Friday, May 22, 2009

Harry Potter-esque?

Sometimes I feel like Mrs. Norris.
You know, Mr. Filch's red-eyed cat of Harry Potter fame?
Let me explain:
I am the Assistant to the Director at my office.  That means I've got the ear of the Top Dog at work.  That also means that most people are afraid to talk to me and always seem to go scurrying off in different directions when they see (or hear) me coming. 
I think they're afraid I'm going to "tattle-tale" on them should I inadvertently catch them doing something I know is against company policy.  (Ahem...talking on the phone while in the ladies room isn't really against company policy, but it should be!)
OK - that being said, I need to clarify this a little bit further.  My former boss, who has been gone over a year now, was REALLY SUPER PICKY about things.  He was a nice guy, for sure, but he had definite ideas of how things should be.  He used to ask me constantly if I'd seen or heard anything about...well...anything that he didn't like.  He would sit at his desk and watch the people coming in to the building and critique them, what they were wearing, what they drove, how they walked, making judgements about people before he'd ever had a chance to talk to them.  He turned on the sprinkler system to chase a couple lunching landscapers off the lawn.  He would sic the security guard on anyone who flicked a cigarette out their car window into the parking lot, or drove faster than the 7MPH speed limit posted in the parking lot.  (Come on...7MPH?  Who ever heard of such a speed?  His thinking was that it was different and nobody had seen it before so they'd be more likely to pay attention.  Not.)  He got on to people about walking through the landscaping between the smoking patio and the parking lot.
He was an interesting individual and everyone in our office knew it.
He's not here anymore and our new boss is amazingly wonderful.  He's calm, cool, collected and actually cares about the important things not the things that don't really make a difference.  He definitely wants the building to look nice and be in good shape, but he isn't fixated on it.  He, too, has ideas of what he wants and doesn't want, but neither does he impose himself on others to do his work for him.  He's very self-sufficient.
But the stigma of our former boss, all those "issues" and "no-no's", and the fact that I am considered, by some, to be the "eyes and ears" of this facility, still linger a year later. 
Mrs. Norris was Mr. Filch's "eyes and ears" in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  She saw something going on and she'd go running for Mr. Filch.  She was sneaky, too - being a cat and all.  Sometimes the wrongdoers didn't even know she was there until Filch showed up!  I think Mr. Filch and Mrs. Norris had a psychic (ahem...psychotic) connection.
Let me clear the record right now.  I AM NOT MRS. NORRIS!  Conversely, neither is my boss Mr. Filch.  We're just boss and assistant.  That's it.  That's all.
Drop the panic attacks whenever I come around a corner.  I'm completely over conversations abruptly coming to an end when I'm in the general vicinity.  It's about to get on my last nerve.


G said...

Old habits die very hard.

Especially when it comes to a new open minded adiministration taking over for a formerly mistrustful administration.

It's gonna take some time, and until people get 100% comfortable, there is gonna be some lingering unease, no matter what you say.

Just keep reassuring everyone that things are different and you ain't like the previous A.A.

I speak from 13 years worth of government experience, where politics are more intense than anything you have experienced previously.

Paulie said...

The sign of a good leader is one who lets his people believe they've done it themselves. I'm sure he knows what is going on.

As far as conversations stopping when you come around sometimes don't worry about it. You're a warm, funny person and a good friend.

Everytime I get the chance to talk with Mr. D my opinion of him grows.