This Month's Topic:

Spring Fever...



Phase one:
by Remo...

My password is... ummm...

Here we go again. In my business spring is THE most hectic time of year. I'm the Manager of Network Operations for the largest supplier of fine gold jewelry components in the world. Since Christmas is our God, our "off" months are normally March through July. Which means that this is the time we have to do all the computer related changes that are necessary for the coming season.

Just as the buds start popping out on the apple trees and the crocuses start to slide out of the last layer of Spring snow... I have to get my act together. Being foolish enough to still be a smoker, I'm relegated to performing this morose act out of doors. Myself and the thirty-odd assemblage of fellow outcasts stand out in the rain, snow, hail, sleet and cold all winter long in order to slam the necessary prescription of nicotine into our bloodstreams. Suddenly.... we're all standing in bright sunshine listening to the birds trill and watching our resident family of field mice run across the path while attempting to avoid bumping into our shoes.

It's very difficult to climb back into the building and relate to the insidious thrum of industry as it spirals up into a crescendo of near madness. "Is that 10/100 switch online yet?" "Why can't I get email through to Hong Kong?" "There's smoke coming out of my monitor and it smells pretty bad, could you take a look?" "Ummmmm... I can't seem to remember my password." The last is obviously from a fellow smoker whose mind is as far away from the orchestrated insanity taking place all around him as Venus is from Pluto. My response to the above was... "No." "The Chinese have their root servers hosed." "Is there a fire extinguisher on your floor?" And... "I'll meet you outside in 5 minutes and we'll discuss it."

I've always been known for my ability to "focus" on the actual root of problems and not get tangled up in all the hubbub created by them. During early spring, my primary response is usually... "huh?" It's been said that during Spring "a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love." In my experience, a middle-aged man's fancy turns to thoughts of detailing my car, mowing my lawn wearing a walkman, cruising through Newport with the moon roof cracked, sitting on my deck reading a trash novel with my stereo bedeviling the neighborhood dogs and wearing a sheen of SPF 10, trolling through the center of Attleboro and checking out the new feminine Spring fashions...

Today I found myself sitting in front of a brand new powerful PC, installing Windows '95, while staring out the window and watching the traffic roll by on Interstate 95. I, apparently, found I-95 much more appealing than Gates-95 as I suddenly realized that Windoze had been waiting for a cockpit response for the better part of half an hour. I get four weeks of vacation time per year. I always find myself with over two weeks left when the first blossoms snap open. This leaves me in the un-enviable position of having to schedule these dozen days through my boss, as things are so intense that I can't take them all in a row.

Today an employee asked me why I set up a brand new PDC on NT 4.0 when we already had one up and running that would handle everything necessary. My immediate, cogent response? "Huh?" In the spring I find that people who normally run directly towards me, when in need of help, tend to query one of my employees. I occasionally pick up their phone, when they're not at their desk, and meet with an embarassed silence. The caller will finally ask if so-and-so is around and I'll ask if I can be of service. My next response is usually.. "Hello? Hello?" I've been with the company for nearly 27 years and anyone who is anyone pretty much has my number. Nine months out of the year I'm Yoda. The other three, I'm C3PO on 'ludes.



Phase two:
by Laura...

Bras and Bikini tops...

Well, Remo, I sure am glad I don't smoke!

Has anybody noticed how grouchy, gripy, and cynical I am in general? This time, I have no gripes. Today, I am swooning with gratitude....for being the age I am, for having the job I have, for working the hours I do, for living on God's favorite dot on the map. True, it's hard to drive twenty minutes to work under clear blue skies and sunshine, with window open, radio blaring, and an unnatural gratitude for just being alive ... just to walk into a cold, dark warehouse, into an office with windows that do not open. The artificial light becomes a frustration. The artificial air seems like such a waste. I try to hold onto that buoyancy of spirit at least until I can get deeply involved in work. With my naive college girl enthusiasm, it's easy to believe in goals, focus on accomplishment, work like a mad chihuahua for eight hours. I believe that spring glee can be channeled into work ethic....or at least momentum.

I'd like to address coping mechanisms. I think that to enjoy life, we have to look for the good in any situation and to release ourselves to enjoy life at the slightest opportunity. This is so important when dealing with SPRING FEVER. When I have a lunch break, I want to spend 2% of that time looking for food, 2% driving, and 96% sucking in all the life, light, and glory of the day. One way to maximize this opportunity is to come to work with a folded lawn chair in back seat or trunk and wear a bikini top instead of a bra to work. Nobody knows the difference, and when lunch break hits, I quickly convert into a person with no worries and no responsibility. I know I smell like coconut when I get back to work, but I think that smell quite possibly makes our supervisors more easy going, possibly to the point of letting us go home early and stretching our deadlines to the next day. Either way, I feel great, and I'm flexible enough to bounce from heavy work mode to relax mode when I feel good.

If I *did* have a gripe about the season, it would be the WINTER PUDGE NEUROSIS. As a woman, my winter pudge neurosis strikes at right about the same time as spring fever, maybe *because* of spring fever. As the season melts away flattering cover-up clothing, WPN sufferers begin to obsess over extra poundage. Instead of finding a solution, we get stuck pinching fat rolls (hopefully only our own), feeling guilty, feeling doomed. I believe that normal women someday outgrow (hehe) Winter Pudge Neurosis, but I am either not old enough or normal enough to have outgrown it yet. There is always that reticent fear at the base of WPN that winter pudge will not be lost from year to year, but instead accumulate! In large offices, this neurosis can be at the root of more serious problems, i.e. Continuous Low Fat Grazing (CLFG) and/or mass starvation pacts. Problems related to eating habits soon "spring" up, such as narcolepsy, headaches, grouchyness, and aggression towards the Krispy Kreme man. :) And they expect us to WORK under these conditions? Maybe if our office windows would open things would be different....

Remo, wear a sticky note on your forehead that reads "DUH". I think that's an effective deterrent for questions regarding e-mail, network printing, people who cannot find their own files. For the password issue, try giving the employees insulting temporary passwords ("doofus" "stoopid"). Pretty soon, you'll have a parade of password zombies...people who still can't remember their password, have locked themselves out of the network, but are afraid to tell you. And by my calculations....less people on the network means less email, fewer network errors, computer crashes, lost files. Pretty soon, you can take off your sticky note and just hang out with your smoking pals!

Ah...spring fever!

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