Saturday, September 27, 2008


Girl 1 (on phone): “ I am going to beat yo ass! You always fuck up! I wanted you here! To spend time with me! This happened last weekend too! I wanted you here and you fucked up! The other day I wanted you to spend time with me and you fucked up. And now you are doing it again! What are you? A fuck up?”

Girl 2: *Snigger*, “I like that”.

Girl 1: “Hello? Hello?”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Crunch time..

There are times in your life when you are coasting along, thinking everything is hunky dory, when in reality, there are the great big swirling rapids of shit creek raging on beneath you and the first you are aware of it is when someone unexpected dunks you in headfirst. I think I am still struggling to catch my breath, let alone think about sinking or swimming.

I thought I was doing pretty well at work. Not brilliantly, that’s for sure, but decently for 5 months in anyway. Apparently not so. I have been giving them cause for concern. I have been acting unprofessionally; I have been making consistent mistakes. Now a lot of what I have been told came completely out of the blue for me. Especially regarding the unprofessional issue. I have been told the time it refers to. The Summer Intern was in the company and we were having a laugh together, nothing outrageous, just some subtle fun. But apparently it’s not how it’s done in the American workplace.

I have to say, this is one thing that I don’t like about this cultural exchange. The difference in the mannerisms and attitudes at work is highly diverse. To be seen as anything other than conscientious and understated in the workplace is almost a death knell for your career. I understand that things will be carried out differently in all countries, but I feel the emphasis on ‘extreme’ professionalism is going a bit too far.

No doubt that this observation suggests that I am far from ready to participate in the corporate world. I moved from an extremely open, communicative organisation to one where it almost seems taboo to connect at times. For all the ‘reach out’ and ‘touch base’ that is recommended, people don’t seem to be doing a lot of it. I can sit in my cubicle for an entire day, and no one will utter a word. I feel like I am harassing my supervisor if I go up to her desk to check in on some work.

This is not to say that I dislike my co-workers, far from it, I actually get on very well with them. My manager intimidates me due to my lack of experience, she is a very nice woman who treats us well, it’s just that I have to conquer the small quake of fear I get when I am called into her office. Another nugget of information I was offered was that the workplace was not the environment to make friends with your co-workers. They were just that. Don’t get chummy, don’t let your guard down, remember that they could be the key to your success. Now, while I admit that part of that may be true, I don’t like the fact that you have to keep the people you work with for 8 hours a day at arms length. But this again may be the Brit in me coming out. I just don’t understand it. I feel awkward if I try to act formally to someone that I know fairly well, it almost feels like you are being rude! So it seems that this is an issue that I will have to work carefully on.
The last thing I wanted was to be labelled ‘unprofessional’ when I have been praised in other employment for being efficient, proactive and ambitious. Gahhh!

Since receiving this bombshell, I have been attempting to raise my game. Now that I am the last remaining intern, all the duties fall to me, which I love. I now have more control over what happens, and I have all the information, rather than having to ask what parts haven’t been completed. In the last week I have been feeling slightly more confident and have been taking projects into my own hands, rather than waiting for them to come and find me. This means I don’t get caught on the hop anymore. I’ve also managed to limit my BBC News intake to 20 minutes a day!

The most upsetting thing about all these points is that it didn’t come from any of my managers. So I can’t even imagine the thoughts directed at my performance that they must be mulling over. And my 6-month review is coming up in 3 weeks.

I’ll get my coat shall I?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sod's law

Explain to me why it is that when you really want to call someone, there seems to be a thousand things blocking your path?? I really have this overwhelming ‘want my mommy’ feeling and I have no way of contacting her that doesn’t cost me or her a fortune. I would have called her from work, but I wanted to talk about work stuff and I didn’t want other people overhearing me, and now that I am home and am trying Skype, my internet access decides to deny me. Argh!! Sniff…

**follow up** They just called me on my cell. Half an hours griping and it only cost me $4!! Woop!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Home or Away... it's still Ikea

Globalization within companies just makes things creepy. I went to Ikea today. And I might as well have never left Glasgow. It was identical in almost every way. Even down to the bickering children at the checkout, although instead of "Micheala! Chantarelle!! Gonna put that doon or i'm gonna skelp the pair of youze and your no gettin a Maccy D's!!" it was "Brad! Amy! Get your butt over here!" although both delivered with walrus-like volume.

I decided to do the little visit to the never ending labyrinth not realising that 'little' visit meant 'heinously long squelchy and almost almost crippling' schlep. Garrr. It all started off so well.. oh wait... not it didn't.

Woke up at 10.46 and remembered I was supposed to meet my domesticated-outing partner at 11. Good start. Various false starts later, I met J, a fellow scot at Wall Street and we dawdled down to Peir 11 to board the free water taxi provided to take you to the store in Brooklyn. Boarded, after a little mishap on the gangplank where I managed to walk with a significant wobble, and prompt the guy to ask if I was drunk. NO! The ground is moving!! bah..

