Tuesday, August 05, 2008


First real day back to work after my road trip today, and I am filling in for two weeks for my boss, who is now on vacation.

My first wondrous accomplishment as acting boss was to cancel this week's staff meeting. I decided instead of emailing everyone on the first day back after a long weekend, I would go say hi to people in their offices, and tell them the meeting was canceled. Everyone was happy to see me and glad to hear about the cancellation.

Then I got back to my desk and saw on my calendar that the staff meeting is next week. Oh my. So I sent out a group email saying that not only is there no staff meeting this week, but there's no staff meeting next week, when the staff meeting is actually planned to be held. I added to my message the idea that we might still want to have our usual pre-meeting potluck lunch, or if everyone's too busy to cook, I'd be glad to collect money and go get takeout. Even if we don't have a meeting, it will be good to have lunch together. Email replies-to-all in the affirmative began to trickle in, containing various opinions about what to have for lunch.

At this point, I realise that our lunch meeting is usually the second meeting of the month so it's not really next week, it's in..er...three weeks, at which time I'll be on vacation. So I send out a reply-to-all clarifying that next week isn't actually the lunch meeting, but let's have lunch anyways because everyone seems game. So far, so good.

Now there's a knock at my office door. My friend Alan Smith (not his real name) pops in to tell me that I accidently addressed the email meant for him to Alice Smith in the Finance Department at City Hall, and poor Alice has been forwarding silly lunch discussion emails to him all morning. He says it's no problem really, but from now on, could I please...

Shortly after my other friend, Richard Jones, (also not his real name) tells me that all of my emails meant to go to him have gone to his daughter, Betty Jones, who has a summer internship at the museum. She's been forwarding the lunch/meeting muddle missives to him all morning.

Very carefully I send out one last email, double-checking the automated address designations of each recipient, to be sure they're all going to the right people. I clarify: no meeting this week, no meeting next week, lunch next week. I quietly request RSVPs in person, or on a slip of paper in my letter tray at reception, then I turn off the computer for the day.

phew, I think.

But of course now everyone has to bug me. "Hey boss," someone says, "nice one! Are you inviting everyone from city hall to our lunch meeting?"

"Yes," I reply with as much dignity as I can muster. "And tomorrow I am going to email the mayor and ask him for his recipe for blueberry muffins. And the next day I will text message the director of our department, and tell him I have a two day rental on Superbad if he wants to borrow it for the second day, just so long as he takes it back to the video store when he's done."

Yes, that is why they pay us the BIG BUCKS.

question: did you ever stick your foot in it, extra deep?

mompoet - duh

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