Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thank You Richard Nixon

Happy Earth Day!

In the past years I’ve blogged about Earth Day. Another holiday invented by Hallmark to sell recycled greeting cards I’m sure.

But today I’m going to tell y’all about my Administrative Professionals'/Assistants' Day. Did you know the history of this holiday?

National Secretaries Week was created in 1952 through the work of Harry F. Klemfuss of Young & Rubicam, in conjunction with the National Secretaries Association, now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). His goal was to encourage more people to consider careers in the secretarial/administrative support field. Using his skill and experience in public relations, Klemfuss promoted the values and importance of the job of administrative assistants. In doing so, he also created the holiday in recognition of the importance of administrative assistants.

Ironically in 8th grade this week was also "Career Week." I took one of those aptitude tests that predicts what careers you would be good at. I remember my test results predicted I would be a good broadcast journalist, paralegal/legal assistant, or worm farmer.

Can you believe the stupid thing was actually right? On the plus side, my compost pile rocks--I'd love to get some worms in there.

Anyway--back to my story. My office "celebrates" Secretaries Day/Administrative Professionals Day--whatever the hell you want to call it with vigor.

I’m not too keen on it. Every other Friday when I get my paycheck—that’s all the appreciation I need right there. But even if I wanted to keep it low key, I don’t think my bosses would. I think they don’t want to look like the boss that ignored their secretary on Admin Day.

Whatever, let me get to the real story.

Note: This blog entry includes frank talk about optional female bodily functions.

As most of you know, four months ago Moochie was ripped from my loins.

And as most of you also know, I am a supreme cheapass. Therefore I breastfeed.

It’s not to bond or experience "closeness" with my baby.

It’s not because it’s more healthful to him (I drink that tapwater with 210 million pounds of prescription drugs in it).

It’s not because I think formula companies are evil and should all die.

It’s because it’s a free source of food for my Mooch.

If formula was free—I’d probably formula feed him.

You may also know from reading that I work full time. When you’re breastfeeding this presents challenges in and of itself.

I tried to prepare myself for this as best I could before I returned to work. I mean I pumped exclusively with Chunky (see above statement re: cheapass). How hard would it be to pump once or twice at work this time around?

The answer: Very.

I sit at a half-walled cubicle. The wall facing the hallway only comes up halfway and I can see over it. Pumping at my desk is not an option.

I decided I would try my luck ducking under the desk of an empty office that is directly across from my cubicle. I had to go under the desk because each office has huge windows that look out into the hallway. And the doors have no locks.

I was able to do this successfully for about three weeks.

The first time I was walked in on it was by a female coworker. She's got three boys of her own so it was embarrassing, but not too terribly so.

It was the second time I was walked in on that embarrassed me. It was one of the male associate attorneys the second time. Thankfully he has two children so whether or not his wife chose to feed his kids that way or not, the concept is not entirely foreign to him and he knows that parenthood is not for the squeamish.

Trust me, breastmilk is one of the nicest bodily fluids you get to come in contact with as a parent.

However, that was the straw that broke the cliched camel’s back.

I spoke to the office administrator and told her I’d be pumping in the bathroom.

She insisted I instead pump in the computer server room upstairs. It had a lock on the door and I’d only have to kick out the IT guy of there once a week.

About a week into pumping in the server room with the locked door, I was walked in on again. This time by the junior office administrator who also has a key to the room.

Thankfully by this time I just didn’t care who saw Laverne and Shirley getting their workout. Plus the junior office administrator is a friend of mine and she’s got a couple of kids that she breastfed before she returned to work.

If you've ever worked in corporate America or hell, anywhere, you know how fast rumors/gossip spreads in an office.

One would think that with three walk-ins more than four (if you include the office administrator) people would have known what I was doing on my lunch hour.

I found out that this wasn’t true when my Big Boss asked me to lunch today in honor of Administrative Assistants’ Day.

Me: “Ummm. Ah, well I have to go to the post office today at lunch.”

Big Boss: “How long do you think that will take you?”

Me: “Um, ah, well, uh, I’m not sure. I just can’t do lunch today. I’m sorry.”

Big Boss: “Well could you do lunch on Friday instead?”

Me: “Ah yeaaah, I’m not sure that will work either.”

Big Boss: “What, have you given up lunch?”

Me: “Well, actually, um, yeah, kind of. You’re making me blush. It’s hard to explain. I’ve kind of got a standing commitment everyday at lunch.” (insert embarrassed nervous laughter here)

Big Boss: “We’ll try to make it up another time then.”

