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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Chapter 10: My Boss’s Boss’s Boss’s Boss

Dear Journal

Today the entire office seems to be in a flutter of activity. All around there were Goblins, trolls and human beings, all running around frantically with boxes and files as if time were of the essence.

Dodging the human and inhuman traffic proved quite difficult as I sought some sort of explanation for the frenzy. As I stepped into Eddie, the coffee dwarf’s cubicle, I noticed even he, the “World’s Greatest Lover” was furiously working at the paper shredder, feeding it ream upon ream of paper. I wanted to stop him but he seemed in no mood to talk and besides his feverish paper destruction was sure to bring “printer girl” back to the office sooner.

I managed to hear amongst the cacophony and confusion an intercom message stating that “Mr Simmons” had entered the building. I had no idea who this “Mr Simmons” was, but it was certain that it was his arrival that had the office in total panic.

New plastic trees were brought in to replace the old one’s which somehow had wilted (it appears that the Customer Service Department is a toxic environment even for non-living creatures). Fresh coffee was brewed – although it seemed that no one dared touch it. It was either strictly for our ominous visitor, or no one knew what real coffee was supposed to smell like and didn’t notice it. I could see that Eddie was staring at the freshly percolated elixir, sweating profusely, more so than usual.

“Who is Mr Simmons” I whispered to Eddie. The office fell deathly silent except for the sound of shredding paper, before a wave of laughter flooded through the office. I had no idea what was so funny, but one thing I have learnt about corporate “life” is it is never good to be the only one who doesn’t understand the joke so I laughed along nervously on this wave like a clown fish in a shark tank (odd analogy I know).

Mr Berkley walked over to me and seemed as if he was about to give me a backhand with his greasy little imp-claw, which would’ve been great because I had already decided to kill him so I could have used this as an excuse for self defence.

But alas he simply walked me into the stationery cupboard and closed the door behind him. He explained to me that Mr Simmons was the Regional Director of Centrifico Industries and a thus a very important individual. After explaining further how important Mr Simmons’ arrival was and that I shouldn’t embarrass the department he proceeded to leave, but not before locking me in the stationery cupboard.

As I sat amongst pens, clipboards and several other pieces of ammunition for my cubicle traps, I listened to the muffled applause and forced laughter as Mr Simmons walked through the department. I hope for his own safety he doesn’t walk into my cubicle.

I may never get to meet this Mr Simmons but his power over everyone here and the sheer terror his mere mention brings is most enviable. I must learn the secret of his power, but not before I steal as much stationery as I can – especially those magical sticky “post-it” things.

It’s about 7pm and it has gone awfully silent, I hope they haven’t forgotten me in here.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 9: Printer Goddess

Dear Journal

Today continues the longest day of my life. I am yet to sleep although I finished those *@#(@! TPR forms. I don’t even know what profanity that was; my body goes into such violent convulsions whenever I think about those…

I just awoke on the floor… I think the coffee spell just wore off. Wow I feel rough. I need to speak to Eddie about the side affects of this coffee elixir of his.

And that’s when I saw her… I don’t know who she is or why she had wondered into the customer services department, a mistake I hope would not cost her dearly. She was a goddess! She had long silky ebony hair that danced as she stood beneath the air duct. (Thank you evil wizard in the air duct)

She had curves in all the right places, and she bent over the printer her cleavage stared straight at me… I stared straight back as it seemed to be the gentlemanly thing to do. Her low cut top and short skirt seemed to scream “PROCEDE” but her accountant-like jacket and glasses seemed to say “But fill in a form first”.

I wanted nothing more than to speak to her, for it had been weeks since I had conversed with a human female, but I feared another coffee blackout and I was well aware of the fact that my deodorant enchantment had warn off ages ago.

Instead I snuck into Eddie’s cubicle unnoticed. I asked him who the enchantress at the printer was. He sipped back on his “World’s Greatest Lover” Chalice and said her name was Sally the printer girl.

GIRL?!?! I nearly jumped from my chair and strangled the insolent dwarf. She was no less a girl than a goddess! A vision sent from heaven above to guide this lonely traveller to Shangri-La, Valhalla or at the very least the Motel just off the M2.

