Christmastime in the Emerald City

{August 27, 2008}   Shitty Things About My Office

As I’m sure the majority of you are aware, I work in a very corporate type environment. I used to be the receptionist, multitasking like a demon, answering about six hundred calls a day for several dozen clients, and dealing with the general idiocy of the front desk and all it’s approachers. Since then I have been promoted to CSR II, meaning essentially that I am a senior customer service representative. You know those personal assistants you hear of, running about like mad, coffee this, errand that, and all sorts of busy shennanigans. Well, essentially my job description is that of a personal assistant for hire on a billable, as-needed basis. If you’re not big and fancy enough to hire your own full time assistant, but you need someone for a half an hour here and there to reschedule appointments, make travel arrangements, order catering and other function logistics, well that’s me. Corporate bitch for hire.

I do actually like my job a great deal, and when I’m busiest is when I’m at my best. I love flying all over the city running errands for clients, click clacking around our more posh downtown area in my fabulous heels and pencil skirt. And then I come back up to the north end of the city where my office actually is and think “ugh.” It’s not so much the job folks, it’s like everybody says: location, location, location.

In summary, my job is awesome, but my office sucks. Here’s why:

Location: Ugly

I’m a downtown kind of girl. I don’t live right downtown – I’m surrounded by trees, nice houses, funky districts and so forth. But where I live is generally considered to be in that proximity. I can see our dense collection of skyscrapers from my window, and I can walk there in just a few minutes. Where I work, on the other hand, is way the hell ass in the north end of the city. You can’t even see the CN Tower from my office, and it’s one of the tallest damn buildings in the world (fuck you Malaysia, your hookers suck.)

It’s far away and the neighbourhood is fugly. No bright lights, no posh architecture, no trendy amenities at ground level. I’m surrounded by nasty looking condos and Korean fast food. Not that there’s anything wrong with Korean fast food, I’m just not a personal fan. And if I’m going to put the effort into heels and pencil skirts, I’d kind of like to be surrounded by upscale florists and other things I like to pretend I can afford. Wide, pale sidewalks, shimmery and crack free. Potted outdoor plants with footlights and tasteful decor. Not so much up here. Tacky and dirty, that’s the general feel of this area. Ugly construction and confused passerby. Nice. Warms my heart as I get off the subway every morning.

Distance: Too Damn Far

It’s a forty five minute commute people. On a good day. On the subway. With transferring. One transfer if I catch the bus in the morning, two transfers if I miss it and have to take the streetcar. And if that’s the case, then I’m transferring at the notoriously ill-designed Yonge-Bloor junction. It sucks. This station brings out the worst in people, because it’s jammed, busy, and designed so that transferring commuters all crash into each other, and people who aren’t familiar with the layout have to stand in the worst spot possible to find any kind of signage. Also, all the civilized people are generally going south from Yonge and Bloor, towards the aforementioned sparkle and shine of the downtown core. Those going north with me, not so much. This is where you get the assfuckers who will park their oversized knock-off luggage on the seat next to them and sigh heavily when you have the nerve to ask for a seat that you paid for.

Status: Ghetto

The company I work for is tremendously succesful, the top in its field. We have dozens of locations in the city alone, and nearly a thousand worldwide. Part of my job often requires that I hop on the train and stop by our prettier centres to pick up equipment and etc. This means I get a nice taste of what the downtown centres look like. Me? I’m stuck at the northernmost point, initially under the employ of a company that was bought out by these fancy new people. That means we’re nowhere near as pretty because we didn’t have the start-up funding for, say, nice carpeting, or freshly painted walls, or pieces of art not emanating from the horrid, horrid 80’s. All the other centres know that we’re the crappiest. It’s a nice feeling.

We are the ghetto centre. We are ugly and cheap. If I didn’t work with Talea, I would immediately request a transfer to a downtown centre if a position was available, but the likelihood of both of us being transferred is slim to none.

Temperature: SubZero

My office is fucking FREEZING. All the damn time! I know it’s summer, I do, but it’s not really. Have they looked outside? It’s been raining every other day, and this morning it was freezing outside. Oh, but the computer says the temperature is fine! Well it’s not. It’s a bloody cold day in hell. And the worst part about it is that we can’t adjust our own temperature. When we’re cold, or when one of my dozens of persnickety clients are cold, I have to call down to maintenance. I loooooove maintenance. They hate me. They hate that I call every half an hour to have someone’s office warmed up/cooled down. They hate it so much that when Talea called down once, they reminded us that when the original owners took the space, they opted not to pay the extra fee for the option to self-adjust temperatures, so now they just get a little angry every time we call.

