I started a job so I can make some money before I transfer to a different college, and lucky for me, it’s pretty easy—I’ve barely had to do anything in it. I have so much free time during that job, in fact, I’m able to keep a journal.
So, I present to you the first day of the job chronicles—a series of notes taken by yours truly. Names and specifics about the job are censored out.
(11:30) – I’m so bored—I wish Jesus from the book of Mark would come and beat me up.
(11:34) – I wonder how much of our income is wasted on this vast bureaucracy. Just the fact that, in the mail area, there are papers stacked at least 1.25 feet high—just for this year—has to be a problem. Why is there a person charged with just reading some mail, and then filing it?
I know why the Luddites revolted, because automation threatened their livelihoods—their hours would have been shortened without an increase in pay, because of that machine—but somehow, despite my politics, I find myself unable to sympathise completely to them. If the only routes are unnecessary toil or starvation, why not questions who paved the road?
(12:02) – I should steal some office supplies.
(12:11) – There was this one dude, he had the uncle desktop—he had one of a giant “toolbar” at the top of his screen. I wanted to laugh—and I almost did—but, somehow, I managed to pull through.
(12:45) – Will every day be like this?—just sitting and doing nothing? If that’s the case, this will be a real easy job.
I guess I’m just wondering why we need to spend so much time in the office for so little pay. I’m sure middle mangers know the growing sentiment among people—they’re probably doing everything they can to stop unions, for Christ’s sake—but still they change nothing. So what’s then point then?—why keep people in this cubicle-laden hell?
At least I have a cubicle—most office workers don’t even have that anymore.
I wish I could just turn my brain off for the rest of the day—that would be brilliant. I’ve spent the better part of my day scrawling in this notebook, or doing nothing at all—perhaps my tune will change tomorrow.
(09:21) – Gladly today, I didn’t need to be introduced to anyone. I just had to go see someone for some mail stuff—filing letters and all that stuff—and it’s honestly a cinch; all I need to do is stamp stuff, and then put it into a few piles—almost like in Papers Please. Aside from that, I need to check the phone, but I’m not quite in the system yet, so that’s virtually impossible.
(09:29) – Be sure to check the mailbox at around 08:45.
(09:36) – I really hate exchanging morning pleasantries—I don’t know anyone’s names, and frankly I don’t want to exchange meaningless, soulless banter with people that will never actually know me.
Do you know how strange it is to always be the youngest person in the room?
This office runs on a series of unwritten rules—both from a social standpoint, and in its operation. I can take social rules fine—I’m no stranger to learning those without any help—but I want to beg for some documentation—that isn’t in verbose legalese—on stuff like the mail filing system; everything is laid out in an utterly illogical manner—I don’t know how anyone’s gotten anything done here.
(09:46) – I wish I had more to do right now than write. By the time I’m out of here, this notebook will seem like the ravings of a lunatic.
(10:14) – I’m going through the code and highlighting the necessary parts in order to trim the fat. If I manage to get on the computer system today, I’ll type it in MS Word, and if not, I’ll type it up at home.1 After that’s done, I’ll send it to my boss and see if it can become something to hand new employees here—knowing them, it won’t be a pdf she prints out, but a copy of a copy that will become more and more illegible over time—because reading through legal documentation is beyond a chore.
(11:22) – My desk has become the Vandenberg Air Force Base of paper-based aviation. (No, I don’t see any MJ-12 troops here.)
(12:15) – Why can’t anyone check their own voicemail?—and why does no one know what phishing is?
(12:47) – Be sure to check the boss’s voice mail at
(12:49) – I really wish I had more entertaining stuff to read than the code—believe it or not, legalese is profoundly boring. It would be awesome if I could just take a nap for a bit, but I’m not holding my breath. (Sloth really is my deadliest sin.)
(14:43) – I finally got a copy of the standard operating procedures manual—I have a feeling I’ll know what to expect for the most part.
