October 7, 2008

Foreign Office Politics

Yesterday I ate a donburi rice bowl at my desk during lunch time. One of my bosses (I have over twenty of them) walked past my desk and commented that my Chinese food looked delicious. Now this particular boss happens to be the kindest man. He knows I can be a little quirky and kind of odd, yet he appreciates me in spite of it all. This is why he is one of my favorite people in the office.

So when I scolded him for racially profiling my food, he did this half snort, half laugh at me. He then turned on his heels and playfully asked how commenting on my lunch would be racially charging in any situation. I asked him why he assumed it was Chinese. Was it because of the rice? The chopsticks? I told him that my food would prefer not to be lumped into one category or defined in any way.

Two days later the same boss hollers to all of us in marketing that he is in dire need of help with the printer. He steps out of his office and starts ranting about how the Chinese paper is giving him grief. He can’t seem to get his document printed correctly and it’s causing him all sorts of stress.

One of my co-workers, who is waaay more helpful than I thought of being, runs to his aid to help him reconfigure his printer settings while I just keep scolding him that it’s unfair to label the paper as Chinese. I suppose it could be Asian, but still, that’s unjustly racially profiling something. I went on to explain that when I look at paper, I don’t see its color or creed, I just see it as a blank slate.

This boss shouted out to me without even turning to face me, “Jen, just trust me. It’s Chinese paper. It’s measurements on the document settings read 8.25x11 inches instead of 8.5x11 inches!”

Not to be outdone, I playfully shout back, “Just because it’s a quarter of an inch shorter doesn’t necessarily mean it’s Chinese, or even Asian for that matter. I’m Caucasian and some folks in my family are small. I think you’re passing some pretty harsh judgement there!”

I hear a loud sigh come from his office. I'm positive he's now rolling his eyes at me.

Moments later he shouts, “Jen, would you mind grabbing my Chinese paper off the printer?”

“Not until you acknowledge it just as plain paper and not classify it into one race!”

Loud, defeated sigh. “Fine.”

So, I walk over to the printer to pick up the very piece of paper that was giving this boss so much trouble. As I walk to his office, I turn the sheet over to get a better look. In large letters, printed across the top read OFFICIAL DOCUMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHINESE CONSULATE.

It seems my boss is taking a trip to Beijing in a few months.

This, my friends, is precisely why I am not to be promoted any time soon.


DeeMarie said...

First to comment!

So, I totally appreciate your cultural sensitivity to your diverse cuisine!!

And as for the Chinese paper incident? At least he's a good guy, maybe he won't hold it against you.

JuleeSLC said...

Call and tell me of whom you are referring to in your blob! At your earliest convenience (a polite way of saying NOW).

Khadra said...

OMG lol!! Guess it really was a Chinese paper.

Sounds like you have fun at work!

HeatherPride said...

Well, just because it's Chinese doesn't mean it's....uhhhh....yeah, I got nothin.

Captain Dumbass said...

4th? I'm getting as bad as you. You should hear these conversations at our house. I'd blog them but they'd be taken the wrong way. Hmm? No, there's some blogging gold there. (if any body else reads this, our family is mixed, hot dogs & chop sticks)

Casey said...

Way to stick up for Chinese men's manhood. That's what you were doing, right? I've personally never verified the myth but I hear it's untrue. ;)

Kat said...

...and this is when cultural sensitivity came back to bite Jen in the rear....

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a skit from the TV "Office". Too funny........

Krystal said...

ROFLMAO!! Thanks, I so totally needed that because I am about to scream at my boss myself!!!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Instant classic! Steenky Bee takes it all the way!

jen said...

can i work in your office too?

it sounds everyone is having fun!
not so much, here.

goodfather said...

Ha ha! In our office, the paper is green. Not white, yellow, brown, red, or black. And we all have to eat our lunches from Star Trek lunch boxes. Hey wait, Vulcans are green! Hey, boss...

Heinous said...

Heh. Gotcha on that one. There's a reason he didn't get it himself. I'd promote you, but since your raise would be based on your base pay here, it's kinda moot.

Ringleader said...

3 cheers for cultural sensitivity! But you not getting a promotion- that's just a gyp!

ali said...

Thanks for sticking up for us! (No, I'm not really asian but myheritage.com says I look asian so that makes it so, right?)

Wendy said...

Omg! I'm laughing so hard right now! I love irony.

Hey, remember that meme you did the other day? Hehe. I just tagged you for a different one. Love ya! Mean it!

Anonymous said...

I'm 16th. Frack.

You are a warrior for equality.

I'm so proud of you for sticking to your guns. Just because it did happen to "technically" turn out to be a paper "supposedly" from China, you were still correct in principle.

You keep defending those downtrodden lunch foods and paper products. They need champions too.

apathy lounge said...

Okay...the entire time I was reading this I was craving Beef with Snow Peas and steamed rice. Is that wrong?

Cape Cod Gal said...

Good girl! I love to torment the guys in my office. That's why I have dedicated my blog to them. Right now it's a bit more on the personal side, but I have lots more office antics forthcoming!

Leave them furstrated! That's what I say!

Jonny's Mommy said...

OK...that sounds totally like me. I did something sort of similar at work today --- very embarassing.

And you are hilarious!

Tina said...

HAH! Thank you for the laugh. I work from home, so I love hearing other people's funny office stories because I have none of my own...

Elle Charlie said...

Teehee - this was a very funny post. :)

Mama Dawg said...

Oh, my, my stomach is hurting from laughing so hard. I had no clue it was going there. That's priceless.

Anonymous said...

I've only just found you, can't remember where I came from, either Veronica or Xbox. I've read up until the Friday 5spot about your mum. I think I love you. You're the funniest blog I've read for a while - you had me crying with tears, particularly the daddy bashing blog - words married perfectly with pictures. I'll be back for sure.

for a different kind of girl said...

It's that snooty European paper you have to really watch out for.

You are awesome, btw...

sherendipity said...

I'm both disturbed and astonished that you are coordinated enough to eat with chopsticks, at work.
I need to tell you stories of "the fork". Come, sit on my lap.

Kelly said...

I've recently started reading your blog & it's fantastic. Reading about you and your family's "shenanigans" have gotten to be an instant highlight of my day.

Has any one told you that you remind them of Lorelai from Gilmore Girls? If you don't like the show or hate her, I'm sorry, but your looks are even close here. :]


Chris Wood said...

I suggest you learn to throw chopsticks with deadly accuracy.

The only solution, frankly.

Ron said...

Okay, so many jokes are rolling around in my head I feel top heavy like Humpty Dumpty.... but I will refrain.

It's the quirky people where I worked I enjoyed the most and still am friends with today. You must be a hoot!

gingela5 said...

hahaa! I love it! Your boss sounds like mine--only mine really does make comments that are offensive--he just doesn't realize it. You could say my boss is a real-life Michael Scott.

For Myself said...

Way to stand up for the underdog (and secure your current status at the job)! Who would ever want a damn promotion anyway?? I hear they're as overrated as Chinese paper.

Lola said...

Hehehehe! At least he seems to have a sense of humor. That's rare in a boss, so good on you, girl.

Seriously Mama said...

Can I be your new best friend??? This post makes you one the coolest chicks I have never met, but hope to some day!

Trish said...


Vodka Mom said...

okay, so THAT cracked me up..

DeeMarie said...

Just stopping by to say hi. Or Stalk you... How's The Office today??