I can hardly believe that a little over three months have gone by since my Temp Assistant arrived to help hold down the fort while my Assistant was out on maternity leave. I may have aged about three years in that time frame. I have gotten countless gray hairs. I have bitten my tongue so many times I think it may be permanently swollen.
But here we are. Her very last day in the office. Is it wrong that I have as much excitement and enthusiasm as kids do on the last day of school? Like when the day is over I want to run out into the street and throw a bunch of files and pens in the air and twirl around?? Ok calm down, I am not going to actually do that (although I really want to) but I don’t know what to say to her on her last day here. “So glad you’re leaving!” doesn’t seem entirely appropriate to say to her face. And I’m sure they don’t make a cute card that says “Sorry to see you go but I won’t miss your complete incompetence and total lack of common sense.”
If nothing else, she has provided loads of people I know with a lot of laughs via my facebook status updates. People actually have written to me on facebook asking for me to update MORE about her. I guess they didn’t realize I was a little short on free time because I was using what other spare minutes I had cleaning up her mistakes. So I thought I would take the occasion of her last day to list some of the favorite highlights from this summer and perhaps some lessons we can all learn from them.
• One day, Temp Asst. addressed me as Heather. TWICE. My name isn’t even close to being Heather, I don’t look like any famous Heather….I don’t really know why she did it once, let alone twice. Perhaps she was trying to get rid of me, but that doesn’t really work in an office place setting.
• Temp Asst. also liked to email me at 8:59am saying “she might be a little late.” Well, work starts at 9am. So unless you are writing that email from the lobby of our building, you ARE going to be late, there is no might. Or perhaps you have mastered time travel. And if so, I would imagine if you applied yourself you could land a MUCH better job than temping with that kind of skill.
• Unfortunately, it’s often expected that you work late. Especially in law firms. I rarely asked you to (mostly because I spend more time fixing your mistakes than it is worth having you “help out”) but when I did, you were really vague about why you couldn’t. You need to have a list of prepared excuses on hand to let me know why you can’t stay a minute past 5pm. Trust me, I would have rather been at happy hour myself than working on a proposal late on a Friday.
• When you do come up with excuses, the key is to keep some variety and change them up a bit. You had far too many doctor’s appointments that you had either “forgotten” or came up very last minute for a seemingly healthy 23 year old.
• You have such poor attention to detail it frightens me. Some days I am amazed you made it into the office with your shoes on the right feet. But when typing and proofing documents, you need to really buckle down and not rely on spell-check. Because the word ship can be something TOTALLY different if you change that last letter. And I have too much work of my own to do and can't deal with proofing your ship.
• I don’t know what goes on in college these days, but I imagine at some point you still need to do some actual reading. I apologize that work emails aren’t all LOLs and OMGs, but if you actually take a few moments to read things thoroughly (and comprehend what you have read), you would avoid sounding like a total fool. You noted the other day that you would walk the materials to the lawyer's office and I surely didn’t jump in to correct you. I actually wanted to see how you were going to walk them to his office. In Philadelphia.
• Work ends at 5pm. I know there may not be anything for you to do between 4:50 and 5 but you are getting paid for those ten minutes so go back to your desk and get on facebook or read Perez Hilton for the last ten minutes like the rest of us.
• If you are going to sneak out early, have the decency to do some actual sneaking. Strolling right by my open office door to head to the elevators is just ballsy. And not in a good way.
I know I may not have always been the best boss to you, but I really have tried. I thought back to my first jobs out of school where I just sat making copies and stuffing folders and what that feels like. I tried to give you some understanding of where your work was fitting into the bigger picture and the integral role you were playing. I tried to joke around with you and get to know you as a person and who you are “outside the office.” I complimented you on your shoes (and how I thought they were cute, not marveling at how you managed to get them on the right feet all by yourself.) I played good cop. I played bad cop. One day I shut my door and cried because I was just so exhausted by you and your inability to do anything. And through it all, you just looked at me with a big, blank stare.
So good luck out there, Temp Asst. You are gonna need it.