My new job has quite a few elements that are new to me. For one thing, I've never worked at a company so large that I don't know everyone. Another new and delightful element is that I am officially working for The World's Nicest Boss. And this isn't just my assessment - every employee I've met tells me that. And they are correct.
The other thing I'm not used to is having to use a security badge.
When I got my badge, the first thing I noticed was that - compared to everyone else's photo where their heads come up to the top of the picture - I sort of look like I'm trying to peek over the top of something since there's quite a bit of background showing above my head. Other than that, my picture didn't look as goofy as I expected so I clipped it right to the collar of my jacket as soon as I got it and then walked around all day grinning like a fool, wearin' my badge.
I've got Geeky New Girl down pat.
And it turns out there are a ton of opportunities to use your badge when you're the New Girl especially if your penchant for getting lost is as keenly developed as mine is. So far, I've gotten lost between buildings, gotten lost in buildings, gotten lost on my floor, lost in my department and one day I lost the ladies room completely. Since one's badge is needed to get into buildings, onto some floors and into some ladies rooms, having one is pretty convenient.
There's nothing really special about the design of my badge - my name and photo are on a card attached to a clippy thing with a piece of fishing line that winds and unwinds so that you can lay the card against the reader thingy and unlock the door. If there was no fishing line, you'd have to smash your chest up against the wall every time you wanted a door to open, which would actually be pretty comical but also pretty embarrassing.
But mostly pretty comical.
Since my second day, I've refrained from clipping my badge onto the front of my actual person. Instead, I keep it on my desk and just grab it whenever I need it like all the other grown ups
who work here. If I go to the ladies room, I grab my badge. Head out to lunch - grab my badge. Go to the mailroom in the next building- grab my badge. Leave work for the day - grab my badge.
Except for last Thursday.
Somehow, I left my badge lay on my desk when I went home. This wouldn't really be a big deal, except I spent 22 minutes Friday morning cleaning out purses, vacuuming the car, sorting through the trash and checking every room in my house in search of my "lost" badge. Finally, I left for work without it, but phoned Ken several times with helpful ideas about new places he could look for my badge.
Once at work, I figured I'd just stop by Human Resources and tell them I needed a new badge and everything would be fine. It wasn't until I pulled into the parking lot that I remembered - helllloooooooo - I wouldn't be able to get into the building where HR is because I didn't have my badge.
I turned off the car, picked up my Blackberry and looked around. There! There was a guy getting out of his car to enter a building. Quick like a bunny, I hopped out of the car and ran toward him. I slowed to a walk as I got near and sure enough - he badged his way into the building and then held the door for me. This gentlemanly gesture did not bode well for company security as a whole, but it was wonderful for me.
I nodded my thanks and entered the building ahead of him, walking purposefully down the hallway like I knew where I was going. He took the first left which allowed me to slow down to get my bearings. I'd come to some sort of lobby with a very nice, very tall sculpture in it. I was so early that the receptionist wasn't at her desk yet. I remembered that HR was on the first floor, so I poked around for a doorway that would lead me to the HR department. I found a maintenance closet, a training room and coat closet but not HR.
No problem. I'll just find my department, go to my desk and call one of the nice HR people. As I headed back down the hall toward the door, I glanced out the window and across the parking lot at. . . MY building.
If I left THIS building to walk across the parking lot to THAT building, I'd have no way to get in. I looked around hopefully but no one else was nearby who looked as though they were hankering for a stroll.
It was then that I remembered the skywalk. Of course! I'd take the elevator up one floor and just walk across the skywalk to my building. As I left the elevator, I was momentarily distracted by a handsome man in an expensive blue suit who was coming out of the skywalk. His eyes were the exact same shade of dark blue as his suit. I made a mental note that the next time I got lost, I'd like it to be in his department. He said good morning and held the door for me. As I brushed past him, there was an intoxicating whiff of some exotic cologne. I smiled a thank you and then poof! - the door closed and Handsome Man was gone and I was alone in the skywalk.
Right away I noticed two things. It was warm. And it felt very much like a Habitrail with its glass ceiling and walls shot through with bronze beams. I strolled past huge potted plants toward the door at the far end, watching all the cars entering the parking lot between the buildings beneath me. Employees were parking their cars then gathering in little clumps, greeting each other and chatting before heading inside.
I reached the exit door and pulled, nearly breaking every nail off my right hand. The door wouldn't budge. That's when I noticed one of those badge reader thingies next to the door. I looked back down the skywalk to the door I'd come in, and sure enough there was a reader next to it, too. Apparently, this company saw the building of a skywalk as an opportunity to trap intruders and corporate espionage agents like sweaty hamsters with no hope of escape.
I was starting to get really warm. I looked through the walls down to the parking lot and considered banging on the glass till someone noticed. But a vision of Benjamin banging on the glass wall in the church during Elaine's wedding in "The Graduate" popped into my head so instead I whipped out my cell phone. First, I dialed Bev who sits next to me but she wasn't in yet. Then I tried Facilities but they weren't open either. Finally, I called the switchboard and got Mary Ellen, who'd just started taking calls for the day.
After she stopped laughing, she called someone nearby and before too long, another hunky guy opened the door and let me into the blessedly cool hallway.
"You good?" he asked with a grin.
"Fine, thank you," I replied and started off purposefully, wondering around until I found familiar territory and eventually my desk.
Later that morning, The Nicest Boss in the World asked if I was finding my way around okay. I decided not to share my morning's adventure, and assured him I was doing fine.
He picked up my badge and clipped it on my jacket. "Keep that on until you get settled in. Don't want you to get stuck in the skywalk like someone did this morning."
So exactly how do you say "Got it, boss" in hamster speak??