Sunday, November 15, 2009

Working 9 To 5

OR: Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In The Office Part II

(click here for Part I).

I was speaking with someone recently *kofDonnaBarrkof* on my job history. I have spent 20+ years as an office assistant/receptionist/switchboard operator/dispatcher. I am DAMN good at it, though it can bore me to tears. But also, it's a relatively low responsibility job, go in tranfer info or people from one place to another & leave at 5p. It can be hard work, when people are cranky about their policy/account/whatever. It can be a serious bitch when you have a huge copy project for someone, especially when they change their mind repeatedly. Three ring punch, stapled, spiral bound, one sided, double-sided, oy, the decisions! Jobs that have to be done in three days, when they really are a week long project. Basically I shovel the shit that the CE-whatevers can't or won't do.

Donna said it best when she stated the maxim: “Don't fire the secretary.” And people just don't GET IT. They really don't. I was on craigslist & asking about job relocation & a guy said something along the lines of “It's not a job set that anyone would do that for.”
Now you tell me. Do you need ANOTHER six-figure-someone rolling in just long enough to shmooze with the other VIPs & jet off on 'business trips' to rack up unholy bills, fleece the company and/or throw around his/her weigh making enemies or knocking up his 'assistant' if you know what I mean, & I think you do. Or do you need someone who knows how to run the postage machine, tranfer all the calls correctly and make sure the coffee machine always runs? 500 words or less, single spaced answers, plskthxbai.

Some stories from my checkered past: I had one of the aforemented gigantic copy jobs to do, in color. Color copies are a BITCH to do. The paper is slippery AND sticky at the same time & just loves to jam. The toner runs out fast & as it runs out it dicks the color on the actual copies. You have to HOVER is what I'm saying. Now in this company there were two copiers for the entire company, which meant they were continually hopping. I fell up in the copy room to find a guy who I'd sat and listened to his bitching about how hard college was & all the money he owed. The woman with him was some sort of VIP, I don't remember which, but very high up. But both of them were standing by the color copier, him with his graduate hands in his khaki pockets and she with her blazer-clad arms crossed, standing next to the unresponsive copier.

“Ok, what's the situation? How are we doing? Why isn't it running? I got a big job going on here.” I said, all business. They looked at the copier then me and shrugged.

Here I give you one of the copier laws. Unless shit has changed drastically since I was last in an office setting, it is basic in all copiers *jazz hands* alllll over the world:

CHECK THE FUCKING PAPER TRAYS! So I asked if either one had a weird copy size & sure enough, our boy from Whatsamatta U had a 11”x14” job. So I CHECKED THE FUCKING PAPER TRAY.

And bigods, wouldn't you know it? That sumbitch was emptier than a bimbo's brainpan.

“How's that college degree workin' for ya?” I quizzed him as I slapped in the paper, giving it a little flip to get the paper 'aired', a little trick to keep it from jamming. And goddamn if that thing didn't start cranking out the copies. The she-VIP seemed a little touchy, so I kept the ragging to a minimum, but the Eyebrow of DOOM was 'in mad full effect' as the hip kids say. We had a fluffy little bimbo temp in at one time that pulled the same shit on the black & white copier.
“Nothing's coming out!” She whined. Glancing at the screen, I saw the BIG BLINKING RED LIGHT that showed the paper trays were empty. Both of them. That held three reams of paper EACH. She'd run through at least one thousand sheets of paper or up to SIX THOUSAND sheets & couldn't figure out that there is NO PAPER FAIRY. Well, she figured it out when I started flinging paper in, trying not to set it alight from the sparks off my grinding teeth.

So. Another time at the same place we had a 6 figure fella prodding away at the black & white copier, Rolex & gold ID bracelet twinkling in the flourescent lights. He was basically underfoot, MY foot to be exact, & I had what's know as 'shit to do'. So, tactfully I asked what the hell the problem was and he told me that he had a page in to be copied & blanks were coming out. Well. Another little copier law:

MAKE SURE THE FRIGGIN' PAPER IS FACEDOWN ON THE GLASS. The glass is a great big camera lens that takes the picture to print on the paper. Big juju. And when you put the paper face UP on the camera lens it only take a picture of the blank back. So again, tactfully, forehead vein THROBBING with indignation at the injustice in pay rates versus competency, I explained this & got him straightened out. Now I can kinda understand that top loading copiers can be misleading in that you put originals in face up, they feed through and then pop out again, face DOWN. It TWIRLS around, MAGICALLY, to go facedown over the lens to take the picture & comes out facedown so your originals are in correct order. Again, powerful juju.

Copiers are wild & magnificent creatures. And you betcher ASS they can smell fear. These creatures, when gentled to the hand can be very useful and make you the most powerful person in the office. When you figure them out, you are L33T in a way that is useful, insteada being a h4x0r that gets off on fucking up websites out of sexual frustration *eyeroll*. Which is why I'm NOT telling anyone about the biggest secret of all concerning them, tralala & teehee.

I know how to use pretty much all office equipment, folders, collators, postage machines, copiers, multiline phone systems, laminators, spiral binding machines. Any of them I don't know due to different makes, models, whatever, give me an ½ hour to tinker & they'll roll over & show their belly, never you worry. Now, I work 3rd shift weekends, which means that I have to make decisions that can be very important. And yet I make crap pay, as do so many others in the field that I am skilled in. Some people do make very good pay for very hard work, but they have to pony up for union dues *kofextortionkof*. How much longer is the world going to ignore the fact that the power pyramid is upside down?

Any road, they'd better hurry up & smell the coffee. The toner needs changing.

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