“She’s from the printer company” he said. “She sells us ink and paper when the machine runs out”

I peered out from Eddie’s cubicle until he showed me a conveniently position “peep hole” that he had cut into the cubicle wall behind a hanging picture of his wife and dwarflets. Truly I can learn much from this man-dwarf… I suppose he didn’t win world’s greatest lover for nothing.

She stood up and neatly adjusted her hair as she walked down the corridor and out of the building. It was at this point that I promised to never wash my eyeballs ever again…

And as I sat in cubicle burning ream upon ream of printer paper and hiding litre upon litre of toner and ink in the air duct above me, I thought about printer girl and awaited her return…

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 8: The All Nighter

Dear Journal

It is now 21:17 and I have 170 more of these TPR reports to do. The office is a completely different place after dark. For one it is much warmer than usual, possibly because the air conditioning has been switched off, or because the evil wizard that lives in my air duct is asleep…either way my deodorant spell has worn off.

There aren’t too many people around the office except for the zombies in the call centre and a couple of IT guys who are using company bandwidth to download ISO’s and Torrents. While I recognise all those words in isolation, I’m certain through all my other dealings with IT that they almost certainly don’t mean what I think they mean.

22:08 161 reports to go.
One other character that is present at this time of the evening is Phil, the night watchman. As if I wasn’t already afraid of the grossly deficient defences of this glass fortress, the fact that there is only one guard on duty during the night shift is absolutely terrifying. Thank god for the booby traps in my cubicle or I wouldn’t be able to concentrate.

22:58 142 reports to go.
I fear I may be becoming addicted to Coffee. Which is strange, since it looks like sludge, smells like sludge and tastes even worse, yet I can’t seem to go 30mins without a cup.

00:00 121 reports to go
I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I actually miss the constant interruptions from Eddie the Coffee dwarf. They are far less unnerving than the soulless groans and blood chilling screams that are coming from the Call Centre. I think I’m starting to hallucinate from too much coffee…or too little? I should get more coffee to be sure.

03:20 67 reports to go
I had a long discussion with Phil about his work as a night watchman. Turns out he used to be a professional athlete; at least I think he said that. I’m not sure what he said. I’m not even sure if I was talking to Phil or the mountain of empty coffee cups on my desk.

ALLWORKANDNOPLAYMAKESCHRISADULLBOY*ALLWORKANDNOPLAYMAKESCHRISADULLBOY*ALLWORKANDNOPLAYMAKESCHRISADULLBOY*ALLWORKANDNOPLAYMAKESCHRISADULLBOY*

06:00 10 reports to go
I am almost done with these stupid reports, when my alarm clock goes off.
I am tired, I stink, there is a mountain of empty coffee mugs on my desk and I still haven’t finished these damn reports.
As the sun shines through the windows and the first few employees walk into the office fresh from their respective nights’ rest, I can’t help but think… this was not what I signed up for…

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 7: TPR Forms

Dear Journal

I can’t believe I’d ever say this, but it’s good to be back in my regular cubicle. I missed its flimsy construction, my squeaky plastic chair and my collection of “liberated” office supplies. I missed the rattling in the air duct above me. I even, dare I say it, missed the “personalities” of the customer service department.

I was not back for more than a minute before Eddie, the coffee dwarf, lurched in unannounced. I heard him from the distinctive slurping noises he made while drinking his coffee elixir. His stubby little fingers were clasped around a cracked goblet with the words “World’s Best Lover” written on it. I wondered why the world’s best lover would be working in such a menial job, but thought it better to congratulate him on the achievement.

He appeared insulted by this comment and slinked away…strange.

One thing I did notice that was different about my cubicle was a suspiciously large pile of papers with one of the magical sticky and colourful “post-its” on it. On the bright purple square was written “I need these YESTERDAY! – Mr B”

I wasn’t sure what exactly I was supposed to do with this pile of papers let alone how to travel backwards in time to do it. If only I hadn’t made mortal enemies with the wizard in the airduct, he may have been able to help me.

