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My contract at work has recently been extended to the end of April, with the ever-present carrot of a possible permanent role dangling beyond. Nevertheless, as a temp contract worker, the knowledge that I could be out of work at the drop of the proverbial hat has my flickering attention alighting on employment websites from time to time. Reading their descriptions, I realised how little of what you actually need to know about the job is included. On paper, there is nothing to distinguish my job from pretty much any other tech support job I see, but it's a good one, and here's why:

Location: 15 minutes cycle from home. Uphill on the way into work when I'm barely conscious anyway, downhill all the way back. It's far enough to keep my buns steely, but not so far that it's unbearable when the weather's shitty.

Role: Tech support (again), but the best such role I've had for years. The customers are internal and mostly technically able, so the fact that I'm supporting them over the phone isn't too painful. In recent jobs I've supported users ranging from superannuated librarians who resent being forced to use these new-fangled difference engines gimcracks, to harassed teachers who don't know anything about PCs, but do need to get the network fixed in their lunch-hour in time for the afternoon's IT classes. I can't overstate what a relief it is to talk to people who can explain what's wrong with their PC concisely and accurately, and follow my instructions to fix it. Also, for once I'm supporting real software rather than specialist setups, so things that I learn in this job will actually have some relevance outside these walls.

Hours: Technically, rotating shifts. Actually, I am (inexplicably) the only person on the team that likes the late shift, so I do that all the time. I don't have to get in until 9:30, and am taking calls on my own from 5 to 6, which normally means sitting in an empty office surfing the net. Sweet deal. And my colleagues are grateful to me for saving them from having to do it! Weirdos.

Coworkers: Reasonably sound. I don't think I'll be making any bosom buddies here, but they're all nice enough. There are a couple of people who I can talk SF geekery with, and I can be the coolest one in the office with no effort at all. Also, my boss's boss looks not unlike a girl I really fancied in the first year of university. Which is nice.

Environment: Interestingly odd. From the nearest window, I look across an expanse of concrete car-park full of different coloured Minis, brand-new with no license plates, arranged into apparently arbitrary lines. Every so often a group of four or five people wander across to a group of the cars, get into them in near-perfect synchroneity, and drive them off to Parts Unknown. It looks like a vast, leasurely puzzle game is being played. Perhaps one day I will spend some of (undoubtably ill-gotten) millions, to hire the whole car-park for a day and, with the aid of a megaphone, play an enormous, and enormously slow game of Tetris. By way of contrast, the view from the opposite window, also visible from my desk, is green fields and gentle hills. I am a man on the edge (of Oxford.)
Inside, the building is full of long corridors, and a bizarre centre-piece to the reception of a pit, covered with green glass, with a large television at the bottom projecting a continuous loop up at people's feet. I have no idea why. It looks like a trap made by a high-tech antlion. It unnerves me, but in a good way.
Wandering the deserted corridors late at night, I find them populated only by multiple reflections of me. This inspired me to borrow tinyjo's digital camera and create myself few new user icons.

Job satisfaction: Overall, things ain't so bad. On my patented satisfaction index, which rates jobs based on how often I find myself thinking 'I just want to die', this one comes out extremely favourably, with less than one such thought detected per week. If only I could persuade the job sites to use this scale, a lot of the guesswork would be taken out of job-hunting...

Current site: A couple of Chick tract parodies:
Darque Dungeon (Thanks for link, mr_snips)
Who Will Be Eaten First? (Thanks for the link, NTK)
Both great fun, though somehow producing parodies of Chick seems futile. The "It's scary because it's true" aspect of the originals tends to trump all comers.

Current Zen koan: Someone just shouted across the room: "What does an empty box sound like?"

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
shepline
Feb. 4th, 2004 10:31 am (UTC)
Where exactly are you working? Or are you not at liberty to divulge such classifed information? Unipart perchance - I seem to recall being able to see precise rows of new cars in a swathe of car park from there. Or is actually BMW?

Either case, must be spitting distance of OBP and thus Blackwells...

So, can you bothered with interview questions?
bopeepsheep
Feb. 4th, 2004 10:45 am (UTC)
Re:
Horspath Industrial Estate would give those views, I think, the north side of BMW.
applez
Feb. 4th, 2004 10:46 am (UTC)
Oooo...
Cthulu T-Shirt...mmmmm... :-)
applez
Feb. 4th, 2004 12:50 pm (UTC)
btw
Darque Dungeon is ace ... but it's puzzled me how mainstream both goth and goth-rejection has become.
sdn
Feb. 4th, 2004 03:02 pm (UTC)
i think an empty box sounds like a very big shell (on the beach). sort of a swooshing sound.
vinaigrettegirl
Mar. 3rd, 2004 01:32 pm (UTC)
better late than never
My motto in LJ as in life. Liked Darque Dungeon; needed a smile from some universe other than my own immediate one. Ta ever so.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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oxfordhacker
Drifting in and out of consciousness

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