Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Monkey Business

Last week I got a new job. My old job had no opportunity for growth and average benefits. My new one has tons of opportunity, and awesome benefits. Needless to say, I was pretty pumped to get the job. The job is at a major multimedia company that offers a variety of media and information products (tv, internet, phone). Training started this week and is scheduled for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 7 weeks. After two days of this training, I feel the need to document my experience

Monday, 9 a.m. - Introduction
My training class consists of 15 people; 4 white and 11 black; 8 men and 7 women. We are all sitting in a lounge waiting for our instructor to lead us to our classroom. A well dressed man enters the room and introduces himself as the director of entire department. He is our Big Boss Man as far as we are concerned. He's confident, intelligent, well-spoken, patient and energetic. He tells us that he's excited for us and that the Company is happy to have us on the team. He then asks the group if anyone has any questions that he can answer. Without hesitation, a hand shoots up: "When do we get our free cable?" Big Boss Man takes the question in stride and informs those of us who may not already know, that one of the perks of working for the Company is that all employees receive free cable. BBM tells us that we should expect that perk to kick in in a few weeks.

"Any other questions?" BBM asks.

"Do we get free Pay-Per-View too?" No hand is raised for this question.

"No, but I do believe you do get a discount on many Pay-Per-View events." BBM is happy to answer.

"How 'bout NBA League Pass?"

"Again, you don't get that for free, but a discount may apply. Are there any other questions or concerns?"

Here are some of the other questions and concerns my new co-workers had for the man who was in charge of the entire building in which we worked:
"Can we wear jeans?"
"I don't want to work on Christmas or any other holidays; I have plans."
"Do we get any cell phone discounts?"
"Do you think the Tigers will win the World Series next year?"
"What do you think will be our biggest obstacle to achieving success in the Company?"
"Are you guys providing lunch today for us?"
"When do we get paid for this week?"

Guess which question I asked.

Monday, 10:30 p.m. - Security Debriefing
At this point in the orientation, the Head of Security comes into our class to let us know about all of the security and monitoring equipment and technology the Company utilizes. In a polite but firm manner, HoS tells us that if we steal from the company, we WILL be caught, and we WILL be prosecuted.

He then regales us with some of the more noteworthy cases in which he's been involved in. One employee embezzled over $50,000 in 3 months by crediting the accounts of his family and friends. Another used a customer's credit card info to order fast food for herself.

Seriously, how does someone who will commit a felony to eat some free KFC even get hired in the first place?

Monday, 1:00 p.m. - Lunch

After filling out a ton of paperwork and being scared straight by HoS, the Company treats us to a free lunch. Once we get situated BBM enters the room and tells us he'd like to use this time to go around the room and find out what everyone's career aspirations are. He reminds us that the Company encourages growth and there is a ton of opportunity to advance in a variety of fields. He tells us that he takes a personal interest in helping as many employees as possible achieve their career goals. Because of this, he'd like to know what we would like to be doing in the future.

Here we go again. The first woman to answer is in her early 20's and not too ugly. She wants to become a singer. The next person to answer wants to manage rappers. Another person wants to attend Martin Luther King's church in Atlanta. While I question how that is related in anyway to a career goal, BBM doesn't even flinch. The next employee wants to produce movies that mean something. "Like 'The English Patient 2,' or shit like that," she assures us. This sparks a 5 minute conversation on how bad the "Miami Vice" movie was and how "Bad Boys 2" was good but not as good as the first one, because the first one was "off the chain." I look around the room to see if I'm in a CareerBuilder.com commercial and just don't realize it.

Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. - Office Rules
Today we met with the Head of Training. She was there to brief us on all the rules of the office and the expectations that come with working at the Company. She stressed repeatedly that the number one concern is attendance and tardiness. She attributed the majority of the Company's turnover rate to the poor attendance and punctuality of employees. After spending a full day with the co-workers in my training class, I wasn't surprised to hear this.

The next major concern, one that was almost as serious as attendance and punctuality, was the presence of food in and around the work stations. The HoT explained that the cleaning crews don't touch any of the computer equipment, so any food that gets on or in the equimpent will cause big problems. She tried to drive the point home: "I can't stress this enough; NO FOOD AT ALL AT ANY OF THE WORK STATIONS!" It was right after she said the words "at all" that the guy next to me reached in his pocket, pulled out a Twix, opened it, and proceeded to eat it. At his workstation. Which we weren't supposed to do.

Now I knew of this new rule because I had just heard the HoT say it. But I'm pretty sure the guy next to me heard it as well, since the HoT was right in front of us when she said it. I don't know if he was trying to be funny (which is possible), or if he hadn't been listening (which is very possible), or what. All I know is that he was hungry for the only candy with a cookie crunch and he was going to appease that hunger. And why shouldn't he? He'd been working for all of 20 minutes. I mean, who wouldn't be hungry after working for that long on the job?

Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. - Group Work
It is time to split into groups and work with others to summarize some of the key points we've learned in the last day or so. There are 15 of us and the instructor has us count off by fives. Our workstations are lined up in two rows, one against each wall. The counting begins at the front of room and goes down to the back of the room, it then goes across to the other row and makes its way back to the front of the room. Pretty simple stuff.

Or so one would think. The lady who was the first person to be a "3" forgot what number she was. Let me repeat that. She forgot what number she was. Disregard the fact that she managed to forget a number in less than 15 seconds. She was the third person in a line of people and couldn't figure out that that would make her a "Number 3." Fine, you forgot what number you were...just begin at the beginning of the line and RECOUNT. This woman successfully passed two interviews and it was never discovered that she is unable to count to three.

Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. - Halloween
Our training is interrupted by a lady who is dressed up just like Michael Jackson, circa the Jackson 5. She hands out bags full of candy to all of us and tells us we deserve a little break. A few people complain about the lack of chocolate in the bags. The Candy Lady explains that the bags are only filled with a variety of hard, non-melting candy that can be eaten safely around computers. Next to me, Mr. Twix is beyond distraught. Realizing that there is no chocolate to be had, one of the initial ingrates announces that he will trade everyone for their Sour Apple Jolly Ranchers and Sour Apple Laffy Taffies. No one is willing to make a deal. One lady shields her precious sour apple candy cache with both of her arms. I guess Sour Apple Laffy Taffy ain't no joke.

I have to know, because I dont know you, which question was yours? I stumbled across your blog today and can't put it down. You are fucking hysterical! Keep 'em coming.
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