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Tuesday, Oct 02 2001 11:48PM
Wednesday, the 26th - Friday, the 28th Days One through Three of My Very First Temp Job. Okay, not my actual first, just my first since I was laid off. Things are okay, the people are friendly enough, mostly quiet really. The company is Old School though. Seriously, very old school, very old, like pre-Cambrian old. They have
- dot matrix printers
- Kermit! (terminal emulation)
- typewriters (IBM Selectrics)
- that hella old lite green and white striped computer paper
Calls that go unanswered do not automatically get transferred to voicemail. No, instead they bounce back to the receptionist who then is supposed to say "He is away from his desk. Would you like his voicemail?" Retarded. And the thing is it's set up that way on purpose
. There's somewhat of an anti-voicemail vibe here, and it comes straight from the top. The CEO himself abhors voicemail and doesn't have it. Instead he has a secretary and a stack of pink While You Were Out memos. Lordy.
The first "real" job I ever had (as in office rather than retail) was as secretary/office manager/gal friday for a small, two lawyers and me, law firm. The job, and my boss, Lance, changed my life. Up till then I was an aimless drifter, failing out of my second attempt at college, spending all my free time in the computer lab playing with this crazy new thing called the Internet. I even got the law firm job through Usenet, via the formerly useful newsgroups ny.wanted and nj.wanted. I got my first three computer industry jobs that way.
So while my job was mainly composed of filing, typing letters and answering phones (Lance also didn't have voicemail, hence this long diversion into The Past), I also was given many opportunities to learn new things. As I said, there were only two lawyers and they couldnt do everything. Once they realized I was smart and willing to learn they set to schooling me. I became a paralegal, proofreader, researcher, HTML-er, desktop publisher, copywriter. No job since has taught me half as much. No boss since has been half as good. Seriously, working for Lance gave me the impression that all bosses were basically fair and, after they got to know you, would treat you with trust and respect. I was 23! What did I know? I learned pretty quickly though, my next boss was a power-mad asshole liar. Not every other boss was so awful, but so far no one, absolutely no one has come close to Lance.
I left him in 1995 because he was closing the firm and moving to Arizona to head up a department in a large firm there. He asked me if I was interested in going with him. If I was, he'd arrange it that hiring me as his assistant was part of the deal. I didn't go. I had a serious boyfriend at the time, but also, Arizona? No thanks. But the offer was amazingly thoughtful. I've spoken to him a couple times over the years. The last was when I heard his wife died. I hope he and his daughters are doing well.
If you're out there, Lance, thank you.