Monday, February 28, 2011

Living My Life At Work And Other Junk (Part 1/4)

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

This is a record of my attempts to bring more to my work than just an eight hour day of
do-nothing. This mindset has caused me great grief over the years. If I had been a normal work-a-day employee I might just go though life satisfied and resigned that work meant work and nothing more. The problem is that back in the day I got into a job that got me off on the wrong foot. Enjoy this 4 part story where I not only go into my main theme but where I do some strolling down memory lane.

Let's jump in that good ol' time machine...Let’s start off at my first security job. The first real job where I had time to do what I wanted to do while at work. In 1994 I got a job with a Dallas based contract security company. This was after Kmart while I was living with my roommate Barrett in a small apartment complex off of Camp Bowie in West Fort Worth. The job would allow me to keep from having to move back home. One of my first posts was the Water Gardens Place office building in downtown Fort Worth. It was actually right on the South East edge of downtown. Situated right across the street from the Water Gardens it provided me with a job as well as a mini adventure. I worked there on the graveyard shift during the weeknights and daytime during the weekends.

My job was to sit on a hard stool at a wooden podium in the little lobby and tour the building and grounds every so often. The lobby had glass walls and doors on each side of the lobby (facing South and North). The North doors faced the Water Gardens. Behind my podium was the building management office and ahead were the elevators and a hall with more offices. Once every hour or so I was to tour the building, checking doors to make sure they were locked and to walk the perimeter of the building. I would begin by taking the elevator to the top floor (seven stories I believe) and work my way from one stairwell across each floor to the other stairwell.

The building was very old and the elevator made you seriously consider walking up to the top instead of riding it up. They didn’t trust us (security) enough with actually giving us the key to the suites so I couldn’t go into any of the offices (yet). I remember that the fifth (or so) floor was really dark. The lights were small sconces on the walls that hardly gave off any illumination. It would really creep me out and I made my way across this floor in record speed each tour. This floor was used as conference rooms for the City of Fort Worth so it was hardly ever occupied. I also remember that I would get shocked each time walked that floor as well. The carpet was real thick and I dreaded touching the door knobs. After clearing all the floors I moved down stairs into the parking garage then back up and out around the building. I slowed down my tour since it was somewhat enjoyable to walk around outside. The Water Gardens had (and still does) a problem with grackles. These black birds flew to and inhabited the gardens at night. They were so loud and it lasted all night long. The city has tried get rid of them with shotgun blasts and fake screeching owls but it has never really worked. I would walk the perimeter of the building looking around at the Marriott hotel and the gardens as well as the rest of the city skyline. All this got a little boring after awhile so I turned to reading books. I had joined the Science Fiction Book Club and had all sorts of books coming in. I started reading in earnest. I got to the point where I would finish a book in 2 or 3 nights. I read several Star Wars books during this time.

In the middle of the night (early morning actually) around 4 am I would hear a loud crashing noise. It would happen each morning at four - never fail. I am sure it must have been some sort of air conditioning unit or something like that starting up or something. It sounded like someone tipping over a large filing cabinet on the floor above the lobby. I never found out what that was nor did I want to know. Between books when I would feel like taking a break from reading my tours would take on a more adventurous theme. I would start trying my key in the locks of each of the offices. I actually got it to work (with some jiggling) on several suites. I found a therapist office and an entire empty floor. All in all it was a fun job. I say that now but you know how it is, you usually see the past through rose colored glasses. During the later days of working this post Barrett moved to Missouri and I roomed with my high school friend Eric for a bit. Soon I found myself living back at home in Joshua.

I worked for just a bit longer at this post. The security company had another hole to fill at a different post and I was about to be transferred. This next post would last me almost seven years and I would really begin to 'live life at work'.

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