I am always looking at ways to explore the culture of work and stretch my writing skills. As such, I give you a typical day at work. Now, this isn’t necessarily about me or the company I work for, but written to apply to anyone in any corp. So plow on, share, and enjoy…
6:15am – Wake up and get ready for work. Looking in the mirror, I ask, “Where did all of that gray hair come from?” Oh, wait, that’s right…MY JOB!
6:45am – I work at home, so with no commute, I feel guilted into starting early. People that work at home know exactly what I mean, that ever-present fear that someone will think you are goofing off if you are not online and available 9-10 hours a day. I go downstairs to my desk and power up my PC. It begins an update that I had not anticipated. Sigh.
6:55am – Update finishes with a reboot. Of course it does. I go and get a life-affirming glass of Diet Mountain Dew (I don’t drink coffee)
6:59am – I fire up email. Holy shitballs…where did all of these messages come from? My favorite comes from a colleague in the UK. The sent a message four hours earlier – now he is demanding for an update. Apparently, ‘Well, I was asleep when you sent it, Dillweed…” is not the appropriate response. Duly noted for future reference.
7:26am – Successfully finish deleting completely irrelevant emails that were sent to me by vendors who have the delusion that I make purchasing decisions in our company. Silly vendors.
7:35am – Start reviewing and replying to those emails that are not part of some mind-numbing string of messages.
8:59am – Join first meeting of the day. I notice I’m the only one on the call at the designated start time. I check my calendar. Where in the hell are the other 13 people? Has the call been cancelled? Immediately I think I’ve made a mistake. Then I remember the people I work with.
9:12am – The meeting actually starts with eight people in attendance. The key decision maker is not on the call. So why are we here?
9:13am – Bob pings me in Skype. ‘I can’t join the call, can you pull me in?” Suddenly I am tech support for this call. Fucking Skype! I suck Bob into the call. Why am I being punished?
9:18am – We pause the meeting to bring the key decision maker that just joined the call up to that point. What an asshat.
9:50am – I ask “So what have we decided? What are our action items?” Someone in the meeting suggests we have another meeting to discuss these. A tiny bit of my soul dies. Sadly, three others on the call agree.
9:59am – I join my second meeting of the day.
9:10am – The meeting starts because a handful of people apparently can’t tell time. You see the trend here, right?
9:14am – Someone’s dog is barking in the background on the call. So far the dog makes the most brilliant contribution to the call thus far.
9:18am – The PowerPoint being presented in the meeting is unreadable and confusing. I secretly wonder if the presenter has gone off their medication. Her choice of graphics causes questions like, “Why is that box blue?” Soon we are no longer talking about the subject, but how it is presented. We are all dumber for having viewed her slides. I mentally note that she is a candidate for promotion.
10:58am – Impromptu call from someone who cannot cut to the chase as to what they want. Facepalm. “For God’s sake get the point please…” My Diet Mountain Dew, which I desperately need, is just out of my reach.
11:15am – The moron finally gets to the point. “I hate to tell you Bob, that isn’t my team’s responsibility.” Bob hears my recommendation as to who to call, but tells me he is opting to ignore it. It is akin to someone saying, “I’m going to ignore gravity today.” “Bob – you gotta be you.” That is 16 minutes of my life that I will never get back.
11:32am – My bladder is about to explode when someone pings me and calls. They missed the call at 9am and want me to repeat everything we didn’t accomplish on the call.
11:44am – I have three minutes in the bathroom. I need five minutes, but we all know by now that isn’t going to happen. My computer is beeping in the other room. I try to ignore it, I really do.
12:08pm – I throw together “lunch” (a Pop-Tart and an apple) and sit at my PC, responding to emails that are trickling in.
12:22pm – My manager calls. She has an “opportunity” for me. It is work assigned to her that she feels should be assigned to me. Oh, it was due two days ago. “Is that a problem?” Apparently that was a rhetorical question, she really didn’t want my response (which was both snarky and biting.)
12:39pm – I check Amazon – they do not sell time machines or fulfilling careers. Sigh.
