Due to some planned electrical upgrades over the weekend, power is turned off at one location of my workplace. This happens to be the one I work at. So we were shipped over to the location that I started out at. We're operating with a skeleton crew right now, and some of the people who would ordinarily be there are out for the weekend (like Captain Picard, who keeps getting the chance to work in that location and then always being thwarted at the last minute) and some people have quit and still others have moved into other positions.
The location that I trained and started out at is significantly newer than the other building I've been in, significantly larger, with newer computers, and giant whopping cubes. The location I'm in now is all right, well-maintained, and has tiny booths, standard call center fare. You can hold hands with your neighbors. Both next to you, and across the aisle, if you have three hands. I was expecting to go back there into paradise!
The reality, once I skidded, was not quite so. I was just barely late after just barely not hitting someone who did not notice that while there was one ENTRANCE to the turn-in lane from the main drag, there were two EXITS - the one she was pulling out of (that she thought I was turning in to) and the one that is actually a road and not a parking lot. She pulled out in front of me after making eye contact with me, and I did not cream her, although I certainly shook up my lunch.
I can say with a certainty that the door lock code-pad does not like me. Why? Because half the time it does not catch the first press of the key, leaving me one key behind in my lock sequence, which, as we all know, Just Does Not Work. (Not unless one has a Really Stupid Code.)
By the time I actually got inside, I was really running late. Instead of seeing my teammates in one of the friendly cubes, I wandered haphazardly over the call floor until something at least vaguely supervisory (she was labeled, and she looked familiar although I didn't remember her name, though she knew me on sight) flagged me down and pointed me to a room I didn't remember having been in before. I barged in to a scene to give a kindergarten teacher pause.
There were three vaguely-supervisory characters there: the second shift supervisor, my supervisor, and my shift's team lead. It is an exaggeration to say that they were dancing around with lampshades on their heads, but the scene was festive. This was perhaps enhanced by the utter lack of anything like visual separation -- this was a training room, with long bench desks with closely-gathered workstations, each blending into the next in a riotous celebration of water bottles, shed sweaters, slightly-mismatched office chairs, tangled phone cords, whiteboard markers, post-its, company-branded handheld whiteboards, personal items of baggage that were in theory strictly taboo outside the break room, and assorted trash. Upwards of fifteen people were spread all over a room designed for thirty friendly people in close quarters, but after regular business hours, so the place was sweltering. Of course the doors were shut, effectively containing the heat, and also the general babble and the frequent hoots of laughter at customer e-mails and the infrequent slightly off-colour joke.
I remembered this room. I'd undergone my initial screening interview in this room. It was cooler that night, and I was dressed better, in high heels, and without a battered sweater with chocolate, elastic bandages, sports rub, and antacids bulging out of the pockets. It looked very, very different now. I settled in, and spent the inevitable ten minutes discovering that no, my roaming profile had decided to not roam with me, and no, the email with my clippings file really didn't want to load, and yes, they'd anticipated that the IM program would be down for the duration of the upgrade, and no, they hadn't told us, so sorry, please to exercise your email skills, people, and that's what the whiteboards are for...
My supervisor could see forever! he declared. Or at least, what everyone had up on their screens from his vantage point at the back of the room. I didn't have anything to guiltily shut down, unlike some other people.
The room was set up with a training class in full swing during normal weekday hours, judging from the artwork on the walls and highlighters all over. Someone found the training class beachball (this is a staple of training classes) and it was soon bouncing here and there in the room, to much hilarity. My supervisor discussed dining options -- the fact that the local sandwich shop was in fact OUT OF BREAD was up on the main whiteboard in the "Known Issues" column, which is usually reserved for problems with our systems that our customers will encounter, but today also featured the fact that internal IM was out. Our team lead read a selection from the post-its with random questions from the trainees, and there was giggling.
There was much supervisor conferencing, and doors started to be propped open, and they confirmed that the (dumb-box) climate controls were set to C rather than W, even though the room felt about as W as you could be wanting and then some. Someone went off to schedule Security to come in with the smart controller and change the settings of C to a normal daytime sub-arctic rather than an energy-efficient nighttime tropical. Second shift started winding to a close, and winding up in that way that small children and punch-drunk older kids (of all ages) will do just before they crash. My team's lead confiscated the ball and began attempting some crowd control. He tossed the ball in his hand and wandered over to confer with my supervisor. Casually, he lobbed the ball up up in the air above the high door.
The beachball smacked into the clock above the door, and it all came crashing to the floor. My lead scrambled to pick up the pieces of clock. The stunned room burst out in spontaneous applause.
Security appeared in the doorway brandishing the climate-control controller and a bonky flashlight, demanding immediate answers. Our poor team lead turned the same bright scarlet as his lanyard. The rest of the room was laughing too hard to be of much help. My team's supervisor confiscated and deflated the beachball.
All had almost become quiet when one of the departing second-shifters made the first clock joke. That made it time for a countdown of the room's best efforts at bad puns. No one had the balls to take it too off-colour, happily. The New Girl cracked a comment, and our lead had had enough. "You can go home now," he warned.
"Is it that time already?" she asked innocently.
"You'd better cut it out!" he said.
"Or what?" I asked from the peanut gallery. "You'll clock her?"
Once second shift packed up and left, we did get the option to take cubes out on the floor. We accepted happily, and decamped, but not before I'd added "Why is the clock missing?" to the array of post-its.
Without second shift, it turned out to be three of us on the team, and both the team lead and the supervisor to keep us in line. This actually led to our supervisor kicking back and doing paperwork and the team lead distracting us and all of us deciding on theme songs. We teased our team lead some more. Our sup offered to rig his chair to collapse on him and take the fall to distract attention, but that lacked the necessary element of unintentional mayhem resulting from poorly-thought-out intentional acts. I told a few Shawn stories. We shared around the good customer spelling moments. I sketched a stick-figure diagram of the day's amusements on a whiteboard, and periodically threw chocolates at people.
It was a good shift. I can't wait for tomorrow's.
Reproduction of the sketch: