Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Just like starting over

I didn't sleep well last night. Not at all. I was mostly thinking of another John Lennon song, "I'm scared". I only had a muesly bar at home for breakfast (as opposed to the regular serve of cereal on soy milk), because I was afraid of the consequences of having a full nervous stomach during an hour long trip to work.
We took the car to the train station and we couldn't even find parking! The areas that used to be sparsely inhabited by cars for the past two years were just packed! That's the benefit of the Commonwealth Games for you: People are just afraid to use their cars, so more people use public transport.
But we got on the train (Jo held my hand) and we sat opposed to one another, me facing the wall (thus depriving me of the greatest joy of train riding, people watching). Soon enough the train was so full that talking to Jo would mean talking to 20 other people; tomorrow see myself listening to the audio book I prepared for this very occasion, Bill Bryson's Mother tongue.
After disembarking the train I followed Jo up to Burke Street Mall, where she went west and I towards the sun. Oddly enough, the walk that should have taken 15-20 minutes on paper seemed to have taken just a flash; one minute I was saying bye to Jo, the next I was at the office. It took an hour from the time we parked to the time I was at the office, just four times than what it took me last week.
However, this office has windows. My "office" is on the 27th floor out of 28, and with windows all around you get quite a panoramic view of Melbourne. Quite lovely, and definitely different to the now famous yellow walls at Volanpex. I could gaze at it all day. And talking about gazing, there are a couple of hotel swimming pools right next to my nose, and there were already certain interesting vistas. Much better than Volanpex.
The people are nice. Most of the day was spent with introductions and me going through some extremely exciting procedure documents. Because this place is all about safety at work, they seem to take the issues of safety very seriously, especially given that it's an office and not an open mine shaft. They go to extremes: They have these mirrors on the ceiling at every corridor intersection so that people won't bump into one another while holding coffee; mind you, their corridors are so narrow that such an event is quite likely (but wouldn't it be better to widen the corridor instead of go to extreme cheap motel like mirroring?).
Their computer policies are a joke. I'll start with the worst: Pretty much everything that's fun and nice to do with the internet is either forbidden or blocked. Due to some mysterious virus attack, all internet email services are blocked; no more Gmail and no more Hotmail. Welcome, dark ages. Using the internet for money making is forbidden (bye bye eBay) as well as using it for the expressions of personal views (fare thee well blog and letters to The Age).
I got myself a really state of the art computer, though. It's a spanking Pentium 3! Woo hoo! The monitor is CRT, like the one I use at home to type this in. Although it's a step back from the LCD I got used to by now at Volanpex, it's quite a good quality CRT. And as I mentioned before, they use Office 97 and Lotus Notes. Did I say that Lotus Notes is a piece of shit? With the delay in moving back from daylight savings not really supported by Lotus Notes, all meetings got postponed by an hour and chaos reigns the land. How can one expect to survive on Lotus Notes without Gmail?
At least the ergonomics are well thought out (the seat feels like a proper seat should, and the table is not midget high), and the offices are spacious despite the open spaceness.
As I already said, the people are nice, although I already got a comment on my name being "so Jewish". I wanted to reply on the commenter's name being so Christian (it's not, but it might show the guy the stupidity of his comment), but I chose to be nice instead; I disappointed the guy enough when I told him I don't play rugby but rather go for what "you may know as soccer but I know as football".
One thing I noticed at most of the offices I've been to other than Volanpex is that people are not into drinking water. They drink coffee, they drink tea (not green tea; usually it's shit tea), they drink Coke and other similar shit, but they don't drink water. My new boss was telling me he brought some cordial from home so he could drink water, which doesn't really count as water in my book. Well I drink water, but it's amazing how much of a walk one needs to go through to get himself a glass.
Which reminds me of the weirdest angle of the office: They declare it to be a "green office", and so each guy has a recycling bin next to his desk and each email gets this label saying "don't print me unless your only child will die if you don't". But what they don't have is regular, run of the mill trash cans; if you want to get rid of trash, you have to go all the way to the kitchen, which was a bit of a problem after I wiped my nose with a tissue (which is a bit of a contradiction, because unlike Volanpex they actually have tissues as part of their office equipment). I had the same problem after eating my daily apple. They will lose so much work time out of me come winter's colds... Not that it seems as if they will worry about it much. Government, you know.
As a part of the induction they told me where I can get food and amenities in the area - pretty much everywhere you go, given that we're exactly in the middle of Melbourne and every building is either an office or a food court or both. For lunch I got myself a sub and went back to the office pretty quickly, but it's rather expensive and not as good as home food; I expect to go back to bringing my own quickly, especially as their kitchens are very well equipped (even with a TV, and they encourage you to watch the games there), plus there are wonderful views there.
Tomorrow I might get a glimpse of what work may be like.

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