12:40pm – I check a news website and there has been a workplace shooting in Ohio. I silently wonder if that is a viable option to the hell I find myself in.
12:44pm – I get an email response from a co-worker which confirms that he cannot read. It takes a lot of restraint to not write back: “I appreciate your response and answer – but I would prefer that you actually answer the question I asked you (below).” I don’t type it because, well, we already established he can’t read.
12:59pm – I join my meeting. After a late start – again, we spend five minutes trying to remember why we set this meeting up in the first place. We eventually make something up. Oddly enough, this is fulfilling.
1:20pm – Skype fails and we are all bounced from the call just as we are about to arrive at a solution. Fuck Skype.
1:28pm – We manage to rejoin the call in time to end it.
1:38pm – A friend rings me and we commiserate about our career choices. Three new rumors! At least two of these are pure bullshit. The third one would have been frightening to me five years ago…now I am just numb.
1:40pm – A message about a reorganization in our department. This is reorg number 387. “We might be able to get some work done if they didn’t keep changing who was responsible for it.” I read it carefully, looking for subtext, giving my leadership far more credit than they deserve. Then I delete the last org chart, which I had already presumed was out of date when they published it. They consistently believe that the problem is not their leadership, but how we are structured. I guess number 387 is “the charm.”
1:43pm – My manager calls. “That thing you have been working on…management has had a slight change of direction.” All of the work I have done up to this point is worthless because of the ballless. My manager attempts to convince me that this is a good thing. I tear my stress ball in half, then calm myself with the knowledge that I get paid the same whether I’m doing something brilliant or idiotic. Apparently they chose to pay me to waste my time. Cool.
2:12pm – My second Diet Mountain Dew of the day. That ice cold can is my binky at this stage of the day. It gives me hope, strength, and just enough motivation to stay logged on. God bless the Pepsi Corporation!
2:18pm – Call from my manager. “Have you started that project yet? Well don’t. We’ve had a strategic change of direction…” I note her misuse of the word “strategic.”
2:20pm – I check Linkedin to see if there is someone hiring. I find jobs but convince myself that those companies are as screwed up as ours is. That, and I’m over 50 years old, and we know that companies don’t want to hire older employees. Age discrimination is totally real, trust me. I start thinking about a whole new career where I produce something tangible, something physical, rather than PowerPoint decks. It would be so nice to do something with my hands, if I had any skill other than writing (which, as you know by now, is questionable at best.) Thinking about it makes me feel good for five whole minutes.
2:25pm – I actually start working on, well, work. The Europeans are heading home so the email slows to a minor torrent. For we Americans, this is OUR time.
2:39pm – Notice from Information Security. They warn me to not open emails from sources I don’t trust. That should make work easy to do since I technically don’t trust anyone at the company – especially Information Security. Their very email causes a rift in the space time continuum.
3:00pm – A company webcast that is mandatory. I have no idea why I am on the call. I hot-key over and respond to emails that I received that were “Reply All” I’m so bitter at this point, I do the same. It is evil of me, and I embrace that.
4:00pm – Webcast ends. I receive a message from a friend, “Did I miss anything on that session?” “No. Honestly, it was more like a podcast for me – noise in the background.”
4:26pm – The torrent of emails subsides enough for me to go to the bathroom again.
4:40pm – Final sweep of the inbox occurs. The two emails I didn’t respond to – they resolved themselves. Winning!
4:48pm – I receive an invitation to a meeting at 5:00pm on Friday. “I’m sorry but it looks like it’s the only time open on everyone’s calendar.” Duh. There’s a reason for that, because we all want to go home. That “Winning!” feeling lasted exactly eight minutes. Being a dick, I click “Tentative.” Let her wonder if I’m going to show up or not.
5:00pm – I check my schedule for tomorrow. It eerily looks like todays. I have a lot of emails to respond to and I think about working for an extra half hour or so to get through them. Then I remember last year’s raise that I received and say, “Fuck it.” I’ve already had a ten hour day – there’s no way that another half hour is going to change things.
5:02pm – I go upstairs and see my wife. “How was your day?” “Same as yesterday.” She hugs me and says, ‘I’m sorry.”
Did I miss anything?