Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Office Tantrum and Following Bluebirds

If you have ever worked in an office, you know the type. The lackluster, sloth-type office worker who slinks into the copy room to make a copy on the last sheet of paper in the building. And, that last piece of paper folds inside the machine, accordion-style, sending the machine into an array of red flashing lights and a display on the LCD on “how to” clear a paper jam, step by step.

Instead of clearing the jam or asking for help, the sloth scratches his head and chest, makes an about-face, and quietly disappears down the hallway, leaving a fart behind. Maybe you don’t have a sloth on your staff, but you might have a candy bandit – you know, the guy who bores you with happy small talk while he fills his pockets with the Dove chocolates you generously offer in a pretty candy dish on the corner of your desk. I’ve been tempted to raise my 12-inch ruler and crack some knuckles.

Now, I’m not being gender specific here. I’ve seen many ladies who are way too important and busy to mess with the last piece of paper crinkled inside a copy machine. Those are the ladies I’d like to trip on their way out the door and ask, “Did you forget something, honey? Need a Jam lesson?” They never fill their pockets with chocolates when they are being watched. They prefer to steal a few pieces when no one is looking.

Monday, December 8, 7:15 a.m. I was the only person in the office and I needed one quick copy. Already, you know what happened. No paper to be found and a damned jam in the machine. Someone walked away from a mess on Friday.

I’m used to it. I usually roll my eyes, fix the jam and place an order for an urgent paper delivery. On this Monday morning, however, my frustration level spiked because there was no one to hear my little tantrum. I was not nice. During my hissing fit, I scribbled this,


attached a piece of Scotch tape to it, and SLAMMED it onto the wall above the copy machine. Hmmpf.

An option: Make a copy on the fax machine. Good. What happened? It jammed. Why?


See the staple on the top left corner of the pack of paper? What imbecile loaded the paper tray with a short stack of stapled paper? Huh?

Time spent trying to make one lousy copy with no success: 20 minutes.
After a cool down, I found humor in what I did and took the photos… I’m not proud but I want to share with fellow office workers or anyone who might have had a fit in the copy room.

An hour after my meltdown, a friend saved me from possible inter-office conflicts. He removed my two carelessly written nastygrams before anyone read them and found a ream of paper tucked away in someone’s office. This is why we need friends. They can save our miserable selves.

A few hours later, I left the building to find a small flock of Eastern Bluebirds I had seen near the parking lot. Getting photos didn’t matter. I just wanted to see them.


For what it’s worth, that’s my car on the left.


My high heels were sinking in a few inches of pine straw but I didn’t care…

There was a male bluebird in this photo. He escaped but the photo wasn’t a total loss because I think that’s a Brown Headed Nuthatch bottom.


Here’s a poor photo that needed a little editing,

as I needed, on Monday :o)

Make it a grand weekend!


Ruth said...

Yes, every workplace has its share annoying people. I loved my home care job as I did not see the same people each day. Now that I work in one location again...yup they are here too. Love your Bluebird pictures!

Anonymous said...

Yes, there's nothing like getting out of the office and grabbing a camera. Somehow, taking pictures of blue birds has a way to salvage the day, no matter what happens at the office.

Heidi said...

ROFL!!! I'm dying here... I'm printing this one out for myself :) Watch, it'll jam when I print ;)

That happens to me ALL THE TIME and there aren't any other employees here, but every Tuesday (my Monday) I come in and 75% of the time there will be no paper and a paper jam and what bugs me in addition - marks on the glass!

I've had my hissy fits too, lol! Most of mine though are directed at the stupid machine rather than the person(s) who did it... just because I know the machine is garbage (Lanier with bad Ricoh customer service) and it could happen to anyone. I have left notes just like yours for people though. (members and board members who take advantage)

You know what I do sometimes? I'll go into the office on a Sunday morning and unplug the copier (imagine evil smiley face) because these same type of people can't be bothered to figure out why it won't turn on for them. I'd do it when I leave on a Saturday, but invariably the Pastors are still needing to run something off before church on Sunday. At least THEY will attempt to fix the jam... and successfully do it too.

So glad you had some bluebirds to brighten up your day :) All we have around here are HOSPs and squirrels.

Mary said...

Red, you evil lady. I love you... :o)

RuthieJ said...

Too funny Mary! At our office there are multiple people using the printers and one morning after I did my printout I went in to find some knucklehead had printed out his son's tax returns over the weekend. I went back to my desk, typed a little note that said "do you think this is the best use of IBM resources?" printed it and stuck it in the middle of his personal printing project. I've never seen any personal printouts from him on that machine again. We have another woman who prints out recipes and restaurant coupons, so if I see anything interesting in her stack of personal printouts when I get there in the morning, it usually gets stuck in with my printouts.....if you know what I mean! :-D
Love your bluebirds--we won't be seeing them for months yet!