Soon enough the Big Blue warehouse loomed into view. I felt like I could have walked around with my eyes shut, it was so identical to my local store. After a hearty wander, an equally hearty lunch stop looking out of the window at the grey and murky skyline and the rain beginning to toss down, (ah I'm really home!!!) we completed our purchases and ventured back out into the now torrential storm that was beginning. And so began the adventure.

Leaving the flooded parking lot was one thing, joining the queue for the water taxi against the umbrella-eating gale was slightly worse, but boarding the boat was another challenge all together for me apparently. Going up the gangplank was fine, fighting the sideways rain, balancing my body sized Ikea bag and trying to shelter J under my umbrella at the same time as walking down the slope towards the doorway. That is the last thing I remember before my feet went from under me and I graciously slammed onto the deck. The pain from the knee that had just bent backwards wiped out any embarrassment I felt that the deckhand was hauling me up by my arms while J scrambled for my umbrella.

I hobbled into the boat and slumped in a seat while the pain took over. When the boat docked back on Manhattan, J and I had to disembark into a typhoon. Due to my intense concentration in walking along the gangplank, it meant I was more exposed to the elements. My entire right side was drenched in seconds. Once J and I reached the bridge, I could wring out my top. We struggled on towards Wall Street and attempted to walk back to the PATH station. That didn't go so well. 10 minutes and 2 major soakings as we crossed an avenue later, we hailed a cab. At least he stopped for us. So we gave him a nice tip.

We stood on the PATH platform and wrung out our clothes to the amusement of fellow passengers. We stumbled home looking like drowned rats so I could ice my knee and elicit sympathy from my roommate.

On the plus side I have a nice new wok for only $7....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Where were you when you met your first public transport pervert?

Yeah. It happened. I feel violated. All though, I suppose, thankfully not physically.

On Friday I was making my way uptown to the Met for a tour that constitutes part of my coursework. I stepped off the subway into the 3rd circle of hell that is the 53rd and Lexington stop, dodged my way around the milling commuters, leaking, rotting ceilings and the incomprehensible directions to the 1st circle of hell that was the 6 line. Oh. my. gawd. The heat almost knocked me out before the crowded passengers did. Immediately I felt the makeup that I had just touched up before I left work start to shift across my face and down my neck. ICK!!

I managed to squeeze onto the nearest car and ended up crushed up against the door with people crammed in all around me. The guy in front of me seemed apologetic when he bumped into me and I gave him the benefit of the doubt since he wasn't close enough to a railing to be holding on. But after the 2nd stop and the fact that he turned round to face me and continued to bounce off me even when the train wasn't wasn't lurching was enough to convince me that he was a PERVERT!!!

Hence the next time the train stopped I bolted from the carriage and changed to the next one. And revelled in the fact that I actually had no one in my face for the rest of the journey.

I suppose I should feel lucky that I managed to go almost 5 months before I encountered the ickiness that is the subway weirdo's but I think it's safe to say I would be happy to go another 5 before I met another.

urgh.... I'm away for another shower....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Play it again DJ...

It's amazing how one little song can transport you miles or years away.

I'm standing on the subway platform, trying to erase the day's fogginess with my iPod, when suddenly a BoyZone song fills my ears. The saccharine sweet lyrics of 'Ben' trickle through the headphones and cloud my memory with images.

Now as someone who freely admits to being one of their biggest fans ever back in the day, I am still embarrassed to admit that I occasionally add them onto my playlist. I graduated directly from BoyZone to Green Day, and pretended to immediately wipe out my past musical leanings. I am aware that everyone has an incriminating back catalog that they don't own up to, but recently with Take That becoming acceptable again, and BoyZone failing to, I like to sweep my fondness for them under the rug. At least I can say that I was never a Steps fan! (5, 6, 7, 8!!!)

But hearing this song completely transports me back to 1998, when I went to my first ever concert (that wasn't the Singing Kettle) where I screamed my little pre-pubescent lungs out at the 5 Irish lads on stage, before realising they were actually the warm up band. None other than the current kings of ballads, Westlife! (Yes, it was that long ago)I'm quite happy to say that I never transferred my allegiance!!

It was so long ago, that the first two BZ albums I owned were on cassette, which was mercifully the first sign that I was moving on from my Jason Donovan phase (lets not go there), and then onto the heady joy of getting the final album on a newfangled CD. I ebayed for the 1st and 2nd albums on CD, and now am only on the hunt for the first one. The great thing about iPod's is that you can add the cringe worthy songs to your playlists and bop away in secrecy without having a big CD case to showcase your nerd-dom to all and sundry. Back when I had my car I would sneak on the disc and warble along to my heart's content all along the motorways. Sadly I imagine I would attract a wee bit of attention on the subway if I attempted that!

I do dread the thought of someone flipping through my playlists or sharing an earphone with me, only to find that after the rocking Kasabian track is the teeny-bopper voice of Stephen Gately (who incidentally broke my young heart!), that I feel would completely shatter any level of street cred I may have amassed. Which reminds me... I'd better go remove that Dolly Parton.....