Monday, June 30, 2008

9:21

9:21 is not the time most workdays start. I mean, I know they can start at any old time depending on the job. Most people in my office come in between 7:30 and 9:00, and when I'm at the client's office (AHA! I DO have clients!), they're here between 7:00 and 8:00 because they're state employees.

So of course I come strolling in at 9:21. Makes sense to me.

Actually, part of the reason for this lazy start was really very well thought out on my end: when I'm at the client's office, where I am being trained, you have to walk out of the office, down the hall, to the eternally depressing "Vending Room" if you want coffee. Then, you have to fish around in your purse for $1.25 and inevitiably fumble with it like I always do, so that you end up on the "Vending Room" carpet in your dress slacks, one cheek pressed up against the machine of your vending choice, while your hand extends each metatarsal to its full capability (which still, somehow, is never quite long enough to reach the fugitive coin).
And then you pull a styrofoam cup off the stack and place it approximately where you estimate the coffee will disburse from, and close the little plastic window without it slamming your hand.
You insert the money, you punch the button, and voila! Your coffee spits out of the machine...next to your cup.

See, you have to do all of this for coffee. The idea behind coffee is that it wakes you up out of a morning stupor. When I am in my morning stupor, I prefer not to wrestle with machines and coins and wasted coffee: I want the beverage in my belly.

Which is why, this morning, I stopped at the other office. We have free coffee there.

I picked up my laptop, too, since I couldn't keep it in my car for the weekend (company policy denotes that actually, I can, if my car locks. Well, listen, company- I'm sorry, but you're not paying me enough to get a car that locks. That is a luxury I simply cannot afford. The laptop stays with you guys this weekend).

I am feeling quite proud of myself for executing this brilliant plan as I'm pulling in to the client's parking lot. I figure, if one of my fellow employees asks me why I'm late, I can just say something casual like, "Oh, I had to take care of a few things at the other office. You know, work stuff." And they will nod and smile knowingly.

Then, as I am getting out of my unlocking car, I spill my coffee on my pants.

Happy Monday.

Friday, June 27, 2008

What it is, that I do, exactly

You know, this isn't what I expected.
I can't tell you what it was, really, that I was expecting. But, I did not know that at my first desk job, I was going to get really acquainted with the farthest reaches of the Internet neverland.

"We've decided to go ahead and offer you a position as an Associate Business Analyst," the HR lady on my voicemail informed me. I was sitting up in bed, still trying to shake off sleep (like, 10 hours of it. You can get away with that shit in college). I was in May of my senior year at university, wrestling with an undergraduate thesis, sorority obligations, and passing a class on Intergenerational Justice, and all of a sudden, I had a job offer.

Being a declared double major in Something Unspecific and the Pretty Broad Interests program, as well as minoring in Something Slightly More Specific, I was kind of shocked that any company would look at that combination of disclipines and murmur to one another in some HR department somewhere, "Yes. Yes, hire her. She looks like she has no idea what she wants to do. We like that in a prospective employee."

So here I am. I got here on Monday.
It's Friday, now. Until yesterday, no one actually told me what it is that I do here. I'm not kidding.
I heard the words "Associate Business Analyst" for SuchnSuch Company (which I had
kind of gleaned from their website is a software company that works with local government?) and I was on board.
Then, I got here a month later, a fresh graduate with a sassy new office wardrobe... and absolutely no idea what my actual job was. None.

My first day, the administrative assistant kindly let me be her shadow as she nervously explained to me the ins and outs of her job as she gave me the grand tour of the supply closet and break room. "Um...this, this is uh-, this is where you can get a pen if you need one." We went to McDonald's for lunch. We drove to another office nearby to get me a security badge and photo ID. We got back to the office and they gave me a laptop.

"You, um... can just surf the 'net for a while, I think," the IT guy said as he left my temporary cubicle. So I did. For like, four hours.
Then I went home.

Then Tuesday, I do the same thing. I go to work and purposefuly stride into the break room to get some coffee.
I settle into my rolly-chair, and proceed to "surf the 'net."
This time for like, seven hours.
At one point my manager pops in. In a heavily accented Indian-American English he timidly explains... nothing. He mentions someone is going to try to train me soon.

I feel like I am in some gray, contrived Dilbert-The Office-Office Space purgatory vortex-world.

I drink some coffee.
I kill a bee.
I look at 368 luxury real-estate listings on Sotheby's real estate wesbite (just in case I get a raise soon. For all this hard work).
I learn that they make sleeping bags in the shape of your BODY now. Did you know that?!
I spend some time on Facebook (approximately four hours, I think).
The coffee makes me have to use the restroom. Incessantly.
I set up a new e-mail account.
I wait for people to email me. (No one does).
I search for an apartment online. (They are going to need to start paying me more or their best analyst is going to be living in a paper bag somewhere nearby).
I go pee. Again.

I sit in this abandoned cubicle in the back of the office. It is right by the electic pencil sharpener (which is unfortunate, especially in case I am going to need to make a very important phone call to one of my very important clients. Do I have clients? I should ask someone). It is also right by a window though, so I'm pleased.

I think I have gone four and a half hours in my secret-hideout/cubicle without a single interruption from anyone else in the office. I bet they are all looking at sleeping-bag-outfits online, too. Maybe no one told them what they do, either. Wouldn't that be hilarious?
"So, Kathy, where do you work?"
"Oh, well I've been with SoftwareCorp for like, what, eight years now?"
"Very nice. What do you do there?"
"You know, I'm not sure. No one's told me."