I dread this week every year. This is the most terrible, awful, horrible week of the entire year!! It’s the week of my company’s annual budget reviews. At this point you would expect the “Dum, dum, dum, DUMMMM!!” of the organ music to play. Words cannot express how much I dread this process. This is the time when each of the Regional Managers (I am one of four) defend the amount of money we are requesting to spend and how much we are projecting to make during the upcoming year.
Now from my dread you must have concluded that this is a tense, grueling process including water boarding and other tortuous techniques outlawed by the Geneva Convention, but no, it really isn’t. Years ago, it was much closer to that description but we are a fairly small company and the President (who is also the Owner’s son) believes in fostering a casual relationship with his
minions employees. So all in all it isn’t too bad anymore. There is the occasional spirited discussion, but I no longer enter the meeting fearing for my job or terrified that I might sound stupid. Now I know that I’m going to say something stupid or forget some important detail so that suspense doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to.
No, the real problem with this process is that it takes up an entire week . . . in December!! I am trapped in a hotel room somewhere in Baltimore, MD (it changes every year) with no vehicle or means to escape. I’m at the mercy of my superiors as to what time I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I have these 3 meals with the same people with whom I’ve just sat in budget meetings for 8 hours! At that point there is nothing they have to say that I want to hear (unless it’s “Hey Angry, here’s a raise” and that’s never happened) What if I need to run out and grab a gift card for my niece’s fiance that she’s just decided to bring to Christmas dinner? What if I need more contact solution because my eyes have been crossing looking at all these numbers? What if I need some Preparation H because this whole process is a royal pain in the @**?? I’m like Locke on Lost – “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
I need a lot of freedom. It’s vital to my well being. I don’t do well with any type of restrictions. I remember being in elementary school and the janitor came to the room to tell the teacher that the water would be off to the building for about an hour so. During that time the children couldn’t use the bathroom or the water fountain. The horror!! I was immediately thirsty, if I’d known what dehydrated meant at the time I would have been that too. And I had to tinkle. Right then. It could NOT wait. Five minutes previously when I lived in a world with unlimited water availability, I was perfectly fine. Flash forward (a lot of years) later to the other day when the power went out. This is the conversation that occurred in my head: “Oh no! I need to use my computer!” Reasonable me responded “You have a laptop with an hour and a half of battery life” The real me, “But I need to use the internet!” Reasonable, “You have a wireless card and if that’s dead your phone is its own ‘hot spot’.” Real me, “But I want a cup of coffee and there’s no power.” Reasonable, “It’s 4:00 pm and you never have coffee in the afternoon. Why in the world would you decide you want coffee today of all days?” Real me, “Um . . . because I can’t?” It was about that time that the power came back on.
So anyway, this is the week that I dread the other 51 weeks of the year. It’s filled with excellent food and culminates with our annual Holiday Party on Friday evening, but all I can think about is getting “my life” back. I’ll gladly eat Taco Bell instead of Maryland crab cakes if I can go there on my own and eat that 99 cent taco when I want! Well, let me have at least one of those crab cakes first.
(Please forgive me if my posts are a little drab this week. These meetings suck the life out of you quicker than a teenage vampire. Take care everyone!)