Saturday, June 14, 2008

Request denied

Anyone who listens to the radio, watches the news on television, navigates to their counterpart websites or picks up a daily paper knows that the US economy is struggling. Faced with, for the first time, gas prices that are on average $4 a gallon (which, for our European counterparts is nothing compared to the $7+ per gallon they pay), the common American is feeling a pinch. Jobless rates are up. Inflation rose at an incredibly high rate over the past 6 months. The mortgage crisis continues to rear its menacing face throughout the country. Let us not forget to mention the weakening dollar, which exacerbates some of these issues. Clearly, Ma and Pa Yankee are grappling when it comes to their pocketbooks.

I knew things were bad, but i don't think i was aware of just how bad they are. For the past seven years, i have participated in the Regents' Internship Program with great enthusiasm. Around this time, we would've selected a candidate for the 3 month assignment, sent her off for training, and happily greeted her to her new desk and shiny new office supplies. Mid-March, i typically perform an inventory of tasks as yet incomplete or new projects that need a fresh pair of eyes. I give this list to my secretary, who in turn translates this into an assessment of our need for a set number of man hours to complete it, which then gets forwarded over to the Director of Human Resources. Based on the number we provide, a pool of candidates gets selected by their backgrounds, the focus of their college majors, and their skillsets, which are all pre-screened by my esteemed assistant.

March came and went, and a list of potential field hands never crossed my desk. I asked my secretary if she'd heard anything regarding the Regent candidates, indicating she had not, she immediately saw the larger ramifications of this. By mid-April, i became very (perhaps all told, overly) concerned when nothing such as a question regarding openings in my schedule for interviews came from upstairs. I took matters into my own hands and made a visit to the head of our HR. I asked if she'd received our laundry list of projects. She had. I asked if she had any questions about it. She didn't. Flummoxed by her nonchalance, i inquired with sharp-bladed precision whether or not we were going to be participating in the Regents' program this summer.

That was up in the air.

Two weeks ago, as if she were announcing the mundane news that a daisy in some Spanish meadow had lost a few petals, the HR Administrator casually informed me that our company would not be participating in the mentoring project.

"Are you kidding me?"


"Why on earth would we not participate?"

"Have you seen the news about the economy?"

I wanted to yell out at her "What the hell does that have to do with this?" as she walked away from me, taking her dejecting attitude and painting it like a vandal all over the walls of our office. Apparently, because there are some tough financial times, we're not able to open our doors to young, underprivileged college students, offer them knowledge transfer about working in an office environment and pay them on the cheap.

Yes, i realize i am being an incorrigible brat about this. There are people out there for whom this downturn in the economy is impacting much deeper than this episode i describe. That i believe my company is using the economic turmoil as an excuse to pad poor decisions it made when it over-compensated the executive staff is honestly not the point.

I enjoy every stage of handling my interns. From interviewing the female-only group, and looking forward to their diligent allegiance to my dress code, to reviewing their typos in the inaugural memos i ask them to type. But most importantly, their presence, their raw, electric feminine life that comes and goes in such wistfully jubilant strides will be something that my summer will inherently lack. As it should be clear, i am a massive fan of the fairer sex, and spending these hot months cramped up in an office without my annual girl pageant is something i'm not quite prepared to handle.


precious said...

Deity, Sir
I do so enjoy how much you appreciate the fairer sex. I can not help but feel a sense of whimsy and nostalgia of the
1920's - when men were men and women were women.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I started a reply about just how bad things are going to get.
Then I realized that in itself could be a blog post.

In truth, I simply want to say “Thank You”.
Thank You for that last paragraph.

Thank you for taking a moment to highlight the delicate equilibrium that occurs between secretaries & interns with their bosses.
And thank you for being appreciative & understanding. That sort of thing never happens when a woman works for another woman.

Anonymous said...


You do make me smile! I remember a day when I wore a colorful dress to work. He didn't appreciate it preferring a more neutral palette for clothing (and interiors). The next thing I knew the driver was taking me home to change (an hour out of our morning). Better to lose an hour he felt, that to have to look at that dress all day. Needless to say, the dress never again saw the light of day!


Tristan said...

God, don't get me started...evil HR people. I hate them...they just don't get "mentoring" on a real, personal level.

Deity is a one would deny this. The idea, for a Dom, to mold a mentored intern is an insanely attractive feeling. I know it is for me. I've done it myself many times. It's just not something we do with our pets. It's our WAY.

The pet is a good example, as good an example as any five or six I could give, she NEEDS me. She requires my control.

When I was a lad, just barely out of high school, I met Bill. He taught me a lot. The ideas, the close as I've ever come to being a sub. I idolized his skill. I still do long after I carried his coffin to the herse.

I took what I could from him...and he gave it ...easily, with joy...the one and only mentor I've ever had.

To give that back now is my responsibility. I must...MUST return that. I've had one or two chances. Most of them don't pan out.

Mentors are a strange thing...but so critical.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, the only person who can tell me what to wear is my owner. Anyone else can take a running jump! My submission is total, but it is to him and him only.

Deity said...

jazz age, eh? well, i'll take that nostalgia for the aesthetics of that time, but i prefer the voting rights of our time.

you are most welcome for the last paragraph. i'm just sad that at the end of it, i still am without an intern.

goodness, that sounds like a storyline i'd love to get more on. it's nice to hear the reaction from the other side.

i've only had one mentor myself, and in many ways you can see much of influence throughout most of these pages.

now, you mean to tell me you've never worked at a place that had a dress code?

precious said...

Deity, Sir,
Yes, I do enjoy the voting system
now; having a voice heard is definitely a positive step.
As you so clearly understood, it is the aesthetics of that time: stockings, dresses, embracing all that is feminine in a playful yet seductive manner and being proud of it. Also, there is nothing so lovely as a three piece tailored suit.

Anonymous said...

Actually no: we don't go in for them much in the sector I work's considered a bit of a minefield, so we're trusted to make our own decisions. However, if someone dresses in a manner which is deemed 'inappropriate', I guess they would be spoken to about it. It's never happened to me as I'm quite modest in my attire.

Anonymous said...

"i prefer the voting rights of our time..."

Just not those awful hostile work environment laws.

Work is work. Kink is kink.

Mix the two - as you seem wont to do - and the defense lawyers such as myself get rich. Perhaps the company and its excess carrier simply wish to avoid the thought of deposition testimony along the lines of "Well, he then suggested that I'd look better in stockings...."

You strike me as an expensive indulgence for any employer. Not that it makes for bad reading. After all, I'm not a shareholder in your company.

Deity said...

it's actually something i actively and obsessively hunt for - a three-piece suit made in the 30's. the tailoring they used back then puts to shame the mass-produced clothes of this day.

figures a comment of this nature would come from an anonymous source.

sadly, you're not a very good (or rich) defense attorney it seems, because you overlook the fact that every intern consented to my dress code. none were forced to comply.

i'm glad you get a kick from reading the material. hope you're not doing it from work.