Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Benefits Package

Getting called to the Human Resources office is kinda like getting called to the Principal’s office in grade school; you may not know exactly what you did, but you know you probably did something, and you’re definitely going to get in trouble for it.

True to her name, our HR Manager, Sheila Novenski, was no joke.  She was an alphabet-Nazi.  You know the kind – dot your i’s, cross your t’s, mind your p’s and q’s.  Sheila handed out pink slips like Lady-O hands out new cars…you’re getting fired, you’re getting fired, and you’re getting fired!  So when I got the IM to go to HR, I just knew I was F’d.

The corridor to Sheila’s office seemed a million miles long.  I was certain I heard the warning whispers of co-workers at every water-cooler I passed.  I zoomed through a mental play-by-play of every non-work related telephone call I ever made, every sick day I justified with the belief that a hang-over is a medically recognized illness, and fretted that every angry email I drafted calling the boss a Botox-deadened d-bag may have inexplicably gotten sent to the entire company (because when you draft angry emails calling your boss a Botox-deadened d-bag, you have to cc everybody, right?).  Does this not sound familiar to you?  Does your HR Manager not send chills of nauseating worry down your spine?  If not, chances are you’re not a faker – at least not as big a faker as I am.

I am a relatively successful sex therapist.  I’ve written articles, appeared on a local talk show (just because it airs at 4am doesn’t mean it’s not newsworthy), and even have some celebrity clientele.  But I’m always looking over my shoulder, terrified that someone will find out that I’ve been fakin’ it all these years.  My degree isn’t fake, nor is the great advice I give my patients.  But in therapy, trust and credibility are crucial, so if my secret gets out, chances are HR will boot me out faster than TLC can churn out an exploitative reality show.  And that’s pretty fast.

I knocked on the HR Manager’s door.

“Come in,” the voice on the other side bellowed.  Either Sheila was getting a cold or getting over one of those medically recognized hangovers, because she sounded like Barry White with a frog in his throat.  “Come in!”

I walked in to find a six-foot plus, wavy-haired, chisel-cheeked, macho supreme standing before me.

“Hello, Dr. Toussaint.  I’m…”

I couldn’t even hear what he was saying anymore because as he shook my hand, I swear the earth shook beneath us.  He had an accent, and the way he rolled his r’s made me crrrrraazy.  Macho Supreme made every McMan on Grey’s Anatomy look like an order from the kid’s menu; he was a veritable buffet of brawn.  I immediately wanted to do a lot more than come in.

Turns out, Novenski was no more.  Apparently, Sheila had intentionally sent a company-wide email calling the boss something much worse than a Botox-deadened d-bag, and had promptly given herself the boot, so Macho Supreme had been hired to replace her.  He said he just wanted to introduce himself to all the therapists and go over their employee file.  He sat on the edge of his desk, but certain parts of him seemed to be standing at attention.  He was talking to me about employment anniversaries, and holiday pay, but all I could think about was his benefits package.  I know sexual harassment is a serious matter, but Macho Supreme had me thinking about catching a case.  He smelled like Armani cologne and Sprinkles cupcakes.  What was a girl to do?  I needed an HR ER, stat!  Something was palpitating and it wasn’t my heart.


Okay.  Did he just call me cupcake?

“Have a cupcake.” Oh.  He didn’t actually smell like Sprinkles; he just had a box of them on his desk.  I took one, and thanked him for introducing himself as I headed back to my office.  But before I got out the door…

“I heard about your recent breakup, Dr. Toussaint.”  Great!  He already knows I don’t contribute enough to my 401k.  The rumor mill had to tell him I got dumped too?  Now he thinks I’m a total loser.

“His loss.  A man would be a fool to let a woman like you go.”

Was it the sugar-rush from the cupcake, or a head-rush from trying to run out of the office, or was Macho Supreme flirting with me?

“A man?  Or an HR Manager?” I asked.


I left Macho Supreme to his cupcakes and headed off to my next patient.  I guess this wasn’t like a trip to the Principal’s office after all, because I never left there wanting to get spanked.

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