Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Work Attachment

In the spirit of comradeship and camaraderie I have decided to follow the example of Hoe and write about my work attachment.

There is nothing more unfortunate that having a workplace smack in the middle of that paradimensional realm we candidly refer to as "nowhere". Ok, maybe there is. Something along the lines of having to report two hours before regular office work times and an hour and a half before that to catch a feeder bus it would be so much more convenient to ignore.

The workplace in question is smugly secure in its proud position of being in close proximity with the Second Link and, like Tatooine, further than anywhere from the bright center of Singapore. The company in question is the uninspiringly-named KeppelFELS, specializing in oil rigs, and, as I hurriedly jotted down in my log, "other miscellaneous maritime equipment". The bus trip reveals a side of Singapore rarely seen; the industrial powerhouse concealed beneath the effusive greenery that epitomises our international reputation. Chimneys belching forth smokes, mysterious lumbering behemoths of steel and oil-stained concrete heaping themselves towards the bitter blue sky - the inevitable price paid for by the captains of industry to forward the edifice of our economy.

KeppelFELS houses itself within the confines of a middling-sized office building. The clean lines that make this particular structure up contrast in stark relief against the surround - piles of dirty equipment, cranes, storage tanks, and most distinctive of all, the imposing silhouette of massive construction going on in the far horizon. The building itself is modest enough, and comfortable. The lobby was tasteful and welcoming. But our misgivings, on that first day; they fought stark and pitched battles against reason and emotion.

In any case there were three of us. I was unfortunate enough to be separated from either of them, conscripted into the vilifying role of office-helper; running around revolutionizing the filing system and generally wrecking havoc among the dust-bins and the filing cabinets - now, that was my lot in life in those lost hours between dawn and dusk. Officially I'm in the HR (Human Resources) Department, but insofar as I can tell I've not been involved in anything but a level of work that may be classified as slightly better than "grunt." A whole day lugging around cumbersome grey-green employee reports and staring at black files and dank filing cabinets does much in dimming the mind; by lunchtime I invariably lurch around with the permanent fixture of a flustered and lethargic expression on my face. I almost seem to have an entire nation's personnel reports to re-file (now that's an Orwellian thought ain't it.) The going is arduous and I have 69 pages of microprinted names to comb through. Each entry in this unfortunate collection of names and occupations gives me the location of a certain file and instructions to where to relocate the particular file. There are approximately 3000 employees across these 69 pages; in two days I've completed about 20. Pages, that is.

Another one of my uplifting missions is to take those paper dividers you find in those filing cabinets, remove the numerical designations on them so they can be reused, and keep them. Again there are approximately 3000 of these dividers to finish.

And that's about it. For a wild half-hour on the first day I actually thought it was fun, to a healthily sane extent. I know better now.

Daniel and Weixiong have rather sedate office jobs. They're working together, utilizing the hated PeopleSoft and going about their unfathomable business, occasionally taking coffee breaks, sleeping in emptied rooms, playing minesweeper on their office desktops, and doing other useful miscellaneous tasks. Daniel has also taken to wasting SMSes on Hoe, and Hoe seems to take carthartic pleasure in venting his frustration (read his rant to get a better understanding of it.)

I suppose we are, to a certain extent, better off than Hoe is. He's alone, "free of familiar social contact for a two-kilometre radius", and he's sitting in an office cubicle undergoing slow torture as the ubiquitous and friendly sounds of your neighbourhood industry reverberate around him. I can't say for sure because honestly I don't really know the extent of his tasks, but Hoe isn't one to complain, and when he does, and does so to the extent he's doing so now, alarm bells would be a good sound to have.

Leon seems to have the best of it all, ironically. Even alone his primary activity seems to be partaking in online games as his co-workers fluster and flail about looking for things for him to do.

That's about it for now.

Hayley Westenra is good.


toitle said...

lol why do the spambots only target you? cos ur the admin issit?

The Arbiter said...

dunno. They go for karan too, sometimes

Nova said...

Well you see, we do still love them don't we?

Spambots leave such brilliantly constructive comments.