Sunday, October 21, 2007

Here We Go Again

I’m two weeks into the new job and I’ve finally managed to get the New Guy stink off of me.

In a nutshell? I like it.

It didn’t take too long for me to adapt from the slapdash amateurism of the last place of employment to the slick professionalism of the new place. Got a nice desk, comfy chair, free lunch every day and a great view of the Thames from my office. I’ve also got a constant feeling of déjà vu.

I’m deep enough into my working life now to see certain patterns. I have this nagging feeling that I know these people. I don’t. I just know the types. The artificial blonde with the severe business suit, the arctic smile and the dead eyes who always appears to be pleasant, but she can’t hide the petty officiousness buried under layers of pancaked make-up. The effete prankster with a battery of catchphrases who’s convinced that he’s hilarious but really he’s just irritating. The doughy, perpetually exhausted longtimers who bitch and moan about the work, even though they refuse to either Shit or Get Off The Pot.

I’m busy all day every day (and I seem to be in meetings all the time. What is it with Big Corporates and incessant meetings?). I’m back in a shirt and tie. But I’m into it. I’m enjoying it. I’m comfortable and confident and I feel challenged and I’m learning and I feel a part of it. I’ve been made to feel welcome. It’s more than I expected.

So far? So very, very good.

Friday, October 05, 2007

End of Daze

I’ve just sat down at my desk in my office. It’s the same desk I’ve been sitting at almost every weekday for the last 25 months. Today is the last day I will arrive here, sit here, work (or pretend to work) here. Do anything here.

Feels damn weird. I feel like I need to mark this moment in some way. Cock my leg on the last two years and leave my scent behind in some tangible way. But that’s not going to happen. I’ll be forgotten by midday next Monday. Which is fine by me.

I’ve hated working here more often than not, but I suspect that at some point in the future I will look back on this time with some kind of twisted fondness. But not yet, and not for a while.

The sun has decided to come out and play for this last day. It almost manages to make this place look decent. This big, ugly concrete warehouse pretending to be an office building at the furthermost point on a big, ugly industrial estate, the outside of the building choked with weeds and triffids and rats the size of terriers. The murky dark water of the Grand Union Canal oozing past the window, rancid with filth and ducks desperately trying to swim through the muck and the plastic bags and the rainbow-coloured oily swirls leaking into the water from the car garage next door.

So. No more shaky air-conditioning that makes the room arctic on the hottest days of the year, or sweltering hot on the darkest days of winter. No more struggling to find space on a tiny desk choked with pens and papers and coffee mugs and standard issue office bullshit. No longer will I have to run a gauntlet of empty cardboard boxes and misshapen polystyrene and busted monitors and discarded cabling just so I can get to the toilet or the kitchen.

And, hopefully, no more insane, nightmare edicts from the technically-challenged company directors. I still shudder when I think back to the dark days of Summer 2006, when for three weeks it was decreed that we drop everything immediately to dedicate our waking hours to reading Every Single Incoming Spam e-mail. From cain’t see to cain’t see, from log-in to log-out, from 9am to 5.30pm, it was nothing but an endless parade of penisviagrarolexmortgagecasinolotteryorgasmhoodia craziness, burning my eyes, crushing my mind, breaking my spirit. And all because maybe, just maybe, one in every 10,000 e-mails might be a mistakenly-snagged valid e-mail with a customer who wants to spend £10 on a piece of shitty software.

Regardless, this is the closing of an undeniably odd (but annoyingly representative) chapter in my working life and I’m glad that it is finally (almost) over. It went on at least a year too long, and this ending is overdue, so I might as well welcome it with open arms, a gleam in my eye, and these words on my lips: “What took you so damn long? Come on, we got things to do!”

And it’s time to go do them.