Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You'll Always Find Me In the Kitchen at Parties!

Managed to squeeze a quickie in for the Madhouse:

I get a little lonely at work actually.

I’ve now had three full and long days, despite being quite close to home, the volume of traffic makes it a long trip in and out. I get a lift with my SIL next door but she leaves early and my start times are flexible so I’m left standing outside a locked door waiting for someone to let me in at about 7:45 each morning.

It’s a huge office. Single floor but there must be a couple of hundred people here. All sitting in our little corners of well-resourced greyness with the exception of half a dozen ‘executive’ staff who appear to have small but very much ‘open-door’ offices. It’s newly furbished, bright and well equipped. We have very generous sized corners of greyness. New desks, new chairs, new HP Computers and nice flat screens but still corners of greyness. I miss my wonder wall.

This is the problem with being a contractor, you never quite ‘take possession’ of your workspace. It’s always a hurriedly cleared desk with the remnants of the previous occupier dangling over the edges. In this case, rolls of development plans and fat files . . I’ve been plonked in the sales and acquisitions department, sandwiched between three men wheeling and dealing on land acquisition, applying to council for Development Applications, devising alternative names for new suburbs and lamenting their private sector cousins with whom they’re in business but whom apparently ‘don’t know what they’re getting into’.

This tangled with all three men’s obsession with their health (something happens to the over 50 mail it’s all cholesterol and prostates and runny eyes and ulcers) . . so there’s little for me to ‘grasp’ onto even for a coffee time chat. People are pleasant but only a few I’d call friendly.

They lunch alone. Two massive fridges in two massive lunch rooms filled with masses of lunches, neatly packed and labelled, just in case someone wants to steal their soy tofu snacks.

They don’t chat much among themselves except in little cliquey pockets. Nobody except the black English girl in Marketing wears colour. Seriously, she’s in a nice green boucle Chanel rip-off suit and I’m in red. Everyone else is grey, beige or combinations of blue, black and white.

How odd to be so invisible or perhaps it’s my ego playing tricks on me.

Despite the strangeness of not-quite-belonging the job is interesting, the coffee tolerable, a street full of cafes to have lunch in (if I had someone to have lunch with) and a great discount fruiterer and butcher downstairs. There’s the murky Parramatta River to sit by at lunchtime if you can avoid having someone trying to bum money or cigarettes after you or your lunch being abducted by seagulls . . .

Actually the only place I’ve spoken more than business lingo or two words to, was Walt, very sweet Walt, who hijacked me in the kitchen . . . clearly I don’t spend enough time around the water bottle! Yep, that's the place to make friends . . for the rest of the week, I'm going to spend, much more time hanging around in the kitchen!

Sorry about the weird font, I've switched to a Mac and it doesn't like "Georgia" (PEBCAK)

22 comments:

River said...

Perhaps all your new co-workers are all like me. I often take at least a year to become comfortable with the people I'm working with. They're friendly and I'm friendly but getting to be actual friends is hard for me. I once said to someone that I'm always surprised to find that people actually like me. She replied,why wouldn't they like me? I'm a lovely person. But I'm still surprised.

Dot-Com said...

All grey and no chat? Sounds like one of those places where they forget to have fun at work. Hope you can change them. Even if it's just a little bit :-)

subtorp77 said...

Soy tofu? ACK! And all that grey-ness...dullsville. But the kitchen is a great place to chat some-one up, wot? As for the vid of Jona, reminds me a bit of Gary Numan with The Waitresses in the back-ground, HA! Would like to see his Dino vid ( if there is one ). Cheer, cheer, Baino; sounds like a stressful lot but mayhaps you can bring a bit of kindness and fun, to them. Sounds like they could use some.

Sarah Lulu said...

I love red!

Baino said...

River, they're nice enough but just not very inclusive. Difference between a small office and a big department. The receptionist is lovely . .I'm not sure what I expected but a 'would you like to join us for lunch' might be nice. I haven't bothered with lunch breaks.

