Thursday, September 15, 2016

Microstory 409: Floor 34 (Part 1)

My people ain’t got nothin’ to do with what happens outside of the company. I am kidding, of course; not about what I said, but how I said it. Building services is a fancy way of saying maintenance, this is true. But this does not mean that we’re just composed of uneducated or backwards people. It’s true that most of my team members did not have the opportunity to seek higher education, but that does not stop them from being intelligent and thoughtful. It takes a lot of skill to do handiwork. One thing you got right is that they don’t go to school for it. At no point do they get a chance to learn everything they’ll need to know to succeed in maintenance. My people know plumbing, carpentry, painting, electrical work, and a plethora of other things. We’re often given assignments by the office workers who barely know we exist, or what we do. All they know is that they go on their computer, fill out this little form with what their problem is, and it magically goes away soon thereafter. A number of my people have been interrogated regarding their right to be in the building just because they don’t look the part. Far be it for them to stop and have a conversation with someone wearing a tee-shirt so these miscommunications stop happening. Building maintenance isn’t just about poundin’ nails anyway. We also manage all building equipment, and make sure that everyone has what they need. That’s called logistics, and a good logistician, which is what I am, actually does have a decent education. Here’s another thing they don’t realize; the walls have ears, and those ears belong to us. They carry on their conversations while we’re working, surprisingly unaware that we’re there. We know more about this building than anyone else. Why, if they asked me to become the next president, I think I wouldn’t do half bad. What they can’t see is that every team or department complains about other teams and departments. With precious few exceptions, they’re quick to blame someone else for any of the company’s problems. It’s not that they can’t conceive the possibility that they contributed to issues, or even that they don’t see it when it’s happened. It’s just that they’re scared to death of losing their jobs. Nobody wants to assume blame. They do everything they can to push it off to others, and then keep their heads down. If no one notices them, no one will think to let them go. I guess that’s one benefit of being an invisible repair worker. I’ll tell ya what, though, every single thing in this building works perfectly. I’ll fire myself on the spot if I hear something we installed or made turns out to be defective. Except for maybe that atrium skylight. That has to be redone. What was that noise?

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