More Office Fun

So, besides grad school, being a mentor, working with a charity, nearly running over bible study members and trying to have some sort of social life, I’ve also been working simultaneously for TWO clients. This is one of the joys of consulting – the fine balance of staying 100% “billable” on projects. The problem is, it’s tough to make the stars align so that when one project ends, the next one starts. So you end up in the situation I was in recently where you try to work for two at the same time for a few days. It’s real fun and not confusing at all, especially when the subject matter of both projects are completely different….sigh.

So yes, I’m a little discombobulated. To the point where someone on my new client site handed me the almighty Key To The Ladies’ Bathroom – and I promptly lost it. This is a problem of mine - if I’m distracted and there’s something in my hand – I’ll just drop it. Leave it somewhere. Throw it away – whatever. It’s like I’m only marginally aware something’s in my hand, my brain just knows something is annoying me so it makes my hands get rid of it. This makes me very nervous for whenever I have kids….

So obviously changing projects/clients/ job sites all the time involves learning curves around  little things, like – where do I park? What new security access restrictions are there? Can I use the stairs?

THAT question is important. Let me know tell you why.

I have a fear of elevators. I do. I know it’s silly and irrational but I can just picture myself getting trapped in one all weekend or falling to my death in one. So I’ll go out of my way to take the stairs.


In many government buildings, they have stairs – but you aren’t supposed to use them. Something to do with security, who knows, but it’s not consistent so you never know if you can or can not use them.

So at a project last year, I went out for coffee. (little fact about me- Starbucks is like my Siren Song. I've actually gotten in trouble numerous times because I feel unavoidably drawn to Starbucks. I’ve nearly missed planes, been late to countless meetings, and got yelled at on an Advance job for the Secretary of Homeland Security because I refused to NOT have Starbucks in hand. Clearly, I need some sort of espresso patch or something...). And to leave the building, I took the stairs, and I get down like 5 flights...

And the door won’t open.


And I realize that the stairs are only supposed to be used in emergencies and while you can get IN the doors to the stairwell, you can’t actually get OUT of any of them normally. So I try calling my coworker from my cell.

She doesn’t answer.

So I’m trying not to panic (also – this has SO happened to me BEFORE in a mall somewhere in middle America while on a work trip. I ended up having to bang on the door and yell until some bewildered passerby opened the door to find me rushing out panicked, blinking in a daze trying to figure out where the heck I was. In other words – I should know better) and I finally see –

An emergency exit.

So I now have a choice. Live forever in a stairwell. Hope for a fire that will cause security to unlock the doors for people to escape... then hope I don't get trampled in said escape. Or, barrel my way through the emergency exit, likely setting off an embarrassing alarm alerting everyone that *I* am the idiot who can’t just take the elevator like a normal person.

I choose that. So I brace myself, hit the door, and run as quickly as I can, wating for an alarm. But nothing sounds. I’m saved! But wait – Where am I?!

Apparently, the exit dumps you literally into a back alley behind our building – incidentally, the ally that the window from my cube looks drearily down on. So I stumble my way onto the main street into the sunlight – and head to Starbucks. (priorities!)

By the time I got back to my cube, I had a fun story to reenact for my coworker who felt guilty that she hadn’t answered my call in my time of need. But the BEST part was, weeks later I was sitting in my cube – by the window that looks down on the alley – and I hear this man yell “YEEEESSSSSS!!!!!” in the alley.

Which made me laugh and nod my head knowingly -- clearly, he too had just escaped the stairwell....

Anyway, so lately, while I’ve been trying to juggle several things at once and figure out things like stairwell protocol, I've also had to squat in one of the office buildings that my company has while also zipping back and forth between the two client sites.

So I've looked like a pack mule constantly, carrying my entire office around with me and constantly hunting out free desks every day. And then whenever I'd find one and spread all my stuff out, someone would inevitably walk in and say I'm in their desk. That happened THREE times this past Monday alone...

And then I’ve had fun things to get used to like when someone I'd never seen before popped her head in the door to whatever office I was hovering in at the time, and asked "Do you like devilled eggs?"

Um -- I'm Dana... nice to meet you too?

Then I walked by another office and instead of a desk chair, a girl was perched at her computer, in her suit:

on a Stability Ball. Yes, like the ones at the gym.

Office people are strange.

And my week only got stranger, but I’ll tell more about that next time. For now, I'm going to enjoy being at my apartment where all my stuff can stay put and I'm allowed to take the stairs....