October 12, 2006

A Little Perspective Here People

Posted in Lessons Learned, Office Hijinks at 5:26 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

As you all know, our firm recently moved offices. As you may not know, I was named a Move Coordinator. The very same day I learned that I was being elevated to this position of more responsibility and grief — with no more compensation or prestige — my doctor told me she felt something irregular in my left breast. I’m 28 years old.

Suddenly, I was really glad to be a Move Coordinator, as all the chaos that surrounded the move distracted me from what could quite literally be eating me alive. It wasn’t until the firm’s first day of occupancy that I really had any time to be scared about it.

We were in the new space, almost completely moved in and I felt surrounded by people complaining. Some people didn’t have computers, some didn’t have printers and no one had e-mail or a working phone. Attorneys called to let me know that they didn’t like their computer set-up, didn’t like their office set-up, didn’t like their view or didn’t like where their files were. Everyone wanted something better or different.

And all I really wanted was to know that my relatively funny life wasn’t taking a serious Lifetime Television for Women turn. My appointment to find out what exactly was the irregularity was scheduled for that very same day.

The doctor confirmed what literally dozens of men have already told me: I have great tits. Okay, he said I have dense breast tissue, but they practically mean the same thing. He also said I was tumor-free.

Now, you would think that when I got back to the office I would be relieved. Skipping and smiling with my new devil-may-care attitude. But if you thought that, even for a second, then clearly this is the first time you are reading my blog.

Growing up, my mother was a hospice nurse. This made it a little difficult for my family to complain to her about certain miniscule events that were taking over our own lives. Because no matter how sad I was that the captain of the wrestling team dumped me, my mother always had a sadder story about some blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl my age dying of some horrible disease.

So when I got back to the office and an attorney informed me that he wanted his office rearranged because he didn’t like looking out at his secretary, I imagined myself smiling serenely, crinkling my nose and responding, “And people in hell want ice water.”

Later, when an assistant told me that her office set-up was perfect for a left-handed person, but she was right-handed, I wanted to open my eyes wide and tell her, “I just got back from an appointment where I learned I didn’t have cancer. Maybe you can change your set-up yourself.” And then shrug my shoulders and walk away.

Granted, not having external e-mails or phone calls sucks. It is inconvenient and problematic, but you know what is more problematic and inconvenient, dying. And over 40,000 women will die of breast cancer this year.

Admittedly, some of the views are lousy in the new space. And as a person who had a great view before and a lousy one now, you may feel less than loved by the powers that be at your office. But you know what else makes you feel less love? When a loved one dies. Whether it’s in a war or at the hands of a madman or from a horrible disease — losing a loved one means being loved that much less.

However, you will be happy to know I did not answer any of the complaints with these suggestions on perspective. I listened quietly, nodded slowly, smiled and wrote things on a legal pad.

But don’t get it in your head that this ability to filter my thoughts before they reach my mouth means I am growing as a person. I was judging these individuals the whole time and finding solace in the fact that I was a more evolved person.

That, and I knew it would all be great for the blog.



  1. Geri said,

    October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month makes this Blog even more meaningful. Thank God that you’re one of the women this month who won’t have to undergo continued testing and possible treatment for Breast Cancer. M

  2. nora said,

    Might be my favorite blog yet. Maybe because I can connect to the content. Not because I’ve had the same experience, but because I too have great tits (i.e. dense breast tissue). okay, forgive the slight snark…seriously, i love this post. You are an excellent writer for so many reasons, but this time solely because you can take a serious situation and help your readers connect to the natural inclination to offset fear with humor. Well done.

  3. Grammar Policeman said,

    Loved this entry, but just wanted to point out a typo in an otherwise flawless piece. You write: “And as a person who had a great view before and a lousy one now, you may feel less then loved by the powers that be at your office.”
    From someone else, I would suspect this was a grammar error. From you, I assume it’s a typo because you never make mistakes. So fix it.

  4. Done. Was I being timed?

    PS I love how smart my readers are.

  5. Grammar Policeman said,

    No, you were not being timed. But I was tickled to see that you fixed it. Practically perfect in every way you are, Yoda says.

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