Read Cindy's bio and previous columns
April 7, 2008
Corporate America: Where It’s Good to Be a Cat
I try to be like my cat
Nola is dependable,
doing the exact same things at the exact same time every day. She crawls
next to my head in bed about 20 minutes before the alarm goes off, so as
to offer me a gentler awakening.
As for me, I get into
the office at least 30 minutes before anyone else, so that I can offer
myself a calmer ease into my hectic day.
She eats at 6:45 every
morning. I get my coffee at exactly 7:45 every morning.
Clearly, we are both
creatures of habit, but more important is her general attitude about the
chaos that surrounds her. After all, there are two boys under the age of
two in our house who are absolutely obsessed with her. They think she’s
way cooler than Elmo, even. And they constantly want her to pay
attention to them. The oldest gets right in her face and meows. The
youngest rolls across the bed, arms flailing, until he gets to her.
And Nola stays in one
She is unflappable. She
gives them their 10 minutes of attention, then quietly sneaks away,
under the spare room bed, not to be seen again for a few hours.
I do the same thing. I
have a high tolerance for chaos, and for people who e-mail or approach
me with a different problem every day. I devote the time needed to help
to the best of my ability, and then retire to my desk for a few hours. I
can handle chaos to a point, but like Nola, I need to hide for a little
while afterwards. I need recovery time.
Nola isn’t entirely
friendly to everyone. She can tell who the “cat people” are, and will
approach them, but isn’t desperate enough for attention to request it
from just anyone.
At work, I like to fly
a little under the radar. When I need information, I manage to get it
without knocking on too many doors. When I think I need to complain to
my boss, I wait a couple of days, and 90 percent of the time, decide
it’s not worth it. When I’m upset at someone for not considering how
their unilateral decision impacts my team, I blow them off as them not
being “cat people” and move on.
Nola hates going to the
vet like I hate creating Power Points. As soon as we both know this is
coming, we get our claws and teeth out and curse. Then, we resort to “if
I pretend this isn’t happening, maybe it will go away,” behavior. Nola
doesn’t look at me. I avoid eye contact with the Power Point requester
and consider faking the need to rush to another meeting. That strategy?
Also a complete failure.
In the end, we accept
our fate and make the best of it by daydreaming. She’s probably going at
a scratching pole when she closes her eyes at the vet. As for me, while
I insert text boxes and attempt to bullet point what’s typically
pointless, I’m really lounging in an Adirondack chair at the beach, kids
playing beside me, hubby bringing me a pina colada.
Most of the time,
Nola’s as laid back as I am. She views the kids, the television, our
guests, as entertainment, much like I view the corporate world as it
swirls around me. But when there is a mouse in our house, look out. She
will not shut one eye, sit still for one second, retract her claws even
to walk across the kitchen tile – until she catches it.
And when someone at
work blames or disrespects my team when I know we’ve done everything in
our power, I can be the same way.
I don’t intend to break
any necks and leave the evidence by the back door for the CEO to see –
like Nola does for us with her caught mice – but like her, I do have a
sense about when something’s afoot, and I can hunt the enemy with the
best of them.
Thankfully – for me and
the cat – this only happens once a year. Until then, you can find me
purring and playing along happily, pretending the dogs don’t exist and
just going about my business.
© 2008 North Star Writers
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