The second week of my new job basically involved me stuffing my foot in my mouth and seeing just how far I could shove it down my throat without vomiting all over someone’s desk, and other awkward occasions.
Don’t get me wrong – job’s still good. People are still nice. Me? I’m kind of an idiot.
My new immediate boss started Monday. It just so happens that, in the ongoing adjustment to restructuring our department, he wasn’t hired until after me. Not a big deal at all. But he has to get up to speed with how things are working so that he can then oversee how things are working. Pursuant to that, he had an informal staff meeting on Tuesday morning at which I opened my fat mouth and implied that I understood things that, being on my exact seventh day of working at the university, I, of course, did not, in fact, understand. This has long been a problem of mine. My natural air of confidence makes me seem as if I know what the hell I’m talking about, when in all actuality I’m totally making shit up half the time, and the other half I only think I know what I’m talking about, but I say it with such poise and certainty that people believe me. This is essentially how I’ve managed to convince anyone at all that I’m a grown-up.
And usually that’s harmless. But in this case, it ruffled the feathers of someone who’s been there way longer than me. Approximately 19 years, 11 months and 51 weeks longer. Because I thought she had new help with a client, and I was very wrong. She still does all the work herself. Yet I sort of came off as telling her she was wrong, instead.
On top of that, there was a covert kerfuffle over my title. Now, I can’t help what my title is. But I was hired with that title even though my associates, who do exactly the same job as mine, don’t have it. Naturally, they wondered what the difference was. They were told, before I arrived, that there was no difference. Joanne told them that. She hired me. She also told my immediate boss, Ron, that I have a leadership role over the others. Therefore, he kept coming to me for things, making me look like the new boss’s favorite. And she keeps talking me up like I’m the second coming.
Oh, please stop. It’s so nice to be valued and appreciated, but please, please lower the bar of expectation. I don’t know what I’m doing. You know that, right?
Then, last night, I went to a dinner in honor of some prominent graduates. Seated at my table were one such graduate and his family, along with two men I’ve met in the last two weeks – both clients I work with. The man to my immediate left was someone I hadn’t yet met. I asked him what he does within the university.
He’s the vice-provost.
Which is awesome, since the Office of the Provost is another one of my clients.
This was after I met the president of the university and couldn’t help but wonder if my v-neck was cut a little too low. Which I had been wondering all day. Which means the answer is probably yes.
In other news: Rick brought something up to my officle while I was in a meeting. I saw it briefly when I ran back to my desk to get something we were talking about. Then I wound up coming back to get what he’d brought, because we’d started talking about that. He’d stuck a Post-It note on it: “Sending you gifts (with a purpose). Enjoy.-Rick.”
I controlled the heart flutter, I think. Because it was just information on a construction project the university is doing. And a pen pimping said construction project. It wasn’t, like, roses. I did need the info.
But… I mean… the pen…
Anyway. I emailed him later to let him know his timing was perfect because we were discussing the very thing he’d brought to my officle while I was in the meeting. Then I asked for some quick information on the event he was attending. Except the event was the next night. “That’s tomorrow,” he replied, as I had known two hours before, but had forgotten. “Right now I’m stuck in traffic heading into the city for a dinner. If it keeps up like this, I might just bypass the dinner altogether.”
At first I thought nothing of it. Then I did some geographical calculation and realized that the city is south of the university, and the town where he’d been staying with his parents is north of the university. “Bypassing” in this case means continuing southward without stopping. And the town where he had lived with his girlfriend is south of the city.
So now I’m pretty sure he’s back with her. Which, by the way, is exactly what I have been telling myself all along, for the sake of my peace of mind. Supposedly. But I think he mentioned the “bypass” on purpose. Which I willfully ignored. Because this is a professional relationship. I will not wind up in the Friend Zone. And I will not ask questions.
After all the Foot I’ve tasted this week, I need to keep my mouth shut, anyway.