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Chapter 30: Newbies are People Too

Dear Journal, now that my dad is out the way, hunting down the evil wizard in the air duct, this has given me a chance to get to know the new recruits a little better.

I started talking to the new guys about why they decided to work at Centrifico technologies and they all seemed to go into a trance and started reciting the same line “Centrifico Technologies is one of the leading technology firms in the world and was rated amongst the top employers to work for”. They then seemed to “snap out of it” and appeared confused as to where they were and what had just happened.

Strangely, no matter how much I asked the new guys about what their interests were and what they did for fun, they kept asking if this was in fact the best time to be talking about “non work related affairs” and it was then suggested that this conversation be postponed until a designated break period.

The astounding thing was that even though they had only been on the job for a few days, they had processed as many TPR forms as I could do in a month and to make matters worse they appeared to enjoy it. I’m starting to run out of work to give them and this is already after I made up the new “regulation” that these reports needed to be completed in triplicate and in three different languages. (I had originally told them four “different” languages till I was told by Charlie that “Spanish” and “Mexican” are the same language – smart ass).

I couldn’t seem to identify with these kids, until I finally made the starting realization that they must in fact be robots. They don’t appear to eat or take any breaks. I’ve never seen any of them ever go to the bathroom (not even to take a nap or avoid work for a half hour like a normal person) and the things these kids can do with a computer would put the molemen in the IT department to shame.

The only apparent positive coming from their robotic level of activity is that I have almost no work to do and the department is way ahead of schedule. This fact has not gone unnoticed and in true Centrifico Technology spirit, I am the one who is getting all the praise, despite the fact that I haven’t lifted a finger except to try and make more work for these little cyborgs.

I don’t know what it means, but Mr Berkley has invited me to a departmental golf day this Friday as a reward. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing, but hey, at least it’s not work.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 29: The Assignment

Dear Journal, so after showing the new guys around the exciting features and monuments of our department it was time to give them their first assignments. Obviously some of them had heard that I was in charge of assignments as my desk was now cluttered by more than just the usual unfinished TPR forms, but with several gifts of chocolate.

I don’t know why they were trying so hard to impress me with these tokens (although I was not about to refuse any gift of chocolate) because there were no particularly good assignments.

To Charlie, I gave TPR forms to cross reference and alphabetize. To Rajeshevastetten…something (his name tag is so long I give up saying it about a third of the way in) I gave TPR forms to cross reference and alphabetize and to Cynthia I gave the task of double checking Charlie and Rajesheva…um, Rajesh’s work.

I couldn’t believe the excitement and fervor to which the three of them took on their new assignments, immediately calculating the most efficient way to handle the workload productively. They reminded me of myself, well except for the fact that I spent the first 3 months of my time here not knowing what the heck I was doing (and the next 6 months just pretending I knew). The truth was I was sort of upset to know that this excitement would soon wear off, as it does with everyone in the Customer Service Department (usually after a day or two in the Call Centre).

The task still remained of giving my dearest father an assignment that would have him out of the way and most importantly, too busy to be criticizing me, which was going to be difficult since he has been known to, at times when I was a child, sleep walk into my room and criticize me while he was sleeping. The doctors called it “sleepcritting” and supposedly he was the first and only known person to suffer from it. He patently denies it even after watching the Discovery Channel episode starring him, although he does still accept the donations from the sleep disorder support group that was founded.

Regardless I decided to tell him about the Wizard in the Air duct above my cubicle and how success could only be accomplished by someone with his “amazing talents” (luckily he hasn’t heard of sarcasm – a skill I have learned to excel at here at Centrifico Technologies).

Faster than I could delegate a TPR form to Charlie or Rajesh, he was collecting supplies from the stationery cupboard, fashioning makeshift weaponry and preparing himself for his mission.

I don’t know if the air duct Wizard exists or not, but if he does he is about to meet a very nasty surprise…

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 28: Fresh Meat

Dear Journal, after the initial shock of my father being one of the new recruits in our department I was met with another shock in that I was to “look after” them and “show them the ropes”. I wasn’t sure which “ropes” I was supposed to show them. I thought we weren’t allowed rope at work since that guy in the call centre who “accidently tripped off his chair one day and fell into a noose that happened to be attached to the airduct above him and fell asleep” and then “retired with immediate effect to live happily ever after in the Caribbean”. At least that’s what I read in the company memo that was sent out.

Regardless, and ropeless, I decided to show the group around the department. They all seemed very excited by fixtures such as the plastic fern in the corner, the water cooler and of course the “Just for Laughs ‘n Fun” notice board, which to mention it, never really ever had anything “laughable” or “fun” on it, as every joke or cartoon employees put on the board was swiftly removed by Mr Berkley who deemed these jokes a diversion from work (although I had thought that was actually the point).

Nevertheless the board remained and was almost permanently covered in sign-up sheets for one of Doris’s animal welfare campaigns. It’s not that I have anything against animal welfare; I just think that no animal would want to degrade itself by posing in miniature costumes to raise money. She’s basically a “pet pimp” but I’ll have to address that at another stage for I have more important things to show the new guys.

They all seem so bright eyed and inquisitive and generally in awe of my every word. Well, almost all of them, as my father sticks to his genetic condition of rolling his eyes at everything I say, sighing at everything I show the group and reminding them all that I used to wet my bed as a teenager.

As we continue our tour of the office I show the group my cubicle in all its grey and cluttered glory. After a few remarks from my father about how I never had a girlfriend my entire life, interspersed with anecdotes of how I was always picked last for sports, I tell the group to go grab some coffee.

It was at that point that my father pulled me aside and told me I was doing a “great job” and I should “keep up the good work”. I wasn’t sure how to take this after the past half hour of embarrassing stories and well, 27 years of ridicule, but I felt it might have to do with the fact that I was in charge of giving the new guys their assignments for the first week.

I hadn’t really thought about what to give each of the recruits to do, since I was pretty much set on just delegating my own work to each one of them, but I thought that this was my opportunity to give my dad something really suited to his “unique” skill set. So I reached into the top draw of my desk and hauled out “The List” which I had been meaning to work through.

Top of the list… The Evil Wizard in the Air Duct.

“Thanks dad” I said. “I’m so glad you’re enjoying my work, because I have a very special project I need you to take care of”.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 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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