It’s my third day of freedom from the shackles that were (& I suppose still are) the Microsoft Office Team (specifically my immediate team, the “WHOMP,” team, a moniker given to us my our illustrious TOOL of a manager—who describes himself as a “Bon Vivant” on LinkedIn—and one I never bothered to find out what it meant.).
I cannot express the feeling of relief in my chest. The loosening of the gray phlegmatic 1s and 0s that comprise all computer work. Although I had a good, solid 10+ years at Microsoft (a company name I believe I dared not mention—until now) on this blog, this diary of sorts, this way of making myself believe I can still write full sentences that do not include the terms “click” or “menu” or “properties”.
I should have left April 19th, 2011, when a marketing wonk (whom I’d never met) named Craig Kerwien snidely informed me—while wearing his $200+ Microsoft Marketing Puffy Jacket (that group’s Christmas presents the previous year; our team group got….oh right: nothing) pilgrim-toed shoes, and thinning gelled hair—in a meeting that my job for the past 9.5 years, the Microsoft Crabby Office Lady, a force unto herself with more than 1 million followers, was being killed off because 1) Absolutely no one (well, on the marketing team, he said, which of course is all that counts) uses the word “crabby” anymore; 2) The Crabby Office Lady did NOT make the company any money (“good will does not translate into dollars” he smirked); and 3) ….I don’t think there was a third reason. By then I was thinking that it was my birthday and had just received a not-so-good phone call from. Y gynecologist regarding a biopsy.
Yeah, it was a great day.
My manager didn’t warn me about this impending cut (he wasn’t even on the Microsoft grounds that day—I’ve never even met the tool). His fathead (& I do mean that literally and if you know who he is you’ll know it’s true) didn’t warn me; and the two managers above him, the people who sanctioned Crabby in 2002 didn’t warn me.
But I did get this: An editor on our team was in the meeting and she took me to her office, closed the door, lowered her voice, and veritably cupped her hands around her mouth as she whispered to me that she hadn’t personally heard anything of my impending firing but that she knew Amazon was hiring. Classy, girl named after a spiky, thorny holiday plant that never flowers; classy. Hope it made you feel strong at a time when you probably knew that your time as head blog honcho was about to be pulled out from under you. I’d hoped for more from you. But hey, click File > Info > Embed in Memory.
I had a few weeks to wrap up Crabby’s story and pack her off (which I did…to her own desert island where she enjoyed being the Cougar she always was inside). And then I was assigned to writing Outlook help topics for the next version of Office coming out (oops…can’t tell ya when that is though I know you’re dying to upgrade from what…2003?), with a guy who’d been writing Outlook Help topics since 2003. Can you imagine? He was one really crabby guy and left to work at—oh yeah! AMAZON!—a couple weeks before my departure. Then I wrote Word topics until just last week.
Without giving too much away, I went from writing what I and millions other computer users considered useful, fun, humorous, and thoughtful content to writing things like…
…wait for it…
“Print multiple copies of a document.”
Yep, when you have to look that up in Help when you upgrade to the next version of Word about 7 years from now, you’ll see my fingerprints all over that sucker. It took weeks, I tell you, WEEKS of research to get that one down. And the art! My god! The training I had to endure! The feeling of inadequacy!
Truth be told, my fourth grader was sitting next to me as I was looking over the final version of it to make sure it was technically and grammatically correct…not to mention in the right tone and employing just the right amount of empathy toward a frustrated user who had to look up this complicated topic… (And for those of you in the know, I will not use the “v” word since Microsoft has no doubt copyrighted it and I’d probably be in some sort of legal trouble for using it even though we ALL KNOW I started that revolution in February 2002.)
Anyway, my 9-year-old said to me, “Is that a joke? Is that your job now? To write down things that we learned in first grade?”
I felt so proud.
(Yes, Bian, there is a Bill Gates, and he’d be mortified to know that the company he started was paying me a six figure salary to do the job anyone with a sixth grade —of perhaps first grade—education could do while skipping rope.)
But then again, I never did get a puffy jacket so I guess it all balanced out.
Goodbye Crabby—you’ll always be a part of me.
And that is the end of THAT era. Onto better, more useful things that make me embarrassed in front of my daughter!!!