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Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Office of the Living Dead

First day in the bag! I woke up this morning at 5:50 to a brrr-cold house, and stood underneath the shower feeling equal parts grumpy and sorry for myself. I got all prettied up, went and got a cup of coffee from Wawa (for those not in the know, it's like 7-11 except awesome) and made it to the office well ahead of time. It is the payroll department of a company that lays cable and gets corporations wired.

I'll tell you! I have worked in a number of offices, and done everything from receptionist to secretary to filing/photocopy chick to data entry. And never, EVER, have I encountered such a stifling place. The decor (HA!) is all gray. Gray linoleum, gray paint, gray partitions. No pictures, no plants, nothing.

The office consists of about 8 people, all women, in addition to me. They too, are gray — not just their hair and clothes, but their faces too are pallid and lifeless. They are all, no exception, in their fifties, overweight, and bear looks of grave disappointment and embitterment which has mellowed into stone-faced, numb zombification. There is no music, no noise whatsoever except for fingers on keyboards. Nobody talks at all. In the 9 hours that I was at the office today, the only thing anyone said to me or to one another is, "Here's another file."

So I sat there for 4 hours, typing non-stop into a payment processing system. Then, lunchtime, and I escaped. I thought I might lose my mind, so I went to Ross and bought myself a coffee mug for $1.99, since the office didn't even have foam cups and I hadn't brought a mug. I also bought the only lunchbox on sale — Betty Boop — so now I can bring lunch with me. When I came back to the office I thought I'd have a cup of coffee to keep me awake in the Land of the Living Dead, and discovered DECAF was the only thing on offer.

Dudes. I know I'm spoiled and all that, but MAN! If I stay in this gig long, I'll become one of the wraiths. Here's my plan. Stick it out as long as I can and quit in time for Katja's annual visit at the end of October. I can always say at the temp agency it's the drive (45 min) that's getting to me. I doubt they'd believe my tale of the Valley of Ghouls.

Lalalaaa. I'm strangely happy, though. A) I made around $60, B) I realized I'm very much alive, and things are really not that bad for me. I won't be sitting mutely in that office when I'm 50. *Ptui, ptui, ptui*



Blogger Mark A. said...

Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays.

September 05, 2006 11:21 PM  
Blogger Riykere said...

I doubt you will become one of those gray people. You've always been very much alive ^^ If you can, bring in some of your own music lol. Something to listen to, to pass the time. But like I said, you've always been very lively ^^

September 06, 2006 5:45 PM  
Blogger Istanbultaye said...

Sorry. I intended on commenting when i read this a couple days ago, but it wouldn't let me.

Anyways... I'm so glad my office isn't like that! Whew... I nearly posted a big description in my comments, when i realized I should save it for my poor, un-updated blog. ~.^

Well, take care of yourself, and see if smiling at them and being nice will at least break them out of their shells a bit. ^.^ You never know what a bit of sustained cheerfulness will do for people.

September 08, 2006 1:59 PM  
Blogger Katja said...

arrghhh... I would DIE, if I couldn't listen to music during work. And I'm happy, that I am going to be the one to rescue you from DECAF :) (it is just 50 days, you know !!) Maybe you should just start making REAL coffee secretly at the office and see, if the "Grey Ladies" wake up ???
I'm just so glad that our office is so nice and colourful and I really like the people that I work with.

September 09, 2006 3:37 AM  
Blogger Katja said...

And I totally forgot to tell you, that Johanna + baby Salama are ok. Johanna just had her first migraine last Sunday. She spent the night at the hospital and got out on Monday morning.

September 09, 2006 3:45 AM  
Blogger madelineanne said...

Clearly if they drink only decaf that is the source of their problems.
Believe me, I've been in many an office and ceffeine makes all the difference. :)
What agency got you this job? Cause Kelly seems to get somewhat higher end assignments, the kind where you can check email while working. ;)
Proud of you honey!!

September 11, 2006 3:18 PM  
Blogger Anniina said...

Aww thanks! I went through Careers USA. I gotta check into Kelly. Yeah, I'd love to check email during office hours, wheeee! Or blog, mwahaha.

September 11, 2006 10:36 PM  

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