I Am No One
Your employee identification number is on the back of your badge in the lower left hand corner. Right here, see?
Some new hires get confused and use the number on the front right corner. That would be your badge number. Now, don’t ever confuse your badge number and your employee ID number; you don’t even want to see how ugly that can get.
Me? I’ve been here…oh, let’s see, coming up on my seventeenth anniversary. Has it been that long?
Lots of changes since I came on. Look here: employee number two forty three.
OK – just a couple of things to get you oriented.
As you’ve probably seen, office attire is business casual. No one really knows where the line is between ‘business casual’ and ‘too casual’. If you have any doubts, ask your line manager. It’s easy to just look around and see what your coworkers are wearing and, well, fit in.
If you don’t stand out, no one can ever criticize you, right?
Now, get all your training out of the way as quickly as possible. I know it can seem overwhelming that you have three hundred and thirty seven Standard Operating Procedures to read and acknowledge in the next week, but just do the best you can. The SOPs are there to ensure we all do things the same way. Otherwise, there’d be chaos, right? Am I right? Sure I am.
Here’s your Intercorporate Behavioral Standards and Guidelines Manual. This is a living document. We’ve added to it continually over the years to account for nearly every conceivable interpersonal interaction and we’ve leveraged what we feel have been the most effective interventions and approaches.
For instance, need help giving feedback to a peer? It’s in here, Section 22.214.171.124a.
Think your kid’s drug problem is affecting your productivity? Just have a look at Chapter 12.
Want to know how to blow off steam at the afternoon spin session in the company gym instead of bringing a high-powered rifle to the office? You got it: it’s in there.
No matter what type of problem you might be facing, if it affects Corporate Productivity – and in the end, don’t they all? – The Manual will provide you with a step-by-step procedure to get back to peak production levels.
I remember when my wife and I were having some issues. See? I’m a manager who takes the training to heart: I can share some of my personal travails with you to show you that I’m as human as you are. It builds rapport and that sort of thing.
Well, as I was saying, a few years back, well, I guess it’s been about eight years now, my wife felt I was spending way too much time here at work. She never really took to the culture, you know? Pity.
It made it hard for me, because I had divided loyalties. I mean – it sounds awful to say this, I know – but I felt more at home here. I’d grown to love the predictability of the culture, the comfort of knowing any confusion could be dispelled by reviewing the relevant SOP. Home was just…uncontrollable.
Well, the folks at the Employee Assistance Program were great. They emphasized the fact that this type of thing was common and blah, blah, blah. Then, the counselor said something that completely illuminated my way forward. She said, “Success is nothing more than a matter of making the right quality choices despite adverse precipitating circumstances.”
I mean, I’d never had someone speak to me in such a straightforward manner before.
Long story short, my wife and kids left, and I’m still here. Obviously.
OK – enough about me.
Let me show you to your workstation. I prefer that term to ‘cubicle’, which has drawn considerable negative connotations in popular culture in recent years.
I know your first few days can be a little overwhelming. I suggest just keeping your eyes open. See what others do and try to blend in.
You want to find that sweet spot between being seen as a slacker and being seen as a show-off. That’s the ticket. Don’t give anyone cause to single you out.
Then, you’ll gradually move up the ladder mostly through attrition. Just hang in there, year after year.
Remember, I’m living proof that borderline operational competence can be successfully counterbalanced by a strict adherence to corporate policy and procedure.
Anyway, welcome aboard.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to drop by my workstation. Over there.
The name is Noone.
Spelled just the way it sounds.
Image by Derrick Tyson
May 18th, 2011 at 2:16 am
I love it Bob. I did not you were so talented in writing. I will be back in US in 3 weeks. I cross the Atlantic to Marseille with my Tiki.
May 18th, 2011 at 6:49 am
Read more of the stories, if you’d like.
Hope you have fair winds during your next crossing.
May 18th, 2011 at 11:25 am
Oh my, it’s been long enough that I had forgotten how the corporate world goes round… I had to laugh aloud. So how is the new job going? Glad to see you back, Bob.
May 18th, 2011 at 2:37 pm
Thanks Suzanne. Glad to see you back! The new job is great; all my stories come with the stipulation “Any resemblance to persons or corporations, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”
May 18th, 2011 at 5:28 pm
That’s your story and you’re sticking to it! But I’m glad the new job is great. It would be horrible to have a terrible new job and have to refrain from using it in your stories. 😉