My Completely Awkward First Day At The Office

For anyone who’s ever met me, I don’t exactly scream “9-to-5 office type!” And yet here I am, on a temp assignment for a few days in a law office. Crazy how the world works isn’t it? Strangely enough, office work is even weirder for me than working in video production, which is a shock to the system. For starters, I’ve only been here one day, I’ve already had three cups of (free) hot chocolate, been nicknamed “Kyle” by one of the senior partners and nearly broken the phone system because I should not be trusted around technology.

Office life is just SO confusing, though. I got in early this morning, before my supervisor was here, and I couldn’t find the light switch. I mean, what do you do if you can’t find the lights? Do you start a colossal hunt over the entire building? We don’t even own the whole floor, I’d probably end up in some high powered executive’s office and get arrested for trespassing, knowing my luck. And what if it’s not a light switch that I find? What if I end up turning off the Internet for the whole building? Laugh all you want, but my parents have a switch that does exactly that in their house. I’ve fallen onto it a few times by accident; people are not happy when you turn off their Internet unexpectedly.

Instead, I contented myself with the safer option of turning on my Sonic Screwdriver (Thank you Hot Topic!) and lighting my way around my desk so I didn’t trip and break my ankle (It’s almost happened three times to me before) and turning on the computer. Thank god the monitor is as bright as a dying star system or I’d never have known what to do. I probably would have just sat in the complete darkness as the dewey morning light slowly rose over the field and started peeking in through the office windows.

So of course the next logical step was to go to the break room where the lights were turned on and to make myself a cup of hot chocolate. Except, gasp! There was someone in there! Not someone from my department, just someone who works in the office on the same floor but for a different company. Okay, no problem, I’ve got this. “Good morning!” I say brightly, and she says good morning back. Phew, okay, there’s that hurdle passed!

Oh wait, no it’s not. Oh god, she’s talking to me. Why is she talking to me!? I don’t know you! Augh, I hate small talk. What do I say? Weather? I don’t even know what the weather is this early in the morning, I’m still too tired to know right from left. Umm, beverages, okay, she’s talking about beverages. Beverages! I know beverages, I can talk about this, one of my best friends works at Starbucks. Hmm, wait, what did you just say? Didn’t catch that. Mm, best just to smile and nod, smile and nod. Mutter something nondescript, okay, I got this, I can definitely do this. Small talk is easy when you don’t actually know what you’re saying. Wait, stop nodding, you look like a bobblehead.

Now I have my hot chocolate and I can go. Erm, am I supposed to say something? I still don’t know who this lady is, do I say goodbye? See you around? Hasta la pasta? What if I say the wrong thing? Would it be better not to say anything? What is protocol!? Augh, panic! Walk away, walk away before the indecision of smalltalk makes a crippling comeback and my feet are rooted to the ground in fear. Walk, one foot, two foot, red foot, blue foot. Wait, no, that’s not right.

Eventually I make it back to my desk, but even with my computer on and my hot chocolate for company, it left me in a very pitiable, very dark state when my supervisor came in and immediately started cooing over me, absolutely horrified that I’d been left in the dark, it was as if I’d said I just saw a kitten get run over. (Which I almost did the day before.) But okay, let there be light! For… three people. Wow. There’s three people here. Including me.

I’ve just been here one day, what do I do? I mean I can’t organize anything, I’d probably send the entire office into disarray if I tried. I could always borrow a legal book to read, I do love law and I speak fairly decent legal-ese, at least with respect to media law. Then again, I’m not sure if these books are ours. Better not. Well, I guess I can umm, hmm. Ask my supervisor what to do! They always know, that’s a brilliant idea.

Okay, maybe they don’t always know. Maybe they sometimes just send me back to my desk telling me “Go do whatever you like until something happens.” Which is code for “Get out of my hair and pick up the phone when it rings.” Shame I can’t take a nap, I’m even more tired than I was yesterday and yesterday I was so tired that I forgot the word recording. That was fun, trying to explain that “There was a voice on the phone, but it wasn’t an actual person, it was umm… like no one was there it was just a message it sounded pretty computerized and uhh.” “It was a recording?” “Yeah!” Proof that I am a freaking genius.

There’s a vending machine in the break room, joy! And with not bad prices either, maybe I’ll go get a snack, I only had a muffin for breakfast. Wait, do they judge you by what you buy in the vending machine? Maybe they have security cameras up monitoring everyone’s choices and if you don’t buy pretzels they put you on some kind of a blacklist. But I super want Pop Tarts. Or Raisinets. God, Raisinets sound so good right now. It’s only 10 a.m. though. I mean, who has rasinets or pop tarts at 10 a.m.? I believe no one actually has Pop Tarts for breakfast, contrary to popular advertising. Screw it, I’m getting Pop Tarts. I don’t care about possibly imaginary security cameras.

The rest of my day passed in quiet normalcy, consisting of answering phones, checking my emails and going out to lunch. Thank goodness, I don’t think I could take any more office surprises.

Oh d*mn, my heel broke in the parking lot.

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  • I had to ask my would-be boss how to make the hot water work from the water dispenser before my big interview with the entire department. Apparently water coolers are chock full of slightly different safety features when it comes to dispensing hot water and they are all impossible to figure out without embarrassing yourself in front of your new colleagues.

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