My official title is “Administrative Assistant” (yeck) and the tasks that go with that are exactly the ones you would expect. Data entry, answering phones, composing letters, memos, reports, sorting mail, etc, etc. When Mr. Big Boss Man (BBM) is in the building, I can expect a flashback to eras past. He’ll hand me a yellow sheet with his difficult scrawl and request I type it up for him. Not exactly a difficult task, but one rife with minor but crucial questions: Is that an M or an N? I could greatly improve the structure of that sentence, should I bother? What the fuck would I do without spell check?
On this visit I’m handed several sheets to “type up”. I narrowly avoid a sigh as I close twitter, blogroll, gmail, facebook, etc and open Microsoft Word. I glance at the sheets ripped from a legal pad. Double take. I peer closely at the words. There’s no mistaking the words and phrases popping out at me:
I had an infection and was unable to urinate.
…my enlarged prostate…
Unable to properly urinate, visiting the bathroom eight times during the day, and another six times interrupting my sleep…
I’m supposed to type THIS up? WHY is he asking me to do such a thing? Is this a cry for HELP? How the HELL am I supposed to react to this? If there is anything I can do to help you prostate Mr. BBM, please let me know. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.?
If I had ever visited my university career center would they have taught me how to behave in this situation? I just closed twitter/g-chat/facebook, I can’t even seek advice from my fellow office-job-working friends!
And so I did nothing. I pretended I was a machine typing out but not comprehending meaning. By the time he left on Friday, I had made not one single out of the ordinary comment, about his health or otherwise. I didn’t so much as give a meaningful look.
I can’t help but wonder (ha ha), was this a test and did I pass or fail?