Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Things That I Will Do...

I was lucky enough to have a long weekend this week.

For those of you that aren't in the know, I work a 4 days on / 4 days off shift.  They are fairly long days, but it's not so bad, and the 4 day weekends are boss.  I ended up with a 5-day weekend (well, Monday-Friday weekend) this week because of a change to the schedule.  What would you do with five days off?

I'll tell you what I did.  I went to work.

I mean, honestly, what am I going to do with a 5-day weekend?  I waste the four days off I get now anyway.  It turns out that they needed a little extra help so I went in for the day yesterday just to help balance the load.

Best. Decision. Ever.

First:  There were some people I work with that I've never met before (cause my company is way huge man, you just don't even know), and they were in town for meetings.  Now, I could have come in on my day off just to meet them face to face and say hello.  I could have done that, but I wasn't going to.  Because even though they had travelled a long distance and they are very lovely people, I am doing my best to not be that guy that goes into work on his days off because he has nothing else to do.

I have lots to do.  Or at least that is the impression that I want everyone to have.  Truth is that I'm still sitting here in my bathrobe and its 2 in the afternoon.

I swear to you, I was stone cold sober when I took this picture.  I did get totally wasted enough to post it.
Nah, just kidding, I have no self respect.
Upshot of the first thing, I got to meet some folks that I've been working with and only knew as a voice and an email address.  It was nice.  Though I did miss out on the meet and greet that they did earlier in the week, but that's okay because...

Second:  When my company has big meetings like the ones that were going on that everyone had travelled here for, there is usually catering involved.  And when there is catering involved there are usually leftovers.  And this was no exception.

In standard office hierarchy, leftover food from catering goes like this:
  1. The people involved with the meeting. The brave ones get a second helping (they know they're going to be in this meeting for the rest of the day, but free food is free food and they're willing to risk it).  Then there are the people that will grab a second dessert or another beverage to have on the side, just to snack on during the meeting, but they've taken a suspicious number of napkins and five will get you ten that it's getting wrapped up and taken home.
  2. The people who weren't involved with the meeting, but are on the same team as the meeting attendees.  This is basically the way that the people having the meeting apologize to the rest of the group for picking up their slack while they're off getting catered meals and wishing on rainbows and drawing butterflies on the mist of their imaginations.  The invitation usually comes in the form of an email or an instant message: "There's still some left if you're hungry." or "We're about to start again, do you want to grab a plate before they clean it up?"  That sort of thing.  It's always written as though the person writing it doesn't know that everybody has foregone eating lunch in the expectation that there will be leftovers.
    I have levels of hunger that I'm willing to deal with.  Waiting for over-priced appetizers in a really slow restaurant that I don't like that is at the bottom.  Christmas dinner is at the top.  Waiting for that message to come and get it is up there with starving myself before going to a buffet.  It doesn't matter what the food is, I'm taking it and I'm laughing to myself that I didn't have to sit in a mind numbing meeting to get it. Suckers!
  3. People that sit in the vicinity of where the food is being served.  Once the attendees and the team-mates have gotten their invites, the group of people that are lucky enough to have been sitting in the cubicles or office space immediately surrounding the catering area get their "Oh, hey, did you want to grab some of this too?" invitation.  They are truly the least lucky of them all, because when there's not enough leftovers they end up with nothing after having watched wave after wave of people stuffing themselves.
    This group is sort of like the servants in a medieval castle - they can eat all the scraps they want, after the hunting dogs have had their fill.  Also, they are usually covered in sores and are afraid to make eye-contact with you.  I don't know why this is so, but it is.
  4. Random people that happened to come across the meal just before it's about to be tossed out.  Sometimes, there's more than any of the first three groups can eat.  It's rare, but it happens, usually after some mix up in when the catering was supposed to arrive so people in groups 2 and 3 got tired of waiting and just gave in and ate something (it's sad when people lose their faith like that), so they're too full to eat anything else.
    This is the luckiest of all groups because they don't have an expectations whatsoever.  It's like the food fairy came down from his pasta mountain and wants to bless you with a plate of lasagne and maybe a bit of caesar salad.
Just to make sure you're keeping up, the reasons why it was a good day to go into work so far are: 1) meet co-workers from the Land of Far, Far Away and 2) Got fed lunch.

Third: every month, the department that I am in gets a cake and a fruit tray to celebrate all the birthdays on the team that month.  Sometimes, you're even lucky enough that you're at work on the day that it happens they are celebrating your birthday.  Most of the time you're not.  But it's nice to know that people celebrated, yes?

This month, it just happened that it was cake day at work.  The invitation hit my inbox and a small cheer rose  from me to the heavens above: "Cake @ 3:00 by pod 105"  Such magical words.

I met new people, I got fed lunch, and then a couple of hours later I got cake. Could going into work on my day off have gotten any better?

Yes.  It was about to get a lot better.

Fourth:  It wasn't such a bad day.  It was partly because I was able to pick up a little bit of the slack, but it was mostly because it wasn't as busy as we had expected it to be. Normally, Wednesdays are heavy, but for some reason it wasn't this time.  I was able to get some special project work done that had been eluding me for a few weeks, and I learned a few things that will make my first day back on a little bit easier.

Which of course leads to the best reason why it was a good day.

Fifth: I got paid overtime to do it all. 

And the reason why the overtime is awesome is because I want to the movies last night with a friend.  We saw "Django Unchained".  It was very good, and I don't begrudge a single moment of the 8 hours I spent at work to pay for it. Seriously, tickets and concession were crazy expensive.  I almost felt guilty not going to the movie with My Lovely Wife.

For those of you that might be interested, this is my impression of what it would be like watching "Django Unchained" with My Lovely Wife.

Opening credits play:  "Pass me the M&M's."
Approximately 8 minutes into the movie: "We have to leave."

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