Monday, July 25, 2005

Mortgage Space

I know I'm not the only one who sees life through "Office Space" spectacles. But I started a new temp job today, and I'm telling you, this joint is "Office Space."

My assignment is an admin gig at a mortgage company -- let's call it Regis Mortgage. Never mind that my temp agency told me to go to the wrong floor in the wrong building at the wrong time and then had no idea who I was when I called them for help...I eventually managed to get to the right location. Since there was no receptionist on that floor and the doors were locked, I sat out by the elevators and dialed the extension of Matt, the person to whom I was supposed to report (whose last name sounds a lot like a certain racial slur). I left Matt a couple of voice mails and then decided to just kick it.

After about 40 minutes of reading my Law School Without Fear book, a jittery woman who had passed me two or three times to go outside for cigarette breaks asked who I was waiting for. She took me inside to find Matt, but he wasn't in his office. As we were standing in his area, this guy James popped out of his cubicle and said that he'd been waiting for his temp.

So off I go with James. He sits me in a conference room and erases the white board (which I swear had been crammed with "Planning to Plan" flowcharts). He asks what mortgage experience I have (none). He asks what programming experience I have (none). Eager to quell his visible frustration I assure him that I'm a quick study -- and so he launches into a white-board-aided explanation of the new mortgage software they're developing. My job will be to test it for bugs.

A good 20 minutes after my eyes had rolled back into my head, the infamous Matt passes by the conference room and asks who I am. Turns out I am not supposed to be working with James on the software -- this girl Amber (who Matt had in tow) was the software temp. So Amber and I switch places and I follow Matt to my new cubicle, where the IT guy who's tinkering with my computer informs us that it will be several days before they'll have my login set up. Matt tells me to have a seat and says he'll think of something non-computery for me to do. So I get back to my book. Ambient noises include the repetitive phone greeting of a too-chirpy customer service rep and a persistently beeping printer or fax machine.

An hour or so later, James hops back over to my cube and announces that I should follow him. As we pass Matt's office and James gives him the "thanks for letting me poach your temp" wave, Matt asks me if I mind working with James for a few days. "Uh, I guess not," I shrug. "You don't care what you're doing -- as long as you're getting paid, right?" "Uh, yeah, I guess so."

So I spent the rest of the day testing the mortgage software with Amber and another temp, Courtney. It was pretty boring, but James didn't check on us much, so I got to do a lot of emailing and blog-reading (activities that still arouse a certain titillation after my computerless two months in the dark ages of the law firm).

Matt stopped by at the end of the day to inform the three of us that Friday was "jeans day" and that for a $3 fee we could...go ahead and...feel free to...wear blue jeans to work. Hmm.


Blogger CM said...

It didn't seem strange until you mentioned the $3 Casual Friday.

July 26, 2005 5:27 AM  
Blogger JLR said...

A fee? Really? I'm going to have start implementing something like that. "Yes, you can come into my office, and for a $3 fee, you can sit down."

July 26, 2005 8:38 AM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

One of the places I interned in college had a policy like that - it was some sort of fundraiser. No idea the cause but I always thought it was pretty strange.

July 26, 2005 8:44 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

What does the money go to? At my old law firm, we had casual Fridays, no fees attached. And I've heard that here they have the occasional (and by that I mean practically never) times a year where you can contribute to the March of Dimes or Red Cross or whatever they are raising money for and get to wear jeans for that day. So of course everyone contributes just to get to wear jeans, but at least it's for a good cause. Is this one of those random events or do they charge every Friday?

July 26, 2005 9:01 AM  
Blogger sJea said...

i temped at fannie mae for two years...don't ask...and for two years managed not only to not do sh!t...but also managed to wear jeans every friday and NEVER pay the required $5 jeans on friday fee...

July 26, 2005 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Camille said...

"Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment!"

Kim dear, I'm glad you found a new gig.

$3 Casual Friday?

*shaking my head*

July 26, 2005 10:29 AM  
Blogger nin said...

only $3 ???

July 26, 2005 11:11 AM  
Anonymous shell said...

Sounds like the temp agency & the company are both disorganized. I'm glad you managed to make some sense out of this mess.

July 26, 2005 11:41 AM  
Blogger hanmee said...

Some of my friends and I have lived the Office Space experience completely (down to the manager with the low-sloping forehead and and dealing with TPS - though module not report). The "funnest" part is the multiple managers (not).

By the way, if you want real discomfort, check out the awkward amusements in "Office" (BBC series).

July 27, 2005 11:46 AM  
Blogger S.C. said...

"Ah, Kim, I'm glad I caught you. Iiiiii'm...going to have to ask you to come in on Saturday. Yeah. In fact, why don't you go ahead and come in on Sunday, too?"

"Did ya get the memo?"

July 27, 2005 12:19 PM  

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