Friday, November 16, 2007

today's report from the workplace

My status as an employee of the Company where I work is a little bit strange. I am not a true employee, as my paychecks come from a placement service, not the Large Office Supply Corporation where I work. This has its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that I can't be sure whether or not I will have a job from week to week, or even day to day. A smaller inconvenience is that I am not allowed directly into the building, but rather have to login to a security computer every day and print out a new identification card that says "VISITOR", clearly signifying to anyone who might care to look at my badge that I don't genuinely belong. (I suppose this is a step up from high school, where my fellow students didn't need any sort of identification. They assumed that I didn't belong.)

The upside to this is that even though I otherwise function as a full-time employee, I feel free to park my car in the spaces reserved for visitors. It's the perk I give myself as a pseudoemployee.

This morning, the gentleman in front of me was having some difficulty logging in as a visitor. As it happens, he wasn't a freelancer like me... more of an actual "visitor". Visiting. And it had been some time since his last visit, so his information was no longer active in the database. If I saved any time by parking in the visitor spaces this morning, I lost it because I was waiting for this guy to be processed.

This gave me some time to glance around the building some. I actually like the building, but find some aspects of it unsettling. It's five floors, not including the basement, which houses the cafeteria. The office spaces are all centered around an atrium, so there is a lot of open space in the building. There's also a hole cut out of the lobby floor to expose parts of the eating area of the cafeteria. This creates a strange sense of space that I'm sure the architects designed to make the interior of the building even larger than it is, but in me manages to induce a slight sense of vertigo. I avoid walking to close to the edge of the walkway. Even though there's a 40inch glass wall to keep me safe, I imagine myself plummeting to my death and really spoiling someone's lunch.

The Company sends mixed messages to it's employees in the form of slogans applied in large vinyl appliqué letters applied to various glass surfaces throughout the building. From my side of the building, I can see the tagline "passionate | innovative | fun" repeated in a friendly font along a whimsical curvy path. This is on the windows on the third floor. If my work area was located on the other side of the office, the direction from which I was looking this morning, standing by the security station, I would get a completely different message.

Those on the South side of the building enjoy a different kind of inspiration. If your perspective finds you facing north, you will read five different phrases:

focus & discipline
sense of urgency
think company & customer first
teamwork & trust
integrity & accountability

Instead of following a curved path in a light typeface, these messages are bold and straight. Less friendly. At least they're lower case, otherwise, it would be a really aggressive use of type.

So today I count myself lucky that while I work I'm reminded to be passionate, innovative and fun. worst, to work on my enilpicsid & sucof.


Chris said...

I find it funny that corporate mgmnt still hasn't clued in that the workforce veiws these inspirational words as a bunch of shite just waiting to be mocked. Do they really think joe employee whose dragged himself out of the wrong side of the bed will walk in and see the words 'focus & discipline' and think right, that's what I need to do, why didn't I think of that? Thank you management that makes double what I earn and gets an actual Bonus at Christmas rather than a squeeze ball with the company logo on it that cost you all of 10 pence. I feel so inspired now, I'm going to work MORE overtime and not get paid for it as I'm so greatful.

But maybe that's just me.

basest said...

oh...i disagree completely. how would I know exactly how to sqeeze the squeeze ball if I wasn't told how to do it? In this case, with focus and discipline!

I love my corporate masters!