Sent to the Wrong Printer
You’re at work and you print something personal (and sensitive). Unfortunately, you’ve sent
it to the wrong printer and, by the time you realize it, somebody else has already scooped
The sound of the laser printer winding down and the swish of a paper swiftly being grabbed startled me from my reverie. I looked at my computer suddenly spilling coffee on my mouse pad. Oh crap! I looked and sure enough my embarrassingly bad diatribe venting about the futility of reaching out to a co worker crush went to the manager’s printer. More physical evidence of wasting work time on personal endeavors because I was bored; great just great, that was exactly what I needed. The gray walls of cubicles surrounded me, my little local printer sat empty and quiet. I looked at the printer options on my screen, yep; the manager got my embarrassing letter not meant for anyone’s eyes but mine in his hand as I sit here with coffee on my desk. How to explain this? I look around the cubicle assessing my possessions thinking about the time it would take to pack up my things and do the walk of shame out of the office.
I reluctantly get up to get a paper towel. Might as well pick up my mess. The next victim to be placed here might appreciate it. I all ready was feeling sorry for my replacement when my phone rang in its shrill obtrusive way. Here we go, I sigh resigned.
“Minerva Abrams, how can I help you?”
“In my office, now.”
“Oh, okay, so, what’s this about, Doug?” I say trying to pour the innocence in my voice like honey. They say the people on the other end of a phone call can hear if you smile when you’re talking to them, I was smiling, hopefully that will count for something.
“I’ll tell you when you get here.”
Yeah, don’t think that fooled him at all. Was my name on the document? Was he computer savvy enough to figure out it had come from my machine? Maybe I can pass it off as somebody else? I picked up my current portfolio of sales prospects that I was to cold call later today and a notepad. Got to look professional even if I feel like a fraud. Fake it till you make it, right?
I breathe in deeply, and let out a breath slowly, trying to be calm and collected. I want to walk in confident, and worry free, strong steps in imperial high heels. If I got to go, I want to go out like I came in with my head high, at least on the outside, on the inside I can be mortified and small as long as no one else sees. Appearances are everything. I am sure in a week everyone will know every embarrassing detail. But today, right now, I can escape the shame.
I take confident strides high heels thudding on thin carpet passing rows of cubicles that all look the same, some people looking up, others not. I walk by the secretary with the flowers on her desk, and a smug smirk on her face, her eyes saying, “uh oh, you really did it now. Hehe.” I think to myself, what goes around comes around, you smug #@#*&*@.
I knock on Doug’s door with authority the secretary looking at me open mouthed looking surprised and horrified that I bypassed her. I saw her pick up the phone to let him know I was there, even though he called me to come over, and I am sure knew it was me. I stood up straight as he opened the door and motioned for me to take a seat with a white paper in his hand. I couldn’t see the writing on it, and wasn’t sure if it was my infamous letter or another paper. I bravely perched myself on the edge of the chair, not sure I would be sitting for long. I could hear my heart pounding in my chest, blood pumping in my ears. Please, God, just get this over with, this other shoe is taking forever to drop! I breathe again deeply as he takes a seat across from me after shutting the door. I hear the door click shut. Yep, this is serious. He only shuts the door when you are in trouble. I try to keep a brave face, but feel it slipping a bit as the toll of pretending to be brave is getting harder and harder every passing moment.
“Minerva, I have a paper in my hand that I believe may have come from your computer.” Crap, I think silently, so much for him being computer illiterate.
“Oh really? How can you be sure?”
“Well, let’s see. You want me to read it aloud, or are you going to tell me what this is about?”
“What is this about? I haven’t the foggiest.” The foggiest? Really? My mind has obviously melted. Who says that? I look down, nervous. He has found me out for sure.
“Okay. You want to play this game. All right then. Here we go, you tell me when you want me to stop, okay? ‘ To whom it may concern: I am tired of your games. You are friendly and flirty one day, and ignore me the next. My mom says I’ll be an old maid because I’m still unmarried at 30 but I keep hoping you will ask for my number, and ride off in the sunset. I am so angry at you right now for not asking me and for offering lunch that one day and then forgetting about it while I sat at I heart Burgers all by myself like some pathetic person eating all by myself like an idiot. Oh and the person next to me keeps forgetting to wear deodorant and it is totally gross. And why does Sharon keep getting roses? She is such an ugly pig and terrible at her job.’ There’s more, a lot more, in a similar vein. It also goes on to say ‘management here sucks and Doug has no idea how to work a computer if it was unplugged he would call in tech support. Ps the tech support guy is kinda cute too.’ I think almost everyone is mentioned here, except you of course, and Al the maintenance guy who works at night. So, I am guessing despite my lack of computer skills, that this is yours. Am I correct, or do you want me to call tech support and get it officially confirmed?”
I squirmed in my seat, “Well, so what happens now? I am sorry for that, it shouldn’t have ever happened.”
“You don’t say? Well, this isn’t the first time I have caught you using company time unwisely. What do you think I should do?”
“hmm. Let me off with a warning? Got it. Won’t happen again, sir.” I give my winning smile. He looks concerned, brow furrowed, looking at me like he wasn’t sure what to do with me like I was a two headed giraffe with purple spots.
“So, who is this unfortunate guy you are so mad at?”
“Don’t worry, it isn’t you, Doug.” Maybe I should’ve lied, might have helped my case. My darn mouth going faster than my brain again, oh well. Time to take your medicine. I am tempted to close my eyes and just wait for the hammer to fall.
“Tell you what, Minerva, I understand how these office romances can start, and I know it can be frustrating working here calling people who don’t want to receive your calls. It isn’t a fun job, and I know it can be boring. I am willing to give this to you on one condition.”
My eyes open wide, hmm, what’s this? “Really? Say it, and I will do it.”
“You need to go up to this guy on your lunch break, or after work, not on work time, and tell him how you feel. Not on work time, understand? On work time, you will be working, or I will have to take other measures. I know this will be embarrassing for you, and possibly painful, oh, and don’t ever, ever do this again, okay?”
“Okay. But why are you being so nice?”
“Let’s just say I might have a regret or two. But first, do we have a deal?”
“Does Sharon know all about this, because I know she talks and I don’t think I can come back here with everyone snickering.”
“Sharon always acts like she knows more than she does. I do not share confidential information with her. That would be very unprofessional.” Doug smiled and held the paper out to me and I grabbed it from him hastily. In that moment I realized maybe he wasn’t so bad after all. If he took some computer classes he might even be an okay manager.