Friday, November 20, 2009

A Typical Day at Work

I wrote about my typical morning yesterday, ending the post with my arrival at work. In this post I'll briefly describe what my typical work day is like. But I'll also include the commute.

I live 10 miles away from work measured along the shortest set of roads. And it takes me at least 20 minutes to get there, although 25 is not unusual. A 20 minute commute time over a distance of 10 miles translates to an average speed of only 30 miles per hour (mph). Yet most roads have a limit of 35, 40 or 45 mph, and cars typically travel at least 5 mph over the limit.

There are 21 traffic lights between my home and my work place. On the worst days I can get stopped by 10 of those. That's like stopping every half mile. Nearly every day, I get stopped by a "fresh" red light, which is a light that turns red just a couple of seconds before I'd go through it if I didn't stop. Those are the most frustrating because abrupt stopping messes with gas mileage and increases the wear on brakes and tires. Some days, abrupt stopping is required three times in a row, and that makes me feel like I should let the car coast to get to the rest of the traffic lights. Instead, I often drive a few miles more to take the roads that have the fewest traffic lights.

Anyway, after I park the car, I enter the building and go directly to my cubicle. I take off my jacket, turn on my computer monitor and log onto the computer right away because it takes at least five minutes for the computer to be ready. While the computer wakes up, I take my lunch and water bottle to the cafeteria. I put my lunch in the refrigerator, and then I remember the filtered water dispenser is still in the old building. So I walk to the old building, use the bathroom, and then fill the bottle. It's an empty 24 ounce Gatorade bottle.

I'm a bit germ-obsessive, which means I don't like touching door handles. So I don't throw out the paper towels I get from the bathroom to dry my hands. I keep them with me, and I use them to shield my hand from the door knobs.

I get back to my office. I read work e-mail and then download my personal e-mail and read anything that looks urgent, or important, or interesting. Break time is at 10:00am, but I don't take it, having just arrived. But the technicians take their breaks at 10:00am, and one will occasionally come to my office at the end of break time, 10:10am.

Eventually, I settle down a bit and apply myself to various projects, which can last for months or even years. I'm not kidding. My wife works in the medical field. Her idea of work is that it stops when the patient leaves or when the doors are locked. So she doesn't understand why I might work late some nights even though I got in early that morning. Or why I work at home. So I generally don't bother getting to work until well after 9:00am, and I'll run errands before going to work, because I might not get out at a decent time to run the errands after work and then have supper at a reasonable time. I don't get paid overtime.

If I really wanted to describe the kind of work I do, this post would get very long and very, VERY boring. So I do "work," but I get interrupted by colleagues who need help, which I either give them while they wait or work on in their absence. On most days, one colleague's request will interrupt another colleague's request, so the first colleague comes back and sees me working on something else like the second colleague's work or this blog. I wonder if people realize how very busy I am.

When noon comes around, I take another Iscort and then go for a 1/2 hour walk. But not on Fridays, which is when the company buys lunch for everyone. If you don't serve yourself by 12:15pm, you might miss out either because, A. There isn't enough for all the hungry pigs in our company, or B. Folks bring containers to pack leftovers into, and they start filling them right after they scarf down their eat-in portion.

I come back from my walk. I get my lunch from the cafeteria 'fridge and bring it up to my cubicle. I read blogs or message boards while I eat. It's rather hard to write while eating, but I've done it. At the end of my meal, I take a multi-vitamin and flush-free niacin. I'll also get a cup of green tea to keep myself from becoming drowsy.

The afternoon is like the morning, except it's busier. We have one west-coast customer who calls for a telecon in the afternoon. We put them on speakerphone so that the few folks who are not working on the job can know what they're missing, and be eternally grateful for it.

When it's time for most people to leave, I hear the squeak and shoelace-slap of one of my boss-colleague's foot steps. At 5:00pm he leaves his office and seeks out victims, not unlike a vampire opening a coffin at sunset to hunt. But instead of hunt, he annoys. He uses me as a sounding board for design ideas and to think about solutions to various problems. He is the main reason I do not call my wife to tell her I'm leaving, because when I decide to leave, I want to do so as quickly as possible.

The commute home is the reverse of the morning commute except that it's dark, and I notice just how bright those 21 traffic lights are. I wonder if anyone has bothered to figure out how much money they waste in electricity every year. I bet two houses in town pay taxes just to keep those lights operating, every day and night of every year. At least dim them at night, bozos!


No comments: