Since I’ve moved into my apartment, it has developed a faulty light switch, a leak in the ceiling, a cut cable cord, and a mold problem. There’s no insulation, so my neighbor can hear everything I say, and it’s sometimes colder inside than out. But it’s cute, convenient, and mine, so that’s that. Here are some of the chores I’ve had to do in my new place.
- Wipe dead flies of my door. How’d they get there in November? I have no idea. But a wet paper towel makes them go away.
- Clean the mold off my futon. I never thought lysoling my bed would be so important. Hint: It helps if it’s is kept against an inside wall, not an outside one.
- Taking out the garbage, or getting my neighbor to do it for me. I spend three days a week, including garbage day, pet sitting at my mom’s, so I opted for the second one.
- Meeting said neighbors—they’re who you ask if you can’t work the laundry machine. This has actually been a fun one. They’re are all nice, older women who (unlike me) pay to keep their apartments heated.
- Bug the landlord. This one has to be done regularly, like washing the dishes. They had to send their handyman out three times before he even saw the leak in my ceiling. And now I have to check if they’re sending a roof guy to follow up.
Luckily for me, my Mom’s place (where I pet sit now and used to live) has warmth and cable. I still think of it as home because, after all, home is where the heat is.
In the non-profit business, we like to hold a fancy event each year, so that people give us money for general operating expenses. General operating expenses cover things like salaries, electricity, internet, and ordering pizza that grants don’t always pay for. Here’s how to work the day of an event.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You may love your Italian boots, but they do not love you. Flinching with every step does not make a fun evening.
- On a similar note, don’t wear blindingly yellow socks. If you have to take your shoes off, everyone will see them.
- Events are good places to find acquaintances. I ran into a woman at my old office who made me cookies for my last day there. (“Hi, it’s great to see you!”)
- Fancy events need good food. Take your boss up on it when she offers you leftovers. Tonight I’m dining on an Italian meat I don’t know that name of, but tastes delicious.
- You’ll spend a lot of your time hiking up and down the halls in search of someone who knows more than you.
And finally, it is a truth universally acknowledged that no matter how good it feels to dress up for the evening, it always feels better when you hang up your blouse and put on pajamas.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned that workplaces have drama. Who’d have thought? I have two instincts when I hear about it. One is to curl into a ball like a porcupine, and the other is to prick my ears and say, “Tell me more.” Here’s how to navigate between those instincts. Hint: The curl up in a ball one usually works better.
- Smile and wave like the Madagascar penguins. This works in social situations too.
- When my boss mentioned some drama, I once said, “I have no idea how to fix that” and made a little cross with my fingers. Do what I did, only more tactful.
- On the other hand, everyone gossips. Don’t expect your office mates to walk around with duct tape over their mouths—that itches.
- Be kind. I told my mother that I valued kindness in the workplace even though it was archaic. She shook her head and said that we were truly living in Trump’s America. Etiquette rule one: Think of the most obnoxious thing possible, and then tweet it.
- Judge your co-workers by what you see them do, not what others tell you they have done. This is a modified quote from a Horatio Hornblower movie. The person who says it later ends up shooting a guy in the back after he tries to cheat in a duel with the protagonist.
Duels in the work place are generally a bad idea.