Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Work is Weird

Yeah, like everybody doesn't know that.

My (relatively) new job is a real treat.
It's a humongous stereotype. It's laughable. And I like it a lot.

The first thing you notice is the Cube Farm.  They are particularly nice cubes, with more storage than a woman needs for shoes (as if there's any such thing).  The walls are high, so you can't see your neighbors.  This gives the false impression that you cannot hear your neighbors. Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, I have one neighbor who routinely coughs up a lung, another who talks very loudly and constantly to her neighbors and one who snores. I am not kidding.  Today I was serenaded by a speakerphone conference call on ligostics and purposes of pillow puffing on the executive enterprise level. It was difficult to decide whether to kill him or fall asleep.  Circumstances forced the latter.

There's another lady who sits across the large room and talks in paragraphs without breathing. This reminds me of my wife and consequently drives me MAD. Although my wife must have planted her there because she's actually worse, so I don't mind when my wife does it so much.

The organization is not particularly streamlined. Or fast. In fact, it took five weeks to get me a computer and a cube of my very own.  This is in spite of everything being ordered weeks before my start date.  One of the things that slowed operations down was my inability to fill out my forms before my start date. I am not kidding. If I had filled out the paperwork before I got hired, I would have had my computer weeks earlier. Maybe.

We're also slow.  Crawlingly, monolithically, organizationally slow.  The circus I recently left was a veritable speedway by comparison.  Even the doors are slow: I wave my I.D. badge in front of the reader, then wait a bit for it to beep at me. What seems like five minutes transpire before the door starts opening.  S-l-o-w-l-y.

Did I say I have an I.D. card?  Well, I have a temporary I.D. card.  The process to obtain a permanent I.D. card began (again) several weeks before my start date.  One coworker told me it took six months to get his. One poor soul has been there for a year and still doesn't have his paperwork in order.

I have a permanent computer too, as opposed to the temporary computer in the temporary cube.  The company takes security very seriously, as they should. They lock down the computers for safety's sake.  I am most impressed by this, right up until I discover that the only browser allowed is Internet Exploder!  Apparently security is somewhat overrated.  The other problem is that we cannot install other software. The irony here is that my software is safer than the existing stuff.  We can't even surf to many sites, which I'm ok with too. Unfortunately the fellow next to me seems oblivious to this, as he has a monitor dedicated exclusively to YouTube. Today he's been watching sneaker videos (no, really). The other day it was talk show bits (his monitor is in full view). This reminds me of the old place, where the campaign for dual monitors resulted in one being permanently assigned to Faceyspaces.

There is no cell phone signal whatsoever.  This leads to people wandering around aimlessly, staring that their phones and randomly walking into walls.  It also leads to people wandering in the general direction of the stairways, looking for that one signal bar with which to call their brokers. Or bookies.

If you're hungry, there's a cafeteria.  I'd suspect they hire people from my old job but this is different. The first time someone showed me the place, I purchased a soda (at the bargain price of two bucks). My guide let me know to stand in a certain place, let the cashier know what I purchased and how much I was handing over, as he was blind.  Ok, a blind cashier... why not?  He certainly made change a lot faster than most sighted cashiers, so good on him. I was prepared the next time but he wasn't at his post. Instead there was a lady. And saints be praised, she seemed to be looking off to nowhere also.  Ah, another blind cashier, I figured.  By the way, that was the first time that phrase has ever been spoken - I got a prize for it.  I can't wait to find out that the paraplegics are manning the loading dock and the clinically depressed are cleaning the outside windows.

As suggested by a friend, my short-term goal, aside from getting paid to do my work, is to be The Guy.  You know, The Guy.  The Guy who has been there for a while but nobody knows exactly what he does. They've all seen him walking around, but no one has the slightest idea what his job function is.  He's really popular, too. But if he tells you, he'll have to kill you.  They all go home and tell work stories, including The Guy whose job nobody knows. Apparently he's pretty good at whatever he does, because he's still employed and just received a raise and a bonus.  Everyone congratulated him because they have given up trying to figure out what he does.

My boss works in a different city. This results in a lot of streaking up and down the aisles, as well as Wet T-Shirt Nights and Open Guitar Jams. I asked about a dress code and was told no t-shirts with rude settings, which wiped out about ninety-five percent of my wardrobe. I'm teaching them sarcasm now.  It will take a while but the effort will be worth it.

Unfortunately the toilet doesn't like me. I have my choice of three stalls, one of which apparently has something against me. This particular unit is equipped with Automatic Flush.  The first time I noticed this, I was waiting for the toilet to automatically flush. It occurred to me that if I waited any longer, it would be time to clock out. You know that ubiquitous handle? The one on every toilet? This one didn't have one.  In fact, it didn't have much of anything but a sensor (that apparently didn't work) and a tiny blue button.  Hazarding a guess, I pushed the tiny blue button, stepping back and hoping the firemen didn't show up too quickly. Little did I know that a tiny blue button is the international sign for FLUSH.

It was the second time I visited this particular stall that I begun to suspect something was up.  While sitting I sneezed, causing the toilet to auto-flush.  I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity to sit upon a flushing toilet but suffice it to say that it's not particularly pleasant.  When I moved to check my phone, the toilet autoflushed once again, like a puppy, perhaps excited to please his human. Let me stop, at this moment, to let you know that I hadn't actually used the toilet for its intended purpose - it's just that the toilet flushed itself a lot.

When I was finished, the toilet again autoflushed, but this time I escaped its wrath.  Or so I thought. When I pulled up my pants, they stuck to me a bit.  Is this how the French do it?

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