Well beige actualy Dot . .hundreds of cubicles . . .maybe next week I'll be brave enough to tackle the lunch room

Subby there's stuff in the fridge that I wouldn't feed my dog! Then there's very nice wholemeal sandwiches on the top shelf . . mmm

Well I'm the only one wearing colour . .back to black tomorrow SL - might have to pay the IT department a visit. I get on well with nerds.

laughingwolf said...

'not easy being green', as kermit sings on the muppets

but give yourself a few weeks for more folk to mellow a bit

nick said...

Oh it's always difficult when you start a new job, you always feel isolated and ignored. It'll take a while for the others to suss you out and decide just how friendly to be. Of course if you're a contractor they might be assuming you'll be gone again in a few weeks so no point in getting to know you. In which case, how bloody rude of them.

Susan at Stony River said...

Well you're the very first blog I'm reading, before the reader even finished *loading*. (For some reason "at parties" looked like "in panties". Ah well.)

Sounds interesting (uh) but hey work is work, and who know what lovely something might not come of it? And there will be a wonder wall again.

Now, I want to hear MORE about WALT!

Brian Miller said...

glad you are back to work thought sounds like you are walking among the ghosts in purgatory...all the grey drabbiness with little words for the other souls. enjoy your time in the kitchen, maybe you will find your party soon enough.

kj said...

baino, i've worked as a consultant=contractor for alot of my career. people can get too into themselves and their work to reach out a hand of welcome and kindness. sadly, it's not you, it's normal. but i won't be surprised if you indeed manage to charm at least a few folks.

xoxo

Kate said...

Its early days yet... wait until they catch sight of your personality - they'll be wondering where they left their own!!!

As long as the day goes fast and your earning money its fine - who knows what's around the corner....

Annie Ha said...

I'm going crazy trying to figure out who that guy looks like!

i beati said...

I don't know how I missed your new job but I AM thrilled - whee back in there rubbing elbows with the best ..I love it hope for me??

Kath Lockett said...

I think your co-workers are thinking, "Oh yeah, she's on a contract" and do the stupid thing of not being overly friendly because they assume you'll be gone soon.

Or maybe THEY want to be gone soon?

Baino said...

Actually, I had a compadre today. She's mad as a meat axe but it was someone to have a coffee with at lunchtime. She's another temp so we're buds 2 days a week. I'm probably being a bit harsh, the'y're friendly enough, I'm just the new kid on the block.

Oh and iBeatie, it's only a temp assignment but at least there's kish coming in at the end of the week!

Cheers everyone.

Ronda Laveen said...

Just keep wearing your color. Don't let 'em wear you down. It always takes a while but I know what you mean about not having a place to take posseion of. You are here but not here.

Thommo said...

I could come to Parra for lunch one Friday!!? Glad the job is interesting and I hope Walt is cute?

ashleigh said...

You should see the New Offices that I have not yet moved into. The rest of the company has moved, I'm in the rump that has stayed at the old site, and will be there for some months yet.

But the new site is plastic, and uniform. OPen plan everything, nothing is permitted to be attached to wall (that means NOTHING, even a "where's wally" board is forbidden. The furniture police have even banned somebody who brought in their own hotplate for making their own coffee. The corporate standard coffee machines are to be used and NOTHING ELSE IS PERMITTED.

The only decoration allowed is none. Or a family photo you can stick on your desk.

I'm very tempted to make up a few photo frames with "standard families" and go around one evening doing swaps, and leave a note "you family does not conform to company standards. It has been replaced with one that does."

I guess the anal nature of the furniture police will fade in time, but it is very clearly aimed, at the moment, at ensuring that ANY personalising of the space at all is not done.

I wonder what that says about how they REALLY think of their people?

ashleigh said...

Oh, now of course, the reaon I posted all that is not to have my own whine, merely to point out that you might be a contractor - but some permanent people can't personalise their office space either :)

jay said...

Oh, gosh, that sounds lonely. :(

I used to work as a temp and it also sounds quite familiar. I imagine from that point of view contract work is similar. You never really belong anywhere and people know you're short term so they don't really want to make friends. At least you have a job, huh?

Ces said...

I hope you achieve fulfillment and satisfaction. I don't really know if I can relate to a similar work situation because I have always held a job surrounded by people who keep talking to me.

California Girl said...

Me too!