A Delicate Intermission into Corporate America

Bre D'Alessio South

We are so busy or at least pretend to be busy to make it as though we need to be. To make sure our calendars are full and look at me — I’m just so busy with all of these things.

Let’s schedule meetings to have more meetings because the silence of our surroundings means we aren’t moving or really doing anything.

“He’s a doer, a real go-getter,” they say. A driver. Those squeaky wheels that keep the ball moving but oh my, how I get annoyed with those driver types.

The way they talk over you and on top of you, needing to get that last word in because if they can’t get it in, then it was never said. And the worst thing for a driver to feel is that they didn’t have that last word.

Personally, they over-stimulate me. Make me feel like I’m suffocating. Trapped in the trunk of a car with a directionless leader, a blindfold pulled so tightly, squeezing their temples and yanking our car on and off the road.

I’m no driver, sure I’m a doer in respect. I favor a timeline and completed tasks, and love to see the entire trip through. I’ve been surrounded by people with wide-eyed ideas and then ask me to take that idea and make it into something real.

“You got this.” “This is your wheelhouse.” they smile and pat my back, or was that my lower back? I can’t remember because I was so focused on the amount of work that was just offloaded from one desk to mine and I’m shuffling through the details.

A driver sees no one but the road ahead, a get it done attitude, right? You charge ahead and make it happen, we’ll figure it out later, just stay on course.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting backseat, fumbling with our GPS, trying to find the best route and looking to my right and then to my left. Searching for others to grab a hold of, to help sort through this mess.

We all need assurance we’re doing this correctly or some validation that someone else knows what’s going on.

You see the driver sees the unknown. I see too much of the known. The potential stop signs and detours and from the backseat I want to kick and scream and make the driver fucking stop and simply think.

For just one second. To just plan out the tracks to their so-called idea so I’m not left with the pieces to sort through and create a linear roadmap.

People love challenges. Reframed and re-adjusted to fit nicely into the word “opportunity.” Because god forbid we call something what it actually is.

A compliment sandwich — so delicately layered, not too intense but not too fluffy. If I’m a sandwich please tell me how the ground meat makes me tough to chew sometimes, but how the spicy mustard gives my assertiveness a sort of nice kick to the mouth.

We layer our work with metaphors as though the reality is too real for our fluorescent lights and stand up desks. “You’re not difficult, you're just strong-willed.” Perhaps this is the additional layer to my compliment sandwich, that I’ll take back to my desk to ruminate on for at least another 48 hours.

Careful of how your tone is, a tone is hard to decipher through email. Should I use emojis and exclamation points to ensure the receiver knows I’m really just giggling and smiling at my desk and that my third email reminding them I’m waiting on their answer isn’t an ill-intentioned note.

No, no…this is a super friendly reminder full of colons plus open parentheses. Because what I didn’t realize as a kid is that adulthood is basically just sending emails all day long and resending the same note again.

And there must be a magical land where some professionals don’t feel as though they need to respond to emails. Perhaps it was overlooked or lost in the flurry of 100+ emails upon an inbox opening.

I can only imagine how stressful that must be to manage an inbox you literally cannot remember if you replied to one note over another. Because anyone that busy simply can’t get through the same message three times, let only once.

When I get to this point of my career. I hope I can instill an automatic bot (in the theme of a dog) to apologize for not responding but also recognizing the person on the other end just wants a GD answer.

“Be you, but less you.” Remember that no one wants to be uncomfortable in a meeting or more so a meeting that could definitely have been an email or better yet a 10 minute conversation at a desk.

Saving us all the fake face we have to put on and the glazed head nods to a problem that might have a solution but so and so is friends with the head of that department and they just know their ways and you have to remember when it comes to corporate America there’s the old guard vs. the new guard.

The old guard is all those seats you wonder how in the hell they stayed employed and how they’ve been doing this job for 15 years (?!) and are somehow unicorns and therefore untouchable.

Locked away in a protective bubble of the untouchable. [A body must be buried somewhere beneath this building and they have the map to the gravesite.]

This new guard of millennials, oh those ambitious, complaining, always asking questions millennials, who arrive on their first day bright-eyed and full of ways to implement processes.

Implement is a word that somehow has lost its meaning on our tongues. Thrown around in every department for every level of something being accomplished.

Implement. Strategy. Communication. Work Flow. Repeat them at least ten times a day and you’ll perfect for the performance you were recently cast to play.

We just want to make things easy because shit can be easy if you stopped scheduling 5 meetings in a row, and just sat and thought about it intelligently. Instead, we schedule 5 meetings talking around the solution,

Those millennials all they want is to save the planet, open up affordable healthcare access, fix the world and go home at 5 pm.

My backseat dreamer mentality is riddled with anxiety on what’s coming up in the next twenty minutes, and why Gretchen is shopping on Amazon two rows ahead of me.

I’m guilty to have a few fun browser tabs open at the ready, mostly to check on the weather and sometimes to find another way out of here.

But Gretchen’s screen has been scrolling for the last hour and we are all wearing these twisted half smiles, aimlessly typing (probably scheduling more meetings), because we’re doing “work” and work is being done here and can’t you see all the work that is happening right now?

And poor Todd in the row behind me is just so busy he can barely schedule a time to take a piss.

So he paces up and down his aisle, headset on speaker, tapping the top of cubicle walls, and telling everyone on the other end of the line, this will be their gamechanger.

And I wonder if this is what we thought of our lives becoming, sitting in our college classrooms, drunk on possibilities and the notion we could enter this world and do something…you know, game-changing.

When we were sitting in our college classroom discussing the link between the Oedipus complex and our recent Gothic novel report. And if my cubicle will slowly rise further above me and mummify me along with my dog chat bot invention.

But really, did my email come off as too bitchy or was it just direct like I intended because I just need an answer.

Maybe I should have added an extra smiley.

Bre D'Alessio South

Written by

A midwesterner disguised as an Austinite. Freelance writer and content strategist. https://www.bredalessiosouth.com/

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade