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Another Portland Blog

Monday, October 03, 2005

 

Why I hate my job: reason # 1412

I currently work on the bottom rung of the "tech industry," if it can even be called that. For 40 hours a week I serve as a human scratching post for my company's customer base. Suffice it to say the job is banal and repugnant enough to make the indignities endured by the main character in "Office Space" look like a romp on a unicorn through a candy factory (at least he didn't directly deal with the public). I don't like to write about my "career" because it's boring and depressing but an anecdote like the one below was practically made for the internet. Here goes.

Fall bitch-slapped Portland on Friday. The city received over an inch of rain resulting in a slew of traffic accidents, clogged storm drains and minor flooding. It poured nonstop from dawn until dusk. I can only imagine management gazing at the storm clouds over the parking lot, stroking their chins, adjusting their monocles and thinking to themselves, "What a perfectly lovely day for a fire drill."

Soul-piercing alarms went off around 3 o'clock and I couldn't finish what I was doing before a supervisor was at my desk demanding I head outside immediately. I'd stupidly left my jacket in my car and, dressed in a t-shirt, was not even close to being dressed appropriately for a downpour.

Once out the doors I headed for my car in search of the jacket. I made it five feet before the same supervisor yelled at the back of my head to return to the group.

Two minutes later I and about fifty others completely unprepared for all of this were soaked to the bone. Roll had been taken, the drill was a success and none of us would be scorched by nonexistent flames. Still we remained in the rain. Part of the problem was that our group hadn't quite made it to our exact rendezvous point. Instead, we were standing in a parking lot five feet from a muddy bog, formerly a lawn, where we were supposed to be standing.

"YOU'VE GOT TO CLEAR THE PATH FOR THE FIRE TRUCKS," a manager yelled, crossing over to the group. He directed us off the pavement and towards the mud. Keep in mind that there was no fire, no trucks were coming and that the fire department didn't even know we were out there. This was just a drill. Still, he remained adamant. Like the corporate drones we are, we finally obliged after a meek protest.

Now we're in the mud, it's still raining and management is huddled under a series of black umbrellas. My car and the jacket are 50 yards away but I may as well be tethered to everyone else. The supervisor is watching me like a hawk and, if I make another escape attempt, she'll only use her vocal tractor beam to drag me back. After a few more endless minutes we're finally allowed back inside.

The difference(s) between kindergarten and this job? A lackluster benefits package, ten times the patronizing and no snack time. If I'm going to be treated like a child the least they could do is hand over some Juicy Juicy and a cookie shaped like a giraffe.

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