted for on merit and merit alone. I am a capable secretary - having started working as one for five years, along with IT duties dumped on my head along with secretarial work. I may not be able to type as fast as my mom - up to 80 wpm - nor has as long (30+ years) experience as a secretary. But I can do it. And I can do it well. It's secretarial job, for God's sake. Not rocket science!

Anyway. There's this new night secretary, I'm gonna call her the Bulldozer because that's what she resembles. She's probably in her early 20s, a highschool graduate. Before I started temp-ing in this law firm, my mother had temp-ed for 10 years. The pay was good, the conditions fine, the workload easy - although she'd only temp for daytime secretaries. Mother is in her late 60s. By all means, she would not have the strength to work nights. Thus, she offered yours truly. Mind, she would only offer those who are capable. I have another cousin who's unemployed and not as skilled as I, and mother would not offer her to the office.

My first sit-in was with one of the partners who's the epitome of bitch - although of a wrong gender. Dude is a damn perfectionist with a penchant of working until the wee hours in the morning. I said: "hey, as long as he approves my cab fare, I'm all good." Said dude quickly found out that, not only that I work fast, I work fast and good. I hardly ever needed to retype and re-correct my submitted typed docs. And I figured out the shortcuts to every other work with ease. I had 10 years of secretarial experience under my belt to an even bitchier boss. So, no sweat.

Then one day, said Bulldozer demanded that I should not be called and she should temp-in for the day secretary of Mr. Partner. Suffice to say, he was not impressed. Actually, he was duly and unbelievably pissed to high heavens to the point of him actually yelling at Bulldozer for having a record on stupid quotient (loose translation). Bulldozer never again offered to sit in Mr. Partner's secretary's desk.

Right now, there are three pregnant secretaries in the firm. Two has given birth. One will be in June. Two, including the one who hasn't delivered, had asked me to fill in for them. At first I wondered why the later-birth secretary was asking me to the point of begging me to fill in for her. Today, I found the answer. Her bosses (each secretary has 3 lawyer-bosses) specifically requested for me - even to the point where I said I'd be getting to work by 11 instead of by 8.30, since I'll still be filling in for the night secretary. I may or may not be home by 12 a.m., and thus simply cannot make it by 9.

Today she told me that she was berated by Bulldozer's greatest supporters because she would not use her, and asked me, instead. Fortunately, she's a kind soul who must've lost her bitchy bone somewhere before she was born. She said she wanted me, and her bosses wanted me. If they (Bulldozer and friends) have a complaint, they should bring it to the proxy-HRD. Unfortunately, the proxy HRD is mom's friend and does not take kindly to insinuations. Thus bitch gang wouldn't have much luck with her. Plus, I was supported by two partners (my sit-in has two partners and two juniors), plus the other young lawyers who'd seen and watched me work. They'd even requested my help from time to time, to minimal-to-no resistance. Plus, they'd heard from the other young lawyers whom Bulldozer had had to attend to and learned that Bulldozer is just that: a bulldozer. No brain and no work unless someone manipulate her with a wrench.

I'd heard gossip, sure. But I didn't pay attention to it. Until today where one of 'the gang' (one of the night secretaries who are in this tight group of friends that includes the girl I'm temp-ing for) had to sit on my desk to use my computer. I'd helped her a little, and whoosh! - all gripes and complaints against Bulldozer started pouring out to the point where I just couldn't believe what I heard. Evidently, Bulldozer was everything the young lawyers complained about and then some. Fortunately, she was also everything I am not: lazy, greedy, bossy, whiny.. oy, the seven deadly sins she was!

Once upon a time, mother gave me griefs for refusing to be a permanent night secretary, instead of a temp. After I told her all of the above, she was praising my decision. Hey, I am, too.

No, I'm not done. 

On the way home, the cabbie was one of those who are overly chatty and literally can't take a hint. For some reason, I, too was feeling chatty. Thus he shared his life; how he'd not have gotten married when he did, how he wished he's not working as a cabbie anymore, etc etc. 

I am now too tired to even want to eat. And I have a burger, goddamnit!

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