I asked Eddie if he knew what exactly these papers were and what exactly I was supposed to do with them. “Oh TPR forms, Good luck with that!” he said. “Thank you”, I replied, although soon after I realised that his well wishing may be an example of “sarcasm” I had been informed of earlier. I was told to read chapter 24 of my manual and follow the instructions.

Finally the manual is coming into use. The same manual Mr Berkley had instructed me to learn backwards on my first day here. All those sleepless nights studying would be worth while. I even remembered the title of chapter 24: “stropeR noitcudorP etelpmoC ot woH” sounds like a magical enchantment…even though I have no idea what it means.

I read chapter 24 again forwards this time and to be honest it makes even less sense forwards than backwards and far less magical.

1 hour and 27 minutes pass and I turn over my first completed TPR form. I would have thought I would’ve felt more of a sense of accomplishment, but there is something about seeing another 299 incomplete forms that dampens a celebratory mood. This may take longer than I had initially estimated.

298 to go

Energy levels fading fast…Where is Eddie with that “Coffee” stuff when you need him?

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 6: Helping in the Call Centre

Dear Journal

Today I am excited to doing something a little different from the usual fare of setting traps for the wizard in the airduct and staring at the clock. I have been told that I will be helping out in the Customer Service Call Centre. Supposedly several of the Call Centre employees didn’t check in for work today. Some of my colleagues are saying it may be linked to some murder-suicides that I read about, that could explain why there are so many more security guards at work today unless maybe someone read my concerns about the lack of office defences should the hordes attack. Either way I am pleased.

Myself and four other Call Centre “trainees” are shown a video about how important we are in delivering customer service. We are then asked about history of mental illness, drug dependency or criminal record before we are handed the contact details of the office psychologist.

As we step out of the video room and into the call centre I am overcome by the sheer size of the department. Hundreds of small cubicles, much smaller than my normal box and somehow an even greyer shade of grey. As we walk past the rows and rows of cubicles, I notice that each is exactly the same. One phone, one chair, one computer and one zombie-like creature chained to the desk. I fear that this may not be as exciting as I originally imagined.

I am shown my cubicle and quickly notice the chalk outline of what appears to be a human on the floor… that must be the designated rest area. I am immediately introduced to Mr Nesburn the Call Centre Manager and my new boss for the day. He is toweringly tall man though his true height is immeasurable due to a prominent hump and posture resembling a fish hook, presumably caused by years of peering over his employee’s shoulders. His skin tone resembles the grey of my old cubicle, which I am already starting to miss… I wonder how my traps are holding up.

The job seems pretty simple, we just have to answer calls all day and do our best not to lose our tempers as all manner of ghoul, beast and banshee shriek profanities at us, or what I can only assume are profanities as many of these I have never come across before so all in all the experience is quite educational.

I felt a bit tired so had a rest in the designated rest area. This appeared to upset Mr Nesburn who remarked “Not another one” as he walked past. I’m not sure what “he lasted longer than usual” was supposed to mean.

So the day continues with me absorbing all sorts of abuse. What I don’t understand is why these people abuse someone who knows their name, telephone number and address and is trained to kill with his bare hands… another name on “the List”

Speaking of “the List” it is getting longer and longer, I fear I may need another pad of these colourful and magical “post its”…what makes them sticky is beyond me, surely dark magic is present here… but they sure are colourful. One learns to appreciate colour in the Call Centre.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 5: Team wasn’t built in a day

Dear Journal

I am still here at the “team building 2010” and still fighting the urge to stab Mr Berkley with my “Crystal Lakes Conference Centre” ballpoint pen. At least doing so would put it to some sort of use, because it sure as hell doesn’t write as can be evidenced by the etchings in my piece of paper and clipboard.

We are supposed to be writing down moments when we felt empowered in a team and then to discuss these with the group. The examples my “empowerment” my team mates have given range from the boring to the mind-numbingly boring. I don’t know if wizards or scientists have managed to measure boredom (probably in tears), but I’m pretty sure I am reaching a lethal dose.

