The One with the Self-Help Book

I think my coworkers are trying to domesticate me. It would make sense. I hit three months on Monday. The honeymoon period is over. My tendency to blow dry my hair via my car’s heater turned to full blast has gone from charming to…well, let’s be honest, it was never charming, but it did get the job done.

Still, there’s nothing quite like looking over to see your boss (perfectly groomed at 6:15 in the morning, cruising in her immaculate BMW) while you’re driving with your knees, draped over your dash, your 1997 Toyota belching black smoke to let you know you are not and never will be management material. Her expression was priceless. Really. It was such a perfect blend of horror and disbelief. Haven’t seen anything quite like it since I told my parents I wanted to be a writer. It’s good to know I still have it in me.

But, as usual, I digress. Back to my boss and my three-month review and how everything’s fine except for my tendency to wear the same thing over and over. I think she suspects I live out of my laundry basket…and she would be right.

My boss: “I just want you to think about your future.”

Me: “…”

My boss: “I want you to think about being…more polished.”

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More polished. Right. She wouldn’t be saying that if she’d ever seen me try to walk in heels. Boy Genius says it’s like watching a hooker with a broken toe. But I’m reasonably certain these are not sentiments you share with your superior so I smiled instead and ended up leaving her office with the name of a Bloomingdale’s personal shopper and a copy of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

I forget what I did with the business card, but I was excited about the book. No, really, I was. Being American, I am naturally interested in self-help books. Anything that promises to reduce the size of my ass or ADD is like a dog whistle to me. And, true to form, 7 Habits had a lot of good stuff in it. I could actually feel myself transforming into the employee my company wishes they had instead of me. I was more optimistic, more smiley, maybe even less prone to growling at people because, by God, now I was going to be more effective.

It lasted a whole eighteen hours. I was on my way down to the gym when two gigantic tools from upper-management crowded me, keeping me from getting to the locker room so they could tease me about my yoga mat.

“You want a real work out?” The first one asked.

I channeled my new effective persona. I am bright. I am professional. I am Suzie-freaking-Sunshine.

“Not from you,” I said. Okay, it was a little surly, but not bad. Improvement, right?

“Sweetheart,” he continued, getting in my space so I have to look straight up to meet his eyes. “Do you know who I am?”

“Why? Have you forgotten?” And I swished off. Because apparently I’m not effective so much as pissy. What the hell, right? We’re all a work in progress.