I think that’s where he “got” what I was talking about. Ugh. Embarrassing.

I emailed him a few minutes after our exchange to thank him for the offer and apologize for what might have appeared as blowing him off. I told him that since I’ve been back from maternity leave I use half of my lunch hour to “make lunch for Moochie, if you catch my drift.”

I told him we could skip Administrative Assistants' day and celebrate the 15th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s passing instead.


Thank you Tricky Dick for dying today to help me bring light to an incredibly awkward and embarrassing situation!



Blogger Crafty Christina said...

Oh man, that sucks so much that you've gotten walked in on so many times. Its nice of your boss to make an effort though. My job used to buy breakfast for the paralegals, but this year they decided it was too expensive and did nothing. No biggie.

I nursed Pi for 10 months. I only pumped when I had too. It ook forever to get even one ounce.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Yikes, can't a girl have lunch in peace ;)

6:18 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

heh. no experience on that part, BUT as far as appreciation day, last year my supervisor gave me a small gift and one of the gals, who could almost be considered an admin assist as well, made me cookies. They are so sweet. But my supervisor was off yesterday and with all the hoopla about Earth Day (ramped up this year, eh?) I didn't hear much about this day at all, and no one mentioned it. Fine by me, I hate to be singled out. Plus, I hate the admin assit portion of my job (it's half my job). Not that being one sucks, but what I do is boring....

8:53 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

i can't believe they stuck you in the server room. isn't it really hot in there?

sorry for the awkwardness.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Rosi G. said...

i can imagine you looking like a tomato and fidgeting in front of him. LOL

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I am going to quote what is on your Grandfather Eugene's gravestone..."The truth will set you free!" Maybe with him knowing he would be able to get you some place to pump that was private. Love, Mom

9:30 AM  
Blogger Cindy in Happy Valley said...

He should have had lunch delivered to the server room. Also I probably would have said that I had given up "lunch" until my Mooch got a little older.

On another note, being completely clueless, I didn't know about admin assistant's day until I saw a small arrangement on our [fine] staff assistant's desk yesterday. Since I was caught unawares, I told her that in honor of her day, I'd refrain from snarky comments. She asked me not to do that. It was her only entertainment.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I was the world's worst pumper. Maybe it was my cheap-o pump. Anyway, I impressed that you have been able to keep up with it, in spite of the walk-ins and other social awkwardness.

And my verification word is phystab, which seems somehow appropriate.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

While I find the story quite amusing and I laughed (sorry), I'm here to share something that we had to implement at our company. According to ADP (you may want to check who your company uses and see what their guidelines are), we are supposed to have a designated "lactation room", with a comfortable place for a nursing/pumping mother to nurse/pump in private and not have to use a bathroom stall or server room. We installed blinds on all the windows of a conference room and installed a lock. It's not as comfortable as your living room, but more comfortable than the bathroom or server room, and we're complying with the law.

Check with your company to see if you should be too. :)

11:56 AM  
Blogger janna said...

I don't know if it's Iowa law or just some of University thing, but there are numerous lactation rooms around campus (including one in my library and one over at the Main Library). Like Karen said, it's not as good as your living room, but it's private.

We totally forgot about Admin Assistant Day this year, but our Admin Assistant seems to be fine with that. Her birthday is next week, so we'll make it up to her then.

8:24 PM  
Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

The joys of motherhood :)

I'm glad you boss at least appreciates you!!

2:37 AM  
Blogger Ina said...

It would seem you have discovered the power of one of the last great taboos of modern Western civ: Thou shalt not ogle at breastfeeding! Pumping only increases the OMG-strike-me-blind factor. Absolutely no one is going to gossip about seeing what they Should Not Have Seen.

Maybe a discreet signal like a scrunchie on the doorknob would ensure privacy?

8:51 AM  
Blogger Alisha said...

I could not help but giggle a bit Bezzie although I know it must be hard for you...but it is the way you tell it and I can almost envision the scenario unfolding.

Your a trooper! Keep up the good pumping!!!!

7:58 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Glad they are at least trying to get you a place to pump that is not the bathroom. Maybe a do not disturb sign or knocl before entering???

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Necia said...

Oh Bezzie. Im late as hell, but girl I feel for you. I pumped in the bathroom, but I gotta tell you, even that, was a bit much. We had a single, and someone always had to go. I wish things were easier for nursing mothers.

12:39 PM  

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