Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Friday, October 2, 2009

German for No

On this date nine long years ago, I began working at a little insurance company known as The Hartford. After a five-minute interview, I was hired as a web design consultant, and at the time, since I was planning on a career in computer animation, I expected that within six months I’d leave both the company and the state in my wake.

Obviously, that didn’t happen. Instead, I settled into the job, and although I still wonder how far I would have gotten with computer animation, I’m happy I stuck with web design. Now, in commemoration of my anniversary, I thought I’d share 9 of the more interesting bits of trivia from my tenure:

  • I have worked in 3 different departments under 4 different managers across 5 different buildings, while getting shifted around between 15 different cubicles.

  • In 2005, one of my co-workers vanished. As in, off the face of the earth. For three whole months. His boss had no idea where he was, nor did his ex-wife, his daughters, his bartender… we felt like background characters in an episode of CSI or Without a Trace. And then he suddenly reappeared. In a hospital. In Miami. This is a guy who I had worked with for about 4 years, without incident. He sent an email saying we’d all have to get together for drinks at some point and he’d tell us the whole story. Then, I think he may have disappeared again.

  • Somehow, my name ended up on a patent application.

  • At lunchtime one fateful day, I was eating from an open styrofoam container of chili that sat upon my desk. I don’t recall how it happened, but the container started to tip toward me. I tried to stop it, to catch it, but failing to do so, I quickly stood up so it wouldn’t spill on me. When it hit the ground, it didn’t land on its edge and tip over. The bottom of the container landed flat, causing the chili to explode upwards. It spattered into my face, and onto my shirt and pants. Little specks of chili somehow found their way to the furthest reaches of the desk, and onto the back of the computer monitor. To this day, although all the stains have been removed, one of co-workers can always spot when I’m wearing “the chili pants.”

  • Shortly before I shifted out of one department, its name was changed to GSD, which stood for, I kid you not: GBD Solution Design. That’s right, the name was an acronym (technically, an initialism) within another acronym (again, technically an initialism). And they didn’t see anything wrong with that.

  • For a month and a half, I did my job completely left-handed. No, not on a bet; I’d merely broken my right hand in a simple disagreement.1

  • For a while, my commute was a simple 3-mile journey down a single 2-lane road. One morning, two separate school buses tried to run me off that road. The first ran a red light in order to pull out in front of me from a side street, and less than a mile later, the second kid-filled yellow behemoth switched into my lane without warning, forcing me to swerve and slam on my brakes. Yay, flat tire.

  • I once worked 26 hours in a 30-hour period. I do not recommend this. Not only will all your work go for nought when everyone cancels out of the meeting you scheduled, neglects to read the document you compiled until four months later, and then opts to undertake absolutely none of the recommendations. But you’ll also get, as more than one doctor told me, “the worst case of mono [they’d] ever seen.”

  • A few times a year, we’re required to take online certification courses on topics like ethics and information protection. (One of the latter had a hokey pirate theme, complete with an animated squawking parrot, and locations like Internet Island and Compliance Cove.) It was in one of these highly professional courses that I came across this bit of sage advice: “Handle e-mail as if you are sharing your fork.” Truer words have never been spoken.

1 The wall started it.

1 comment:

  1. I've never been to Compliance Cove, but I have been to Copyright Bay. I almost ran aground on Infringement Reef.