Marybeth Bordeau Flynn


Workin' 9 to 5

I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries from my fan lately about why I haven’t been writing.

Dear Displaced,

Why haven’t you answered my emails and posts? I’ve decided not to cut my hair until you start writing again.


What’s the story?

Your fan, Danny

Dear Danny,

Thanks so much for your support and interest. Your hair stance really means a lot (and quite honestly, I think it’s really working for you). Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply¾and to update my posts. Let me explain. 

When I masterminded Displaced in the D, I was living the life of a freelancer. Sure, I worked on the regular, but I also managed to pepper in fun stuff like baking organic dog biscuits and critiquing people’s Christmas cards. Then, when an opportunity to go back to work full time presented itself, I went for it.

For a minute, I was kind of high on the idea of taking a fulltime position. You’ve got this.  I told myself. Work will be just like it is now, only more consistent.

However, Danny, matriculating into a corporate office environment after four years would indeed present a host of challenges and realizations.

I have forgotten all my buzzwords.

My corporate jargon was replaced by layperson’s terms (punctuated with my inner 6th-grader point of view). Good thing I am a quick study, as I can translate on the fly.

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I am responsible for the outcomes of Very Big Projects (VBPs).
Okay, so I guess I kind of knew this going in, but I didn’t realize I’d be responsible, like, immediately. Just a few hours into my first day I am on a conference call discussing a VBP’s current state, and being asked if I have any ideas about how to improve said current state.

What I think: Um, no, as I barely understand the VBP.

What I say: “Based on what I know so far, I think we have an opportunity to create some best practices that would benefit the whole organization.”

Or something like that. Let’s just say I blind them with buzzwords (see above).

I have to visit the corporate office.

Even though I’ll be working from home, one of the first items on the agenda of my new gig is to visit our Boston office. My old stomping grounds! I can’t wait. Then I realize I haven’t worked in an office since like, ’85, or at least that’s what my wardrobe tells me when I attempt to shop the closet.

I'm pretty sure I could pull this look together right now, including the stick pin.

I'm pretty sure I could pull this look together right now, including the stick pin.

Showing up in yoga pants and a tank (a cute tank, but still) is not an option, and the “year of the gaucho” had long since passed.  I can’t even think about putting on a cotton separate.

I consult my latest issue of Lucky, natch, and even though the girls in the mag seem to be mixing prints these days, I’m just not sure I can pull it off. I fill my Samsonite with wrap dresses, as it supports my natural avoidance of my current pant size.

Outfits in theory are different than outfits in execution.

The dress that worked in my bedroom mirror is decidedly different when staring back at me from the hotel’s bathroom mirror. How did I not notice this much cleavage? I search every crevice of every bag for a damage-control safety pin and spot a glimmer on the floor under the desk. A mini-pin perfect for securing a too-open neckline.  Success!

Now I am sweating.

I have forgotten how to commute.

I lived in Boston for many years. Subway, bus, walking, driving--I had commuting down. I’d mastered the lights, the diagonal cross, the one-way streets. Don’t walk? Please, I have 4 long seconds to get across the street before the light changes. With a confident stride, I’d blow past the suits waiting on the curb. Amateurs.

Well now the shoe (or in this case, boot--a poor choice), is on the other foot. After about 7 minutes of my heels being chewed by the cobblestone sidewalks, I realize that the right side of my dress is riding up up up with every step.

High-heeled boots ÷ silk dress + (tights + bag over right shoulder) = ass show for the 100 people walking behind me.  Commuter fail.

I have gotten used to friendly people, but I miss East Coast sarcasm.

People in Michigan are the nicest, and to me, a perfect blend of the coasts. They embody the openness and friendliness of the West Coast and the authenticity of the East Coast. It’s very easy to get used to, and I’ve gotten close enough with my circle of friends in the D that I don’t have to explain away my sarcasm. It only took a year.

After my day at the Boston office, despite my bad outfit, the girls at work invite me out for drinks. One girl, with whom I had been working in my new role, had been incredibly patient with me via a zillion emails.  When I finally see her in person I mention that I was probably driving her crazy. Her response was,“Ya. I get an email from you and I’m like, ‘Hey, why don’t you go fuck yourself?’”

My first belly laugh of the night. It’s hard to pull out a “go fuck yourself” with the full understanding by both parties of its good intentions.  That is East Coast territory only.

And back at my home office …

My routine has changed completely. Work consumes me and I long for the days of Christmas card critiques and perusing Us Weekly. I have a hard time recalling what thoughts filled my head before I started this job. 

My dog has become a latch-key canine. Gone are the days of baking organic dog biscuits. She’s resorted to eating processed foods.


Okay, so I never baked any organic dog biscuits, but I totally had the time to do it, and now it will never happen.

I don’t even have time to slip out and grab a healthy bite for myself, as is evidenced by this pic of a very sad lunch day:


So, Danny, I hope that fills the gap for you as to why I haven’t been available. Despite the learning curve, things are really turning around and I think I’m on the other side of this transition. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding, and I look forward to your newly sculpted ‘do.

Now go fuck yourself,

Marybeth Bordeau