Posted by: Richard Chennault | January 10, 2008

First to Work

I was the first person to work today.  I know for many people that is not a blog worthy post. But when you work for a company of 160,000 or so employees you get used to someone being at ‘work’ before you and after you. You are really never alone even if all you have for company is the lone security guard. Â

Today however was different. I’ve changed job locations and now work is close to home in a ‘small’ facility. It is small only in the number of people that work here. The facility itself is 37,000 square feet.  So I show up to work and there are about thirty nurses standing outside in the rain huddling around the front entrance.  I walk confidently up to the door wondering why the security guard doesn’t let them in. Â

I buzz myself in. No lights, oh oh. Alarm goes off; bad real bad.  I panic for a full five seconds thinking, oh shit how do I turn the alarm off? Where did I put the alarm code? Feeling around my body desperately for the answer like a drunk looking for his keys I retrieve the alarm code from my front pocket, enter the code and all is well.

Now with the alarm taken care of I find myself surrounded by thirty women in the relative dark. While I am sure there is some sophomoric chauvinistic reference there at the moment it was escaping me. I only wanted to get back to my routine and drink some coffee. Entertaining a bunch of people at 8:00 am in the morning was not high on my agenda of things to do.

However the lights refused to come on.  There is power but the switches don’t work. I remember vaguely during my welcome aboard tour my boss telling me all the lights in the working areas are keyed to a master switch. Of witch I didn’t know the location.  So me and thirty nurses are all wondering around flipping switches like a crazed action hero in the final minutes of a b-rated movie.

While I’m looking for ‘the one’ an intrepid individuals thinks it would be a brilliant idea to open a side emergency door to let some light in (on a cloudy raining day).  Of course it is an emergency exit and the alarm goes off. Great! Now I am in a panic because the emergency alarm for the doors are not keyed to the master alarm.  You have to insert a key directly into the door to turn it off. I pull out my keys only to remember I’ve not been given the key to turn these off. Â

I call my boss because I’m STILL the only adult in the place and he reminds me where the emergency key is kept.  After a 30,000 foot marathon I retrieve the key, turn off the alarm and wonder when my ears will stop ringing.

After everyone starts to settle in the security guard shows up. Wonderful. At least now I will never forget how to un-secure this space.Â

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