The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Weekly Wacko (41)

I just got back from my work conference – oh boy – and I was trying to think what to post on my blog. I looked around through things I’ve written and found this. This is my real work ‘diary’ from my first week of work. I was, clearly, going batty. I had moved to a new place, totally unsure of myself, and worst of all, didn’t have cable. Enjoy.(?)

I just re-read this and I’m not clinically depressed. Just letting you know.

First Week

2/11 – Day 1

Orientation. Expected college ‘new hire’ people, like when I came in for my interview, but instead it was me and two 40+ year old people. Had to refrain from ‘sir’/’ma’am’  as they are my (what???) co-workers. How weird.

Phrase of the day – “poor guy.”

First time, for lunch supposed to meet manager but my manager was late. So I’m eating alone, waiting for her when Celia, an HR lady who had been doing orientation stuff, says, “poor guy is eating alone.” Celia, please, inside voices. It’s awkward when I hear you say this.

Second time, I met my manager (she came and sat down with me – her not eating, me eating – hate that) and she showed me my desk briefly. After orientation finished I went to the second floor to try and find my desk but had no idea where it was. So I stood and a lady who had spoken at orientation says hi so I say, “I have no idea where my desk is.” Luckily a guy had set it up, so he directs me to it. As he and I are walking away I hear the lady say, “poor guy.” Great. It’s good to be that guy.

2/12 – Day 2

Come in and go straight to my desk to continue training videos and reading. Eventually human contact stops by, Gail (a boss of mine? Isn’t everyone kind of a boss of mine right now though?). Gail had interviewed me in December when I applied for the job (I liked her then, like her now). She is actually, gasp, sociable. And, much to my delight, she laughs at my jokes. Social interaction success! A rarity. She leaves. Back to training stuff.

Some of the training material is video, with audio. I am watching one when a guy somewhere near me (buried behind several layers of cubicle), says, “could you talk closer to the speaker?” or somesuch nonsense. I think, “eh?” but turn down my volume. He says, “thanks.” Apparently he was talking to me, and asking me to turn down the volume. I am too confused to say thanks. What ever happened to a good old fashioned introduction? Or face-to-face communication?

Audio/video out for the rest of the day.

Two to three people walk by my “area” regularly. One lady in particular. They do not introduce themselves. They do not say hello. They do not collect 200 dollars if they pass Go.

Same lady from above, during a teleconference, says, “you gotta eat what you kill.”

Guy who asked me to turn down volume complains loudly about company. I debate walking over to his area (so I can see him when we talk) to make joke like, “oh … better cover my ears! … I just started here! Ha! By the way, I’m Brad.” This is a standard, I don’t know you so I’m using crappy humor that’s not sarcastic or smart just in case you’re not sarcastic or smart. Expected reception of joke? Blank faces and a request to turn the volume down on me.

Tech support guy comes around to set up my phone. He is the epitome of the stereotype! Bonus though – he’s sweating. A lot of sweating. Maybe these guys bench press old desktops?

I try to go to the bathroom on our floor twice but both times the door is locked. Instead I go to the main floor lobby. This makes me feel weird. I am certain, in my head, that people are saying, “why does the new guy only use this bathroom? That’s weird.”

In the afternoon Gail comes around (yay) with my boss’s boss (uhhh). He seems nice. Asks questions about moving out to the area, etc. I make a joke about how my apartment is basically an Ikea ad. Gail laughs. He does not. I very much notice he does not laugh. He says let’s go back to his office area.

My boss’s boss tells me about some things I’ll be doing when I get assigned to my real job. I almost smile but save myself by turning the potential smile into pursed lips. Thoughtful, pursed lips. Then back to a normal face. I deliberately never do this face in front of the mirror because I am very sure it makes me look like a moron.

2/13 – Third Day

Is today the day I make a friend? No.

More training. I brought in headphones. The videos today take the cake. They involve bad actors (each worse than the last) who demonstrate what happens when you don’t follow company policy. The best one involved marking trademarks and patents and such on products the company owns when we send proposals to a client. The guy in the video did not mark things properly so the client (played by an Officer in some branch of the Armed Services) comes through and says that everything belongs to him since we didn’t protect it legally. And while he’s at it, he takes the main character in the video’s pen. Why not?

Gail stops by (human contact!). She comes to get the papers she’d given me the previous day to read. I give them back and tell her my favorite thing was the phrase, ‘persuasive in peace.’ This phrase was used to describe our United States Armed Services. Gail finds this funny too. Will this be my highlight of the day?

A few minutes later Gail comes back around with Patricia, a girl around my age. Maybe exactly my age. Patricia started last July there so she’ll know what it’s like to be new and unsure and blah blah blah! Gail leaves. Patricia stands staring at me. I expect some sort of, “so welcome to the company! How do you like it so far!” or somesuch bull crap. Instead Patricia stands. And stares. I say, “uhh …” Still nothing. I say, “so …” what to say! What to say! Finally I begin to ask Patricia questions about herself. She responds with not much. Despite the fact that she is from Arizona and I moved here from Arizona. I crack a small Arizona joke (about town I live in). She does not laugh.

