I recently started a new, professional job in an office building where everyone works in open cubicles, and sometimes while I’m talking customers on the phone I write my thoughts about them on a piece of paper. Things like, “Your voice is going to give me a brain aneurysm,” or “I’m sleeping with your husband” are often surrounded by drawings of people dying in different ways. This week I accidentally left one of my doodle pages on my desk, and the really annoying woman who sits next to me saw it. I’m not positive she knows that the meanest one is of her, but she’s the only person who wears dancing cat sweatshirts (noted in the drawing). Could I just let this one blow over or do I have to apologize for how badly she was maimed by my imagination?
— Stressed in Sharonville
Your job sounds really important. I bet you get to wear a headset. When I was 5, a headset was a symbol of “making it.” I really wanted to be a cashier at McDonald’s because I thought that shit was tight. I still think it is. So you don’t want to blow your shot at such a professional job by pissing off your co-workers. Start doodling your way back into cat sweatshirt’s heart — instead of scribbling your co-worker’s likeness hanging from a noose, try portraying her in a more positive light.
Maybe re-create “The Last Supper” painting with her as JC and cats as her 12 disciples. Get creative! If she’s still giving you the side-eye after that, start e-mailing her links to YouTube videos of pug dogs skateboarding and kittens riding a Roomba. No one can resist that shit. Pretty soon you two will be collaborating on unflattering doodles of your boss.
I can haz cat-lady friend?,
I’m a recent journalism graduate who largely regrets choosing this thankless, low-paying field of study. I’m currently an assistant manager at Banana Republic, so things are OK for me. But my question for you is this: What the fuck is wrong with you? The signs of the industry’s demise are everywhere, and you’re either so self-righteous, so talented at taking notes or so stupid that you’re going to complete a journalism degree anyway! I hope for your sake that working for free for those liberal hacks at CityBeat has shown you what the future holds and you change your mind and pursue public relations. Either way, good luck trying to take my job after you graduate. If I’m manager by then I’m not hiring you.
— Angry and On the Record in Oakley
Nice call on re-directing your career plans by entering the ambitious and demanding field of retail sales. You probably get a lot of perks as an assistant manager that I don’t get as an intern at a newsweekly. For starters, you get a paycheck, even if 75 percent of it goes toward buying the clothes you need to work there. You’re the first to know about the newest designs of belted sweaters, cropped pants and other suburban fashions — that’s even better than being a fashion writer, like you dreamed of becoming in college! I bet you get to eat Chick-fil-A for lunch every day. It sounds like you’re living the dream. All I’ve gotten from these Obamaniacs were passes to Bruno, some published blurbs and my mug on the cover. Also, one time Maija complimented me on my shoes. Nobody cares about news or events anymore, but there will always be young professionals who need help finding the perfect fit of khakis. You are lucky to have found a fulfilling career path that you’re passionate about.
I once got scabies from a Banana Republic changing room,
Maija is out of jail and ready to make your life better with her advice. E-mail burning questions to her at email@example.com.