Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Office matters

The 1st day at the office seems so unreal now. I remember walking in at 8.55am (I was asked to report at 9). The project manager (PM), a 40 something slimy looking man with bulging eye-balls, asked me to take a seat across him & ignored me for the next 20 mins. He fiddled with his mobile, made a few useless calls, acted important and flipped thru some papers. Only later I found out that between 8 & 9 am it was “rahu kaala”(hindus don’t believe in starting anything new during this time) & that is why he was procrastinating. Anyways, at around 9.15 he started telling me abt the company & its sister companies & all the important people in it. More than half of it went over my head but I nodded at the appropriate places.

He told me a bit about what the company does. It was an interior decoration company which dealt mainly with office interiors……i.e. converting warehouses into offices…… partitioning them into cubicles & doing the flooring, ceiling, lighting, blah, blah, blah…. He then gave me 2 phone numbers of people at the site & told me to call them, demand to know what they were doing & then shout at them to do the work faster. I looked at him unbelievingly. I was like “I don’t have a clue what they r doing, then how can I say anything?” he dismissed my query with a…….. “U don’t have to know anything, just do as I tell u to”. This was the start of a 4 month trial & tribulation period.

There was not another soul in the office. The secretary left the job the previous week & the marketing guys were all supposed to be on the field.
I sat in front of the telephone but didn’t know how to call up somebody out of the blue & shout for slacking. Just then the PM(project manager) walked out of the door saying he’ll b back in 2 hrs. I leaned back weakly in relief. I called my husband & related everything. He told me to follow what the PM said. So I called up the 1st phone no., introduced myself & asked what he was doing. The guy at the other end was polite & told me he was fixing locks & hinges on a door. Very apologetically I urged him to finish the work fast. Then I called the 2nd phone no. & asked that guy what he was doing. He told me he was also doing the same thing the 1st phone no. guy was doing. Seems like both these guys were working together on the same door. I wound up that call feeling like an idiot. I knew they were laughing at me.

Often I was asked to call people & convey messages which made no sense. Many a time I was asked to send mails complaining about delayed payments, or apology mails for delayed work (ofcourse the latter was more frequently sent than the former). Some mails were sent for absolutely no reason other than the fact that the PM saw me sitting there without any work. I learnt a lot that 1st month. I learnt to use the office appliances, to make enquiries, quotations, LPO’s, etc. Most of it was not my work but until they appointed another secretary I didn’t really mind doing it. I was learning something new everyday. I also learnt to look busy without actually accomplishing anything.

By the 2nd month I knew for sure the PM was a psycho. He was the biggest con guy I ever met. Absolutely without principles, morals or ethics (yes, I know all the 3 words mean the same). Twice I was on the verge of quitting but each time it was the middle of the month & I was determined to collect my salary before I left. Really, the man was totally without scruples. V had some 8 projects in hand. Almost 6 of them were in finishing stages for the past 4 months. Everyday I received calls from irate customers whose work was stalled because of our inefficiency. Workers called with their grievances. Suppliers called for payments. It was a nightmare. The situation remained the same throughout the time he was at the helm.

All this tension this psycho gave me, the walking I did to & fro to work & working thru lunch hours slowly started taking its toll on me.

I lost 2 kgs which was not a lot but was quite ok by me considering the fat……… ummm ….meant 2 say ….considering the fact that I hadn’t lost any for the past 3 yrs.

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