I’ve got office envy. After a week at our Narrabri branch I’ve realized just how shabby our little office at Moree is compared to the glamourous conditions my colleagues work in every day. Not for them the daily task of vacuuming up a thousand dead crickets. As with all office workers in the civilized world, their first task for the day is to turn the kettle on and make a cup of coffee. Which is fine if you can get to the kitchen without crushing underfoot the remains of an entire insect species die off.
Like any workplace our vacuum cleaner is rubbish so the simple task of sucking up the dead and dying grasshoppers has become an irksome chore. The use of the floor brush is to be avoided. With all trace of brush and protective lining having long since disappeared its only function now is to gouge long grooves into the tiled floor or rip up the carpet. Thus, armed only with the extension hose I track down every last cricket that’s hidden behind a cabinet or under a desk—they always go looking for dark corners to die in—because while one grasshopper hopper does not a smell make, a thousand don’t half pong!
What the Narrabri office lacks in ecological disasters it makes up for with technology. Something Moree seriously lacks. Some days we’re chuffed just to have power. In every corner of the Narrabri office there are screens feeding you constant streams of information you had no idea you needed to know. A day can be lost trying to keep up with it all. If the art of looking busy in the analogue world is to walk around with a clipboard and a sense of purpose, then in the high-tech office you need only watch a screen. Adopt a feet apart stance squarely in front of the monitor while wearing a deep scowl. Press a phone firmly to your ear and point to the screen every now and then for added impact while nodding knowingly. While easy to pull off in a busy environment I imagine it will take more than this to convince Steve, my only co-worker in our tiny satellite operation, that I’m actually being productive. That and we don’t have any flashy monitors to look at.
We don’t even have nice walls. My desk looks like it was cobbled together as an afterthought which, going by the triangular piece of chipboard that supports my keyboard and the spaghetti junction of wiring at my feet, it probably was.
On the plus side, everything we do is an improvement. Like throwing out all the rotten furniture which was celebrated for the cleaning it reduced and the room it created. An inherited dispatch board has been installed bringing us right into the 20th century. A lick of paint and it’ll be the Narrabri crowd coveting us.
I’m Heading off to Coonabarabran tonight for a week; I wonder what that office is like?