Friday, December 02, 2005

Work Like a Jerk

I work in an office that's closing next year.

I’m a contractor, so it’s not a big deal for me. When I started in the job, I knew it had a ‘use by’ date, but there were indications that the office’s days were numbered as well.

First off, there was no full time manager there. Occasionally, JJ from the head office would come out and play manager, but mainly he was just babysitting. Secondly, the production environment was getting moved to the head office before the end of the year. Thirdly, all the grey cubicles were empty as well as half the individual offices.

I didn’t mind. For the first time in my career, I got my own office with a large pseudo-mahogany desk, two whiteboards and two sizeable potted plants.

A month after I started though, I was walking past the boardroom and the entire staff was in there for a meeting. They did not look happy. An officious looking youngish man in a black suit was before them using corporate-speak and firm overtones while a Latino security guard stood next to him and staunchly eyed the group. Also a lady from HR in her mid 40s with big hair wearing a pink blazer sat close by and made notes, occasionally glancing at the stony faces around her.

Since then, the office has the feeling of death row.

Other things which contribute to that rudderless-approaching-the-waterfall feeling are:

-The office manager (OM) was jilted in the payouts, so she doesn’t come to the office much. Plus she’s recovering from a brain aneurism last year. One word that comes to mind which summarizes her is “Jangly”.

-There is no receptionist

-There are only three of us in my wing of the office.

-All the magazines subscriptions are dated 2004

-Every month at least one of the staff leaves.

-The remaining staff talk about retention bonuses and where they plan on working next.

Needless to say, attempting to maintain a motivated attitude here is a challenge. One good thing from all this is that I’ve become very adept at cleaning up offices once people go.

My supervisor (S) is one of the bright spots in coming to work. He’s a transplant from the East coast and uses expressions like: schmuck, knucklehead and bimbo as well as phrases like “Kick’em in the nuts” and “Gotta shake the dew.” He describes himself as a non-conformist who doesn’t like dealing with other people’s bullshit. He is also very forthright about his fondness for women with breast augmentations and scopes openly, even when I’m talking to him.

“Nothing like a woman with plastic tits. Breasts that fight back. Gotta love ‘em.”

His plan is to wait things out until the company decides to close the office.

“Then I get my retention, and I’m outta here.”

He’s one to get things done, but he’s so demoralized here that he doesn’t bother anymore. Friday afternoons, he plays Luxor for a couple of hours on the PC in his office.

Some days are interesting, but most are not. Being a hospice nurse for a dying office is not something I hope to do again. Every week, a bit more bleakness sets in. Soon, nothing will get done at all.

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