(14:47) – From “Ethics” in the SOP manual: “Work together as a team and be committed to excellence and innovation?”
What does that even mean? I don’t think this office is able to change at all—a solid few people here are just a few minutes outside their death casket.
(14:51) – “We cannot completely control the behaviours of other employees/people.”
What? Are employees not people? Okay then.
(14:54) – I found out my office is a restricted area. That’s actually kind of cool.
(14:58) – This dress code is fucking draconian.
(15:29) – Home stretch—just one more hour and I’m out.
That said, I fucking hate this SOP guide—it’s all the normal corporate schlock written by a power-hungry HR manager that drank one too many mimosas.
At least I’ll be getting on the network soon—hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be able to get on to one of the PCs here.
(16:00) – Apparently there’s some guy on local access TV that’s trying to get a license to do something here—he’s been giving hell to my office, even though that’s not what we do at all.
(16:11) – I could probably leave now and be fine, but I don’t want to risk anything. The boss has been dealing with all their stuff.
I don’t think I’ll be getting my picture taken for my badge today.
In any case, people keep saying “oh it’ll be really busy next year—we’re so glad you’re here to help”—or something like that—and I don’t have the heart, or the nerve, to say I’m going back to college in a few months.
(08:43) – I had to check my boss’s voice mail today. The first message was absolutely unintelligible—a mess of digital noise and feint voices. Perhaps there’s something ancient, primordial beneath the surface—that would make my days here way more interesting.
(09:45) – Oh god, I’m tired today—just utterly sleepy. I took my melatonin the way the bottle recommended last night, and I slept through all my alarms—thank god my Dad knocked on my door to ask me about something. (Thanks Dad!)
An intense fog has rolled into town this morning. It almost looks like Silent Hill our there—maybe some freaky monsters could spice things up around here, haha.
(11:07) – I just finished getting my badge. I had to run all the way down to another office—in what people here call “the yard”—to get my picture taken. Then someone in HR needed to reprogram my badge, because our office is extra secure—probably because it contains so much sensitive data.
It feels kinda cool to be working in such a secure area—even if I’m a pencil-pushing bureaucrat, I’m a pencil-pushing bureaucrat who works in a secure office—I’m a cog in the machine of the shadow government/deep state/whatever people think is ruling over the country. (Well, the evil in this country is really more banal than people seem to think, but it’s still fun to pretend like I’m a villain of some sort .)
Hopefully, some day, I’ll be at the NIST or Argonne—badged up like I am now, but doing some actual science. For now, I’m pushing pencils, not boundaries.
(12:30) – My boss is about to take a nap or something.
Anyways, I went digging through my desk, and I found a bunch of old notes that the previous person here left behind. They’re not perfect, but I’m glad they were left here.
Hopefully they’re off living their dreams, not stuck in the eighth floor of some drab office.
In a way, this place feels like the Armacham offices in F.E.A.R.—only I’m not doing shady science, and instead I’m doing basic, boring tasks so that my boss doesn’t have to do those tasks, because despite their simplicity—easy stuff like checking voicemail, and answering phone calls—they are somehow insurmountable to my boss.
(12:36) – Writer’s cramp is a cunt.
(12:47) – When I was driving back from getting my badge, I drove by some industrial area. I don’t know any way to describe the air around that place—the best I can do is say that is smelled thick of benzene.
(13:45) – Where the hell is everyone? Lunch, probably.
Now’s the perfect time to test the floater—my old favorite from Alex’s paper planes when I was a kid.
(14:47) – Heuristic – involving or serving as an aid to discovery—especially using trial-and-error, and other less rigorous methods.
That word’s been on the tip of my tongue forever. I’m glad I brought this copy of Scully and Zubairy with me.
(15:30) – Home stretch!
Also damn, I have no clue how I’m going to remember everyone’s name here—there are so many people.
I wound up not doing that, because there was no way in hell I would be taking work home with me. ↩︎