Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reflections on a job, well, . . . done.

I am 6 months into my maternity leave and I just learned that it has somehow morphed into "eternity leave."

I have been laid-off. Outrageous? Of course. Unjust? Absolutely. Am I bitter? Nah.

In fact, in my reflective and nostalgic state, I have compiled a list of things that I will miss most about my old job and things that I certainly will not miss. So here it is:

The things that I will miss most:

1. Peering out the window of my Center City high-rise office and catching a glimpse of a topless woman brushing her long blond locks in a luxury hotel room window across the street.

2. Calling my colleague and confidante down the hall and screaming into the phone, "NAKED DUDE! OH MY GOD! NAKED DUDE IN WINDOW WITH WOMAN BRUSHING HAIR! Do you SEE THIS?!"

3. Listening to my confidante reply, "Oh my god! He just took the brush! He's brushing her hair! I can't believe this! I'm blushing, I'm shvitzing!"

4. Hosting "Friday concerts" in my office and playing DJ on my ipod set-up while my friend belted out everything from the Dead's Sunshine Daydream to Neil Diamond's version of Chavah Nagilah despite her complete lack of rhythm.

5. Overhearing one of the partners, a former school teacher, telling an associate sternly, "No hugging in the halls!" when she was caught embracing the mailroom guy.

6. Getting e-vites to sex toy parties hosted by the mailroom guy's baby mama.

7. Opening emails inviting the entire staff to the "caf" for leftover pastries, excess halloween candy, or best of all, hot soft pretzels.

8. Watching 4 out of the 4 parnters fall asleep at the monthly attorney lunch, sometimes with their heads bowing dangerously close to the tuna sandwiches on their plates in front of them.

9. Blindfolding the partners and watching them try to smash a pinata at our firm bridal showers after throwing back a few margaritas.

10. Watching a 10 pound bunny rabbit with a 5 pound goiter hopping around under my associate's desk. Harvard Law School's finest!

11. Celebrating major milestones in my life (engagement, marriage, pregnancy) over Dunkin' Donuts in the "caf," even though certain members of the firm tended to fight over the ever popular "manager's special" doughnut with chocolate frosting on the outside and white cream inside.

12. Seeing the blur of one of the partners whizzing by my office door as she ran faster than a speeding bullet down the hall. (Late for the train? Bursting bladder?)

13. Seeing that same blur whizzing by my office in the other direction. (Was she running suicides through the office? Training for the Broad St. Run?) We will never know.

14. Listening to the double-amputee outside of my office building sing, with great enthusiasm but little ability to carry a tune, "I Just Called To Say I Love You," on his karaoke machine that he rolled with.

15. Keeping the local economy alive by dining out for lunch every day with my girls, eating more guacamole than any human being with my body mass index should ever consume in a lifetime, and laughing about topics that I would not dare post on this blog.

16. Getting urgent phone calls from my friend down the hall, whispering, "Stace, you gotta come help me! I need to pee and I'm stuck inside my suit pants! My zipper is broken! (pause) Can you please bring your scissors?"

Things That I Most Certainly Will Not Miss:

1. Creepy Christmas elves that two partners hid in every nook and cranny throughout the firm when December 1st rolled around. Even the ladies' room was not spared.

2. Suspicious smells and sights in bathroom stall #4.

3. Security updates alerting us about anything and everything deemed a threat; from hundreds of Mumia Abdul-Jamal supporters protesting outside City Hall to a dozen musicians playing string instruments along with a seasonal choir group infiltrating our building lobby.

4. Needing to pump iron at the gym just so I could carry loads of files and boxes to court or a deposition while the partner carried his briefcase only.

5. Getting a new office phone list every day and trying to figure out who had been fired secretly.

6. Smelling the pungent plant in my neighbor's office mixed with the greasy spring rolls he enjoyed eating for lunch. Every single day.

7. Getting reamed out by 25 year old snotty court clerks who would respond to my filing questions by screaming into the phone, "Miss, you really should consult a lawyer!" "Uhhh, okay, thank you."

8. Suffering through painfully awkward silences at attorney happy hours, (hosted in our main conference room) and figuring out how I could contribute to the usual conversations about hunting or UFOS or the complexities of being a vegan in this day and age.

9. Scrubbing the fluorescent orange crumbs from my fingertips after attorney happy hours filled with Jack's, Cheetos, and other orange staples from the 1980s.

10. Getting lectured by the plant lady who came biweekly and frowned at my cactus and other Little Shop of Horrors-looking plant while warning me that I needed to be a good "parent" and "nurture them." "I'm too busy nurturing this baby," I would say patting my protruding navel while throwing back a full box of srawberry Nerds.

11. Counting the times that the partner/former schoolteacher patrolled the hallways each day with her bowl of cheerios, watching us wayward schoolgirls like a hawk.

12. Having to dress up in "business casual" attire for "Casual Fridays," as jeans were strictly forbidden.

Now that I'm on "eternity leave," I plan to gorge on guacamole, wear jeans whenever the spirit moves me, and nurture my baby boy, my writing, and my plants. And here's a security alert: TO THE NEW GUY WHO "TEMPORARILY" took over my office when I was 8 months pregnant, watch out for the topless woman brushing her hair in the hotel window across the street and don't be surprised if you see her give you the finger.

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