Problems solving

It’s been one of those days. One of those days where everything insisted on arriving at once and being done at once. Partly because one co-worker has gone on vacation and I seem to be his second-in-command (gee, nobody told me). My boss did realize that I had a lot on my plate and told me to delegate to my other co-worker. So I did. And it was a good thing.

I spent the better part of the afternoon chasing down someone who could help me with an unexpected problem. But I did say during my job interview last week (nothing heard back yet, by the way) that I love solving problems. So here was mine: Somehow, the ordering system for business cards for our Danish co-workers was no longer working. Or rather, it still was, but now a number of people were simply e-mailing my department’s group e-mail with messages like “I want to order business cards” or the order itself. Not an acceptable situation, especially when I go on vacation and have to leave business cards to someone else.

I was clueless about what the Danes had to do to order their cards, but e-mailed for help from one Dane I’d corresponded a bit with in connection with such orders, and also got a name from colleagues in our Corporate Communications department. And in the middle of this, an extremely uncomfortable talk with my former masseur, a physical therapist who offers massages during office hours two days a week in our building.

I’d gone to him last spring, but stopped because I never got comfortable with him. He happened to run into me today in the elevator and asked me where I’d gone to, so I told him I didn’t feel our chemistry was good for therapy, and when I tried to tell him last year, I felt he didn’t listen to me. Well, he showed up at my office a little later, asked to speak to me and shut the door (without asking me). Then we proceeded to not communicate well again, with him making me feel he wasn’t listening because he was insisting he had never said anything to make me feel bad. That in itself showed me he was missing the point: He made the mistake of thinking that if he hadn’t used the actual words, he hadn’t actually conveyed the message. I’ve done that myself; I know that you can convey a lot without using the actual words. And the anger I was feeling was telling me that this guy would never hear me. I was getting so upset that I got up and opened my office door and demanded that he leave. He didn’t. Which made me even angrier. For some reason, he didn’t want to leave until he heard me say I was angry. My boss showed up shortly after, and I told him that I’d just had a blow-out with my former masseur. “When a girl isn’t comfortable being undressed with a man, she should find another,” I said. My boss laughed and said he totally agreed.

Normally, I’d feel like shit about getting angry. What bothered me was that I couldn’t find the words to make this man understand what I meant. But then I wondered if that was necessary. I told him our chemistry didn’t mesh, and he couldn’t leave it alone. I asked him to leave, and he didn’t. My anger was telling me that this man was crossing lines.

And when that was over, an IT guy came to install my new laptop. Everyone in the office is getting new PCs, most of which are laptops. I’m curious about using a Windows machine and I expect it will make some tasks easier. Because we are three Mac users in a company of only Windows users, we’ve been finding ourselves more and more dependent on emulation software but that didn’t keep us from losing access to network printers last summer. The latest frustration is that our new intranet doesn’t work right in emulation.

So an even weirder conversation ensued between me and the IT guy but not in a negative way, more in a humorous and mutual understanding that corporate IT policies and IT bureaucracies are hard for anyone to figure out. Eventually, everything was installed and the IT guy could finally leave.

I logged into my e-mail on my new Thinkpad and found two very helpful replies: A link to the order form for Danish business cards that I could forward to everyone who’d sent their messages to the wrong mailbox, and a promise that the misinformation on our intranet would be quickly fixed.

I still have stuff that needs to be done at once and at the same time, but I’m looking forward to it. And if I am to sum up today’s events, I think it was a clearing energy, fixing both old and new problems.

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

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