It’s summertime, which means most of our employees are booking vacation. God bless Martha; she has taken on the task of scheduling everyone, making sure no one overlaps and even accommodating last minute requests. Meanwhile, I’ve been cramming in order to reach deadlines before my own holiday. At moments like this, now that Martha is our administrative assistant, I really don’t know what I did without her.
Today, the vacation calendar needs to be finalized. I don’t want to disturb Martha, but I need to make sure she is on schedule to have the project completed. Casually, I pass by Martha’s desk to check on her progress. That’s when I see a glint of panic in her eye.
“Anything wrong, Martha?” I ask.
“No, thanks Rona. Just a few last minute vacation switches. I’m trying to get everything finalized here but the changes are never ending!” She forces a smile.
“Martha,” I start, “don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ if you have to. People will understand.” I try to give her a reassuring look, but she isn’t buying it. She’s still new to her role, so I feel the need to give her a little advice. “Why don’t you email out a deadline, and stick to it? Tell everyone that you will accept changes until lunchtime, but that a final schedule will be posted in the break room this afternoon.”
Now, she smiles. “Is that okay with you?” she asks me.
“Of course! Sometimes, when we’re trying to wrangle everyone in the entire office, we just have to put our foot down. Don’t worry. I know you’ll do a wonderful job.”
“Thanks, Rona! I’ll get started on that final vacation reminder email.” Martha furrows her brow and looks back to her monitor. I’m happy to have helped, and head back to my office reassured that Martha has everything under control.
Around 3pm, I head over to the break room for my afternoon coffee. On my way in, a colourful note on the bulletin board grabs my attention. It’s Martha’s vacation schedule and it’s beautiful!
I stand in front of it for a moment, admiring Martha’s attention to detail, as Brigid enters the lunch room. She laughs when she sees me deep in thought, inspecting the schedule. “That thing is etched in stone!” she says. “Martha used the label maker to put everyone’s dates and names in different colours. And then she laminated the thing!”
I smirk at Martha’s approach. She’s putting her foot down, alright.
On the way back to my office, coffee in-hand, I stop at Martha’s desk again. “I noticed your vacation schedule in the lunch room,” I say, “and it seems you’ve gone above and beyond yet again.”
Martha cracks up, “You should have seen everyone pouring over it, like the Rosetta Stone. They kept saying, ‘Laminated?! What if I need to change something?’”
“Well, even when we put our foot down, sometimes people will come to us with very reasonable requests…” I admit.
“Oh, I know,” she says with a smirk, “and that’s why I used the Swingline GBC SelfSeal NoMistakes Laminating Pouches — they peel and reseal, so I can make changes if I need to. Just don’t tell the others!”
We share a laugh over her sneaky tactic. Looks can be deceiving, and Martha’s vacation schedule sure looks final. It’s yet another sign that she’s the right woman for the job, and I can rest assured that the office is in good hands while I’m on holiday. As for the non-permanent lamination, that will stay our little secret.