Clear Sinuses, Full Hearts

I’m the Training Specialist for my company, so when new employees start, I’m the one who trains them. In the Client Services realm, the Client Services Manager takes the new employee(s) out to lunch for their first week. I had three new employees start yesterday, so the four of us plus Kelly (Client Services Manager) and Sara (Client Services Team Lead) went out for sushi.

The meal started out quite normal: we told funny stories about disastrous past co-workers, we compared TV shows we like (well, Friends. You can’t see Salmon Skin Roll on a menu and not reference the Unagi episode of Friends!), we had a short discussion on what Sara’s tea smelled like (I said bad breath but I think the consensus was garbage).

Then the food came. As is my usual sushi ritual, I placed a tiny bit of wasabi on the bite I was about to eat and smushed it down into the rice so the wasabi didn’t hit my tongue directly.

I ate a bite of my white tuna roll and thought to myself, “Oh, I got a bit too much wasabi on this pie… oh, God… OH, GOD…”

Too Much Wasabi

I will try to explain the feeling that started happening in my face. It started on my tongue: that wasabi burn, but it quickly began creeping up my nose, deep into my nasal passages. Deep deep. Brain deep.

My eyes started to water. I started to sweat. I could feel that I was about to sneeze and it was coming on fast. Without time to get my napkin up, I cupped my hands over my mouth…

But I didn’t sneeze. Not exactly. Trying to describe it now I would say simply that my face exploded. 40% bark, 30% sneeze, 20% cough, 10% gag. It was like some rabid seal with a head cold let itself into the restaurant.

It was like the scene from Paranormal Activity 2 when the entire kitchen bursts and pots and coffee cups come flying out of the cupboards.

Only it wasn’t skillets and dinner plates flying out of my face; it was barely-chewed rice.

I glanced at my horrified lunch companions and assured them, “That was a sneeze.” Kelly, across from me, nonchalantly gestured at her shirt. I looked down at my shirt. Rice. She swiped her lip discreetly. I felt my lip. Rice.

Friends, I would be lying if I told you that I did anything other than spit partially-masticated food at my brand new trainees. Trainees that I am expected to train for the better part of two weeks.

After cleaning myself up and removing my fleece (because DAMN, I was sweating), I think I said something like, “Don’t use too much wasabi, guys. That shit is for real.”

I continued to sweat and sniff for the next several minutes. Kelly and Sara told me that they had seen me pre-wasabi a few pieces, including the one I then double-wasabied. PRE-WASABI! Rookie mistake.

I did not finish my lunch; I took it in a To Go box and then threw it away when I got back to the office. After all, who knows how many little wasabi bombs I had waiting for me??

My trainees handled it gracefully and, thus far, have yet to tease me about it. We’ll see if they come back tomorrow, or if the prospect of facing someone who has expectorated half-eaten food in your general direction is just too much for them to bear.

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I give such good advice.

I gave some really good advice today, guys. I told a co-worker that the best way to rid yourself of a fear of public speaking is to do something horribly mortifying just before you’re set to speak. That way, public speaking is a breeze!

Years ago, I got a job working at a furniture store. It was mundane office work which has always been my jam, so I was pumped. I still remember what I was wearing on that first day (my brownish/gray wide-legged dress pants and a V-neck pink shirt with 3/4 sleeves. Hot.), and even how I styled my hair (make-do French twist with a butterfly clip, of course).

Early in the day, before I’d met anyone but the office staff, I was leaning backwards in my chair to say something to a co-worker across the office… when suddenly, my chair tipped back just a bit too far. You know the feeling: ice in your veins, heart skips a beat, death is imminent. Life flashing before my eyes, in typical Kat fashion, I completely spaz out – pinwheel my arms, kick up my feet, half scream. Looking back on this 10+ years later, I firmly believe that if I were a more graceful kind of person, I would’ve recovered and the office staff would have had a nice, quiet, office-appropriate chuckle. However, my middle name is Michelle and not Grace, so my spasticity was my demise and caused my entire chair not just to flip over backwards/sideways… no, but also put so much inertia behind the chair that when it fell, it ejected me. I rolled and rolled until the top third of my body was in the adjacent break room.

Did I mention there was a morning sales meeting going on in the adjacent break room? So the adjacent break room was full of salespeople I had yet to meet. Oh, I didn’t mention it? Well, there was a morning sales meeting going on in the adjacent break room, so the adjacent break room was full of salespeople I had yet to meet. The woman (whose name I can’t even remember now) running the meeting giggled once but everyone else stared at me in complete stunned silence.

I picked myself up, looked at them, and said the only thing running through my mind.

“Hi. I’m the new girl.”

From that day forward, nothing about that job ever stressed me out. An angry customer? Please. I flipped my chair over on my first day. Snobby co-worker? C’mon. The first thing a dozen salespeople saw of me was the top of my head as it came barreling through the break room doorway.

So, you see, this was advice I gave was very sincere and I meant every word of it.

Goodbye, Client Services…

I got my new work laptop today, so I guess it’s official! As of June 2nd, I will be transitioning into a new role here at PSN, outside of Client Services. I’ve worked in Client Services in 4 different roles over the last 7 years, so this is definitely a leap of faith for me!

I will be a Training Specialist, who will assist new employees in their orientation and training, and I will also work within an IT Processes Team that will work with each department to help streamline processes and assist with consistent training between all employees at PSN.

It’s very daunting and I’m so nervous; I admit that I had a mini meltdown this morning when Kelly gave me my first official task. But, I do find it all so exciting! Being in the same department for 7+ years, my job offers very few challenges. This is going to be a big one but I’m so excited to work within a small, close-knit team, and I really think that training is one of the things I am best suited to do.