Feeling worn down by this office in general at the moment. It’s made me nostalgic for the old days.
I remember my second ‘permanent’ career posting years ago. The company was expanding at an exponential rate. I spent the first two weeks sitting on a temporary desk point as the person who was usually there was on her honeymoon. I had her slip slops under the table and a pile of paper on the side of me she hadn’t cleared before leaving. I could just about fit between her belongings as she had nested in there.
Moving onto my ‘proper’ desk was a relief as there was now a space for my own little pile of paper, even if the desk wasn’t very large. The office expansion had also meant that they had run out of phonelines to cater to the number of staff members. Squashed between me and a director was a new guy who turned out to be an ex pat from SA as well.
One of his favourite stories on meeting new people when I am present is to recount how he had a barrage of noise on either side of him from myself and the director. The director was particularly fond of loud screaming matches with people on the phone or in front of his desk while I just like to talk.
My colleague and I would literally eyeball each other before grabbing simultaneously for the phone we had to share due to the lack of phonelines. Often, having won the thing, you would dial for an outside repeatedly over ten minutes only to hit an engaged signal. There were more phones despite the sharing than lines going out.
We, at least, had a system. An old timer had a new guy put next to him when they ran out of space and shuffled all the desks round to put in extra people. They too shared a phone. The first time it rang reception placed the call without asking who had picked up.
‘Hello, Jay speaking. No, I’m sorry, there’s no Adam here, this is Jay’s phone. I’m sorry, you must have the wrong number.’
‘Did you just say that there was a call for Adam?’
‘Yes, wrong number.’
‘Adam, I’m Adam you fool. That used to be my phone, we have to share it. When you pick up and they want to speak to Adam, it’s ME, Adam, the guy who introduced himself to you this morning as Adam.’