Workplace Priorities

By Jill Cox-Cordova

Posted on

Morning Must-Do List (Day 365 at Painted Rock Creations)

  1. Wear impenetrable armor to prevent the How-In-The-World-Did-You-Get-This-Job-Managers (HITWDYGTJ-M) from detecting my actual flaws.
  2. Google what to wear to make walking, sitting, and walking away easier to do when you’re wearing a shield on your body and mind.
  3. Eat a protein bar (or several) like I am starving during the morning team meeting to stop myself from opening my mouth to say that any intelligent, forward-thinking person would see the HITWDYGTJ-M’s ideas to purchase cheap plastic rocks won’t work.
  4. Cancel my hair appointment so that my long strands will continue to hide my eyes that roll during meetings.
  5. Send an email to my boss (and cc myself) that gives him ideas that will work like hiring artists to create templates for new looks, if that’s what they want. But I must make sure he also knows that I, Abbey Bell-Watson, want to be credited for that idea (not your idea, Mickey. Jerk!) Even if it is just this one time.

Afternoon To-Do List

  1. Take pen, pad, and my phone—with its recording device already on—with me to Mickey’s office for a meeting he scheduled for later today after reading my email.
  2. Arrive a little early for the meeting so that I can find a spot to sit since his chairs for guests are always filled with How to be a Great Manager books he obviously has never read.
  3. Stay quiet in the meeting so that my words are not laced with attitude.
  4. Stay quiet. Quiet!
  5. Say something. Stay focused on the goal to get vested.
  6. Agree that our work is a team effort, even if I do all of the work.
  7. Admit I should respect him more as our coach, even if I am the only team player.
  8. Breathe.
  9. Lower shoulders and return to my desk.
  10. Clean and clean and clean my glasses until I can see clearly again.
  11. Breathe!
  12. Scrub my desk with handi-wipes with the hope that cleaning it will eliminate the shit I smell.
  13. Hold my breath so that I won’t gag while I finish my work for the day. 

Evening Should-Do List

  1. Sing to Prince music on my hour-long commute home while I consider the best way to do what he once did: show the world that I am a slave with a contract and then change my name to something unpronounceable.
  2. Remove the body shields at the one place I feel safe doing so: home.
  3. Make my home work woe-free by not discussing my problems with my husband.
  4. Eat.
  5. Laugh.
  6. Try to sleep.

AM/PM Gotta-Do-To-Stay-Sane List (Days 365-1,825—Roughly One to Five Years. Yay, Me)

  1. Repeat everything to get vested. Benefits, baby.
  2. Stay at least one more year so that no one can say I didn’t stay long enough to get one hundred percent of my benefits. 

Morning You-Bet-I-Will-Do List (Day 2,190)

  1. Smile and acknowledge that I made it to the six-year mark. Benefits for sure.
  2. Give myself permission to be me. 

Afternoon Maybe-I-Will-Do List

  1. Say that I’m tired and mean it when Mickey calls me into his office to ask what is wrong with me today.
  2. Scream! No, I shouldn’t do that.
  3. Pack all the things that are on my desk.


  1. Stick my head into Mickey’s office to tell him that I choose me and not what he and the other HITWDYGTJ-Managers call a job.
  2. Leave on a high note. Decide what to do now with my life.
  3. Put everything back on my desk.
  4. Rely on my acting lessons to get through the rest of the day. 

Evening Accept-That-I-Will-Do List

  1. Stop on the way home to buy several cans of air freshener.
  2. Shop for the impenetrable, but more lightweight armor that I found during my Google search.
  3. Sing Alanis Morissette’s angriest songs during the rest of my commute.
  4. Go to the gym and box.
  5. Make my home work woe-free by not discussing my problems with my husband.
  6. Eat.
  7. Laugh.
  8. Try to sleep.

Jill Cox-Cordova

Author’s NoteThis is Jill Cox-Cordova’s first published piece. She wrote it because she wanted to create something that unhappy employees can post in their cubicles.