Chairman of the Bored
I'm excited! The person
training me today looks just like Jackie Chan. I decide not to mention
this to her.
Like most inanimate
objects in the known universe, the coat-rack in the office hates me.
After picking it up, re-hanging my coat (and everyone else's), and
shaking hands with a woman whose name I immediately forget, I am shown
to a desk and introduced to the woman who looks like Jackie Chan.
Jackie Chan is pretty much
my biggest hero, so I think its understandable that I get a little
overzealous and immediately launch a flying axe-kick over the desk at
the woman. Actually, I don't, but I want to. I figure that if she looks
like him she can probably fight like him, too, right? We could battle
all over the office, me using the Snake Technique and her using Crane
(or perhaps Scorpion). At least that's the way life at the office should
be. Interesting, fun, with lots of kicking. But no, she's just a woman
who is going to train me, and there will be no Kung-Fu fighting in the
accounting department today.
I am going to be working
at the invoice desk for this swimwear company, and it is a long-term
position, lasting until March. I decide that if I like it, I will
probably take it, since it is only about a half-mile from home. I don't
know much about accounting, other than that... well... okay, I don't
know anything about accounting. I think it has to do with money.
As with all the jobs I
take, I have arrived with a jacket, tie, vest, and dress pants. Jackie
informs me that I'm overdressed.
"It's casual attire
here," she tells me. "You don't need to wear the tie and
jacket and pants and all that."
"Great!" I say,
"I think you
misunderstood me," Jackie says the next morning as I arrive.
"When I said you didn't need to wear pants, I meant dress pants.
You do need to wear some sort of pants."
How embarrassing. Luckily,
it is a swimwear company, so I slip into some Speedos until lunch, when
I go home and get some jeans.
I must admit, when I
learned that this was a swimwear company, I somewhat expected to see
lots of women in bikinis around the office. So far, I have seen only
zero, and I am quite disappointed. No kicking, no women in scanty
swimwear. And I have to wear some sort of pants. This job is just
wracked with disappointments.
Jackie is going to be
training me most of the week, and I don't get her desk until she leaves.
I am given a small corner of a cluttered table that supports her large,
circa-1947 computer. This will be my "work area." It amounts
to a space about the size of a napkin, and in this space, I am supposed
to look through piles of invoices, sheaves of these yellow slips, and
reams of these other pink papers that are kinda smelly. Sometimes I
write on these papers, and other times I staple them together. Sometimes
I do both, and even staple white slips on these things and put them in
I feel I am getting a firm
grip on this accounting business.
In all fairness, this job
is actually okay. I haven't screwed up anything too badly (yet) and I
have plenty of free time to stare out the window at my car. Someone on
the phone actually told me I had a great voice, which is nice to hear,
yet is also a sign that the phone system is truly in need of repair. My
only real complaint so far today is that I am $312 in the hole in
I've finished the work
that was supposed to last me all day, and now I have nothing to do. All
the mail has been delivered, so there will be no new material on my desk
until tomorrow. Since it's still early, I ask my superiors if they have
any projects or tasks I can work on for the rest of the day.
Ha ha. No, I'm just
kidding. I sit there and do nothing while trying to make it look like
I'm doing something.
This is going to be kind
of tricky. Iíve been busted playing solitaire twice already this
morning, so I figure Iíd better lay off it for a while. People are
always in and out of this office, so I can't read a book or magazine
without being noticed. This is going to be a challenge.
I'm going to have to amuse
myself with the objects on my desk that I use during my workday. All I
really have is an adding machine, a pen, a stapler that has the words Do
not remove from copier! printed on it, a white-out dispenser, a
phone, and some paper clips.
After an hour of staring
blankly at these objects, I have come up with some highly amusing and
- ADDING + SUBTRACTING = FUN!!!
- Using the adding machine, add up
some numbers! Try to guess what they will add up to! You can also
subtract one number from another, which usually results in a
- Another game with the adding
machine is where you guess how many 9's you can fit on the display
before you run out of room!
- DRAWBACK: You can only play the 9
- THE EMPIRE STAPLE BUILDING
- Take a handful of paperclips and
try to stack them into a tower on top of the stapler. The taller
the tower, the higher it will be! And you'll be high on fun!
- E.T. PHONE NOME
- Use the office phone to call Nome,
Alaska! Area code 907! It's free!
- TIP: Other cities in Alaska will
- Take a ballpoint pen, and click it
so the point pops out and you can write with it! Holding the pen
at the other end between two fingers, swing the pen like a
pendulum over piece of paper! As the pen brushes across the paper,
it will make a series of hard-to-see lines! Itís fun!
- DISCLAIMER: Game is not fun.
- THE CLICK-TRICK
- Click your ballpoint pen on and
off as fast as you can for an hour or until you get painful thumb
- THE GAME WITH THE WHITE-OUT
- Do something fun with the
- TIP: Don't eat the White-out!
A few hours pass and I
still have no more work to do. The day is just dragging on and on. I
decide to do something dangerous, something that could end my celebrated
and lucrative career as a temp.
I decide to take a nap.
I know, I know, not only
is it extremely stupid, it's also extremely difficult. But I'm tired of
stacking paperclips on the stapler (my record is thirteen! Pretty good,
huh?) and I think I can pull it off. My desk faces away from the door,
so no one can see my face. The woman I share an office with doesn't
usually talk to me. If I can prop myself into some sort of awake-like
position, I might be able to have a quick snooze.
First, I take a few
invoices and position them in front of me, as if I am working on them.
Then I kind of lean over them and prop my head up with my arm: my elbow
on the desk, my chin resting on my hand. It's not too uncomfortable,
really, and from behind I'll appear that either I am intensely studying
a very tricky invoice or that I am sleeping.
The main problem is that I
have a rather large head and a rather small arm. It's like trying to
support a basketball with a golf club: very difficult to balance.
Whenever I manage to doze off, my head sways in one of several possible
directions, which jolts me awake. From behind I now appear that I am
either trying to take a nap or that I am drunk.
This dozing is not working
very well, and I can't get more than a few moments rest before my huge,
swaying head wakes me and I have to open my eyes and reposition. I seem
to have found a good spot to put my elbow, and manage to drop off again,
but this time my elbow slides to the left and I am jolted awake again.
When I open my eyes, I notice that someone is standing next to me.
It's my boss.
I groggily yet quickly
spring into action. I sit up straight and lunge for the nearest office
implement, hoping to appear busy. I manage to grab the stapler and I
yank it towards the invoice in front of me, trying to ignore the
thirteen paperclips that shower over me, clattering noisily onto the
desk and floor. As I randomly staple some paper together, I look over at
my boss. "Hi!" I say in a voice that sounds so alert that
anyone hearing it would instantly testify in court that the speaker
could never have been sleeping at work. "What's up?"
My boss is standing there,
flipping though some papers. She isn't even looking at me. I don't think
she noticed that my eyes were closed.
Whew. I feel really stupid
and somewhat ashamed. Boredom has led me down a dangerous and bewitching
path. Obviously, I need to rethink this napping business. It seems clear
that I need is some sort of early warning signal. Something to let me
know when someone has entered the office. Maybe I could spread something
crunchy on the floor, like broken glass or M&M's, something that
makes noise when someone walks on it. Maybe I could hang some bells from
the doorway that people would hit with their heads when they walked in.
One thing is certain, I need to figure out something quickly.
I'm getting sleepy again.