Wednesday, June 27, 2018

If This Had Been An Actual Emergency...

I work in three locations: (1) home,  (2) a big corporate office with lots of people (who were all busy watching the World Cup matches on Monday), and (3) a very small office that is part of a big building that has one of the company's switch hubs. Today I was at the third one. Some days I'm the only person in the office, but today they were having some sort of training so there were a few extra switch techs and managers around. This was my day:

- While the building is near both the beer factory and the jelly bean factory, there aren't a lot of places to grab food and there aren't any vending machines in the building, so one of the managers ordered pizza for the group undergoing training. This started a multi-call tracking effort because the pizza guy couldn't find the (unlabeled) building but wouldn't answer his phone. At one point the pizza restaurant was going to make more and send someone else because they thought something had happened to the first guy, but he did eventually show up.

- We had company-provided ice cream bars to celebrate the fact that our region didn't lose a multi-company comparison. (There was a fair amount of head scratching as everyone tried to figure out how we pulled that one off. But yay, ice cream.)

- The switch techs are an interesting bunch. There are usually only one or two in the building at any time, and they cover shifts over 24 hours. Those requirements tend to select for people who don't mind being alone all day long and don't do much socializing. So... yeah.

- Yes, I realize I just described my ideal working conditions. But these people are even more isolated-cabin-in-the-woods than I am.

- In the afternoon the senior manager came by and said "We're having a fire drill." In most buildings that would be accomplished by someone notifying the fire department they were conducting a drill and then setting off the fire alarm, but apparently there is a possibility if they do that in this building the fire suppression system might go off. So instead we just waited until the training was over and went to the conference room.

- Once in the conference room the pressing question was what cost code to use because half the people were now on overtime. (I'm salaried so that didn't apply to me.)

- In the event of a fire, the switch techs are supposed to clear the building and then everyone meets under the sign at the far end of the parking lot. If there aren't any switch techs present, any other employee is supposed to clear the building. Since I can't access 90% of the building, if I'm the only employee present, any contractors that are too stupid to leave the building when the fire alarm goes off will just have to burn to death.

- If there is a bomb threat we're supposed to call 911 and also corporate security. On a landline. I have no idea how one contacts corporate security, but since I never answer the phone I don't see how I would ever have to deal with a bomb threat.

- If there's an active shooter we're supposed to either stay where we are or run away, unless the shooter is outside waiting to pick us off as we run out the door. By the end of this part of the meeting I was pretty much planning never to come to work again.

- If the building ever does need to be evacuated, nobody is allowed to go back inside until an executive director gives the all-clear. The nearest executive director is in southern California. Nobody could figure out how this was supposed to work. If we ever do evacuate I'm taking all my stuff with me because we won't be getting back in the building any time soon.

- Then one of the... less socialized, let's call him... switch techs told us that he had packed up ready to leave one day when a contractor in the yard needed to use the restroom, so he let him in the building then had to wait 25 minutes for him to come back out again. He concluded by saying he wished there had been a fire alarm that day because he would have been able to just leave.

- Half the people were staring at this guy because why would you tell that story? and the other half were staring because...

- "What was he doing in there?" one of the other switch techs asked.

- "Men don't ask each other that!" another switch tech explained.

- The conversation then moved to describing the (extra large!) burrito that must have necessitated that bathroom break. Many people chimed in.

- I realized after a couple minutes of this discussion that these people were all getting paid overtime for this.

- We eventually concluded the fire drill without leaving the building and I went back to my cubicle.

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