Today was the first day in my new office. It was a shared office and supposedly there was me and 5 other people but when I arrived this morning, its was only me.
It started badly.
I turned up at around 10am and was told to ask for Mark. Unfortunately he wasn’t in yet even though most peoples working day started an hour ago. No-one seemed sure when he was due in so instead I got shown to the shared office by the woman on reception who I think was Latvian and said her name was Irene. She said (in broken English) that she should not really let me in until I had been through my ‘welcome meeting’ but that she would make an exception this time.
She then led me to the shared office and as soon as I sat down she left and locked the door. What the actual fuck? I was paying the best part of £200 per month and they’d locked me in a room and taken the key. This is what it must feel like to be in a well ventilated and corporate looking prison. I knocked on the door for a bit but to no avail, Irene had waddled off with my key.
I got the laptop out and started working, slightly miffed that they had imprisoned me but after about 15 minutes she came back with a form for me to sign to receive the Internet (which I had already gotten access to as it was wide open). This time I insisted on having the key and for her not to lock me in. I did try and ask the reason for locking me in; perhaps there were bloodthirsty wild dogs roaming the lobby or a prolific corridor thief was nearby but she just looked at me like I was green or something so I left it. Irene did not understand the irony of having a ‘here to help’ badge on, she was clearly only here to unload the dishwasher in the kitchen.
Mark, the ‘Community Manager’ then appeared around 2 in the afternoon. Although he was dressed in a suit, he looked about 12 years old so I couldn’t really take him seriously when he was explaining the office rules and the code of conduct. I felt like I should be telling him what to do:
DON’T RUN IN THE CORRIDOR MATTHEW
IF THE WIND CHANGES YOUR FACE WILL STAY LIKE THAT
MATTHEW – DON’T SPEAK TO YOUR MOTHER LIKE THAT
To make it worse, he had a faint hint of rouge round his lips like he had just enjoyed a lolly ice or something which didn’t really mature him somewhat. Anyway, I had my talk about code of conduct and the rules which were pretty normal (don’t smoke and don’t punch anyone) and then he had to show me where the fire exits where. Mark made quite a meal of this, showing me the two doors that led to stairs, he also showed me exactly where you should be at each point, who were the fire marshalls and where I should stand outside in case of a fire. During this, he actually wore a hi-vis jacket with ‘Fire Marshall’ on and paraded around, lording over the rest of us non-fire-marshals. He explained several times to take the fire alarm tests very seriously and also reiterated the obvious signs of fire (smoke, heat and the smell of burning flesh). The overall fire part was longer than pretty much the rest of the office induction and that made me wonder how many fires they had actually had and who was starting them? maybe they’d locked someone else in an office and he kept setting fire to his desk in order to highlight his plight? I did question Mark about the number but he wouldn’t be pressed. I vowed to check with Irene later.