Thursday, June 26, 2008

Liz, who will be my manager in two and a half weeks, has been asking me various questions to prepare for my impending and triumphant arrival at my new job. These were mostly run-of-the mill questions about my computing needs. Then she asked if I wanted a phone for my desk

I thought that was a pretty strange question. Of course I want a phone for my desk! I'll also need a chair for my ass, some sort of writing implement for my hand, and access to a restroom for my best thinking. I need all the standard officey stuff!

"Most folks don't have one, and I just picked mine up today for the first time in months, but if it makes you feel good, you can have a phone," she offered.

Huh? Most people don't have phones? In an office?

I mean, I know that we have email, IM, and something terrifyingly intimate called "face to face" (which I assume involves french kissing), but people still use phones, right?

"Like I said, you can totally have one, but I bet you won't use it. I can't even remember my own number!" Liz explained.

That's when it hit me. The last time I worked in an office was in the 1900s and I was in my 20's. It's now 2008 and I'm 40 years old. I have no idea what a modern office is like. Is the phone the 2008 version of the Red Swingline stapler? Do I need to hide behind a protective wall of fax machines, typewriters, slide rules, and cotton gins to make myself feel safe and cozy?

I manned up.

"Well, I guess I don't need one until I need one," I squeaked.

"That's a good plan. Thanks Mikey." Liz replied reassuringly.

No phones! Good god. I've made a horrible mistake


Favorite Daughter said...

You don't need one. Walk over to anyone you need to talk to. Having a phone just means you are supposed to answer it when it rings. And you have to be nice to them. Who needs that type of pressure at work.

Lola said...

Having no phone is an EXCELLENT IDEA, I don't know why I didn't think of it. Nothing as stressful as being in the middle of a complicated important thought process when the phone rings.

Other things you may want to remember are:
- when some co-worker wants money for some good cause,
- the requirement to acquire and sign birthday cards for co-workers,
- the peer pressure to contribute to leaving presents for people you only vaguely know and don't even like, and...
wait for it...
- socializing after work.

You're going to have a tough time.

The Casual Perfectionist said...

But, without a phone, how can you call Directory Assistance or leave messages on people's Answering Machines?? ;)

I had to laugh at your 1900s true.

Mike said...

Hi Favorite Daughter! You're right that answering the phone is a burden. I resent every time my phone rings. But I appreciate being able to make other people's phone ring.

Lola, hopefully the socializing won't be too painful since I already know and like about 1/4 of the people at this small company. As for the birthday cards, let's hope they're all virtual.

Casual Perfectionist, maybe I'll just start a snail mail campaign and just write people a lot of letters at work. Hopefully their quill and parchment budget is big.

Avery Gray said...

I always thought smoke signals were rather quaint. What's the policy there on indoor burning?

Mike said...

It's a San Francisco company, so it goes without saying that there's a liberal policy about burning flags and lighting up joints.