Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Office

I might have escaped from Pachelbel's Canon at my dad's wedding, but I was not so lucky today. One of the people in my office had it playing softly at his desk. Just loud enough so I could hear it. All day.

It could have been traumatic, but since there was nothing going on to get emotional about, I managed to survive. And I will never have that particular musical experience again, because my temporary gig at that office is over. My time of indenture is up. I am, at least for the present, back to moping around at home, feeling directionless, rather than scrambling constantly from one workplace to another, feeling overwhelmed. (Note to self: No moping! You have piles and piles of stuff that you promised you would do as soon as you had a few free minutes. Do it! Do it!)

Regardless of whether I'll actually be in another office in the near future, my last day at this one is an occasion for contemplating more of the mysteries and wonders of office life.

For example, email. How on earth did office workers survive in the days before email? Did they have to actually walk over to each other's offices? I tried that. No one is ever there. Or did they use those things I've heard of called "inter-office memos?" It sounds so tedious, all this mucking about with carbon paper and correction fluid! I can't imagine that anyone ever got any work done in an inefficient environment like that!

I guess maybe they made up for their communicative inefficiencies by going overboard on job-role efficiency. One thing that really freaks me out about office work is that it's so compartmentalized. As one half of a two-employee organization, I am used to being the "do-everything girl." I write, I edit, I design, I communicate with the public, I communicate with the vendors, I keep the basic financial records, I manage the contacts database, I coordinate mailings, I procure, I distribute, I create the content for the website, I upload the content to the website, I create the architecture for the website. And I do it on a part-time basis. At a bigger organization, a job description like that is inconceivable. It seems, at a big organization, that you have a few specialized tasks to do, and if you need something else done, you don't learn how to do it yourself--you pass it off to someone else and let them work their magic. How oppressive, and dull, and conducive to growing brain plaques!

In just two weeks, I have learned a lot about the dynamics of a big company, which were hitherto unknown to me. I have listened to people's conversations about resumes they received, and gained valuable insight into the hiring process. I have seen real paid designers in action, watched drafts get edited, and gained some insight into the publishing process. I have bored you to tears. Let's stop.


Anonymous said...

No! You haven't bored me! I'm still waiting here on the edge of my seat for your conclusion about the dynamics of big companies and professional designers! - Julie