Great. Thanks. I’m still cold, so you can just bring your angry ass right on up and turn the a/c down, okay?

Oh and peep this! Just now the elevators stopped working. They’re coming up from the lobby, but they won’t go back down. Super fabulous.

Memos and Signatures: Pointless

Why do you think I type up memos and deliver them with mail everyday? Is it because I love risking the slicing intrusion of paper cuts on my fingers? The trees smashed under every word I type? No, people. It’s because there is something new that may pertain to you, and so I am giving you the courtesy of letting you know ahead of time. If you don’t read it, I can’t help you.

Picture this: It’s ten minutes after five, and I happen to still be at my desk. There is loud, insistent banging on the front glass doors, which are locked since it is past five. We didn’t always lock the door at five since we do have people who work here at all hours, even though they all have keys to the alternate entrances. But then security gave us shit. And so we sent out a memo and began locking the doors. Clearly, this banging individual failed to read said memo, and was irate upon my courteous gesture of opening the door for him. It would have been nice, he said miffedly, if someone had informed them that this new policy was in effect. We did, I retorted, there was a memo sent out. Well, said the haughty individual, *I* did not get that memo. You did, as a matter of fact. Your last bill? The one you paid? Yeah, it was in there. You just didn’t read it. Thanks.

Then there are arguments over contracts and all that other legal jargon that I’m not going to go into because it’s company privacy blah blah blah. But sticking with just generic observations, I will say this: If you sign a contract, you’re bound to the terms. That’s why you’re allowed to take these things home and read them over, kind of like when you buy a house and all that stuff. So if you piss and moan that you didn’t understand the terms or that you didn’t read this or that section, or that it wasn’t clearly explained, you can piss and moan all you want. You still signed something without reading it, and you’re stuid. Next time, I think I’m going to add a clause that allows me to tie people to chairs and kick them down a flight of stairs, and see if anyone notices before they sign it.

Incidentally, non-memo readers are about 70% more likely than memo readers to cuss and fight if they think you’ve charged them twelve cents extra for photocopies. Not exagerting here, TWELVE CENTS. Really, if it wouldn’t be construed as insubordination or flat out snarkiness, I’d start up a change jar at poor Talea’s desk so she could simply fling quarters at people rather than start the horrific process that is convincing our head office half a country away that joe-schmuck and his accounting errors desserve twelve cents back in the name of customer service.

Tech Support: Fail

I give up on the phones and internet, because our provider fails on an epik scale. (hahahahahahaha, subtle). We’ve been with this particular vendor for over a year, and still we can’t go a week without them fucking something up. Just yesterday, I took a spare phone we had sitting around, and asked them to program it for a new client. Just change the name thats already in it, that’s all! Wipe out the voicemail, maybe add a feature or two. You are a phone company, right? Well it takes a week (if it were me programming a VCR, I could understand, but I don’t get paid to program VCRs) before it gets programmed. Plug it in and the extension assigned to the phone has magically been stolen from one of our other phones and given to this one. Why? I have no idea. Damn good thing that extension was assigned to another spare phone and not one sitting in someone’s office.

But maybe they knew that, you say. They are tech people after all, they know what extensions are where and all that jazz. Just let them do their thing. Oh yeah? So when they hand us a spreadsheet of all the available phone numbers that we are free to assign to new clients and we find their own damn tech support number on there, I guess that’s a real fab indication of exactly how much they know about their own business.

Morons: I’m Surrounded

Yeah, that’s pretty much the gyst of it folks. I’m surrounded by morons and ugly buildings. I’m not planning on jetting out of here anytime soon, though. Firstly, there are a number of cool people keeping me here. Talea, obviously. Some of our clients can be buckets of fun when they’re in a good mood. One of the resident financial advisors stepped into our office for some of my lemon squares and to give us a fifteen minute lesson on how to flip pens in a crazy impressive manner. My boss is pretty rocking too, and that’s something you don’t want to gamble with. I could end up in the prettiest office downtown with a douchenozzle for a boss to make the overall day just that much worse.

It’s not my job that I hate. It’s my office.

Okay, some days the job sucks too, but I have rent to pay.


romi41 says:

Oh my gosh, you don’t know the high I get off of walking around “nice” downtown toronto and pretending I am one of “them”…it’s like being in a school play 🙂 …lol…I am half-way to “fugly” ville at Yonge and Eglinton where I work…luckily I can see the CN tower and skyscrapers out my window…but there are weird stores and D-list Yonge-and-Eg pigeons one too many…

PS: I’m thinking my office is solar powered or some shit, as it’s sweltering-tropic-hot when it’s sunny, and then the indoor temp dips 20 degrees when it’s cloudy…wtf?

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