Saturday, October 01, 2005

"Facilities"

Have I mentioned how great it is to have a real, permanent job again? It’s made a huge difference in my attitude and I find that I get more done at home too, since I’m not moping around all the time. But there are still little things about corporate life that amuse, amaze and confound me.

Take my desk drawers, for example. They’re very nice – all 4 of them. They have a lovely locking mechanism that enables the key-holder to lock them all at once, should he or she wish to do so. The only problem here is no one seems to have a key, including me.

Once I got over the initial excitement of having my own, spacious cubicle, I was determined to locate a key for the drawers. The previous occupant of my cube said he never had a key and that hell would probably freeze over by the time I got one. I decided it was worth a shot, so I contacted “Facilities.” For those of you who don’t know, Facilities is the most important and all-powerful department in your building. If they like you or need something from you, facilities will provide you with comfortable, efficient surroundings. But DO NOT, under any circumstances, piss these people off! If you get on their bad side, you are guaranteed to be sitting in the squeaky, wobbly chair with one armrest for the remainder of your corporate existence!

Keeping this in mind, I contacted a very nice woman from facilities and requested that I be afforded a key to my desk drawer. She responded and told me that she would be happy to supply me with a key, but they would be replacing my cubicle walls in the very near future and would I please wait until this was done? “Of course”, I replied.

They did replace the cube walls in my area - with much shorter ones (so that now I wouldn't dare pick my nose for fear of being seen by passersby). And along with my new cubicle walls I received a new, locking overhead bin! With no lock – just a little tab thingy you can turn to latch the cover.

Forgetting how Facilities at my former places of employment operated, I came to expect too much: I further requested from the nice facilities lady a pair of matching tumblers and a key that would unlock both (drawers and overhead). She again responded that she would look into it and would I mind reading the microscopic numbers on the drawer tumbler and sending them to her? Since I didn’t have a microscope, Facilities Lady made a visit to my cube to check the numbers. Even she wasn’t 100% sure, but wrote down the number that seemed most likely and promised to see what she could do.

Weeks passed, then 2 months…

Until a couple weeks ago, when I decided to follow up. I sent a nice email to Facilities Lady, kindly asking if any progress had been made on the lock issue. She said she had ordered locks and tumblers, but was not sure if they had come in yet. Again, she promised to look into it.

2 more weeks…

Until last Thursday, when a man from facilities came by to install my new lock! “Woohoo, it’s finally happening!” I thought to myself. I needed to get out of the man’s way, so I excused my self to visit the restroom and fill up my water jug.

Upon my return, I found a key in the lock of my overhead bin with no facilities man in sight. Giddy with excitement, I tested the key in the overhead and was even more thrilled when it worked. Then I tried the key in the drawer lock.

And guess what? The key did not work in the drawer lock!! 3 months of waiting, asking kindly, trying not to be a nuisance – and I still have no key to my desk drawers!

So, I emailed Facilities Lady. I politely thanked her for getting me a lock and key for my overhead bin. I went on to ask if it might be possible to have 2 locks and one key that would open both of them.

Once again, I received a prompt response. She explained that she did not currently have any matching tumblers, but may be able to find a key for my drawers and would I mind reading the microscopic numbers on the tumbler and sending them to her?

Sigh...

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