Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Personalizing

I had a pretty good day yesterday.  I handled some stuff on my own at work, did something I was afraid of doing (and it went well), and volunteered to take on some A/P invoices. My 30 day probation is up at the end of the week, and I got my benefits packet to look over and fill out.  And when I got home, my Hawaiian seat covers, which had been out of stock at the retailer since April, were waiting at my front door.

Hawaiian seat covers on my Eagle
Cool, huh?  I have some regrets about a style that's mostly black.  After all, this is Arizona!  But the design does complement the car's colors pretty well.

Hawaiian seat covers on my Eagle

So far I've only put the covers on the driver's side.  Tomorrow I'll try to get to the rest.  The tricky part is the steering wheel cover.  The one that's on there now is so tight I may have to cut it off, which I'd rather not do.  I don't think I can get the new cover on over it, but maybe if I keep stretching it...well, we'll see.

Not much here I can safely bring inNow that it looks like I'm going to be at Obscure Large Company for a while, I'm starting to give some thought to decorating my cubicle a little.  If you remember the pictures of my office at Worldwide Travel, you'll know I used to have all kinds of personal toys and knick-knacks and stuff on the walls: glass globes, Disney figures, a blue dragon, a rubber duck in a cowboy hat, a map of Disneyland, the framed cover from The Observer #4 (Quantum Leap, not the other Observer), a Vampire Willow (NRFP, of course), and my Beatles and folk and Clash and lounge and Disney CDs.

Other people seem to have mostly photos of loved ones in their cubicles, and maybe a couple of plants.  Well, my $50 Canon printer just doesn't handle photographs well, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to stick push pins (not that I have any spare push pins) through traditional snapshots.  I'm definitely not going to bring in photos of my godson, because people will think I'm a mother, or even a grandmother.  I don't want to explain to these strangers I work with that I can't have kids.  So: no Jacob photos.  And I won't bring in pictures of Noodle or Jenny, because I don't want to explain that they're dead.  And I'm sure as heck not going to bring in Noodle's ashes.

Would they freak, or consider me one?Still, I want to get some items into my drab grey cubicle just to prove I'm still me.  I've turned into a terribly shy person since taking my new job: head down, my back to the room, doing my work, no chatting or socializing to speak of.  Part of this is due to a couple of unpleasant incidents involving my lifelong, losing battle with allergies.  Sorry, but sometimes despite my best efforts, I have to sniffle or clear my throat or blow my nose--and my nose, unfortunately, vibrates more than most people's.  So there are already a few people who probably don't like me.  They don't know me.  I'm this standoffish person who doesn't talk about drinking or her kids or Michael Jackson, and who occasionally makes unpleasant sounds.   I can't tell you how depressing that is, knowing that I've already blown my chance to make a good impression with some of these people. 

But a few personal items could help to introduce me to the rest of the office, give them a clue that there's more to me than fixed assets, accounts payable and allergies.  So what do I use as my visual introduction to the real Karen?  What defines me as me?  My books?  Clearly, I can't bring my library to work, not a single volume of it.  My interest in Disney?  What does a Lilo or Quasimodo figure tell anyone about me?  A Disneyland map would be more indicative, but that's getting awfully ratty.  My blue dragon?  What if they think, as Eleanor suspected when a client gave it to her originally, that it's some kind of occult thing?  My litho crucifix?  One of my bosses--a great guy, by the way--is very obviously non-Christian, and I don't want to offend him.  My autographed Toros ball?  Then I'd have to explain why I don't go to the games any more.

Can I live up to the implications of Zorro?How about my Zorro figure?  He stands for doing what's right, even if authorities tell you otherwise.  Is that the right message to send in an office?  Could I even live up to it?  On the other hand, ethics and integrity are good ideas to have, and I am expected to question the way things are done.  So Zorro isn't necessarily a bad icon for my cubicle.  I think.

What else would be appropriate?  So far, all I have are my Tolkien calendar (with drawings by JRRT) and one of the Worldwide Travel globes, and a novelty pen with an airplane shape in it.  I thought about printing some of Sherlock's drawings of my characters.  I'd have to explain that I didn't draw them, and people might think me weird for writing fantasy novels, but it's closer to the core of who Karen Funk Blocher is than Disney toys.  I can find a Tuffy picture, and maybe bring in that really old photo of Mom.  I could bring in a troll, or...well, so many things, but they'd just junk up my desk and mark me as odd.  And if it's just family photos, that probably doesn't tell a stranger much about me at all.

Really, the best introduction to me is this journal, and I don't think I'll be mentioning it to anyone at work anytime soon.  So.  What do you guys think I should do?

Karen

6 comments:

chasferris said...

It may be TOO LATE to make a good first impression.  So, they will just have to get to know you.  You are a remarkable, deep, intriguing being.  Smile and agree, and listen a lot.  All will be fine.  What you do very well is photograph, so maybe a photo of the week, or someithing would stimulate conversation. Have fun.  Love, Chuck.

ondinemonet said...

Karen

1: You are a writer and a good one! I think people would find it interesting that you can reach inside and find a whole new land of people and places never before ventured to. That makes you fun and interesting. To me genre never mattered when I have always thought of authors.

2. You should abolutely have a religious symbol if that is about of who you are. Never let the actions of others dictate who you are and the honesty of sharing your beliefs.

3. People love pictures of loved ones and pets on each others desk because it gives us all a common ground. Something to share. Everyone has something in their life such as a pet or someone beloved. It's a great ice-breaker.

4. You are lovely...but in every office there will be a sourpuss who likes to make things rough for others because they are miserable themselves. I wouldn't recommend telling anyone...yet that you have a journal. I think in about six months or so things will become more comfortable and you will know who you can share this with and who you can't. Worry about your comfort first, a desk at work is an important part of your life...it has to please YOU!

The seat covers are fun and colorful. They look great on the car! :)

Always, Carly :)

ryanagi said...

I'd say Zorro is a great choice. He's hunky and a superhero like figure...not to mention a great conversation piece. Plus, looking at him every day just might make you smile. That's what is really important. Bring in stuff that will lift your spirits and make you smile. Oh, and bite the bullet! Send some of your digi pics to Shutterfly and have some prints made (they are having a sale)! I'd say a cute Disney object like Lilo on her surf board says that you are fun, approachable and potentially childlike in your take on the world. All nice things. I'll send you a photo of my old office. I'd be curious what you think it said about me. LOL Oh and travel stuff is cool...that says you are worldly and adventurous.

ryanagi said...

p.s. LOVE the car seat covers!! Excellent idea! ;-)  And uh yes...black is unfortunate in that Arizona sun, but they are HOT looking!

daephene said...

Well, I have dragons and pictures of my cats and parents at my desk.  I just decorated it with what made me feel more at home while I was there, rather than what it would make people think.  My coworkers mostly have pictures of their grandkids and other things that interest them (dog calendars, paintings of wild birds, etc).  I agree with ryanagi, get some pics developed, whether of John and Tuffy or the nature ones you like best.  People will be impressed that you took the really pretty ones, and they'll make the space more attractive for you to work in.

sakishler said...

That is one cool blue dragon.