Elaine Cougler Author said...

Ah, Mary, you make me laugh! It reminds me of the time I took it upon myself to order my husband and two teenagers to the bathroom and preceeded to give them all a lesson in how to refill the toilet roll. We laugh about it now, but it worked. No more 1 measly sheet left, or new roll perched precariously on the empty one.

Dog_geek said...

I loved your notes - I think you should have left them. I have a few coworkers like that! (BTW - I'm impressed that you keep a bowl of chocolates on your desk. I could never do that - they wouldn't be safe from me!)

Elaine Cougler Author said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! I meant proceeded! Forgot to proofread, folks.

possumlady said...

Just reading your post made my blood pressure rise!!! Sometimes I really feel that my office job is sucking the life out of me, especially having to deal with the sloths!

I, too, used to have a candy dish on my desk. Past tense though. When I decided I needed to trim my budget I realized I was spending 16-20 bucks a month on candy for the office. While this might not seem like much to some folks, I decided right then and there that was one misc. expense I could do without. Plus the fact that I work in the Executive Office of my association so the vast majority of folks scarfing down my candy were people making MANY more times my salary. Interesting that these people NEVER bring anything into the office to share.

(Possumlady scurrying off her little soapbox)

Carol Michel said...

My favorite sign in the workplace... Wash your d*mn hands! placed on the mirror in the restroom. For crying out loud, how do all those imbeciles stay employed?

But, the happy little bluebirds sing, so all is right with the world.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Mary said...

Yeah, Christine! My candy dish is empty - I'm tired of spending $4 for a bag of chocolates. I hear, "No candy?" They'll get generic jelly beans next Easter.

Kim said...

I am a candy grabber. I do replenish the supplies though. You reminded me it's my turn next time. HA!

I hear you on annoying people in the office though. I am lucky though that everyone on my floor is considerate and doesn't do things like that.

Love the bluebird photos. I miss them so much!

NCmountainwoman said...

I always kept a filled candy dish on the corner of my desk. I used it as a barometer. If the dish emptied too quickly, I knew I'd better see what might be causing the stress in the office. Hooray for your friend who removed the nastygrams. They never work and often make a problem larger than it needs to be.

And a big hooray for the bluebirds! Sitting right next to your car! I am SO JEALOUS!

Anonymous said...

Mary, you're lucky your coworker saved you from having your notes posted here!

I think it's a universal Office Land truism that the copier runs out of paper/gets jammed right when you (the general "you") need to use it. My solution? Send the intern to make copies and let them figure it out. Builds character. (These days, the interns are Happy and Tito, but their lack of thumbs makes most work impossible. Sigh.)

A New England Life said...

LOL! You crack me up Mary! Love your outspoken attitude. Way to go!

Wendy said...

Ohhhhh office stories. I remember once my daughter asking me if I'd type her school paper at work on my computer.
I did and left it at work.
She came into my bedroom at 11:OO that night and asked where it was. Oh no. At work. And she had to hand it in the next morning.

So we jumped into the car (she wearing pajamas) drove downtown to McGill University where I was employed, used my key to unlock the front doors and scooted up to the third floor office as quick as I could. I was sure an alarm would go off bringing the police!

My daughter (still pajama-clad) was sitting out front in the car keeping an eye out for cops.

Thankfully, I picked up her paper from my desk, ran down the stairs, relocked the front door and jumped into the car. We got home at midnight. Whew!

Office sloths? Oh yeah - one of my co-workers and I used to play tricks on Her. Like hiding Her shoes among the plants, turning Her typewriter on after she had turned it off to leave the room, (the days before computers), moving Her files, pens and pencils all over her desk. And one day, we (4 of us girls) left the department for "coffee".
Each of us got on a different phone and called the 4 telephones in our department at the same time. Needless to say, this Sloth had to run from phone to phone trying to answer them all! LOL!

Wendy said...

Sorry - I forgot to say how much I loved your bluebirds! Nice way to take your mind off a crazy morning!

Susan Gets Native said...


Give 'em Hell, Mary!!!!

(You could always replace the chocolates with Ex-Lax)

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Mary, I love your blogs. You make them SO interesting. I wrote a blog once about a "Slacker.' I need to find that blog and repeat it. They are EVERYWHERE---people that don't carry their share of the load!!!!! Drives those of us who do CRAZY!!!!!

BUT---I'm sure that seeing those gorgeous bluebirds made you feel MUCH better. All of a sudden, those darn slackers are not in our minds anymore!!! YEAH!

Beth said...

I like how the bluebirds puts it all in perspective--the annoying people in life can't take nature's comfort away from us.