Thankfully we decide to take a break for lunch before it was my turn to share. I’m not sure stories of slaying dragons would fit it after Doris’s story of how she felt empowered by being able put pictures of her 17 cats on her desk…

So we were sheparded towards the buffet table where a veritable banquet of food awaited us. I just hope they have those tiny little cocktail sausages with the mustard sauce. For the love of all that is good and holy in this world let them have those damn sausages. As people grab plates and join the queue there is the strangest dynamic as everyone edges closer to the food. It’s like an uneasy form of panic as you see all the favourite dishes depleting rapidly and the fishcakes remain untouched.

It takes quite a bit of manoeuvring and agility to finally get a plate and join the line and as I do I am met with a most joyous vision… COCKTAIL sausages! They have them?! This day might not be a complete waste after all. But as the line edges forward…painfully slowly; that panic sets in. The sausages are depleting rapidly and people appear to be piling their plates with those tasty little links of deliciousness. Oh for the love of… now someone just rejoined the line after already dishing up! Just to get more cocktail sausages… I start to grip my plastic knife tightly as the urge to kill rises.

I am now just out of arms reach of the cocktail sausages, just one more person… and then horror upon horror Mr Berkley asks to speak to me. That stupid little imp-man I swear that if I miss out on the only joy available on this stupid team day…

He takes me aside to ask me how I am enjoying the day so far at which point I am overcome with a great panic as I see the last two sausages staring at me from the plate. I am at a total loss of words as I way up the pro’s and con’s of plunging my plastic knife into Mr Berkley’s eye socket.

As he reaches to the plate of cocktail sausages and devours the penultimate one, I sigh and die a little inside. That’s it Mr Berkley, you just made “The List”.

Out the corner of my eye I watch as Doris takes the final sausage and… DROPS IT ON THE FLOOR! I die a little inside as I watch it roll under the table. I will look for it later, but mark my words Doris, you too are on “The List” you and your stupid cats!

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 4: Team Building

Dear Journal

Today appears to be slightly different from most days at Centrifico Technologies. Today is team building day… what that means exactly escapes me at the moment, but I do know that it involves dressing casual and in sensible shoes – as per the electronic communication I received yesterday. I wasn’t sure what encompassed “sensible” I simple wore my steel greaves. (Which I soon regretted when I heard we were going to the beach.)

There were no ties or collared shirts as everyone wore luminous green garments with the words “Team Building 2010” on the front. Mine is several sizes too large and could be better put to use as a tent. Everyone was then funnelled into massive steel carriages in the Parking lot. Our “driver” was a grotesque creature named Piet, who stunk of cheap ale and even cheaper aftershave.

The trip itself was rather uneventful, I sat next to a young lady from accounting, named Sally. She seemed interesting for the first minute or so of our conversation and then she began to talk about her work at which point I realised that perhaps my job is not as bad as I had originally thought. It was difficult deflecting her questions as to what exactly my job entailed, but I simply quoted a few of Mr Berkley’s chants about “the exciting, dynamic world of customer service” and this seemed to do the trick. I could see her eyes glaze over, similar to Eddie the coffee dwarf whenever I said the words “trend analysis diagnostics” or “routine customer service reporting”.

All the while I couldn’t help but think that while everyone was away the offices were completely defenceless against any attack from the hordes outside. Defenceless, except for the traps I set up in my cubicle for the Wizard who lives in the air duct above me.

When we arrived at the beach, we were separated into groups which appeared random but later I noticed that there was a definite aim of keeping each group equally racially diverse… at least one troll, dwarf and imp in each group. Mr Berkley was the self-appointed leader of our group.

We were tasked to complete an “ice breaker” which initially got me a little excited. “Finally! Some action!” I though to myself, until I found out that this so called “ice breaker” involved introducing yourself and “something interesting no one knows about you”.

As each person took their turn in introducing themselves and something interesting about them, I couldn’t help but think that the word “interesting” obviously has a very different meaning here at Centrifico Technologies. It seems that no one finds killing dragons and saving damsels in distress as interesting as Mr Berkley’s story about how his cat gave birth to 20 kittens.

Team building sucks but at least it’s not work

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in journal

 

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