Monday, March 1, 2010

Brawling With The Copier

When I was about 19, my aunt hooked me up with a job at an insurance company in Mineola. It was a great way for me to earn a few bucks during summer breaks from college and in-between classes. The only problem? She worked there too. 

Normally this wouldn't be a problem because I love my aunt. My aunt is awesome. She's the one who played the records for me when I was a kid. She also loved challenging me to games of "Who could be the quietest?" and won time after time. Little did I know this was a failed attempt at shutting me up. I've been this chatty since about age 2.

So back to the job ...  The problem with my aunt working there was this - unless you're super-duper mature and laid back, do yourself a favor - don't crash the workplace of a family member or good friend. We've all been there. Their screw up becomes your screw up. Your screw up becomes their screw up. Got that?

There were two major incidents at my very first office job back then and both ironically involved a copy machine.

During one of my many wrestling matches with a big old early 1990s copy machine, someone overheard me using swear words. Much like a modern-day scene right out of the hit holiday flick A Christmas Story, there I was throwing the "F" word around in a heated battle which I clearly lost to the Xerox machine.

Sweating my ass off, knees digging into the floor's cheap office carpeting trying to fix a paper jam, I let out a few obscenities.  I remember I had invested about twenty minutes trying not only to fix my assignment, which was due by end of day, but also get that damn machine in working order for the long line of people who were waiting on the now broken machine. I'm sure at one point in your life this has happened to you. Everyone whining, "What did you do?" and "You broke the copier! Everyone, Ally broke the copier!" I snapped and yes, I cursed at my biggest enemy of that summer, Xerox.  

Soon after, I was left with the horror of having my aunt sit me down and tell me someone had complained to HR about my lack of professionalism and use of profanity. How awkward. I felt horrible for her having to deal with someone complaining to her about me. She was a very well-liked manager. I wished they had just come to me. It would have spared us both such embarrassment. I also felt angry wondering who the snitch was. It made me hate every single person in the office that day as I questioned each person in my head. 

A few months after that incident blew over, I was faced with yet another copier woe. This time I was involved in a humongous copying job - one of those multi-page, two sided, stapled nightmares. It was a disaster. I had to have the entire project finished within about an hour. While in mid-Xerox, someone asked if they could interrupt and make a few copies. She hinted that it was uber important. I gave her big puppy dog eyes and explained that I was involved in a double-sided mess and if she could just give me a few minutes, I was almost done with this particular portion. She rushed off in a huff.

Guess where she was rushing off to? My aunt's office to complain about the nerve I had not allowing her to cut in. Man, that job kinda sucked, but for a college kid in 1991, $7.40 an hour wasn't bad. It paid way more than the mall, so I stuck it out. Not to mention, they had awesome summer parties and holiday bashes involving really nice Christmas gifts for part-timers such as Swatch watches and gift cards. I had a crush on an older guy there. Sure he had a hot girlfriend, but it gave me something or should I say, someone to look forward to seeing every day. 

The sad thing about this job was that it made me develop a deep fear of copy machines. 


Ally said...

Niki, I know. My whole thing is, if you have a problem with me, tell me yourself. Don't send someone else to be your messenger. Whatever.

Copyboy said...

This should be an official phobia. I still feel guilty for walking a way from some jams I caused. Have you ever reconnected with that hot guy?

Tracie said...

I'm not allowed to touch any of the equipment at my office. There's something about my touch that kills any kind of electronics. I should have been Amish.

I came over here from Ian's blog. I'm your newest follower.

Mom Mayhem says: said...

Ugh -Yeah copiers- The office nemesis. Makes you want to go all Office Space on 1 -Huh?! Love that movie! In case you haven't seen it here's about that:

Jerry said...

I have bestowed some awards upon you. Go to My Thoughts to collect them. Congrats!

TS Hendrik said...

I've never had a single problem with a copier in my life. They have always worked perfectly for me. No jams, no mechanical problems, nothing. I cannot relate to this post whatsoever.

In an unrelated note, I've recently taken up lying.

California Keys said...

Ha Ha! That's hilarious! I can't believe people ratted you out to HR and your aunt!

I've worked with my father (he owns the company) for the past ten years, and the first year I was working at the company (as the office manager) we had a huge company Christmas dinner.

The then VP of the company got smashed out of his mind at the Christmas dinner and was loud and inappropriate and the whole bit. Keep in mind that I was sitting in between my father and the VP during the dinner. Well, the next day, my father calls me into the office to tell me that the VP told him I was telling racist jokes at dinner... I certainly was not! I reminded him that he was sitting right next to me, and that I was quiet for most of the dinner.

Turns out, another employee nearby (who is Iranian) was telling jokes about Iranians. Somehow, in his inebriated state, he thought it was me.... Good times.

On another note, I hate copiers too.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I am visiting from Ian's blog! I am dangerous when it comes to machines! I feel your pain!

Anonymous said...

I made the mistake of being the only person to know how to fix the copier when I had a job.

BIG Mistake. HUGE!

Anonymous said...

I seriously think of "Nine to Five" when I read this! I feel you on this one

Ally said...

@Copyboy Funny you should mention hot guy, I think they were engaged and my aunt mentioned years ago that they broke it off. I never looked back... He wasn't my type, he was just cute eye candy :)

@Tracie WELCOME!! Ian rocks! I'm following you too now.

@MomMay yes I love that movie! Saw it so many times and meant to mention that scene in this blog and forgot :(

@Jerry thank you soooo much!

@TS I was going to blame your experience on your younger age saying maybe newer copiers jam less. Ha ha!

@Asblackas what a great story! too funny! Glad that worked in your favor in the end!

The Man-Cave said...

Interesting stories there, Ally. I'm not a fan of copiers either. A few years ago, a copier (strangely located in my new office)broke after printing three forms and leaked ink all over the floor. I immediately called the nearest trash company to haul it away. I even rolled that thing out past my new employers and out into the street.

Copiers can be the devil so I feel you on this one.

Erika said...

copy machines are the devil, there is no way around it, if you aren't uttering swear words around a copier then clearly you aren't using it

Pandorah's Box said...

I work with my best friend, a few good friends, and up until a few weeks ago, my boyfriend. In an office. So I understand. I really do.

Whenever Dave was late, I was getting phone calls from angry people asking me where the hell he was. If a friend was sick and called in, I had people calling me asking if she was faking.

It sucks ass. HARD. But all offie jobs do! Well, at least, in my humble opinion :)

I am sorry that you had to experience it yourself!


Share |