Angie said...

ROFL been there, done that too! Altho, thankfully, it's been many years ago. ROFL You go, girl, write those nastygrams and SLAP em up there!!! ROFL You are a hoot, and I just love you!!! :) Those birdy babies are guaranteed to brighten up any situation. :) I do hope you have a wonderful weekend. :)

Unknown said...

Ah Mary hope your weekend goes better. It's ok to rant sometimes.

Thank goodness for the great outdoors to sooth our beast sometimes.

KGMom said...

Well, I am amazed no one mentioned the left behind fart. That got me--giggles all around this morning.
At my office, it's the NIGHT instructor--he (I am pretty sure) comes in to teach Arabic in an evening course. He proceeds to have the printer print off 100 or so pages of news, in Arabic. Leaves ALL the copies in the printer.
Then he goes to the copier, and prints off whatever--jams the machine, runs it out of paper--and just leaves. So far, the only thing I haven' detected are any left behind farts!

TR Ryan said...

You are such a fantastic writer!!! It's time for a book! My beloved Mary is the Erma Bombeck of the bird world!!!

Naturegirl said...

Mary Mary quite contrary..I could NOT resist!! You crack me up woman!!!
Love you and your humor and your nasty notes!!!
BTW>>come on to my world of snow anytime...I'd love to put you up..the FUN we would have!
High heels NOT allowed in deep snow!
Have a restful weekend!

Heidi said...

Aw Mary :) I love you too!

And I second T.R. In fact, just last night my mom and I were chatting and I said she had to read your post right away, and that you were the next Erma Bombeck!

Mary said...

I've always admired Erma Bombeck but she is way up there in the talent department, guys.


Mary C said...

Mary, you are just as talented as Erma Bombeck was. And your humility and modesty are showing. ;o) Great post; I think most of us can say "been there, done that." BTW, you should see how many signs I have all over this little medical library - and no one pays attention to them unless I've pointed them out! ;o)

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Mary! I can totally relate. I work in a building full of assholes. They thought they could run the building better then me. So far they have ran out of paper, film for the fax machine. Not that this mattered. There wasn't any paper for it anyway. Heating oil. I order my own office supplies. They come and ask me for stuff because the didn't order it. My answer. "Oh. I'm sorry, but I don't have enough." Morons must live and learn.

I bet going outside and seeing those pretty bluebirds brightened your day. Lisa

Anonymous said...

Ah, the paper jam and out of paper routine... I've learned to stash a case of paper in an empty office for just such an emergency. And I've learned every lousy nook and cranny of our jam-prone copier. Mary, your bluebirds are inspiring. I've been meaning to get a point and shoot that behaves more like an SLR and your images are about ready to convince me. Fuji, right?

Balisha said...

You go girl!

jalynn01 said...

I think we all have days like that and it helps to vent... write notes, whatever. Your bluebirds were a beautiful diversion! I always say God sends something to help us recover and so he did! Have a great week end..

Tina said...

I, luckily don't have to face those copiers anymore or the people who use up all the paper..know exactly where you are coming from...good for you. I never hit the ceiling and maybe I should have..but oh to have those blues sitting near my car at the end of one of those days..priceless!! Hope you have a nice weekend and find some time to relax!

Q said...

Dear Erma,
There is a Blue Bird on your car's shoulder. It's a fact. It's actual. Everything is satisfactual.
Zippity do da...zippity day.
My oh my what a wonderful Mary day!

Vickie said...

Hi Mary. Loved your post. Who hasn't felt steam coming out of their ears when others leave behind their messes! It's amazing how a deep breath and a bluebird can salvage frayed nerves!

Unknown said...

You are so right: that's what friends are for. The fact friends would have let you sink, all the while pretending to help you, or emphathise with you ... good friends are gifts from the stars. (Great signs by the way!!)

Rose said...

Mary, I no longer have to worry about jammed copy machines, but I remember all too well those days. At times I thought I was the only one who knew how to fill the machine with paper!

Only you, Mary, would recognize the bottom of a Brown Headed Nuthatch:)

PJ said...

EVERYWORKPLACE! after wet roads..back windows filthy...req. by CDL to have clean back windows...and what do you find in ALL four of the washfluid stations? 2" of muddy water! HELLO???...the person assigned to filling up the window wash fails to see the importance of it. sooo...rub the squeegy in the snow and hope for the best. Yeah, in accounting I ran into the same prob you encountered, but busdriving? I more of those office issues- HA! Back to the birds are perfect- God's angels for us!

JeanMac said...

Every office has them, Mary! Great pictures.

Larry said...

Im the guy that always fixes the copier for the women that play dumb.-Funny stuff Mary!