Yesterday I posted about the random box I found in my office, and I mentioned that there are two desks for three people in this tiny trailer. Let me explain a little bit further. I work a quasi-office job in a light industrial setting. (Vague, much?) We do not have an “office building”, per se. We have a couple of different buildings on site. Most house essential operational activities and also happen to contain a few offices. My building is strictly the type of mobile trailer you might find on a construction site. It’s really only big enough for two desks and some shared shelf space.
When I was hired by this company, I was told that I would be sharing this office with the other person who does my type of job. However, because the position that I filled had been sitting empty for almost a year, the desk that would be mine was occupied by someone else with a different kind of job. This person was supposed to be building a new office for himself in a new outbuilding on site and moving his things. (He has a lot of things. I’m still not quite sure why. His job doesn’t really necessitate having things.) Until the new office was built, I was just supposed to temporarily set up my laptop on a little spot on the desk and make do. I was led to believe the building of this office was imminent.
Not so much.
First, I was told the weather was a factor. Now, I understand that the Far North in January is no kind of comfortable environment. I also understand that we had a record amount of snow this year. However, the shell of this building is already built. All that needs to happen is for him to fit out the inside of this shell with a proper floor and walls. And he works outside anyway, whether he’s building or not. But no building took place.
Then the snow melted and the ground thawed. Now he told me he was too busy with cleanup of the worksite from the spring mud and he didn’t have time to build. Then summer came and the ground dried out. And he was still too busy. Except? He’s salaried. Which means that you put in the hours it takes to do the job, even if that means you don’t get overtime for it. And hey! If it takes you LESS than 40 hours a week, more’s the better for you. It’s how every other salaried person around operates, and it works just fine.
There was even one Saturday early in the summer that he said he was going to come in and work on it, but then his name wasn’t on the list to work the extra day and he took that to mean he couldn’t come in. Um, they’re not paying you either way. Whether you were on the list, were not on the list, came in or didn’t. Why would not being on the list make any difference? I promise, we don’t have armed guards at the gates only letting in those workers whose names are ON THE LIST like it’s some exclusive night club. Really, my work is pretty much the opposite of a night club.
One day in July, he helpfully announced he was going to start working on it. He was actually, finally going to start building! And he did. For three days. And hasn’t done anything since.
So, I’ve now been here almost eight months, and I’m still sharing a desk. With a man who routinely spills coffee, leaves cups of used chewing tobacco and spit behind his monitor, and has boxes and boxes (and boxes) of stuff surrounding the desk. I have a little space for my laptop (if I move his keyboard), space next to it for my notepad (if I move his mouse and mousepad), and a little portable file box for my things that has to live on a shelf behind me. I have one pen that I have to keep track of as though my life depended on it. (And since I wrote this, my pen walked out the door with a customer. Woe.) And as a nice little bonus, everything is covered in a fine layer of filth. Here’s a little visual for you.
Things that are mine: Otterboxed iPhone, Starbucks cup, Diet Pepsi, center laptop computer, small notepad, pen. Things that are not mine. EVERYTHING ELSE. Not pictured: twelve boxes and one file cabinet of stuff behind my chair.
One of my coworkers swears I just have to give the go-ahead and he’ll pack up all of this other guy’s stuff and put it outside the trailer. I warn him not to tempt me, as my resolve is weakening a little more every day.