I get into the bathroom on my floor!! I arrived determined to figure out what the deal was (some sort of key code maybe?). So I go and try the handle. Still locked! Then I … push the door in. It’s a push door. There’s a handle. The handle doesn’t move though. Why is there a handle! That is very misleading!

Phrase of the day. A guy stops by and says hello. All right! He seems quite different. Long hair. Smells of smoke. Sociable! Quite different. He chats briefly then shakes my hand and says, “Welcome to the Titanic.” Then he leaves. Welcome to the Titanic?

Eventually I finished my training videos. Got an email from my boss with 2 word documents, one of them 70 pages, the other 200 pages. Have to read this. No idea where the printer is, or if my computer is hooked up to it. Eyes … going … to … fall … out … of … head.

2/14 – Fourth Day

It’s Valentine’s Day. Hope you enjoy your VDay. Your VD. Hope you have a good VD. Hope you spread your VD cheer! Enough of that.

A grand total of about three minutes of human contact today. The contact was with Sweaty the Security Guy and the Titanic guy. They came around to see why all these boxes were being moved to the area next to mine. Apparently a friend’s of Titanic guy’s work there? Or maybe Titanic guy works there part time? They asked me questions about it. I told them, with an impressive amount of confidence, that I had no idea.

I was wrong about the second document. 230 pages.

While reading the fun-filled documents I came across two awesome acronyms. SMARTASSE (no freaking joke, this really was in there. It had to have been deliberate. SMART was the original thing, they added ASSE as an extra analysis tool. Thus, SMARTASSE). The second one (which one is my favorite?) is OLGASIM. I fear the day I am involved in the OLGASIM project, I don’t think it’s possible to look smart when you giggle.

I realized for the first time today – My bosses name is Eileen. There is a rather fun song with that name as a part of it. I now want to write an email where I gripe about something Eileen says, saying, “come on, Eileen!” Or maybe Eileen makes some funny joke, I would say, “ohhh come onnnn, Eileen.”

I had gotten an email before about a young new workers group. On this email there was a posting with a guy looking for people to play basketball. The post was old but I decided to write and inquire (I am generally not outgoing – but my social butterfly factor increases 100 fold when reading boring documents day after day). Ben writes back – I’m in! The email list of those involved all seem to be Asian. Will I be their Yow Ming?

I email Eileen (nooo not for that) to ask if I can wear jeans tomorrow – seeing as it’s a Friday. The purpose of this email is not actually to find out about tomorrow – I am a sneaky man. The purpose is because, as I have noticed many people wearing jeans on a regular basis, I am wanting my boss to say, ‘jeans on Friday? Yeah. Jeans any day, really.’ It works. I am a genius. I am also now going to be the genius who wears jeans all the time.

Around three hit a wall BIG time – the reading of my files slowed WAY down. Yeesh.

Titanic guy stopped by to tell me I’d probably be changing desks sometime soon. I said, essentially, totally cool, bro. Unfortunately, I thought of a good joke RIGHT after Titanic left. My joke was, look around my empty cubicle area and say, ‘what? Leave this? My second home?’ Then I would smirk to let him know I’m joking. Huh? Pretty good, right?

2/15 – Fifth Day

By 11:15 two bathroom visits. I am fine with this because each time it eats maybe two to three minutes. In fact, I usually force myself to drink more water so I will have to use the bathroom lots – because then I’m not working and I have a valid excuse. They can’t fire me for a small bladder, I think. ‘No agism, sexism, racism, peanut bladderism.’ Isn’t that how it goes?

During the second bathroom visit I run into my boss’s boss. If there had been any way to do it smoothly I would’ve run right out of there – I hate bathroom small talk. Also then I feel a pressure to perform. ‘New kid’s got a small bladder – I don’t know if I like that.’ The boss’s boss and I hit the urinals at the same time (thank goodness there’s one of those miniature wall/shield things!), and thankfully he is talking to another guy who is washing his hands. As he and I wash our hands (I was glad to see him doing this), he asked me how I was doing. I responded by telling him more than he cared about (he was probably looking for ‘good’).

Note! Yesterday on the way in I was walking with Gail. She said, ‘early bird, huh?’ or something to this effect. It was 8 am. I said ‘I guess?’ Then I told her I was just so confused at how everyone was so ‘whatever’ (I need to work on my vocabulary) about when people work.

So, the boss’s boss tells me Gail told him this and he laughs about it. I say, ‘yeah … ‘ wishing I could think of a joke. Anyway, good to see he has a sense of humor.

PS, the above story was the highlight of my day … BRUTAL!

Maybe I’m paranoid, but I can’t help but think that I’m being filmed, or my computer usage is being monitored to determine the level of my productivity. Seriously, this is usually what keeps me going. Whatever works, I guess?

A guy with an office near my “area” has started going a longer way to leave to avoid walking by me. This cannot be interpreted as anything other than good news. And also, this is where I do one of those cartoon gulps {gulp!}.

Titanic guy sat at the desk within my area for maybe ten minutes – it was great! I felt like he might be monitoring me so my productivity went way up. This is so sad and pathetic and yet true. I was both happy (back to random CNN.com checks) and sad (back to one page read per ten minutes – SO dull!).

Today I didn’t get an email. Not even a junk mail. Is this some sort of new age, as-yet unachieved, techie level of loneliness?

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