Now It’s Just Embarrassing

Many of you know how useless and actionless my job is but you also know it provides me with health insurance, very lax office hours and oversight, and an income while I work to get enough non-profit contracts to leave this job. I can now add physically painful to that list, as my neck and both arms hurt and my right hand is swollen.


And now it’s just embarrassing.

Yesterday I was downtown by 7 a.m. to take a Microsoft Word Class. My boss requested that I take it so I could be the “Word expert” in our office like that is a feather in my cap. Ooooo, I’m so happy I spent four years at Colgate University and am smarter than your average bear and NOW I get to be the Word expert! My overqualified cup runneth over! When my boss told me he wanted me to take the class, I asked why. Got the expert answer and thought “screw it” and signed up. There was no way I was going to convince him that the class wouldn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know.

I showed up at Portland’s World Trade Center (seriously?) got to the 11th floor in a very interesting elevator. (There are no buttons on the inside. You punch the floor you want in a key pad and it tells you which elevator car, A-F, will take you there.) The receptionist at the training place took me to the “classroom”.  The class room was a small conference room with two monitors on the table. Me. I was the student in an empty room.

The class was taught by Debbie in Philadelphia. “How are you Debbie?”

“I don’t know what it is but I’m cold! It’s cold here in Philadelphia.”


There are two monitors. One for me and one for me to watch what is going on on Debbie’s screen while I listen to her on speaker phone. I’m alone in the room free to fart and pick my nose but Debbie in Philadelphia can see my screen so I can’t just play spider solitaire or Friends with Words.  Yesterday was one of the few times EVER that I have wished for an IPad.


There were others taking the class in conference rooms around the country. For example, there was Margie in East Brunswick, NJ. Margie sounded like an older woman (who am I to talk?!) and she had some problems working her mouse. Maggie and Margie are similar names. “I’m going to have to be careful with Maggie in Portland and Margie in East Brunswick. I’ll have to keep you two apart,” crowed Debbie in Philadelphia. Well, Deb the 3000 miles should do it. Ashley in California was also on the line.

“Maggie and Ashley, please keep in mind we are on East Coast time so it isn’t the same time out there.” Again, thank you Debbie. She reiterated “EAST COAST time” for me and Ashley regularly so I wouldn’t freak out that I had time traveled and it was suddenly noon when I had only been in class for two hours! Whoa! What?!

I will quickly summarize some of Debbie’s greatest hits. Please keep in mind she is referring to Microsoft Word, a software program for creating documents.

“Mind blowing!”

“Shocking how many table styles there are!”

“How cool is that?!”

“Oh this is going to be fun!”

“I could spend three days just on SmartArt. There are some CRAZY ones!”

Happily we had lunch at 10 a.m….I mean 1 p.m. EAST COAST time. Debbie cautioned us, “Remember it’s Thursday, not Friday. No liquid lunches, if you know what I mean!” I know what you mean Debbie and if I had known what I was in for I would have brought a bottle with me.  Instead of boozing it up,  I bought a newspaper for something to occupy me in the “afternoon” but it wasn’t really afternoon because I am in Oregon and Oregon is on WEST coast of the United States.

You know what I did learn? There is a tool in Word that allows you to pretty up pictures and realtors use it so potential buyers won’t realize a house is a dump until they actually see it. So any of you in real estate that aren’t already using this fantastic bait and switch maneuver, you’re welcome.

Oh! and in Word 2013, you can insert links to video. Caveat: the link won’t work if you print the document. The video link will not work in a PRINTED document, so if you are reading a piece of paper and you tap on a link with your finger, nothing is going to open. Just wanted to be clear.


I have to go write some pitches to potential clients. The indignity of my professional existence is getting to me.

25 thoughts on “Now It’s Just Embarrassing

  1. Yeah, I’ve been in those classes. I especially enjoy going to whatever feature the instructor starts talking about and doing whatever it is before they ask.
    Then I can catnap!

    Those elevators are the wave of the future. A lot of nyc buildings have them.

      1. Addie

        I’d type more, but, I was so shocked, I’m currently prone on my bed in a darkened room, with a cloth over my eyes. Next thing you know, that Debbie will say something wild like you move time forward or back based on the time of year! Mercy!!

  2. jane hill

    Sadly, at work I inherited a 2005 Version of word. I have had to UNLEARN everything from the past 9 years. But I did get back that cute doggy when I search for something, I call him Dumb Joe, in honor of my boss who stuck me with that computer.

  3. Anonymous

    Unbelievably funny and so spot on. Oh, thank you Maggie, I continue to find your perspective a huge highlight in my inbox and an OASIS of reality.

  4. To look on the the positive side, Maggie, I think it is way cool you took a class with people that were from other places. It’s like magic to me when I get to ooVoo or Skype with people. And people pay big bucks to learn Microsoft office so you got to do that for free and in funky, weird Portland. I visited there about fifteen years ago and thought it was very cool.

    Now what tool is it that you use to make things look better? I know Word Art and stuff like that but I can’t find what you’re talking about.

    And, health insurance is a good thing and writing pitches to potential clients is way cool and something that takes talent.

    1. OK. B, if you click on the picture and go into the format ribbon. Look on the left side for “artistic effects” and effect away! Health insurance is a good thing although I only need Worker’s Comp to deal with my carpal tunnel 😦

  5. Word is the bane of my existence. I can’t do anything more complicated than change the font (and that’s only because I have an unnatural dislike for Arial). In a way, I’m jealous of your expertise, but not jealous enough to sit through a class with Debs. Although I’m located on the EAST coast (aka it’s morning here), so that probably would make it better.

  6. Mia

    Oh Maggie, this is awesome…I had a 5:45 a.m. flight this morning (with a layover in Phoenix…) and reading this made my day! Gracias chica – xoxo

    P.S. I hope you had that liquid lunch anyway, under the guise of “it’s noon somehwere” e.g. EAST coast time!

  7. “The video link will not work in a PRINTED document”?

    I can’t believe they haven’t fixed that. — It’s Microsoft for God’s sake. How long could it possibly take?


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