To My Assistant

Notes for my future assistant. Let's both of us hope that I don't change too much in between now and whenever it is I have enough wealth and importance to hire you.

Civic Duty (blame)

I will not act as if it’s your fault when you get jury duty. I will not act as if it’s your fault when I get jury duty.

Harsh Words (secondhand)

I will not attempt to give you a blistering earful of criticism over Instant Message, only to realize I’ve sent it to another assistant at the office, and then, rather than copying and pasting it myself into the correct chat window, double your shame and humiliation by having the other assistant pass my words along to you.

The Sweater (off your back)

On the first truly chilly day of the year, I will not come to work unprepared for the weather and insist that you let me borrow the sweater you keep at the office, even though you happen to be wearing it at the time.

Blame (proximity as a deciding factor)

I will not throw a stapler directly at your head in anger when I miss a business appointment due to my own inability to grasp which day of the week it is and then, when maintenance comes to inspect the dent it left in the wall when you ducked out of the way, insist that the repair costs be taken out of your paycheck, because “The damage is right by your desk, so it’s obviously your fault.”

Invitation Lists (somewhat incomplete)

I will not make you plan my entire 40th birthday party, including managing the invitation list, which includes everyone at the office except for you.

Environmental Factors (uncontrollable)

I will not ask you to “see if you can do something about that” and then get mad at you when you can’t, when the thing I’m talking about is the loud construction noise coming from the next building over.

Food (luxury and lack of)

I will not make you go to a specialty meat market during your lunch hour to buy a $100 steak that I plan to grill for my perpetually dieting wife for our anniversary, and then, when you return at 2PM sharp, flustered from trying to figure out what cut of meat I meant by “the good one,” insist that you get straight back to placing calls for me instead of allowing you 5 minutes to microwave and gulp down your $1 Cup Noodle lunch.

Sleep (unnecessary deprivation of)

I will not make you wake up when it’s still dark outside to listen in on a conference call with people in another country, and then, after the call ends up lasting only 10 minutes, suggest, in a tone of voice that indicates I think I’m being perfectly logical, that ”since you’re already awake, you may as well get started on that project I told you about yesterday,” when there’s still enough time left before the real beginning of the workday that you could grab two hours more sleep.

Exercise (vicarious)

After my trainer, who I pay more per month than you make in six weeks, gives me a pedometer and assigns me a certain number of steps to take each day, I will not regularly make you clip it onto your waist and take laps around the outside of our building during lunch while I sit at my desk and eat a double serving of Lean Cuisines.

Cause and Effect (everything is your always fault)

When the chef at my favorite restaurant takes my favorite salad off the menu, I will not throw a 20-minute temper tantrum, directed at you, before wondering aloud if it’s your “lack of phone manners” that prompted this terrible tragedy.