Nice to Meet You Too?

Note: Names & other identifying details in this and any future work-related posts have been changed.

Yesterday was my first day of work at my new job. Since My Better Half had gotten into graduate school, I’d been worried about finding work in my field, but was fortunate enough to stumble into a museum job at a small local history museum.

I was worried about running late, but I had plenty of time. When I got there, I waited for what had to be at least 10 minutes waiting for the Boss to come and get me. We spent the first part of the day going over the incredibly outdated employee handbook, filling out tax forms, and showing me around. Then we went to lunch.

I was looking forward to lunch because the Boss seemed cold and impersonal. I had hoped it was just a lack of coffee or stress about the other tasks she needed to get done, but I started to sense that this might be her truly unsociable self. At lunch it became apparent that her “I’m the Serious Boss” face was actually just her face. Our attempts to connect dissolved into trying to make conversation, which sputtered and stalled. She asked me what I like to do in my free time, and when I told her hiking, gardening, cooking, photography, all she muttered was, “Huh.” When I asked, “What about you?” she replied something along the lines of watching football, ordering pizza from Domino’s, and “oh, by the way, did I tell you I’m pregnant?”

Well, that explains the gigantic boobs, I guess. But no, she hadn’t told me that. And since she volunteered nothing more, nor offered anything else in the way of anything we had in common, I was left puzzling over this revelation. Okay, so she’s pregnant, I thought. How pregnant? Did she deliberately keep this from me in the interview/negotiation process?? And what does that mean for a tiny underfunded museum whose staff of four includes an executive director who is pregnant? Hmmmmm. Mental note: GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS ASAP. Is my old job still available?!

After lunch, she left me to my own devices for the rest of the day. Not even sure what I was supposed to, er, do, I shuffled through the files and re-arranged my new desk. Neither of the other two coworkers work on Mondays, so I just sort of sat there all afternoon, wondering “Is it me? Maybe I’m just being too sensitive.” Wouldn’t be the first time. At the end of the day, she said that she’d be a little bit late the next day, but that my coworker would be here to let me in. So, I left thinking, well, maybe we got off on the wrong foot but tomorrow’s a new day.

Today I got in early, and my coworker came to the door, a 50-something dressed in a puffy teen way-too-short bubble-butt skirt and dingy-looking stained t-shirt. I had my hands full of stuff that I had brought in to the office — pictures, my coffee mug & coaster, my iPod speakers, some books — and I was sweating, since it’s still hotter than hell here. She mumbled something as she opened the door and I immediately noticed a weird facial tic. She kept rolling her eyes back in her head and rapidly fluttered her eyelids as she spoke. While I stood wondering what lingering drugs induced her strange tics and twitches, she picked up a digital camera and took my picture. As I stood in the hallway, sweaty, and holding an armload of stuff. I asked her what she was doing, and she said, “Oh! Just gotta finish up this museum newsletter and wanted your picture for it.”

Um, could I put my things down and get a retake on that after I’ve retouched my hair & makeup?? “No, this is fine.” Then she asked me about my background, but clearly only as a vehicle to open up a conversation about HER overblown expertise and qualifications. When I (regrettably) asked her to clarify an artifact conservation technique she had “researched” for her Master’s thesis, she barked, “YOU work in collections. You should KNOW what that is.” I shall dub her Twitwit.

Quite a social bunch I work with, you might say. Needless to say, I’m a little worried. The Boss, is neither affable nor approachable, and is on her way to a maternity leave, and Twitwit is….um, weird. I just hope my only other coworker is normal.

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