I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 56 - Porkus Kountdown

I have chosen to ration myself to taking only one shot at Porkus per week. There has been some suggestion that mentioning my former employer is a sign of failing to let go. Maybe, but it's also tremendously fun. I previously worked at Honeywell, a great company, but how interesting is a list of what a fine company did well? With Porkus, the sheer volume of ridiculous policy and behavior is an unending source of wonder. It's like the old joke where the guy is joyfully digging through piles of excrement with the rationale, "With so much crap, there must be a pony in here somewhere!"

The subject of tonight's list is Porkus HR leader 'Cheryl Boobquist'. Cheryl is a small, pathetic dried shell. She is the old french fry that you find under the couch cushions when you vacuum. She's afraid of breasts, people of color other than Asians, technology (including telephones with more than one button), and the future. She claims to speak Spanish but it seems to be a way of keeping an eye on the janitor.

Due to the number of lawsuits brought against the company by employees (for being forced to pray, as well as other interesting motivational tools), Cheryl guarded against the possibility of harassment claims by refusing to hire anyone attractive. This approach, of course, shows the type of innate ignorance of human resource issues that sets Porkus apart from the other sweatshops and cult-run businesses. After several years as attrition weeded the earlier hires, we became quite a homely group. When we would see an African-American and/or good-looking person waiting for an interview, employees would exchange knowing glances because we would never see that person again.

Cheryl asked me to remove an Ikea floor lamp from my office because she found it inappropriate and suggestive. This lamp and I share the same general shape and it is suggestive of nothing other than too many baked goods. A few weeks after the lamp did not disappear, I did. I think of it as an inverse genie effect.

Cheryl was concerned about the health of the employees on the plantation and occasionally sponsored seminars on health topics that we were required to attend during unpaid time. She often used herself as a model of the benefits of good and healthful living, a questionable strategy since she looks like Emperor Palpatine in pumps.

Over the years, I developed a playful list of items that would be hideously inappropriate gifts for her. Without further ado:

"Bad" Gifts for Cheryl Boobquist

1. A thong
2. Tickets to a ZZ Top concert
3. Membership in the NAACP
4. Membership in NOW
5. Membership in the ACLU
6. Erotic bakery item
7. A rap CD
8. Any CD since she doesn't know what they are
9. Anything needing a sense of humor
10. An Ikea lamp

To give the devil her due, here are items that would make wonderful gift choices.

Great Gifts for Cheryl Boobquist

1. Bible signed by the author
2. White hood, cross, matches
3. Anxiety medicine
4. Stock in a turtleneck company
5. Stock in a chastity belt company
6. Gaydar
7. A polyester pantsuit
8. Another knitted scarf to cover the Adam's apple
9. A minion to do her bidding, Jedi powers preferred
10. Any gift that would encourage retirement


Capissen said...

Man, I remember that. They had hired an assistant for something-or-other who was beautiful and smart. I had just started trying to get to know her when they showed her the door. That's bad for morale, if nothing else!

Burning Khrome said...

And some people think I make this stuff up! Before you came to the company, there was another pretty girl who somehow managed to get hired. After the HR orientation and two hours of work in Customer Service, she asked one of her coworkers where a certain door led. It led directly to the street without going through the reception area. She walked through the door and was never seen again. Management started lcoking the door.

Anonymous said...

What I heard was the new exec asst left/was let go because Ms Paranoid was unhappy at the color match of the nakins and tablecloths at one of the luncheons. It was the last straw apparently.

Maybe the lamp reminded her of someone wearing pants that were too tight - even though the person that got scolded for that said it was because she had recently gained weight, thanks.

Paper Krane (like that?)

Anonymous said...

So, so true. I'm trying to Figure out what the lamp represented for Cheryl, but it makes my brain hurt. With her, everything took a prudish Freudian twist. Even long shorts on tall people were too short and revealing...of her own insecurity and paranoia.

Burning Khrome said...

That's one I hadn't heard before. Truly scary.

Anonymous said...

This is a frighteningly accurate recounting of events. One thing you forgot to mention about Cheryl was her propensity for conducting official HR business in the restroom. When I was going thru boot camp for a particular branch of the military there was a rumor that they put salt peter in the frosting of the cake they force-fed us every meal. I wonder if there was any coincidence to the cake we had at Porkus every month to celebrate birthdays? Probably not. Just seeing that old prune killed any "sinful" thoughts. Remember Thing 1's pet whom he always had on a tight leash? And how the pet's jowls would shake?

Burning Khrome said...

So it wasn't all just a bad, bad dream?

Thanks for reminding me of the bathroom situation. If I found her in there, I'd retreat immediately if she hadn't seen me or just wash my hands quickly and leave otherwise. At least knowing where she was meant that the other bathroom was safe.

She wasn't the only exec who did that. The Pres was known for asking unusual questions at inappropriate moments. One of my former assistants was a charming, mild-mannered man who bore a resemblance to Mr. Rogers. The Big A approached Mr. Rogers in the men's room at the urinal and said, "So, what are you doing?" apparently meaning in the day-to-day job sense. As mild as he was, Mr. Rogers struggled mightily to avoid answering very specifically.

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