Day One – and this week I’m determined to make the Post Room do their own job for a change. 100% determined.
So I’m slightly dismayed when, within half an hour, I get a call from reception about a package that’s been delivered to an unused section of the building (the project closed down about 6 months ago) which might be for our department. Only there’s no name on the package.
So I go down and speak to the receptionist and we open the box – sure enough it’s full of computer parts which are probably destined for the Engineer who sits on the far side of my office. So I run back upstairs and ask him if he is expecting said parts. In fact, no, he isn’t – because he actually packaged the parts himself and was under the impression that they had been sent out. So somehow our post room had managed to sign out a package to the courier and deliver it all of 30 metres across the corridor. Genius.
Day Two – and the Nice But Slightly Dim Spanish Lady (NBSD:SL) who comes around with the post trundles her trolley towards me: wearing a slightly worried expression. She has several varieties of worried expression which range all the way from Mild Paranoia to The Building May Be On Fire. Today she is wearing Number 3 expression – the “Did I remember to put my trousers on?” look.
On this particular day she is trying to palm off several bunches of payslips – only one of which actually has my name on it. I point this out to her and she counters, “But it’s got your department on it”. I’m far too polite to point out that the only reason it has our department on it is because someone, probably her or her boss, has written our department name on in blue biro, which has been circled twice just to make sure I don’t miss the point. Sure enough when I open it after she is gone I find that the package is not for me – so I wonder over to HR/Admin and ask them to ensure that it gets to the right people.
Day Three – NBSD:SL has two Letters With Random Names on today, as well as three that I recognise as having moved to other projects and can be re-addressed. One of the random names appears to be for our client, who have a small office on the ground floor – so I underline the department and put it back in the post. The second Random Name becomes the subject of our near-daily conversation which goes:
NBSD:SL “This person is on my list as your department”
ME: “Well, I’ve been here 12 months now and I’ve never heard of them”
NBSD:SL “But it says your department on the envelope”
(yes, but only because you’ve written it on I think) “Tell you what” I respond, “why don’t I check on the global email address?”
For those of you who don’t work for a company with lots of different addresses, we have a “global” email finder – into which you can type the name of anyone working for the company and it will find them and display details of where they work. For some reason, still a mystery to myself, the Post Room seem unable to use this tool. Sure enough I locate the person’s name and see that they are now based elsewhere
ME: “Look, they’re based in Edinburgh now”
NBSD:SL: “Would you be able to re-address it then?”
Day Four – and NBSD:SL has been replaced by Cornet Playing Lady. At least I think it’s a Cornet – I forget. She’s in a Brass Band at any rate and, at the drop of a hat, will reveal all sorts of details about how the theme to Raiders Of The Lost Ark is bloody difficult to play. My only recent experience of a Brass Band involved the local Police band: who only seem to know “One Moment In Time” by Whitney Huston and play it repeatedly at local functions, but she doesn’t seem too impressed when I tell her this. So anyway, the letter for our client is back, with my underlining scribbled out and my department written on in blue biro – circled three times.
As the letter is a certificate and also says “Customer Services” I walk over to HR/Admin and ask them to check their staff lists just to ensure that the person on the address is who I think they are. Turns out that the Post Room tried to deliver to HR/Admin first and it was them that have been writing my department on when they can’t be bothered to investigate something themselves. So, knowing that the only alternative is to see this same letter in my in-tray tomorrow morning, I trundle down to our security room, who have a full list of staff, and ask the long suffering guards to check. Turns out I was right after all and the certificate is safely delivered.
And as I walk slightly wearily back to my desk I pause to ask myself, yet again, why it is always me that takes responsibility for making sure a job is done correctly when it is so much less effort just to do a job properly and get it right first time - and I think about what my friend says about work. He says that he gets sick of people coming up to him and remarking on his empty desk, saying “You must be quiet”
In fact – the truth is that any idiot can have a full desk. A full desk takes no effort whatsoever. It’s having an empty desk that takes work.