Robin Michelle Writes











Just another average ordinary Monday. Get up, feed and water the cats, shower, dress, bus then train to work. As I walked the mile from the train station to my office I wondered what I’d find waiting for me, how many emails and voicemails had been left for me on Friday. I’d called in sick. Of course, I hadn’t really been sick, just needed a break from the nonstop attention.

“Cairi, I don’t know what I did, but now I can’t find my start bar.”

“Cairi, what are all these marks in my document and how do I get rid of them?”

“I know I saved the spreadsheet before turning off my computer, but now it’s not where I put it.”

All day, every day, and I wasn’t even the computer support tech. Nope. I was an analyst, supposed to be spending my time collecting, reviewing, analyzing and reporting data. But I’d helped one person with their computer issues and suddenly I’d become the “go to” person. Even my boss constantly called me into his office to help him with his “computer” problems. I couldn’t help but wonder where the company had found these employees, how in this day and age there were still so many people out there who had no clue how to work on a computer. Seriously, there had even been more than one employee who hadn’t known how to turn on their computer, let alone actually work on it.

With a deep sigh, I pushed open the door.

“Oh, good, Cairi, you’re back,” Stace the receptionist blurted the moment he saw her. “I’ve been trying since Friday to print Dave’s schedule but I can’t seem to get it to work. Can you take a look at it for me?”

“Hi, Stace. Email it to me, and I’ll see what I can do, ok?”

I knew what the problem was — Stace never selected a printer — but there was no point in explaining it to him. I’d tried, several times, before realizing I spent more time trying to get through to him than it took to just do it myself.

Being as quiet and unobtrusive as possible, I continued to my office. The best thing about being with the company as long as I had was that I had an actual office, with windows and a door, not a cubicle. When I needed to, I could close the door and shut out distractions. Which was what I did then. I needed as much uninterrupted time as I could get to go through and prioritize all the waiting emails and messages.

I hadn’t even made it through the voicemails before there was knock on the door and my boss, Dave Lewis, walked in and plopped down in one of the chairs facing my desk.

“Hey, Cairi, glad you made it in today. Have you had a chance to review the email I sent you on the Pearson project?”

As with everyone else in this company, no ‘how are you?’, “how was your weekend?”, “did you enjoy your day off?” I took a deep breath.

“Hi, Dave, nope, not yet. I haven’t even made it through all my voicemails yet. Can I let you know when I’ve looked it over and then we can discuss it?”

“Um, yeah, sure, just I really need you to get back to me before lunch. I’m meeting Rob Pearson then and I want to have all my ducks in a row.”

“Sure, Dave, moving it right to the top of my ‘to do’ pile,” I forced a smile and hoped that Dave didn’t note that my smile didn’t quite reach my eyes. One day off had clearly been nowhere near enough.

With a hearty laugh that proved he hadn’t noticed, Dave stood up and walked out of my office, pausing in the doorway.

“Oh, and when you get the chance, Stace seems to be having some sort of printer problem. He can’t get me my schedule — would you please see if you can help him with that? Thanks.”

And he was gone, leaving the door open behind him.

I debated just leaving it that way, but after only five minutes of overhearing multiple office conversations, including Dave’s conference call on speaker, it was clear that if I was going to be able to focus on any work, the door would have to be closed. Another deep sigh and I pushed myself up and out of my chair and shut the door, making sure this time to put the “Do Not Disturb” sign out.

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