My (former) life as the crab

Musings about life after Crabby Office Lady

4th of July July 4, 2012

Filed under: Annik,Daily dramas,General musings — Annik @ 5:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

Whew — been a while since I posted. Been busy detoxing from MSFT (after more than 13 years, it takes a while) and in Mexico getting pickled in tequila. Both things delightful. I haven’t felt so good since July 2010 when I was forced onto another team with a rotten manager. (By the way, anyone read the Vanity Fair article about Microsoft’s “lost decade” and “cannibalistic culture?”  I certainly felt all hollowed out the past 18 months, barely a bag of bones and stuffing.) I think it’s really true–it’s beaurocratic BS and management pitfalls that are preventing the company from reaching its fullest potential. We truly spend 1/3 of each year writing about what we did or didn’t do in perf. previews.

(And in the wise words of Forest Gump: That is all I have to say about that.”)

No fireworks in ALL counties in Colorado this year due to the wildfire danger, the wildfires themselves, and the general heat and dryness of the area. I can’t remember a summer this hot and I also haven’t heard a single rogue firecracker go off. That is unusual but maybe people are getting the message and also, here in Denver, showing some respect.

Bamboo (our hairy white Great Pyrenees/Akita/Yorkie mix) has had to be inside all day and night, getting her walks in the early mornings. Can’t even walk her at night–the temp doesn’t seem to drop until after 9 or 10.

Job hunt slowly entering the consciousness…resemu ready…search engines joined…getting ideas….getting hits…gotta start actively working on it next week when B is at camp.

Entire clan at the Zejuatanejo airportMexico was great fun and it took a while to come down from it. My folks celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by taking all the kids and grandkids (14 of us in all) to Club Med Ixtapa for a week. Although this is not the normal crew I’d want to spend a week at the beach with, everyone had a good time and was pretty civil to each other, (A couple of minor scuffles at the airport but we were all tired and and wanting to be home so I don’t count that.)

But I have to say: I do get awfully tired of the grandma’s blatant favoritism toward the grandkids. It’s so ingrained in her that I know doesn’t realize it. But what is odd is that she wasn’t the fave in her family and so she knows how much it hurts. It’s started to affect my daughter’s feelings about her (though I haven’t chimed in at all. I’ve just watched and listened.) Just so much doting and helicoptering and constant chattering about how this one is “her prince” and this one “never complains” and this one is just “just like her mother–loves everything, is happy with everything.”  The thing is, I adore these children–they are great kids and you can’t help but love them. They’re beautiful kids who are smart, affectionate, funny. I love them so much. But the constant hovering of Granny is driving me mad and making my daughter feel very left out. I’d tell B to approach her grandma but Mom acts always so very irritated with me as a general rule (and has since I was a teenager) and in our family, we NEVER “talk things out” so I can’t exactly tell my kid to try that approach with her grandma whom she loves so much. B knows she’s loved; she just feels second (or fourth) best.

So I’m not sure what to do. I’d talk to my sister but I have a feeling it would put some sort of bad blood between us and I don’t want that. We communicate but not on a particularly deep level. I love and admire her too, even though I wonder about her choices sometimes. But she’s a great mom and daughter and seems happy with her life. And it is HER life; not mine–her choices not mine.

B told me as we were buying mattresses earlier this week and  trying them all out, one by one and then hopping back and forth between our favorites: “I’m so glad I have a happy mother.” That is the best compliment someone could give me. That when they’re with me, I seem happy. And I AM happy when I’m with B. The world is better through her eyes.

Advertisements
 

Infidelity in the workplace: Believe me sexybacks, we all know June 13, 2012

P.S. Rob A. + Becca R.: Who doesn’t know (Double that: Who isn’t completely grossed out?) Hey MRS. Robinson: Remember the sweet present I sent your second child? Apparently not. God, I love that Karma charge card: Play now…pay later.

P.P.S. JeRe and Bon Vivant (see previous post): Again: Did you think we didn’t all know? Really? Las Vegas etc.? I was 1400 miles away and even I knew.

Ew. I mean. Ew.

(And J.R.: All that makeup and work done to your face? Like we wouldn’t notice?? Your smile is still tight and mean-spirited. Nothing can smooth that away. What happened to you? You used to be so…nice (well…sorta). And at the MVP Summit 2010? You couldn’t even DEIGN to talk to me because what, you were “getting into character” to talk to….Mister Excel?

If you want to be actors, J.R, D.T., L.B…..GO BE ACTORS. No one wants to see videos of geeks talking about their geekdom.  EW. AGAIN.

No idea who these people are - just an awkward company party

 

The price of freedom

Filed under: Annik — Annik @ 3:55 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Crabby at the Microsoft sign in Redmond, WAIt’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.

Annik Stahl dressed as the Crabby Office LadyGoodbye Crabby—you’ll always be a part of me.

Crabby columns
Blog
Crabby on 9News
Crabby’s book
Podcast
Crabby photos (? Hm. Not sure about some of those…)

And that is the end of THAT era. Onto better, more useful things that make me embarrassed in front of my daughter!!!

—annik