Oh desk job, how I love thee. Arriving each day and opening my email is such a thrill. I love doing little mundane tasks, answering emails with the quick tappity-tap of my little fingers. I enjoy my perfect gray-walled box, complete with minimal air flow and temperature which is just the other side of comfortable. It’s really great. Each day the same, over and over, challenge after annoying obstacle, I earn my paycheck.
One day last week was no different. I arrive at work at the usual time (which I will not disclose…ahem), drag out my computer, greet my fellow minions, put my english muffin in the toaster. I am optimistic today, as I always try to be in the mornings. Better to start out right than start out grumpy, no? Eventually my slow-as-molasses but brand-new laptop starts up. Thanks, corporate security, for taking 40 minutes of my day away. Yawn. I hear the toaster pop behind me and am excited for my delicious breakfast tradition. It is important, as a Rookie, to watch your health. I swagger back to my desk. I open my email and lo and behold, good mood ruined. The first email to greet me reveals to me that someone thought I was incompetent! How fun! And thusly my day begins.
I think it is really great when the “grown-ups” in the office treat me like a small child who has never seen a computer before. What’s that? You mean if I have admin access to this server I can change settings which could crash it? No way! I didn’t know that. Of course I’m so glad you warned me. Or I might have just shut the whole thing down, on accident! Maybe even set it on fire! Thank goodness for you, Mr. Old-Server-Admin-Guy. Who knows what would have happened if you had set me lose on this! I might have blown up the entire server room! Brought the entire company down! Stock price in the toilet! You saved the day! You deserve a raise for putting little old me in my place. Oh, there’s more? Oh nos! I didn’t realize how little I actually know about restarting a computer. I didn’t realize that my qualifications for this job are actually useless. You are so smart. Thanks for being so condescending. I wouldn’t know what to do if you hadn’t sent me that smartass email telling me what any monkey who’s spent 5 seconds near a computer would know. It’s really nice of you. Where can I send my thank-you note and fruitcake? You know us southern girls, all about hospitality and being thankful. [Eyelash flutter]
Sarcasm alert, bee-tea-dubs.
My favorite part of all of this was when I got to give dude a big ol’ BOOYA from my desk. In my head of course. I proved once again that I am not a little girl pretending to know what I’m doing. Note to everyone I have ever worked and will ever work with: I’m not a dumbass girl. I actually did get a degree, go through a rigorous interview process, and have been doing this for over a year. So watch me prove you wrong. Biotches. The best part is I can slyly give this person a little slap via email, providing a dash of irrefutable smarts and logic and coating it with Brenda Lee type sugar. Take that. I can’t decide if this happens to me because I am female, because I am young enough to be most people’s daughter in this office, OR because I have cute shoes. REGARDless, it should not matter. But it will continue to happen until such time as…actually I have no idea how much longer it will continue. Some of us Rookies actually look like 16 year old girls (shut up) so I will probably look like a teenage intern well into my 40s (something which I refuse to complain about) and must accept that some people will think I’m an idiot for many years to come. Whether because I’m short, thin, young, pretty, female, or all of the above. Here’s a couple headlines for you: young does not equal stupid. Female also does not equal stupid. So if you want to question me, do it in a respectful manner. I don’t need you to assume I know what I’m doing but I do need you to be respectful. Because I earned the right to be here as much as you. Plus I’m nicer and you have poor grammar.
So next time I ask you to do something for me and I do not provide enough background facts for your liking, just ask. Don’t get all up on your high horse and assume I don’t know what I’m talking about. Ask me like you would the fat old man sitting in the cube next to you. He’s not as cute as me, but you wouldn’t treat him poorly because of that. I’m not as experienced as him (because he’s old), but you shouldn’t treat me poorly because of that.
I don’t understand why this is difficult. I am willing and able to learn but I am not willing to handle your disrespectful ‘tude and condescending, snide emails and phone calls.
As Rookies, this is something we must deal with, though I just said I was not willing, it is the facts of life. Just like the birds and the bees. It is hilarious sometimes to watch the “grown-ups” hesitantly giving us responsibilities while providing ridiculously detailed directions and tips, and not hiding their intense anxiety over letting us handle things. But we must handle their attitudes and tasks we are given with grace and class. Because again, we are here to prove ourselves. This doesn’t mean it’s super awesome to be treated disrespectfully, and receive condescending emails insulting our intelligence. No one should assume we know anything…you know the old saying about what it means to assume things. But no one should assume we’re idiots either.