This past week we had to move out of our office building to a new location. The company I work for sold the building we were in along with several others. (One would think that being in the top 25 on the Forbs list of companies with trillions of profit they wouldn’t need to be in the business of selling buildings but what do I know?)
The old building was old corporate – cubicle farm everywhere. I had a fairly decent cube there near a window. But, with the new move I was given a choice to move to a construction office down the street from my house or out to an office south of the airport – you know what I chose – the construction office, of course. It is what it is – a construction office with lots of equipment and loud men walking around. Fortunately, it gets quieter once everyone goes out into the field.
We’re all shoved into a room called the “Engineer Room” (I’ve actually gotten called an engineer a couple of times since I’ve been here which is ok with me as long as the technicians don’t hold it against me). In the room is an office at the end with Ned and Nicole who are the newest members of our team. None of us have really worked with them because they got hired on at this location and have stayed here waiting for some of us to transition over. They both seem pretty ok. Others on our team who moved over here is Patricia and maybe Shareece later on. So, Patricia and I are sitting in this room with basically tables and moving boxes. All my computer equipment is on one of these tables. I made sure I arranged my table to face out because I cannot stand to have my back to the door and other people.
So, I’m not used to working in the same room with someone and someone who asks questions. Patricia also has a cubicle set up at the other office by the airport as well and says she will be splitting her time between the two offices. I’m wondering when this will happen as it’s going on Thursday and she’s been here every day so far this week. (Personally, I think she’s just doing this so no one will know where she is at any given time).
Monday, I had to stand outside the gate until someone let me in. I had my uniform on so I was easy to spot as someone who needed in. When I got in the room Patricia was already there with her stuff spread out on two tables. There was a third table that I took and set my boxes on. (She will have to move her shit if Shareece decides to move over here.)
I had a project due that day so I had to set up fast. I was tired from the busy weekend and setting up my computer equipment and diving right in to a project was not seeming attractive. Looking around for an Ethernet outlet to plug into was just as crazy. I finally had to sign onto the wireless and go. I had no time to search for an Ethernet cord or find out with outlet was hot.
While I’m frantically working Patricia who had been on her phone most of the morning talking to her husband (a truck driver), various family members and friends asked, “Are you going to lunch?”
I looked up and said, “I normally eat at my desk”, holding up my lunchbox like yes, I carry this thing every.day so what’s new here?
“Oh, well what’s good around here?”
The one time I went to lunch with her and other members of the team she ordered a lobster tail, grilled chicken, baked potato, and desert and left the whole lobster tail on the plate.
“Just a lot of good Mexican restaurants and, oh, there’s a fish place up the street that’s pretty good.”
She left and went to Kroger and came back with BBQ chicken, mac n cheese, bacon flavored Ritz crackers, apple slices, and chocolate and hazelnut peanut butter. I asked her if there was something she wasn’t telling us.
Later, after finishing my job she asked what time I was leaving. I said, “4ish, like I always do. What time are you leaving?
“Oh, I’m gonna work until 7. Probably be working that late all week. I’m trying to get all four of my centers in shape because I’m giving two away.”
Shareece and I and the two new hires currently haven’t been assigned centers yet. Shareece (who is my work buddy) and I do design work for construction and we’re both very ok with that. The two new hires are used to doing the field verification work and overseeing construction and they are very ok with their roles as well. We have guys out in the northeast office who manage centers as well as design then we have people like Patricia (and three other women a few others) who don’t do know anything about design work and don’t want anything to do with it. It is me and Shareece’s hope that we will remain designers and take over maybe one center (if we are assigned one) and leave the bulk of center management to (Patricia) those other three who won’t design the jobs.
So, Patricia thinks that she’s going to give away two of her centers and still be able to justify all the overtime she’s pulling. Me, I haven’t asked to pull OT because I haven’t needed to yet and I don’t want to abuse the system.
Yesterday, Patricia felt the need to read the entire ‘Folks menu to her cousin over the phone and after hanging up asked me again if I was going to lunch. I said, “No, brought it again.”
I mean, really.
Later, I unzipped my lunchbox to get out some carrots and she turned around and asked me if I was leaving.
“No, it’s just carrots.”
“Oh, I heard zipping and thought you were leaving. What time you leaving?”
I was starting to think our boss put her in here to keep an eye on me.
“Same time as yesterday, tomorrow and the following day – four-ISH. You?”
“Oh, I’m going to work until seven again.”
Now I know why she works late every night its because she spends all day on the phone and does her real work making time and ½. I get it. I wonder if the boss does, too.
I sighed when I came in at 7:30 this morning and she was here again and on the phone. She’d probably been here since 6 talking. I said good morning and sat down to work. Later in the morning she got up and grabbed her keys and said she’d be back. I did not ask where she was going, when she’d be back or if she was going to lunch because –
I DON’T CARE.
I just said, “Ok.”
I had to go run an errand and when I came back she was here and asked, “So you went to lunch?”
“No, I had an errand to run.”
I’m starting to realize that lunch and what time we’re leaving is the extent of our ability to make conversation. I miss talking to my work buddy, Shareece. We instant message each other questions and conversations but it’s not the same.
What I can’t figure out is if she just wants to make conversation to fill the silence (when she’s not on the phone) or she really wants to know when the hell I’m ever going to go out for lunch and when I’m leaving. I know what’s going to drive her really crazy is I’m going to start leaving the room when I take a call. If she asks why, I’m going to say, “I have a thing about people listening to my phone conversations and vice versa.”
I’m going to have to think of some ways to run her off to the other office. Maybe asking the new hires to lunch and going to lunch after she gets back. I’m going to work on bonding with the new hires when they get out of training, too. Part of me thinks she’s a bit intimidated by my being a designer. I don’t know – what do you think?